24.10.2011

The fine, sunny weather continues. Peter rode his motor cycle to work – an indication that conditions are still favourable. If there is the possibility of ice on the road it's enough to change from two to four wheels.

I was surprised to learn the Swedish view on funerals, or at least the conduct of them in relation to the time of death. Peter's father died in mid-October but his funeral will not take place until mid-November. I find this extraordinary. Funerals are meticulously planned, and can only be had on certain days of the week because that's when the church will accommodate them. In times gone by if you died in the winter the body would be put outside where it would freeze and 'keep' until the summer time when the soil was soft enough to dig a grave. I can imagine this still happening in the more remote northern parts of the country.

After Anette returned from physiotherapy we drove a short distance from her home to Gunnebo Castle, which really isn't a castle, but the former summer house of a wealthy Goteborg businessman. Built in the last decade of the eighteenth century, today it boasts one of the best preserved gardens of the French baroque style. This style reached it's height of popularity during the latter half of the seventeenth century. In this style the main house is central to the garden which narrows the further away from the house you go, and where you have to go into the garden to actually appreciate an aspect of it. The garden of the Palace of Versailles is one of the best known examples. The house was bought in the 1950's by the local council, Moindall Municipality. In June 2001 Sweden hosted an EU Summit in Goteborg. The summit's guests lunched at Gunnebo Castle as guests of the Swedish Prime Minister.

I helped out a little today by carting firewood from a storage area to the wood cellar. I enjoyed doing some physical work, my first since mowing lawns when back in Australia last August. Now this raises an interesting contrast between something that is done nationally and something that is done locally. Sweden don't produce any of it's power from fossil fuel. They do have nuclear power, but about 50% of their needs comes from hydro generation. However, when it comes to private house they collectively don't mind burning a forest or two during a winter. Some households now tap into thermal hot water several hundred metres below the earth's surface to heat
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their houses.

25.10.2011

I busied myself for a couple of hours this morning straightening things out in the wood cellar so that a lot more wood will fit into it than would otherwise have been the case. The outside temperature never got above six degrees today so working in
the cellar with the hot furnace nearby was a treat. I had the house to myself. Home alone in Pixbo.

This afternoon I went for a 7km walk which took me through the gardens of Gunnebo Castle, down to a lake and along it's edge before heading back to a pine forest from where I started. Most of the tracks are now covered with a carpet of autumn leaves. Lots of the trees are looking spectacular with their red, orange and yellow leaves. Green is quickly disappearing.

Yesterday when Anette and I were at Gunnebo we had lunch at a cafe located in a building that once was the living quarters of castle's servants. The cafe uses its own gardens to grow herbs and vegetables for use in its food. All food is grown organically. Lunch, which was vegetarian, was delicious, as was the pie and cream we had with a cup of tea after a walk in the gardens. It's hard to imagine what this place would be like blanketed with snow and with children out on weekends sledding down the slopes.

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