Today was a nice brisk 15 F. (minus 10 C.) but no wind and sunny, so Swedes hit the beach. We were at Mariette’s parents for my birthday and after a wonderful meal of pork chops we hit the beach that lies 300 meters from their house. We were not the only ones there on a day like today.
Moving a little closer to that group, we smelled something.
Ah, yes, hot dogs. Nothing like a cookout when it is 10 below.
Bianca invited herself to the party but Mariette nabbed her just before Bianca nabbed a sausage.
The sea is frozen from several days of cold temperatures and little wind.
Perfect for taking the dog for a walk or ice skating.
That’s Mariette waving to me from the shore.
Kids sledding down the dunes onto the ice.
Back at home, Prada sacked out in Mariette’s father’s lap. She really has taken a shine to Olle which Bianca is attached to Mariette’s mom.
What’s left of a really, really tasty lemon birthday cake.
Finally, appropos of nothing, here is a shot I took last week on the golf course before the last snowfall just as the sun was going down. One month ago the sun set at 3:45, now we are up to almost 5:00. By June it will be well after 10:00.
Last summer during a visit to Sweden’s national orienteering competition, which was held in Halmstad, I wandered into a building that had been rented out by an artist named Peter Wahlbeck. His stuff was wild and crazy and definitely not decorative art. I loved it. We began chatting and had an enjoyable conversation.
Fast forward to December and I found out that Peter Wahlbeck is a well known comedian in Sweden, has had TV shows, been in movies, has more than 5,000 friends on Facebook and was opening his own art gallery here in town. The date of his opening was 12 minutes after 12 noon on the 12th of December 2012.
The Saturday after his opening I wandered in there to see the gallery and he remembered me immediately from our meeting in July. Later I sent him a link to some of my art on http://www.fineartamerica.com and one thing led to another. This afternoon we firmed up a project to do this spring and will be moving ahead with it starting asap. Over the holidays I did a trial painting of him and brought to him today to show. He loved it and immediately placed it in the front window of his gallery.
The colors here aren’t the greatest but what can you expect from a cell phone. Here is another shot showing a little more of the gallery.
Finally, a shot showing Peter posed with the painting.
We plan to do several of him in his different personas of comedian, radio personality, actor, vegetarian, spiritual traveler, etc. Will they sell? Who the hell knows. But it will force me into exploring an aspect of portraiture that I have been thinking about for some years. At the very least, it will be a learning experience and a lot of fun. Besides, this guy is very well known. I have to meet anyone who does not know who he is. So, it will at a minimum be good publicity. Stay tuned.
Was a spring like day for January 1st here in Halmstad, relatively speaking. But I am getting ahead of myself a little. New Year’s Eve was a great deal of food, fun and fireworks despite miserable weather: cold, windy and kind of rainy most of the day. That did not stop all hell from breaking loose about 10 minutes before midnight, just as we were finishing listening to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy at high volume.
We were at Mariette’s parents for the evening and people there really enjoying getting their skyrockets on one night each year. All around us the neighborhood erupted with blasts and booms for the next 20 minutes. I had lit ours earlier throughout the evening, some before and the rest after we watched a movie. But to give you an example of what some people buy for their new year’s kick off, I found this today at one of the nearby recycling centers:
This is a package you can buy for about 250 bucks. The big tubes are about 2 inches in diameter and there are over 100 shots here. You light one fuse then stand back and watch the show, which lasts for about 2 minutes. We saw several of these rapid fire displays just in the neighborhood. They were all around us. I said it last year and I’m saying it again–this is definitely one of the very best things about this country and people really get into it. I took some cell phone videos but until I figure out how to download them (following the manual instructions does NOT work), you will have to take my word for it. Well, here is something that will give the flavor of the evening: some guy videoing fireworks in Stockholm last night. That is kind of the way it was here: http://youtu.be/30p0InieO4k. Hope it is viewable.
Today, the weather was cool and mostly windless and the sun came out. In other words, a perfect day. People were out taking advantage of it, jogging, walking, sightseeing and enjoying the nature, us among them.
On Saturday, a pipe broke and water was spilling everywhere down by the sea. Crews were out through Sunday trying to fix it and they will return tomorrow to finish the job.
The Westie is named Morris and he owns the couple here. We have run into them numerous times since we moved here. Really nice folks. The dogs are usually more recognizable than the people. I am sure that is how many people recognize us.
We had a wonderful start to the new year and we hope you did as well. All the best for 2013!