Museum Day, but that’s not the half of it

Every year all the little country museums (and there are quite a few) hold open houses on the same day, usually the first Sunday in August. I’m not sure if it is the entire country or just this region but they draw a lot of visitors and it helps keep traditional Swedish culture alive.

Years ago, Mariette’s paternal grandfather started collecting artifacts from 19th and early 20th Century Swedish home and farm life. As a builder he often renovated or built new homes for people and began saving the “junk” other people no longer wanted. It became a passion and he collected literally tons of stuff. An antique dealer from the U.S. would go nuts if let loose in the museum he established.

Mariette’s paternal grandmother had the idea to create a foundation to run the museum, not only to make the artifacts available for people to appreciate but also to keep the family together, since all five of their children are the museum trustees today.

We have been to a few of these now and today was especially wonderful for a number of reasons. The least of these was the (again) perfect summer weather. It is 3 months and counting of spectacular weather throughout much of the country but especially here on the west coast. The bigger reason was getting together with many members of Mariette’s family who are truly a special bunch. Anyway, photo time.

ImageImageThat’s the museum. It was once where Mariette’s grandparents lived before they build another house on the property and turned this place into the museum.

But before Swedes do anything, they chow down, especially when the family gets together.

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The star of the proceedings was the newest member of the family, 4 week old Lucas Braggins. The parents toyed with giving him the middle name Bilbo but wisely decided better.

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Here is new Mom Helena and her cousin Elin holding Lucas.

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Now that I look at Lucas a little closer, he does have a potential hobbit ear going there. But what do I know. He will probably grow out of it and just become a normal happy Swede. His mom is one of the sweetest people I have ever known and his dad is a New Zealand transplant, newly emigrated here and also a fabulous guy. This is one lucky kid.

Here is Daddy Craig and me chatting it up.

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Anyway, after a great meal it is time to throw open the museum doors. Not so fast. What about desert?

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This is a roll cake filled with currant jam or something and topped with whipped cream and wineberries (aka currants). I couldn’t believe how good my first helping  was so I had to verify it several more times. So did Craig.

Okay, now we can go inside.

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I have posted photos of the place before so today I took some different shots. Also, the family put out other items that I had not seen before. They probably have enough stuff to fill out a space two or three times the size of the current space.

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Animal traps.

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The museum has around 800 oil prints which were very popular in the 19th Century and they have been loaning them out to museums in Gothenburg and Malmö.

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This one of the polar bear preparing lunch for her cubs is one of my favorites.

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This figure is of Mariette’s great grandfather done by the sculptor who did the other figures you have seen.

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These are some really old phonograph players and radios. Mariette’s Uncle Ejve used to own an electronics repair business until he bought a forest and became a lumberjack.

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When he is not chopping wood he plays some fine Swedish folk music on the fiddle. And did I mention that he can eat more than anyone I have ever known? He is the Swedish Kobiyashi (of hot dog eating contest fame). He and his wife Gunilla have entertained us on Midsommar celebrations with their traditional costumes, folk dancing and music. They recently went to Germany with their choir and performed there. Evje must 70 and Gunilla just retired, but for many Swedes retirement simply means getting more active in life.

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One of the visitors drove up in this sweet old Volvo.

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Cousin Elin work for H&M in Gothenburg and likes her ink.

Image It must have been two hours since we ate, so that means it is time for fika, i.e., coffee and cakes.

The open house wound down around 5:00 and we headed back to Halmstad (about 25 miles to the south). To top off the day we went for Italian ice cream at Riccardo’s which is right next to a nature preserve in the middle of nowhere. People come from all over for some really, really good ice cream, us included.

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And finally, for no other reason than it happened one evening when I was out walking the dogs on the golf course, a mama moose and her mooslings getting a drink from the water hazard on #3.

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And finally, finally, a shot from a recent trip with Mariette’s dad to the Mjellby art museum, also in the middle of nowhere (but which gets some really fine shows because the founder of the museum is very well connected).

Image  If you are getting the idea that it has been a really good summer, you’d be right. (The water temperature a couple days ago was 77 F. but that’s another story.)

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Cloud formations over Halmstad

Walking the dogs this morning I noticed some interesting “cloud” formations.

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There is no way these can be vapor trails because I see these often and they dissipate

within 2 or 3 minutes.  But these “clouds” tend to hang around and then spread out wide over an area.

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This next one is possibly the most interesting cloud I have ever seen in my life:

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Look at the angle on that thing. It looks like a knife edge.

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Hours later they were still hanging around. If these are vapor trails there must be absolutely zero wind at 30,000 feet today.

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Not sure what those puffy things are but I think that’s what used to be known as clouds. The other things I don’t think were seen before around 1997 or so. Not in all recorded history, even though jets had existed for 50 years before.

Maybe these chemtrails conspiracy nutjobs are onto something.

Wrapping Up In Style

Today was the last day of my exhibition at Peter Wahlbeck’s gallery here in town. Up until now I had sold one painting, which is not what I had hoped for but over the course the these past weeks I have met several other artists and gotten more knowledgeable about the art scene here. This afternoon when I came into the gallery Peter pointed out another red dot on the wall, another painting had been sold. And there is a good possibility that another one will be bought by the same person. Things were looking up already. Here is the red dot to prove it.

ImageAnd the full painting itself. This was probably my favorite of all the ones I did.

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A short time later a man came in and started looking around. We began talking and then he told me that he wanted to buy another painting, and he did! More good news.

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And the full painting:

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Here is the buyer with Peter in front of his purchase:

ImageAs we talked more about our lives, the man found out that I am a ghostwriter and later on he approached me about writing a story of his life, which seems to have been very interesting and so it looks like I will have another book to do soon, which is perfect timing since Mariette and I are doing the proofread of the last book I wrote and I would soon need more work. 

Opportunities seem to be coming my way. Our landlord approached me recently to do paintings for the showroom of his business, a granite company specializing in monuments for gravesites as well as granite counter tops. He has a nice big space that is just begging for some nice large abstract paintings to dress up its bare walls.

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To top it off, the weather has been, in the words of a neighbor, “This is why we live in Sweden.” The entire month of May nearly the whole country was sunny and warm with only occasional rain showers to keep things growing. In other words, it has been perfect here and June started off just as good. 

I have to say that connecting up with Pete Wahlbeck has been a good move on my part. Last week Peter did a City Walk around town where he takes a group around and talks about various points of interest and gets the crowd laughing while learning about Halmstad. 

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ImageAfter the walk he showed me an add that ran in one of the papers for the exhibition:

ImageThen we went over to the biggest dairy in the area where there was a kind of garden fair happening. It turns out that Peter is involved in a company that has a novel way of sinking fence posts without digging holes and pouring cement. Anyway, here are some shots of the fair. I should have taken more photos. Sorry.

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Here is  the old manor of the nobleman who owned the land around as far as one can see. Today it is a restaurant and administrative offices of the dairy, I think.

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And this is Swedish advertising for smoked wild boar meat.

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Overall, it has been a memorable month with a visit to the U.S., Prada’s stellar showing at her exhibition and a successful exhibition with 3 sales and two more likely to happen after the show closes, not to mention half a dozen new contacts in the art community of Halmstad. Oh, and perfect weather.

Damn, I like living here.