Monday, August 28, 2006

Long before Skype was invented: another Swedish adventure

“Now why” will you ask “this story if it isn’t Skype related?”
To be honest, it was Skype who triggered my memories of my time in Sweden. Actually, it was one of my Moderator colleagues….

He logged on one day with the message: “Sorry had a power failure here, just came back online” We started a discussion about power failure and I told him I had a cottage in
Värmland - Sweden without any form of electricity for over a year. How I survived and above all, how much I loved it, feeling safe with my two big dogs the Kuvaszok Älg and Invandra.
He mentioned that wouldn’t be safe in the US anymore, you would need a gun to protect yourself.
Not in Sweden and certainly not at that time, I told him. Although…… someone pointed a gun at me and my friend once…

This was in 1998. I lived in the cottage with my two dogs, from June till November.
My friend Loes from Holland (we met during a Swedish course and had the same weird sense of humour in common) was coming to stay with me for a week. A stay I so much looked forward to. And it was fun, a true adventure, every day of that week. Maybe I will tell you a bit more another time but now I will explain why someone pointed a gun at us.

I love viewing houses, especially old, abandoned houses, preferable in the middle of nowhere. It happened often I came across Swedish cottages (stugor) where nobody lived for years and years but with still the furniture in it.
A week or so before Loes arrived; I stumbled upon a cottage like that, exploring a huge, empty barn.
Loes was of course interested and day two of her stay we went off in my old white Volvo 245 with the dogs in the back.

When we arrived at the cottage, we parked the car on the driveway, a long gravel path. I left the back of the car open, the dogs safely behind a rack. The car and of course the dogs, could be well spotted by anyone who passed by.
We wandered around in this little cottage, surprised that you could actually move right in. OK, it needed a bit of cleaning and dusting, but all to survive was there.

We weren’t sneaky; we didn’t hide and we chatted away. But all of a sudden the door went open, it banged against the wall and there was this tall Swede….. with a gun in his hand!!
We looked at him, he looked back, a bit shaky. We looked at his hands, his gun, his face and began to laugh. We laughed until tears were running down our cheeks. It took quite a while before Loes and I could speak a word.
I don’t have to explain it made the gunman very, very nervous. He didn’t look like someone intending to kill us.
We introduced ourselves, gave him our names and mobile numbers, explained why we were there and apologised for being in the house.

He accepted this and put his gun down. It didn’t take long before we had an animated conversation. He told us that a few weeks before, two men in a white car with foreign number plates (though my Volvo had a Swedish registration), burgled the house and had stolen medication and guns. (No excuse for burgling but why on earth was it left there in the first place???)
He now thought that they returned for more belongings of the previous owner, indeed armed.
He was also honest about how nervous he was to enter the house.
Being a hunter, he never pointed his gun at human beings, let alone two Dutch ladies!

We had a nice chat and left with a smile and a handshake…. End good all good.

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