Catching Up: May 2017

…and so finally, we’re at my last catch-up post from the Spring 2017: Mary’s Month of May.

St Nicolaus Finnish-Orthodox Church

For Mary’s Month of May, it might be suitable to start with the little day of church-crawling I did with my friend the Revd Dr. The photo above is from the Finnish Orthodox Church in Stockholm (interestingly dedicated to St Nicolaus, which happens to be the same dedication as the Stockholm (Lutheran) Cathedral as well!) to see an exhibition of works by the Finnish artist Ina Colliander (sadly no biography available in English). We (the Revd Dr and I) try to visit each other at least twice a year, as she lives in Västerås, a lovely cathedral city little more than an hour away from Stockholm. I’ve known her since college, so it’s always nice to catch up!

I also had the first taste of something that’s been a rare treat to me this spring: a weekend that’s completely empty in my calendar. I do like doing things, but a weekend just pottering around was just what the doctor ordered, especially as I came down with the manflu as soon as the Revd Dr left Stockholm. I rarely get the flu, and it’s even rarer for me to get a proper manflu, but this time I was small and needy….

One cannot, of course, write a summary of May without mentioning the atrocities in Manchester, where so many people were killed, but somehow this feels even more barbaric as so many of the victims were children.

O blessed Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Walsingham, Intercede for us. Amen.

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Catching Up: April 2017

My penultimate catch-up post – ladies and gentlemen……*drum roll*….Petter’s April:

View from Montelius Väg

This month began with a first – my friend James came all the way from Hertfordshire to visit my humble abode. We did a lot of walking (the picture above is from one of our walking tours, and shows Riddarholmen/The Old Town), a fair few tourist attractions and two of the local gay nightclubs. We have been discussing him coming to visit for ages, so it was good fun to finally be able to show him my home town. I think his final judgement was that it’s a nice city but too expensive. Think I can agree with that….

Shortly after that came the atrocities of the terror attack in central Stockholm. While we have had one incident a few years ago, something like this with several fatalities makes it feel so much closer. I was lucky, none of my friends were hurt, and I made it home from work only marginally later than normally (I live on the NW side of town and work on the SE side of town), but the Collect for Aid against all Perils felt very poignant that night.

Speaking of Collects, I spent Easter in London, and it was very nice to be back in my two home parishes again and be able to receive Holy Communion. I went to St Mary’s Bourne Street for the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday, and while Good Friday isn’t supposed to be a joyous occasion, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the Passion well sung, as well as meeting old friends and colleagues again. Easter Day was celebrated at St Barnabas, Pimlico, followed by a tipple with one of their two Wardens, whom I try to hang out with every time I go to London.

A lot of shopping and socialising was also done, including bookshops, shops for antique prints and Spitalfields Market. All in all, a lovely trip, and I surprised myself by finding a reasonably priced hotel 5 mins from Trafalgar Square that was quite nice/posh…

Even more travelling – I went to Oxford over the Walpurgis weekend. A lovely city, and I thoroughly enjoyed browsing some shops and attending a lot of Anglo-Catholic Churches. I did, however, realise that you might travel too much if you’ve found a favourite restaurant in an airport you don’t even live near…

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Catching up: March 2017

By now you know that I’m trying to catch up on posts for the 5 first months of 2017, so, without any further ado, here’s my March:

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A rather mixed month. March 2017 was the month of the Westminster terror attacks in London, as well as the kerfuffle around the appointment of the Rt Revd Philip North CMP as Diocesan Bishop of Sheffield, when he was made to withdraw his acceptance of the See after (what at least many call) bullying from some of the more liberal elements in our Church. +Philip was, and remains, suffragan Bishop of Burnley in the Diocese of Blackburn, and sits on the Council of Bishop of The Society.  His withdrawal from the See of Sheffield was lamented by many, including a fair few of the Church of England’s female bishops. All in all, an event that must have been very hurtful for +Philip and made a few of us traditional Catholics in the Church of England rather uneasy, to say the least…

HOWEVER – it was by no means a month that was solely doom and gloom – I had a lot of fun too! Lots of eating out this month as well, including a re-visit to Wijnjas with another friend, and this time we (well, he) ended up on their company social media. I also flew up to the cold North to help the folks install their new broadband – which all went surprisingly well. It was also good to manage to be there for grandmama’s birthday (the picture of the month is of my old playhouse, which mum and dad use as a storage room these days)!

As most months, I spent some time with my friend Monika, and we did go to see the Tom of Finland movie – well worth seeing (especially if you are interested in LGBT history as I am), but terribly depressing and dark. I also had to wave goodbye to my friend D, and we managed to make steak on soapstones on one of his final evenings in Husby.

All in all – a rather good month, despite some extremely sad events.

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Catching Up: February 2017

I’m trying to catch up on the back log that comes from not having posted anything for the first 5 months of 2017. We’re now at February 2017, and I promise there’s a perfectly natural explanation for me posting a photo of bare-bottomed boys.

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February was a rather cultural month. My friend D and I managed a few trips:

  • to Stockholm’s outdoor museum Skansen, even though we skipped the Aquarium this time – I didn’t feel like spiders and reptiles… We did, however, discover a pigpen you could enter and cuddle with some piglets, and I think it’s the happiest I’ve seen D in quite a while….
  • We also went to Fotografiska – the Stockholm museum of Photography (the entrance fee was actually my birthday present to him), where we saw a lot of interesting exhibitions, including the Ren Hang exhibition from which the photo of the month was taken. He was an incredibly skilled photographer, and sadly he chose to end his life just a few days before our visit to the exhibition in Stockholm.

Other interesting things during the months was a course on taxation news me and a few colleagues went on, and lots of good food – including my favourite raclette place here in Stockholm – Wijnjas. (Sadly their web site is in Swedish only). Apart from the above, it was another month of being a full-time desk jockey.

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Catching Up: January 2017

As you might have noticed, I haven’t posted anything at all this year, and as it’s Bank Holiday in Sweden tomorrow (6th June is the Swedish Constitution Day/National Day), I thought I should make use of my spare time to catch up on my blogging, I’ll try to manage one post a day about each of the five months that have already gone by of 2017.

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Let’s begin with January. From Epiphany until late March I had my good friend David on (an rather overdue) visit. We’ve known each other for ages, so it was a very welcome visit. Even for a recluse like myself, having (certain!) friends over for a longer period of time can be quite nice. We did loads of things – most of them involving cooking and exploring Stockholm, though not simultaneously. The picture above is from the exhibition about the Finnish artist Tove Jansson, perhaps most known for creating Moomin. As someone who grew up with Moomin on television, it was quite surprising to see how versatile she was, having done everything from oil paintings to writing a number of novels.

I also had time to catch up with other old friends, but most of my time was actually spent at work. Winter is generally a very busy time for Swedish accountants, especially those of us who are in public practice, and I’m most certainly no exception to that rule. It’s a very good thing that I like my colleagues, otherwise working so much as I’ve done this winter would be unbearable.

Speaking of work – I thought in December that I had found the opportunity to start guiding again, by registering with a web portal for booking guides. As it turns out, they need their guides to work full time as guides, something I was never made aware of during the long recruitment process, so the job I did on the first day of 2017 was also my last job of the year. A bit disappointing, but these things happen.

Two highlights of the month….hm…. I’d have to say having tapas with David at one of my favourite tapas restaurants, and the day of exploring with Monika, that we finished in style with a tipple at Grand Hotel.

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Gott Nytt År!

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While I have had a rather nice 2016, it has not been the best of years for the global society – one of my favourite comedians passed away, and we had a fair few acts of terrorism.

Those few, die hard, followers of this blog who have been around for a few years know that I have usually posted a chronological review of the year that’s just passed. This year, however, I will try and just pull out a few highlights/lowlights/memorable events, in no chronological order whatsoever.

Moving back home: Most people who know me know that I moved back to my own flat in mid-January. As the woman I sublet my flat to during my time in London is a cleaner, I took over the flat in a very good condition. I am very happy to be reunited with all my art and my very decent flat, but being back in my suburb is not as comforting. Everyday I grow more and more uncomfortable living here, especially with the gunfire that has been a regular feature for the last few months. Being a native Swede, gay and a practicing Christian is not the best starting point for living where I do….

Walsingham: one of the greatest experiences in my life to date was going to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. With the recent developments in the Church of England regarding female ordination, especially female bishops, I have struggled for over a year with discerning if the Church of England really is a place where one can practice a Catholic faith. However, being at Walsingham and praying at the Holy House was a transforming experience for me. I am still proud to be an Anglican (and very happy that I left the Church of Sweden!). Me being an Anglophile, I have already booked my 2017 pilgrimage to the Holy House!

Work: While I still remain convinced that I’m called to Holy Orders, I managed to have a signed contract before I moved back to Stockholm. I now work as a qualified accountant (though not as an auditor) at a small practice near the Globe Arena. I am very happy there, both with the colleagues and the work I do, the only downside is my long commute. This needs to be rectified, though not by leaving my employer. I am very much (as I might have indicated above) wanting to leave where I live now, so hopefully I will find somewhere closer to work.

Swedish politics: while most certainly not being one of the highlights of my year, it still has had effects on me I never wanted. At the moment Sweden is ruled by a two-party government made up of the Social Democrats and the Greens, heavily relying in parliament on the support from the former Communists. During the 2 years since they were elected they have (very much supported by an inept opposition) more or less ruined the country. I honestly do not know what I will vote for in the 2018 General Election.

Friends and Family: At the end of 2015 I very much feared that my beloved grandmama wouldn’t be with us at the end of 2016. However, I was, luckily, very wrong. She is still around, as good a chef as always, and almost feistier (if possible) than ever before. As always a great shout-out goes out to her, MotherDearest, FatherDearest and SisterDearest for being there for me 24/7. I have also had the great fortune of having wonderful friends, who have made my 2016 a very nice year indeed, with lots of good food, and lots of fermented beverages as well as honest conversations and emotional support.

Travel: Maybe not unsurprisingly, most of my travel this year went to my beloved England. I was very happy to see Mrs May elected Prime Minister this year, and hoping that she will carry on the work done by her many great predecessors at 10 Downing Street, especially my great political idol the Lady Thatcher. I also went to Tallinn with MotherDearest (a wonderful trip) and to Helsinki with my dear friend Monika.

All in all, I have had a rather good 2016, and I hope that 2017 will be even better. With Sweden’s greatest musical export – I wish you a Happy New Year!

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I’m on holiday!

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So, I’ve been on holiday for slightly more than a week now, which probably means that I should have had more time to blog….

I haven’t really done much with my holiday so far actually – spent last weekend with the family in Duved, partly due to mother’s birthday and partly to escape Stockholm over the Pride weekend. Mother and I went on some thrift shopping, which, along with the books I managed to pilfer from mum and dad’s bookshelves, led to me having to pay £20 in excess weight charges on the flight home…

Then, on Monday, I went to Helsinki together with my friend Monika. As those who know me well might know, I’m quite fond of the city and I try to visit at least twice a year and this was my first trip in 2016, so rather overdue! One of the reasons I chose to come this week was that it was the last week for the Tom of Finland exhibition in the Helsinki Art Hall. A very fascinating exhibition and a very nice venue. As always, the food on board was excellent, and all in all, we had a very nice trip! Being rather particular with how I want to do things during my travels, I am very happy to have found another friend I can travel with on the occasions I want company while jet-setting 🙂

The photos from my trip can be found on Flickr here.

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