"It is like a dream", he said.
"It is almost unreal", he continued.
"It is like a fairy-tale."
As we were walking along the small country road, the dry gravel going crunch-crunch under our feet, my nine-year-old sighed in awe of the beauty around him. We were on our way to pick some Mother's Day flowers for grandma (Mother's Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of May in Sweden), and having just arrived in a gloriously warm and sunny Sweden from a bitterly cold UK, this seemed even more like Paradise than usual.
All around us, nature had just exploded in a symphony of floral festivity, and we soon realised that we would not be able to contain ourselves and pick only the traditional lilies-of-the-valley bouquet, but at least one more bunch of stems picked with little fingers and much love would come home with us that day.
"There are just sooo many trees!", my younger son exclaimed. "I haven't seen this many trees in one place for a loooong time", he said, emphasising "sooo" and "loooong" in such a manner you would think that the poor child lived in a concrete bunker and not in green and lovely Wiltshire in the UK. Not to mention the fact that we visit Sweden several times a year...
But they are right, both of them. 54 % (or as much as 75% of the land area according to Wikipedia) of Sweden is covered by forest, and where my parents live is no exception. And it is breathtakingly beautiful. It is also a particularly peaceful place, where the only music accompanying me on my walks are the sound of my own thoughts against the pleasant backdrop of multi-layered birdsong and the occasional humming of a lawn-mower in the distance.
Football fun for the boys and flower-picking in the adjoining field for mum
- now that is what I call a win-win!
And when it gets too hot to carry on with either...? Well, next to this field of wonderful wild flowers is the lake, offering to cool us all off. (In fact, if truth be told, FREEZE us all off, more like it!!!)
With spring having lasted what seemed like only a day or two in Sweden this year, before summer took over, the mix of flowers on offer was a strange one when we arrived. White anemones* and the occasional daffodil* rubbed shoulders with summer flowers of every shape and colour, all looking somewhat surprised to see each other on the same stage... (* = not pictured here)
And within the week we were there, the apple blossom came and went...
Yes, you may have wondered about my -unplanned- long blog break, but having spent most waking hours outdoors for the past couple of weeks, my laptop has had to cope without me, and it has done me a world of good!
Our home in Hungarian magazin Otthon...
A few days ago, one of my kind Hungarian blog readers sent me an email to tell me she had seen a feature of our home in Otthon Magazin (6/2013), a Hungarian interior magazine. In 2011, photographer Brent Darby and journalist Hazel Dolan did a feature of our home, which was published in the UK magazine Country Homes & Interiors in April 2012.
Through an agency, this feature has subsequently been sold to German magazine Landhaus and now Hungarian magazine Otthon. I have got nothing to do with this and do not know anything about this when it happens. I have in both cases found out from kind blog readers who have recognized the Swenglish house, and I am very grateful to them for letting me know.
I have not yet read the feature in Otthon, but having seen the layout drawing they have made of what they claim to be our house, I have realised that it is not only in gossip magazines that a certain measure of -shall we say- "artistic freedom" is used when it comes to portraying the truth. The layout they have made up does not in any way represent reality! OK, so it is perhaps not such a big deal that they have fabricated every square inch of the layout of our home, but it really surprised me and again made me realise that not everything that is printed is true. I will soon find out if the text carries the same "creativity"...
Last but not least, a small apology to those of you leaving comments here on my blog. Having recently had a dramatic increase in spam comments (around 250 only on my last post!), with various links to unsavoury websites, I have had to install the word verification to try to filter these unwanted spam comments as much as possible. I would rather not have this time-consuming filter there, but I am not sure what else to do. Thank you for your understanding.
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!