Thursday, 6 June 2013

Precious pickings...

"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!


  1. your photos are really lovely! 're so good!
    kiss Pam

  2. How beautiful Sweden is at this time of year. So glad you and your family are having a wonderful time there.

  3. I enjoyed seeing your pictures of Sweden and hearing about your travels. How strange, upon your return, to find your home in a magazine and to discover it misrepresented. All the more reason for me to come to "the source" and enjoy it here.


  4. Beautiful flowers and pictures. I have had a spam problem too. The filters work great.
    xo, Lissy

  5. Such beautiful photos, Helena. I hope I will be able to visit Sweden one day. I have a friend who visited with her husband, who was there on business, and she said it's very expensive. I have a long list of places I'd like to go ... who knows, maybe one day!

  6. Beautiful photos, Helena. I too would like to see Sweden. Mr VTT and I had a very brief visit to Malmo once (he was interviewing someone about IKEA houses - they never seemed to take off here in the end!), but that's all. Abby x

  7. Vilka underbara maj-bilder! Ja, vilken blomning vi har haft här - allt liksom exploderade på en gång, när värmen väl kom.
    Vilken härlig Mors Dag ni hade!
    Grattis till reportaget! Kul att dina läsare informerar dej också.

    Jag har också haft mängder av spam - en del i spamboxen, men även en del i vanliga boxen...! Helt otroligt!

    Varmt TACK för din rara kommentar och grattishälsningen hos mej!
    Önskar dej en njutningsfull tid!

  8. It feels like you haven't published a post in soooo looong Helena. I loved the poor child comment, it did tickle me! Well I think I could do with throwing down my laptop and walking in the wondrous wilds of the magical forests or to float upon those faintly, rippling Swedish waters in a beautiful blue canoe. Bliss!

  9. Poetic and relaxing photos.
    Congratulations ... your home has arrived in Hungary. It deserves
    Enjoy a nice weekend

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Wonderful message again Helena! Feels like heaven out there in Sweden. Summer has finally arrived here in Belgium too, though the seaside (where I live) is still much cooler than the interior. But sun and warmth do a lot of good after such a long, freezing winter.
    Enjoy your summer!

  12. Dear Helena,
    beautiful pictures! We thought about going to Sweden this summer, but then we decided it would last too long if we would go by car - a 14hours-drive is not what we like. So we decided to go to Wiltshire again ;-) and maybe spentd also a little bit of our time in Wales. We´ll see...
    Hugs, Claudia

  13. Vad kan slå en bukett liljekonvaljer, fantastiska bilder, ha en skön sommar /Marika

  14. Hej Helena!

    Vilka underbara bilder och inlägg. Inser att jag inte hälsat på hos dig under hela maj månad! Vilken "skandal" va?? ;)) Så inte behöver du ursäkta din bloggfrånvaro för mig! I takt med det fina vädret och diverse trädgårdsprojekt har datortiden minskat avsevärt här också. Kan väl inte påstå att lust och inspiration infunnit sig heller, så det har varit ganska skönt att ha time-out från tekniken och "rensa huvudet" från alla intryck.

    Aah sommar! Härligt! Idag må det vara regnigt men, ingenting slår en riktig svensk varm blomstrande sommar i mina ögon. Du beskriver den så fint och bilderna talar ju för sig själv! Jag kan inte förstå att vi är mitt i juni redan.. var är bromsen? Vilken rolig kommentar från din son, fniss. Intressant hur vi upplever och vänjer oss vid vår omgivning. En vän fällde en kommentar till mig förra sommaren när vi var på roadtrip. Hon tyckte det var såååååååå skönt att se öppna landskap igen - och inte bara den där "fördömda granskogen" utmed de småländska vägarna där hon bor, haha! Det fick mig att tänka till och öppna ögonen, sånt som inte riktigt slår en när man bor mitt emellan rapsfälten liksom ;)

    Men du vad skumt med de utländska tidningarna! Kan de göra så? Undrar hur den ungerska "Otthon" tänkte där.. När man lånar ut sitt hem för reportage så innehar man inga rättigheter då..? Vore det inte hyggligt av tidningen/fotografen att meddela när de säljer bilder vidare i alla fall kan man tycka. Tanken har slagit mig tidigare när jag sett hem som dyker upp i flera tidningar eller ibland bara en enstaka bild. På något sätt vill man ju ändå ha lite koll på läget.

    På tal om koll på läget så har ordverifieringen åkt på hos mig med sen en tid tillbaka. Inte kul, men hellre det än alla spam som ligger i inboxen och på bloggen hela tiden. Det är många som råkat ut för det på sistone, så du behöver inte känna dig ensam! Sen jag ändrade till ordverifiering har jag inte fått ett enda spam på bloggen - skönt!

    Fatta mig kort har aldrig varit min grej, fniss, men nu ska jag avrunda! Ha en finfin dag kära bloggvän och på återseende igen när lusten faller på ;))

    Stor kram till dig!

  15. Sitter här och scrollar upp och ned i din blogg och bara njuter - har varit litet hektiskt på sistone, men nu börjar den 8 veckor!!! långa semestern (Anders har redan haft 1 v, 7 kvar).

    Skumt det där med ungerska magasinet - jag vet inte riktigt hur tidningar få bete sig, men det borde väl inte riktigt kännas ok för dem själva "Vi har ingen egen fantasi så vi snor för det vilda och gör om det till vårat"???

    Om du/ni har vägarna förbi i sommar....


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Dearest reader, I am sorry you have to go through the extra trouble of word verification to leave a comment here. After having received around 250 spam comments for each post recently, I have unfortunately had to add this filter.

Thank you so much for your comments!