Friday 18 August 2017


The white night of Summer. 

We are in mid-August now and can already begin to sense Autumn's first inklings. But the white nights will still be with us for a week or so. This can be seen in the above picture, taken at 8.30 pm day before yesterday.

Even if serene calm seems to reign over Hammarby Sound and Canal, there is a snake in Paradise. You may recall my lament from 4 May last year about a terrible noise at 5 am. A small boat had chosen that early hour to empty its septic tank. Since it used a lorry as receptacle, I let it go, since the action was not illegal, after all. But judge of my surprise, when the same boat woke me up again, at 5.45 am, two weeks ago. This time it was worse, since the owner did not bother with commanding a lorry to take care of the waste.

To the owner of this boat: if you read this blog, beware! Any repetition of this evil deed will be reported to the authorities forthwith, well documented by a sequence of pictures as solid proof. So there!

Misdeed on Hammarby Canal

But we won't let this sad occurrence trouble our mellow Summer mood. Whenever ripples of discontent threaten to affect my feelings of content, I am drawn back to my early days in Sweden, when vigorous youth met ebullient Gründerzeit. Usually, I let my thoughts dwell on many a Saturday evening, back in August 1962, when I sneaked through a hole in the fence of Hässelby Strandbad, to join Swedish youth in dancing and frolicking till midnight. No waltzes, polkas or marches were being played there by the band. Rather, big band music in syncopated rythm. One song in particular tickled my fancy, and from it, I learned my first Swedish words.

På västerbron i den himmelska ron
en spårvagn går ensam och tom ...

This was a brand new song and was played throughout Stockholm, in dancing halls and radio. The singer's voice was smooth as velvet and her song was so elegant and elf-like that it went straight to my heart. Her name was Monika Zetterlund and, ever since, she remains for me the quintessence of a Swedish singer. But music tells more than a thousand words, so why not have a go at the video below (please click on the word "VIDEO":