I have been in Denmark for almost one month. It is time to leave for a weekend; it is time to go to Sweden.
Just across the Øresund is all it takes to be worlds away.
Friends from Stockholm, two summers back – a homestay we returned to twice during our summer tour through Scandinavia and northern Europe. I had some good ones during my time with the Cats, but the Lidgards were far and away one of the best. Hélène and her two daughters, Alice and Iris, made us feel so at home, with a comfortable flat in the city and a family vibe that made us miss them when we hit the road again.
How lovely then, to move back to their corner of the world.
And what I learn, when I get back in touch, is that they have an old family home in Falsterbo, on the very tip of the southernmost cape of Sweden. They spend summers here and invite me to visit.
It is everything one could want from an old Swedish summer house. Small, cozy structures around a central yard, sturdy wooden furniture, red currants and gooseberries just outside the door.
When I first arrive on Friday, I have stayed up all night to finish work before I go. Hélène and Alice meet me at the train station and whisk me into the fertile fields of Skåne to pick strawberries, by the flat.
The day is blustery blue, the light is yellow, the berries red.
Coming back to the house, we sit and talk and eat round Swedish knäckebröd smeared with butter from the pat on the kitchen table. I know that wooden spoon.
The rest of the weekend passes in a sequence of beach walks, forest walks, cooking, eating, swims in the sea, naps in the grass, a continuous flow of re-embedding and, from my part, expressions of deep satisfaction and gratitude.
On one outing, we walk from the cape edge back to town along the southern beach. The sand is white and so fine it squeaks underfoot. The banks are covered with beach mustard.
The flowers look like other brassica blooms in soft lilac. The greens have that familiar cruciferous smack, albeit slightly more bitter, more herbal and wild.
It is an unexpected yet fitting plant for the weekend.
There are beach closets all along the coast, nestled in dunes and between the trees. They are in all the colours.
One day, we take Rufus out to the end of the dock. He won’t come in with us where it’s deep.
We swim in all the shades of blue and grey. The light comes from nowhere. The water is cold then warm.