railroad tracks in city

When Swedish Rail Loses Track Of Its Infrastructure

Where have the tracks gone?Yesterday morning, as I arrived on the platform of the local train station, Täby Centrum, where I grab a train Stockholm-bound, I was surprised to see that the railway tracks had disappeared (in part) overnight. I had been told that this was an unsafe neighborhood. Little did I know they meant the target of theft was the railroad. Honestly, what is anyone going to do with that amount of steel? They are bound to be tracked down…

city man people woman

SFI In Täby – First Lesson Of Swedish

Truth be told, my first encounter with the Swedish language was possibly when faced with a new keyboard layout. If it is similar in most aspects to the English one, it does have a few intruders, namely ä, å, and ö. I couldn’t help but stare at this part of the keyboard where the 3 keys lived, cozily nestled between the letter L, and the key where the backslash would normally reside on a US keyboard, just to the left of the return key. WONDERS OF A NORDIC ALPHABET: FROM A TO Ö My second – equally surprising – encounter was with the Swedish alphabet. In my twenty-odd years of written and spoken life (thus discounting the mute diaper years), […]

yellow bokeh photo

Ipswich, Indian Takeway, Newborns, And A Dose Of French Rugby

There is a man next to me in the bus. His accent as he spoke to the bus driver betrayed his Eastern European origins. However he reminds me of that actor in the movie In Bruges. That big burly Irishman who is fond of art, flemish culture, and the big tower where he dies to the sound of Raglan Road. Brendan Gleeson, that’s him. I’ve got Gleeson with me in the bus except he sounds Polish. VALENTINE’S SENT ME BACK TO IPSWICH This weekend was a flash back in time, a journey to good old days, a taste of l’avant. This weekend I flew back to Ipswich. Unlike most people who travelled through Stansted at the weekend, I was not jetting […]

Irish bar, draft beer dispensing

Getting The Swedish Personnummer And A Round Of Irish Beers

With my hair freshly conditioned, I was ready to take on the latter part of the week with the resolute decision to blend into the local culture. With this objective set firmly in my mind, I decided to head to the Central Tax Office to register myself and get a ‘personnummer‘, not unlike the NI number over in the UK but in a friendlier format since it is composed of 12 numbers of which the first 8 represent your date of birth e.g. 19730321 for someone born on March 21st, 1973. And so, as 4 p.m. came on Thursday, I headed to Kista T-Bana, the local underground station (although it is set some 15m above street level) and hopped on […]

two brown houses covered with snow

First Impressions Of Snowy Sweden – Part I: Travel Cards, Shopping, And Shampoo

It has now been a week since I relocated East and North of my former homestead, Sleepy Suffolk, to the unforgiving, snow-capped lands of Sweden where temperatures give a fresh and crisp new meaning to Jack Frost’s doings. The last few days have been times of new discoveries, astonishments, surprises, and early mornings one could do without. Here are a few recollections of the past week. SUNDAY JANUARY 17TH – SNOW, AMERICAN HOMES, AND CANDLES I don’t frankly know what I expected but I was surprised to see the entire countryside was covered in snow as Ryanair’s flight FR052 initiated its descent on Skavsta. Naïvely, I thought that if snow had melted in Ipswich, it would have also given way in […]