Tongue Tied

​Apart from having an absolute rubbish memory, one of the hardest things for me learning Swedish is that unlike French, the spoken Swedish language often sounds nothing like the written word suggests.

For example the Swedish for goodbye is written as ‘hejdå‘.

 When read with the English grammar and letter sounds that I have used all of my life, this suggests the word is pronounced ‘hedge dah’, but it actually sounds more like ‘hey door”.

Another is ‘hur mär du?

This is ‘how are you?’

Sure, you’d think ‘how are you’ = ‘her mar do’… but no, it’s more like ‘hur more ah’. 

Ett mä... to feel.

Looks like ‘et mah’ but is pronounced more like ‘or more’.

Lots of rolled ‘r’ sounds too.

I’m making some progress…

Finding Traction

Things have been moving slowly over the past year. Various obstacles cropped up or just increased in scale, causing delays and grief. 

A little progress was made as Frank the Tank, the classic Series 3 Land Rover got his engine back in and lives again. This is a good thing as Frank will be driven by Chris as the cat transporter.

 Meanwhile I’ll be in Rosie, an old Nissan Navara, with the back kitted out for the dogs. The ferries won’t allow dogs and cats in the same car, so both trucks are now arks. 

More developments come in the form of council planning permission. Yes, due to the weird rules where we live we can’t have a cargo container or lorry parked in the back garden. This means we have had to rethink the transportation needed to move our belongings. We really wanted a cargo container in the back garden so we could pack it up and then decorate the house as and when rooms were emptied. As it is, we now need a storage depot to put our stuff in to allow the house decorating to be done, which has narrowed down our shipping options to either a shipping company with a big removals truck, or a shipping company that can take a cargo container.

Ideally a cargo container will be used because it can then be unloaded at our new home in our own time. A removal truck would give limited time to sort ourselves out. The container could then become a shed or workshop etc.

Costings are underway but might have some tweaks due to the impending and ever increasing likelihood of Britain leaving the EU. A crazy idea, but not one I’m about to go into in this blog. 

The Brexit vote does mean things could mess up badly for the move, although we can still put certain plans in action whilst waiting until October for parliaments final decision. Maybe they’d even have formulated a plan by then…

Sit quietly, and I’ll begin.

I sit quietly in the late evening light amidst bracken and undergrowth, awaiting tomorrow’s dinner to come out to feast on some lush green grass; I stare up and watch a majestic barn owl sweeping stealthily over the hedgerows with the same idea as me.

A shrew is sat next to me, oblivious of my presence. I heard it scurry through the dried grass behind me, then up beside me. I didn’t move. I hardly breath. It carries on its way without a blink.

11822635_10155970825070374_9133926041935036108_nA pair of roe deer cautiously move through the longer grass one hundred metres ahead of me. They are the second pair to join my line of sight.

Rustling from my right. I bring my eyes around slowly, hoping that tomorrow’s dinner is finally coming out to eat. It’s noisy, clumsy even, not at all like I’m expecting from my reluctant dinner guest to be. A badger struts out into the field a couple of metres to my right, then carries on across the field.

Other than the inquisitive grey squirrel, and the mink that curved and slew from one hedgerow to another, I’m starting to wonder if tomorrow’s dinner is even going to show.

It’s getting darker. The Buzzards and Kites aren’t around at this hour, so it can’t be them that are causing a lack of bravery in my future stew.

Sat to my right, and slightly behind me is Ali. He’s 9 now and bright as a button when it comes to what we are here to do… or not do, as things are seemingly playing out.

11822436_10155995436775374_4542131996419759813_nThe night swallows the dusk and we call the stalk off. There’s no sense of disappointment as we are happy enough to have witnessed a peaceful, yet nocturnally busy section of our beautiful countryside and some of its inhabitants.

I eat meat and eggs and I have animal produce based products throughout my wardrobe, my house, my car, my workplace… much like most of the people I know – even the vegetarians. I know a majority of animal produce comes from factory farmed animals – and this doesn’t make me particularly thrilled. Factory farming is cruel, sickening and… well, you don’t care because you don’t see it. Like most people I still buy the stuff because there’s not much of an alternative.

Meat generally comes in tins, in frozen bags, or on polystyrene trays covered in clear film, so you don’t get the guilt of the process it took to get to that stage. In fact all animal produce, be it food, clothing, perfume, drink, paint, glue, string, car interiors, key fobs, wallets etc is pretty far detached from the source. You don’t get the guilt; you are far, far removed.

I’m not about to go and live in a yurt and survive on air, and I’m not about to go vegan, and I’m not about to say how all you supermarket shoppers are bloody murderers (because I’m still one of those murderers… albeit begrudgingly) but in my own small way I want to distance myself from the factory farming that goes on. One simple way to do this is to go and hunt meat from a renewable source: I can then ensure a quick and clean despatch whilst at the same time getting a 100% free range, healthy, clean living animal on my plate. It does go against my love of animals, although it’s an immense leap away from the harrowing supermarket meat hell.

In Northern Arctic Sweden we plan to be as self-sufficient as we can be. Grow our own fruit and veg, raise rabbits and chickens and go hunting for food and trade with the locals. Firstly though I need to get some hunting skills under my belt, as the last thing I’d want to do is to turn up with all the gear and no idea.

563631_10152372152000374_412049778_nI am a target rifle shooter (much like the Olympic prone shooters), and I am in the higher percentage when it comes to accuracy and precision. In simple terms, at 100 metres I could pierce a male teenage rabbit’s ear so when it gets home its father will give it a huge lecture on ‘So this is how you want to live your life eh? Earrings now is it? Hmm? You’ve not been the same since you started hanging around with the rabbits from the warren down the street! They’re a bad influence on you my lad!’… I digress…

5 shots at 50 metres

I am a good shot. I decided to put this to good use and go out to feed my family. I knew I could shoot a rabbit without it knowing a thing about it. The last thought would be full of blue skies, green fields, fresh air and then nothing at all. My third greatest concern was how I’d feel actually doing it.

As it turns out I did feel remorse, but not regret. It was a clean shot as expected (a rabbit is easy compared to the competition target size I am used to) and I felt good knowing that it didn’t know a thing. It didn’t even flinch at the muted crack of my suppressed rifle. Heck, if I had the choice it’s they way I’d want to go; a free spirit blissfully unaware of everything apart from the sun on my back and my lungs full of fresh air and freedom, and then nothing. Sure beats crapping yourself in an old persons rest home whilst eating jello and watching ‘Songs of Praise‘ on a Sunday afternoon.

This rabbit was not shot for nothing. As I stroked his fur smooth and placed him in my game bag, I actually thanked him for the meal that I’d gratefully have. Seriously. If you don’t respect it, don’t do it.

wpid-wp-1438332881496.jpegNext up was my second greatest concern: Alex.

How would he feel about this? We’d already talked about factory farms and he really dislikes them. He is a big-hearted lad and loves all animals, so hunting them didn’t sit well with him – or rather it caused confusion. He knew on one hand it was far better to hunt and kill a wild rabbit, knowing it was a clean quick kill of a free and happy living animal, but on the other hand it was still killing a fluffy bunny. He was okay, with reservations, so I didn’t push for him to come out hunting with me. He’d have to get used to it due to our future plans, but I wasn’t about to rush him.

After my first hunt I arrived home with the rabbit in a bag so Ali wouldn’t have to see it. I walked into the front room of our house to go through to the kitchen and he asks quietly; ‘Is that a rabbit?’ I told him that it was and offered him a look into the bag. He gingerly looked in from the top of the bag, but really couldn’t get the whole picture. I asked if he’d like to see it on the table outside, to which he nodded quietly.

Once the rabbit was on the table Alex became curious and asked to stroke it. It had lovely smooth fur from its healthy diet, and as the shot had been clean there was very little blood or tissue damage.

It looks so cute...’ he started.

I figured this was it. He still gets upset about one of our cats that had to be put down many years back.Any second now the tears…

…and it feels so soft… and… is that where the bullet went in? Where did it come out?… It must have been quick! He doesn’t even look surprised!‘…

With that, Alex was satisfied that I had done my job correctly. Precise, accurate and painless. He didn’t feel so bad as it was all for a good reason.

I asked if he’d like to see me skin and gut it. This was my biggest fear; not for Alex but for me. I had to gut and skin Mr.Rabbit for the pot. I didn’t even do biology at school because, well… ew. I mean really… ew, ew and ew. Bloik…

Maybe with Ali beside me I’d be forced to man up and….

EEP!!! No thank you!!!‘ squeaked Ali as he scampered off…


Turns out it wasn’t so bad. I appear to have grown up and grown a pair.I had purchased an insanely surgically sharp Morakniv bush knife and the whole incident went smoothly. I say smoothly, but what I really mean is it was a mess of a job, but I didn’t hurl. I didn’t even feel like hurling. Had the blade been dull and had I had to hack and tear at the rabbit, then I may have felt worse for it.

Turns out Ali was more curious than nauseous. As I was butchering the rabbit Ali had come back and was looking through the bucket of internal bits and pieces; asking questions about which bit went where and noting that kidney beans must be called kidney beans because they look like kidneys. He’s very much like my dad in that way; he could look at a scene of human devastation (he was an air accident investigator) and become completely detached from the carnage, locking straight in to scientist mode. To him it wasn’t evidence of a life, but rather clues to the cause of the crash – ‘Look at this poor pilot’s neck!‘ – ‘Yes, you can see the impact must have happened with some lateral force, suggesting the aircraft fell sideways into the ground…

Whilst he was still showing interest I offered him the chance for a hunt that same evening. He’d never really shown much spark at joining me for target shooting, although I  had hoped he would one day (like I did, taking after my dad). He jumped excitedly at the chance though, and has been on nearly all of my trips out since. He makes a wonderful spotter, and he ensures I keep my end of the bargain up by auditing my shots, checking to make sure my shots are swift and with no suffering – He’s adamant that trophy hunting is bad, but hunting for an honest purpose (as long as it is painless) is okay.

Here’s the thing… Like me, he gives the rabbit a loving stroke before I put it in the game bag. He’s not in it for the kill – which is fine by me, because neither am I.

He’s not squeamish, hes incredibly safe and follows instructions to the dot (where guns are involved I am very, very strict on safety). It’s turned from me worrying if he’d be able to even look at me for shooting a rabbit for food, to the both of us having some of our greatest bonding moments ever!11825006_10155985366640374_3636391379000896382_n

Since his first hunt he’s gained some camo gear and a monocle telescope. He’s even enquired as to being able to train to shoot targets so he can one day shoot to eat. As for eating… I cooked a Rabbit Biryani with our first two rabbits and Ali enjoyed every last bite.

11694804_10155852241795374_2628158483857138131_nOne thing that people don’t appreciate about hunting is that you are fully immersed in the wildlife, the countryside, and in trying not to be seen you see some amazing and beautiful sights. For me and Ali the kill shot is by far smallest part of the day – albeit not insignificant as it is taking a life after all: We get our enjoyment out of the environment of the hunt, the smells, the noises, and the other wildlife we see during the day.

It makes us appreciate our good friend the rabbit (and what other quary may come our way), and it gives us the ownership and the responsibility to give that quary the respect it deserves.

You can’t get do that with a vacuum packed slab of supermarket flesh.

Some people are very negative about hunting for food. They see all hunters as elephant poaching lion murderers. Yeah, and all car drivers drive drunk, all vegetarians are stinking hippies, all dogs are vicious and so on…

Some say that by me explaining my hunting in blog posts I am in someway trying to justify it to myself.

Cognitive dissonance anyone?

If you do some research on factory farms and can still say that my single, painless bullet is more barbaric than one of those mass meat producing inhumane factories, then what you’re really doing is trying to justify to yourself that you’re somehow in the right, not that I’m in the wrong.

 If you don’t like it, then that’s fine with me; just don’t try to justify your views by trying to make me out to be the one at fault.




Small, slow steps.

Various life events (life, don’t talk to me about life…) have caused some delays to our move, but what things can be progressed, are being progressed.

One thing that will need sorting out is my firearms licence. I’m a competitive target shooter in the UK, and it’s one of the few things I’ll actually admit to being good at. I want to take my rifles with me so I’ll need a Swedish licence, which is apparently only available by taking a test, in Swedish. As someone who has a hard time picking languages up this could take a while. Luckily I can obtain an international licence in the UK to cover me for a while.

Meanwhile, as we want to try and live off of the land as much as possible, I have opted to take my precision target shooting skills and use them to hunt for food. To gain some experience in field craft and animal preparation before we leave, I have gained legal permission to hunt rabbits and other small game on local farm land. Additionally a good friend who is well skilled in field craft is guiding me. Shooting prey cleanly is the easy bit for me, and I am confident that my quarry will feel no pain with my cleanly placed shot. What I lack are the stalking and animal preparation skills – heck, I don’t know how to peel a rabbit!


I have mixed feelings about this as I am an animal lover. I will state now that I am against hunting purely for pleasure; if you hunt, then there must be a valid reason, such as animal husbandry, land management or for food.

I wrote this about my hunting recently:

I do not like the torturous way that the larger quantity of shop meat (also eggs, animal skin clothes, leatherwork etc) is produced via inhumane factory farms, and I’d much rather take a rabbit cleanly from the wild than support factory farming by buying slabs of plastic wrapped trays of meat from the supermarket.

11707491_10155939758975374_2851380782705091646_nAs type this in the field on my second solo outing though, I can report that I have taken my first rabbit down cleanly at 40 metres.

It was a shot of ambivalence.

I enjoyed the stalk and the hunt, right up until the bullet hit the rabbit at which point I did feel some remorse, though not regret – yet glad to have made it a clean shot and bagged myself a meal that didn’t rely on a cruel factory farm.

The rabbit had a lovely free range life in the woods and fields, and that’s all it ever knew.


The stalk through the fields was calming. There were many deer to observe through my scope (I wasn’t after deer, so they were safe), several birds of prey, various other birds, rabbits (of course) and even an adder… right at my feet!


Even as I type this I have two deer a hundred metres away, grazing.

Buying supermarket meats and animal products takes people’s responsibilities away from them. It detaches them from the countless deaths each meal or item of clothing has behind it.

By hunting to get my own food I take the burden on of the kill. I appreciate life more for doing so – but I’m not about to go and hunt lions etc for the pure fun of it – that’s only something an immoral bastard would do.

If I take a life it must have a cause, a worth and a reason. Even if it’s just one rabbit.

Shoot to Eat

I’m about to do something new.

It’ll probably upset some of you.

Some of you will see the logic and understand, and probably find yourself in a position much like the one I’m kind of in right now.

I eat meat and I wear leather. I eat eggs too. The fact is there are many things that I encounter either knowingly or unknowingly that require an animal to be killed, or kept constrained, to enable me and you to do and have certain things.

I love animals. I’ve always had pets. Fish, cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, a snake and even a rescue crow.

I couldn’t bring myself to shoot one though. Even taking the decision to have one put down at the vets is unbearably tough, but I put the animal first and do what is best for it. Having a severely ill pet that is being kept alive on medication isn’t the nicest thing for an animal; It’s no way to live.

I’ve seen people at the vets with one legged cats whose backsides are prolapsed, cataract in both eyes, dribbling blood, breathing painfully and drugged up to the hilt to stay alive because the owner ‘really loves them‘. Bullshit; if you love them, then you really need to know when to let them go.

I’ve paid to have terminally ill chicken put down before; I could’ve physically done it myself, but it was a pet and I couldn’t mentally bring myself to do it. Did we eat it afterwards? Hell no! She was a pet. Even our hens that died naturally were never eaten. They had names!

My lad with our beautiful rescued hens.

My lad with our beautiful rescued hens.

It was keeping the chickens that made me question what we as a species do to other animals that we harvest for their various meats, skins, eggs, milk, shitty coffee etc. They were all rescue hens; ex-factory farm egg layers, beyond their useful lives and heading to a shredder whilst alive. We rescued many over time, and the eggs they gave us in their retirement were the best ever! Better than any top quality, top price ‘free range’ store purchased eggs. The eggs were vibrant in colour and so full of flavour. If you’ve not raised chickens and had real free range eggs, then you wouldn’t appreciate what they are like. Our girls had full freedom in the garden. They had great food, shelter, water, healthcare and love.

Even shop brought free range eggs are a con. To be ‘free range‘ each hen must have a minimum amount of room to itself.

Factory hens are so cruelly and closely packed together that they are wedged together and upon release (to be shredded)after a ‘useful life’ of about 18 months, some can hardly walk. Some even break their legs trying because they were so tightly packed their legs never developed. Sickening.


Battery hens. A few left to run around outside makes this ‘free range’…

But free range hens are okay, yeah? Well, a few are, but others egg producers bend the rules so that they can say that their hens are free range. They wedge most of their birds together in cages, but let a handful run around outside. Because a few run around outside, on average each bird at the factory farm has a lot more space – enough to legally say they are free range hens. Yeah, free range can be just as bad as non-free range, but at least you pay more and think you’re doing the right thing.

This is who your egg came from.

This is who your egg came from.

It’s the same with sheep, cows, pigs etc. There are some very good farms out there that really look after their livestock, and despatch them humanely, but a greater number of animal produce suppliers just do enough to be able to operate legally.

A nice bit of bacon?

A nice bit of bacon?

I’m against hunting for fun. Killing something just because it is rare, or its a challenge, or just because you can, is not something I appreciate in the slightest. I’ll happily eat, wear, use animal products, but I detest those that hunt for fun.

Some people go to far with animal rights though. Some people don’t fully appreciate animal husbandry and the good it does for the animal population.

Foxes. Yes, they can do all sorts of damage, and sometimes need humane culling. Ripping them apart with dogs after baiting and chasing them on horseback is not humane.

Badgers, rabbits, rats, pigeons, crows, deer etc. They can cause all sorts of problems to livestock and agriculture. By letting their numbers get out of hand you can end up with a lot of sick animals with insufficient food sources for them to live, and the larger numbers cause detriment to the environment and other animals. By careful land and animal management the balance can be kept. Only an idiot cannot see this.

In certain countries animals are hunted and the meat & byproducts are put to use. The animals hunted are generally carefully selected from older animals that are no longer breeding, and injured, weaker animals. The stronger, breeding animals keep a herd healthy, and good genetic material us passed on, and the herd can grow.

Additionally other animals benefit from mans help. For a simplistic example; If deer numbers build up, they’ll eat too much vegetation and will be left hungry. Other animals, such as rabbits that depend on the vegetation will also become hungry and Ill, and often leave an area in search of food, never to return. The deer and rabbits that don’t leave get weak, ill and die or spread illness. Weak deer and rabbits make easy prey for wolves. Easy prey means the wolf populations increase due to an abundance of food.

If too many wolves are allowed to build up, then they’ll eat all the remaining rabbits and deer. You’re left with starving, ill wolves and no deer or rabbits and a decimated environment.

By carefully controlling the number of deer, rabbits and wolves you can actually increase each population and keep it healthy. Yes, hunting can enlarge the population and have them stronger and healthier.

Google the Yellowstone Wolves and you’ll see what an impact animal management can have. A couple of wolves reintroduced new animals and vegetation to the park, and even changed the flow of a river. Whole new species of fish, birds and forest animals came back. Plants that had died out in the area cane back – even down to lichen, insects, bacteria… All from careful animal management.

To recap: I love animals, I hate people hunting them for no good reason, and do not see it as a sport. If a cull is needed, then do it efficiently and humanely, and above a lot of this, don’t be that arsehole who is against any type of hunting if you haven’t bothered to research and understand the good that animal management can do when done correctly.

Back to my something new.

I do like my meat, milk, leather shoes, eggs etc, but I’m not thrilled at how the animals are treated.

So I’m taking up hunting on controlled land.

Hear me out.

I’m a good shot. A very good shot. Over 12 years of top division competition target shooting. I know I can take an animal out cleanly. One minute it’ll be minding it’s happy own business in the huge open fields and woodland , and that’ll be the last thing it’ll ever know. HOW CRUEL!!!!

I’m sorry, but Mrs Feathers the factory chicken had 18 months of hell before being thrown in shredder just so you could have some poor quality egg in your shop brought salad. At least the bunny I shoot will have had a life of freedom, sunshine, good food and free of suffering. Who’s worse? The people buying factory meat from a store, or me?

When we move I plan to hunt larger game in an area that uses hunting to increase the entire animal population by proper husbandry. I plan to only shoot what is sustainable, better for the future population of that animal species and other affected species, and only what I need and can use. I wish to avoid buying factory farmed meat and produce where possible.



The difficulty for me is the killing. Yes, I know my shot will be true and clean, and I know it is better than buying from a store, but I’m face to face with my fluffy dinner; I’m not distanced from it like the anti-hunt people who buy their tortured slabs of meat in polystyrene trays, covered with clingfilm.

I’ll pull the trigger. I’ll take responsibility for that life. I’ll prepare and eat the meat and I’ll appreciate it all the more for knowing that I’ve not added to the supermarket demand for factory farmed animals.

So if you ask ‘how can you shoot a poor fluffy bunny?!?‘, I’ll ask ‘how can you buy inhumane factory farmed animal produce?

You buy from this, with unsold animals being thrown in to landfill – some still alive:

This is acceptable?

Once wrapped up and put on a supermarket shelf you’ll feel much better.

If you don't see it, it makes it okay. Yeah?

If you don’t see it, it makes it okay. Yeah?

But disagree with this – Free roaming rabbit – only shooting what you need:

Terrible. Fancy shooting a rabbit that's lived in freedom and happiness.

Terrible. Fancy cleanly shooting a rabbit that’s lived in freedom and happiness.

So inhumane! You'd rather eat factory farmed, mechanically reclaimed meat...?

So inhumane! You’d rather eat factory farmed, mechanically reclaimed meat…?

It is a catch 22 for me. I love animals and nature, and even though I’ve done my research & seen it for my own eyes, hunting for their greater good still doesn’t make it seem right; Even though it’s clearly working in certain countries, and is a damned lot better than force fed, cramped, mistreated factory animal produce.

At the time of writing this I’ve still to shoot my first rabbit, but rest assured! I have a well skilled country friend who is taking me through the humane hunting and despatch skills required to go with my already precise rifle work. I’m not half arsing this – I owe my doing it right to the rabbit.


Taxing Problem

It’s been a bit quiet lately as we deal with the important and dull necessary tasks…

We’re trying to leave the UK with no outstanding bills, other than the mortgage. A couple of long term loans are being pressed into shorter terms just so we have no financial baggage.

That aside, we face the issue of dealing with our house. The two choices are to keep it and get agency to let it out, or we sell it.

Either way we get hit with taxes when taking the money across to Sweden.

It’s around 15% of what you bring in (over a certain amount). Selling the house would be a big hit. Once the mortgage is cleared by the sale, there isn’t a great deal left to take in real terms, and then getting that taxed would be painful. All the payments and for what?

Leasing through an agent still seems the way to go. We figure the monthly income would cover the agency fees, the mortgage & the maintenence. Until the lease payments pay off the mortgage we wouldn’t see much income, but once paid off, we’ll have a steady income for ourselves in our later years (the house would be a good pension). Yes, the income into Sweden would be taxed, but it’s income all the same and it’s also going to be income when Alex is older. It would give him something of a parachute in life.

If the income goes direct to Sweden, and then the agency take their cut and the mortgage lenders take their cut, we would be owing each month. If I can get things arranged properly though, I should (legally, you huge corporate arseholes) be able to pay the agency and mortgage lender before the remained is transfered to Sweden, so we don’t get taxed on money that is going straight back to the UK. We’d only get taxed on the money that’s coming in and staying in Sweden.

I don’t mind paying the taxes. It’s for everyone’s benefit, but I would loath paying tax on money that then has to go straight back to the UK to pay the bills. Yes, tax what’s coming in and staying – that’s fine by me.

More research…


Trying to set up a bank account so it is ready for us when we get to Sweden is being a pain.

Handelsbanken (the Swedish bank we want to use) require a signed letter from our current UK bank that simply states that yes, we are who we say we are and we have been customers for however many years. It’s a very simple reassurance to the Swedish bank that we can be trusted, as we are long time established customers of a UK bank.

The trouble is, our particular branch (the signature is at the branch managers discretion) hadn’t seen this type of letter before, so they said they couldn’t sign it due to bank policy. We know it isn’t bank policy as we called head office. It is purely the branch manager’s decision. He didn’t want to check it out, so made a quick ‘Nope‘ there and then. Didn’t even ask his superiors. Lloyd’s have always been good to us, so this was a kick in the teeth and a possible rethink regarding who we bank with.

We went to HSBC and yes, they can do international banking and it will allow you to take your account to any country, along with any history (which is good for credit, mortgages etc)… but you need to have £50,000 in the account in the first place. So that’s no good as we aren’t quite up to that in our savings account. By a long shot.

bankThe other option might be Handelsbanken, the bank we actually want to go with. They are a Swedish bank now running in the UK. I don’t think the UK and Swedish branches are linked as such – in fact I believe they are independent, but as they are all under the same umbrella it might be the way forward. A branch/office has opened up locally so we’ll be trying to get in contact with them.

More as it happens….


Language Barriers.


It has been said that trying to learn Swedish in Sweden is very hard to do.

Generally immersing yourself in a country is a good way to learn the language, but in Sweden the moment they hear you speak English, then they speak English. It’s not so much a second language over there, but a joint fist language nowadays.

To get in to college or university you must be fluent in English (so Alex will be fine!). If I understand correctly, the first language officially taught as a subject at school is English, then Swedish.

That being said, if you speak the language (or at least try) then you will be accepted to a greater extent than if you simply expect everyone to talk to you in English.

Certain nuances are lost in translation. Imagine a funny joke being stripped down to basics and then being read back by a person who has a reduced vocabulary and isn’t quite sure of the tone and sound of the words. This is how your English can come across in translation, and even though the story may be understood, the actually humour is lost.

There is a fish tank and it has two goldfish in. One of them asks how to drive a tank.

It’s all there… It’s just not funny. You need to buy in to the language to fully buy in to the country – and the language is pretty cool once you get in to it.

My trouble though is memory issues. I can listen to audio book lessons in 5 minute tutorials, and by the end when a quick pop quiz is given to test the couple of words I have been taught, I’ve already lost them from my head.

This is where immersion in the language works well. It hammers it home (probably using Mjölnir) if you can learn and try in real situations every day.


Anyway, I’m hammering away at the lessons, and little bits are sticking. Not as much as I’d like, but something is better than nothing. I’ve noticed certain words and sounds are similar to variations of the same word in English. This is due primarily to a great deal of English being born of the Viking traders and raiders that took over all but a little of England from 793AD onwards.

For example:

Can you speak English?
Kan du prata engelska?

It’s not a great leap from ‘can you’ to ‘Kan du’, and ‘prata’ is similar to ‘prattle ‘or ‘project’ as an alternate to speak. ‘Engleska’ is pretty simple in its own right.

‘Hello’ is ‘Hej’ (hey), so that’s simple enough. ‘Goodbye’ is ‘Hej hej’ – which is again, not to tricky to take on board after all, to hellos making a goodbye is like two wrongs making a right or something…

‘Tack’ is one of my favourite words. It is used for please and thank you. Similar to ‘ta much’, so that’s how I remember it.

There are variations depending on the level of thanks. ‘Tack’ on its own is quite formal (thank you), where ‘Tacka’ is more sociable (thanks!). ‘tack så mycket’ is a deeper thanks (thank you very much). Deeper still and you can show gratitude by saying ‘Tack, tack så mycket’ (thank you, thank you very much).

Little bits like that are quite easy. One word that can be used in subtle variations to mean a range of things. Not so hard to remember. In fact ‘tack’ can be used to buy things just by pointing & saying ‘tack’. It will get you by, and you’ll be respected a little more for trying.

Yet my memory is dire. It’s fine that I can tell you these things now, and those few words took a week to sink in, with about 4 hours of audio tape on repeat… I need a better way. I need to fix my memory!


Oddly, watching the TV series ‘Vikings’ about Ragnar Lothbrok (a composite of various historic Viking figures who features in several Nordic poems and sagas) helps a bit. When they are talking in the Norse language (Swedish is similar to Danish, Finnish & Norweigian, and as such can be understood across the board to a point) there are words that I am slowly picking out. Also with the ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ in its original Swedish version (so much better!), I watch with subtitles, but am finding I can pick words out. It’s a long way from understanding what is being said, or being able to have a conversation, but the blocks are there to build on.


I shall keep you up to date as we learn more!

Hej hej.

Truck Law and Old Dogs

One consideration – and a major on at that – is the road use law for Sweden in regards to old vehicles.

The environmental laws are very tight & restrictive for commercial vehicles & large trucks, so I am looking into that at the moment.

Tax on the other hand is looking good. Vehicles over 30 years old do not require road tax, so our 1977 Series 3 88″ petrol Land Rover is tax exempt.

If we go for the Bedford MJ, that would also be tax exempt – but might be restricted as to where it can travel. I am waiting for some answers from the Swedish transport department on that.

Meanwhile, after a ring gear failure, ‘Frank’ the Landy is undergoing surgery, and at the same time will be serviced & modified to deal with Swedish roads & weather better.