Out and about skiing.

FIRSTLY……The sun is appearing above the horizon again!!!!

I have already tried walking in the forest with snowshoes, but I am still sinking in the snow up to my knees and in places up to my waist.

Because I cracked my ribs soon after I moved here last year I was not able to learn to ski properly, but now I’m starting to get out and practise on skis with some tuition from Emma.

We have been practising on the hard, compacted snow of snow scooter trails, but the other day I decided to head off into the forest on virgin snow to test out the skis.  Unfortunately my skis also sink down into the snow

and although not as deep as the snowshoes, it does mean that you have to lift up the skis out of the snow with every step.

I found a small timber building while out

On closer investigation I found that it has not windows and that the door and roof had been removed.

And next to the building I found this interesting feature

It has a thick concrete wall at the back and a metal framework in front with several pulley systems

After making some inquiries when I returned home, I found out that this was an old military shooting range and presumably the pulleys were used to raise and lower targets.

I continued on my way and later decided to stop for coffee.  I found a nice sheltered spot surrounded by trees to make a camp

I used my ski pole to excavate the snow

I gathered some materials and prepared to make fire

I have not had problems making fire for a long time but this time I had many problems.   The matches I carry with me would not ignite.  I carry my matches in a small sealed container.

and as you can see I have the heads of the matches at the top.  Possibly one reason I had problems to ignite them was that my fingers were sweating and so making the match heads wet when I removed them from the container.  So now I carry them with the heads down

It’s such a simple thing but something I had not considered before.  Another useful piece of simple advice I shall share is not to hold the end of a match between your teeth in extreme cold, while preparing your fire because as I found, your breath freezes over the working end of the match and so it will not ignite!!

There was no Birch in the area, so I could not use bark to get my fire going, but I had cotton wool with me but although the cotton wool would ignite, it went out immediately.   I carved small shavings of dead Pine and used to ignite the fire but once they had burn up, the fire went out.  I spent about an hour trying to make fire but never succeeded.  I think my audience found it entertaining though…

This experience shows that you should not become complacent and instead practise, practise, practise!!!!

 

 

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Back from the UK…..Scandinavian Airlines; oh dear, oh dear!

I arrived back from my visit to England late last night.  It was good to see some family and friends but the enjoyment of my visit was tainted by Scandinavian Airlines unfortunately.

It all began last Wednesday 29th December.  My flight from Lulea to Stockholm was slightly delayed which meant that I only had twenty minutes to get my connecting flight to Heathrow at Stockholm Arlanda.  There is a considerable distance between arrival and departure terminals and I had to run part way to be there on time.  Why do they allow such a short connection time???

I arrived safely at Heathrow twenty minutes ahead of  schedule…….but unfortunately my checked-in baggage (a 70 litre rucksac containing clothes, Christmas presents and other items) did not, as I later found out they had had insufficient time to transfer our bags at Arlanda.   There were many unclaimed bags laying around at baggage reclaim at Heathrow and a number of people from a variety of airlines for whom their baggage had not arrived.  The mis-handled baggage desk was being manned by just two people and I had to wait patiently as it seemed to be taking ten minutes to process each person.  Eventually my turn can and I had a young (Russian I think) girl to deal with who’s English was not so good.  There were many questions asked and details put on the computer, but she did not understand everything I was saying.  I told her I had a bus to catch in 10 minutes and was told SHE was very stressed and if I wanted my bag I must wait!!!  Eventually we were finished and she told me that my bag would arrive on the next flight from Stockholm and be delivered to my parents home in the next 24 hours.  I was provided with a reference number to enable me to track my bag on the internet via Worldtracer.aero.

My bag did indeed arrive on the next flight and was collected the next day at 2pm by a delivery company called Rico Logistics, Same day delivery (that’s a laugh!!!).  Initially it was to be delivered at 6pm the same day but at 9pm it was changed to 17:30 the following day (Friday, New Years Eve).  17:30 can and went and I in fact spent the whole of New Years Eve waiting in, but the bag never arrived!!!

Each day when I checked on the internet the delivery time and date did not change.  There was an 0844 number to call for help…..I rang and I rang and I rang but no one answered.  I then found a direct dial number to the logistics company and when I called the answerphone message informed me they were closed over the New Year!!!

I had only the set of clothes that I travelled in and by Monday they needed washing, so being the first day the shops had opened I decided to go and buy a change of clothes at SAS’s expense.  I was due to leave my parents on Tuesday evening and when my bag had not arrived at 4pm I went out and purchased a cheap bag to carry home my clothes and Christmas presents.  I had also contacted both SAS and the baggage company and told them I was leaving on 4th and not to deliver my bag but instead to return it to Sweden.

I arrived back at Heathrow at 3am and waited for SAS customer services desk to open.  At 05:15 they opened and I explained what had happened and how appalled I was with their service, but I was informed that SAS do not deal with customers baggage at Heathrow as they have contacted this work out and so they could not help.  One helpful member of staff told me that this is not working well and where before they could help customers trace their baggage, now they can do nothing!

I next went to the SAS check-in desk to check in my new bag and contents and explained what had happened and they MUST take care of this bag and not let it happen again.  The girl really wasn’t that interested but I had already decided to try to trace my baggage while there and after some questioning she told me I could go to “Airport Information” and ask them to call the baggage handling company, quote my reference number and they could then locate my bag if it was still at Heathrow.  Airport Information however, informed me that this is not something they do but they did at least give me the telephone number.  I rang and rang but no one answered.  I returned to the check-in desk and told them what had happened and was amazed at their response…..”You do realise that if you locate your bag we will charge you for excess baggage as you can only check-in one item of baggage on your economy ticket”…….I tried to plead my case for my original bag being checked in for free but was told “those are the rules”!!!!  So I decided it was not in my best interest to locate my bag and incur further costs, but better for SAS to do it and incur far greater cost in flying it back to Sweden and then delivering it to me in Lapland.

SO appalled and discussded  with SAS customer service I decided to talk with the staff on my flight back to Sweden.  Thankfully this met with a very different response and I am very grateful to the cabin crew of flight SK526 who were astonished at what had happened, very apologetic and immediately ungraded me to the front of the aircraft where I received a meal of salmon, potatoes, salad warm bread and butter and as much coffee and orange juice as I could drink.  They also arranged for me to visit customer services at Arlanda to get help and advice.

When I arrived at customer services they were expecting me.  As far as they were aware my bag had been delivered on the Friday but further investigation showed that others who had also lost baggage, had also not received them.  They were trying to blame the problems at Heathrow before Christmas but I was not having any of that as my bag had been mis-handled at Stockholm Arlanda.  I told them I have purchased a change of clothes and a bag and they said there should be no problem for SAS to reimburse me for these items and they were really concerned to trace my bag and resolve things.  However, when I informed them that my winter clothes were in my lost bag and that I had a three hour drive from Lulea to my home in temperatures between -20 to -40, they said I should purchase a winter coat at the airport but that SAS would only pay half the cost.  I explained that I would not need a new coat if SAS had not lost my bag, but they would not agree to pay more than 50%, so I did not purchase a coat, but instead had a cold drive home.

And so we come to the final twist in this saga…..when I called my parents to let them know I had arrived home safely, they told me that while they were out, my bag had been delivered to a neighbour in England!!!!!  I just find this whole saga quite unbelievable and as I have told SAS representatives…”We have just started a business in Lapland, but I no longer feel that I can recommend to our guests that they travel with SAS based on my experience”…..would you?

There is however something positive to end on…..On New Years Eve at one minute past mid-night Teres sent me a text message asking me to marry her!!  Of course I said yes :>)

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 70,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 3 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 106 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 430 posts. There were 574 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 40mb. That’s about 2 pictures per day.

The busiest day of the year was November 16th with 678 views. The most popular post that day was About Me.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were naturallore.co.uk, fenlaners.blogspot.com, jomegat.wordpress.com, mungosaysbah.com, and treewright.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for natural lore, kuksa, kevin warrington, tinder fungus, and saami knife.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

About Me December 2008
22 comments

2

Felt shoes January 2009
4 comments

3

My Recommended Suppliers January 2009
5 comments

4

Special Offers December 2008
4 comments

5

New knife March 2009
9 comments

Another year ends and begins

Last year was an eventful and life changing year and I can’t help wondering what this year will have in store for us.

I left the UK on 2nd February with 200kgs of my belongings to start a new life here in Lapland.  In July we bought a house here in Nattavaara By and at the same time my parents left the UK for the first time in their lives to fly here and spend three weeks with us.  In August Teres became pregnant but unfortunately lost the baby eight weeks later.

I am hoping that we can find a another house to move to this year, which is next to a lake or river.  As house prices here have risen dramatically in the last two years, it is proving much more difficult to find and buy the right house than I had imagined.

I haven’t been able to spend as much time out and about as I had imagined I would, but hopefully that will change.  I have many other plans and ideas  but with less and less  money I must get work here to finance them.  I have also added a “Donate” button in the side menu and any money donated will be used to support this blog.

My Swedish continues to improve all the time and once I can speak good Swedish I look forward to talking with some of the old people here who cannot speak English but carry much knowledge of the old ways here.

We have not made as much progress with the business as I had anticipated and this in general is due to the fact that so many Swedish people seem willing to help and provide just what we need, but unfortunately never do!

We are busy working on our program of courses for naturallore.com and the site will continue to develop.  I also have in mind to organise some sort of “Natural Lore Gathering” here, which would last for one week.  Please complete the form below if you would be interested to attend.

I would also like to know what sorts of things you would like included and covered here on the blog during the next year and you can use the form below to do that.