Happy 2018

For a lot of people, 2017 has been a hard year. Whether you are one of them or not, here is hoping 2018 is better.

Love, dreams, and best wishes to Devin et al.

From a white, snowy but not very cold northern Sweden…


Happy New Year from disgustingly sunny and warm Southern California! Here’s our own native, festive winter chapparral shrub, Toyon (California Holly), for which Hollywood was named.

We have a very different Christmas and New Years environment from you. This is the view from our kitchen, three days ago. Since then we have got about 10 -15 cm (4-6 inches) more snow. But it’s warm. Only 1-2 degrees below freezing.

Love the view from the kitchen. [I’m allergic to ABBA.]

@Lunk, your view looks like a Christmas card!

You should see our snowy outdoor christmas tree with its lights when it’s dark outside, which it is most of the time…

(sunrise today 9:27, sunset 13:53)

Sounds lovely! But I must admit that because I’ve lived most of my life in warm climates, I don’t necessarily associate cold with Christmas/New Year, and can admire but not miss what I’ve seldom experienced.

Think of looking at palm trees wound with Christmas lights, while sitting on a beach chair watching a sunset over the Pacific . If I’m lucky I see some seasonal rain clouds moving in, to put an end to the firestorms. If I’m luckier, they won’t produce floods or mudslides. That’s my winter. :smiley:

I can’t imagine living a life without real winter, with snow, but then again I have always lived like that. And the short days are part of this, which means it’s mostly dark outside, except that the snow makes it lighter, reflecting moonshine, the few street lights, or the lights from the town 4 km away reflecting from the clouds.

But eventually the summer comes along, when the time between sunset and sunrise is only a 3-4 hours and it never gets dark during the night. So from one extreme to another. That’s life this far north.

But right now we enjoy the snow and the lights in the dark.

What is the object next to the dog? Do you get any/good mobile phone coverage if you are so far from a town? Or are you in a village that has its own mast?

We only have cell phones. We got rid of the landline this autumn because we never used it. Almost all of Sweden is covered by 4G mobile net, although more remote parts may only have 3G or EDGE. We actually use cell phones when we are away hunting, about 10 km from the nearest village.

Our small village (can you call 20 houses a village?) is situated about 4 km from the nearest town, which has about 2000 inhabitants, and 60 km from the nearest city (Umea) which has just over 80 000 living in it.

Ah, the two vehicles? It is mine parked to the left (where the dog is standing) and my wife just came back from a “walk” with the dog using the other one. I don’t know if there is an English name for it. Kicksled, perhaps? It has metal skids which you can stand on with one foot and then you kick your way forward with the other. With well plowed winter roads (no sand or salt) you can travel much faster and further than by walking, especially down slopes :smiley:

We use them instead of bicycles during winter.

Picture from Wikipedia


Wishing you all a happy, healthy and lovely literary New Year from Middelburg, The Netherlands.
No snow here due to climate change, but our hearts are warm and our pens are willing to write.


Wish the UK’s coverage was as good as it is in Sweden. We have so many not-spots, where there is no coverage at all. We rarely use the landline because we can use wifi-calling on our mobiles, but that means we need a broadband connection, which is provided by the landline (there’s no cable around here). Catch 22.

I assume you have cable for your home-internet connection. Or you can just tether the iPhone’s 4G?

Ah, it’s a kicksled. Would like to try one of those.

HNY, but surely you should be reaching for Scrivener rather than a pen.

Yes, the village decided to fix its own optical cable net before we moved here, today potentially running 100 Gb/s, which make my home WiFi pretty fast. I am writing this on my iPad and the connection with the router says 300 MB/s.

You’re rubbing salt into my wounds. :open_mouth:

For a small and crowded country, the UK’s data and mobile networks are disappointing. We need more investment, especially outside of the big urban areas.

From an international perspective, almost everything in Sweden is outside big urban areas. You have more people in London than we have in all of Sweden. :slight_smile:

We really need fast internet connections, to be able to keep in touch with everything in such a sparsely populated country. There is only just over 1 million living in northern Sweden, Norrland, which is about the same size as the whole UK, 242 000 km2.

A traffic jam up here (we commute 60 km by car to our work in Umea weekdays) is when we get into town in the morning and there is a line of cars waiting for the traffic light to turn green and when it does you don’t get through before it turns red again, so you have to wait for the next green (!) before you can continue. :open_mouth:

And if you have to wait a second time at the same lights, do you need counselling to help with the road rage, stress, and trauma?

We all need fast data connections. Should be modelling our networks on what Sweden has done. The future will be more about connecting; less about commuting.

No, we are a very balanced people. We simply ask our politicians to build more roads to get rid of those traffic jams! :smiley:

Absolutely! I work from home two days a week and most of those days I am occupied in video meetings with people sitting in other parts of Sweden. “IT-travel” is the new buzz word at my university.

Love, though don’t understand, how a geographically large country with a relatively small population manages to afford the infrastructure that it does. Think the Scandinavians have a far better sense of community and society than we have in the UK: tending to plan and act for the benefit of the people rather than the country/state.

IT-travel is exactly where money should be invested.