Tag Archives: musings

Birthday views…

It’s never sunny on my birthday, this dull february day was no different. Which featured clouds as thick as our hangovers. We warmed our souls with coffee amd kanelbullar in a little cosy underground cafe in Gamla Stan. Armed with a fist full of balloons we climbed the path to this lookout, Katerina hissen, round the back of Slussen. I can never tire of this view.


The Daily Grind…

There was this cafe, down the end of my road, it’s called The Grind. The coffee is good, but not the best I’ve had.  I order a skinny chai spiced latte with whatever non dairy milk they have [middle class level 5: complete], but the food, and homemade cakes, are the main draw.  With them changing on a daily basis I could never find a reason not to visit.  And then they went and got an alcohol license and started selling prosecco [middle class bonus round: achieved!] and I found even less reasons not to go. Every Thursday, and most weekends I would meet my friend there, the preceding confirmatory text would be something along the lines of ‘fancy a grind?’ and then we would indulge, be it in people watching, chit chat, serious talk or giggles, lounging for hours or a rapid half hour dash. I miss these kind of life debriefs.

Smile, bitch..

So I just read This brilliant article, essentially about a woman (in the picture above) being told to smile by a drunk man, something I think nearly all women can attest to happening on a fairly frequent basis.  She was obviously having none of it and posted the above on twitter.  *cue horrific twitter trolling*  Then I saw this video of some moron repeatedly referring to the female presenter as ‘sweetheart’ because he was to ignorant to articulate his views.

It made me realise how little sexism I’ve encountered in Stockholm.  In fact, I can not think of a single time I have been confronted with outright blatant or hostile forms of sexism, I’m talking about the cat calling, the substitution of ‘love’ and ‘sweetheart’ for your name, the substitution of ‘slut or whore’ for when a woman does something unfavourable, the rape jokes.. you know what I mean. In Sweden, men will hold the door open as much as any women will (which isn’t actually that often), don’t expect any special treatment here.  Don’t expect men to let you off the bus first.  Don’t expect a man to pay for your drinks or dinner.  Men don’t think it’s ok to sidle up and put their arm around you uninvited when you’re out.  They don’t make reference to the way you look or expect that you know less about something just because you’re a girl.  In fact, the only time I encountered this in Stockholm was when an Italian remarked that I probably didnt know much about football “because you’re a girl..”  That man quickly got put in his place.

This equality extends to a lot of things, the way women dress is a lot less provocative here, you don’t see knicker skimmers and bare legs in this cold weather like you do in England.  The adverts feature a variety of characterful faces and men with muffin tops. In fact, Sweden tops the Gender Equality index making it one of the best places to live as a woman (as a Brit I am quite horrified that from the same statistics we see that more women than men in the UK thought it was the womans job to stay home and play wife).

Of course, this is still a patriarchal society and there are ways to travel yet, sexism still exists in a more subversive and hidden form and talking to female friends the kind of hostile sexism that I haven’t encountered can definitely be found here.  Yes, the equality has eroded away chivalry, but you know what, I am fine with that. It’s all about continual baby steps, right love?

The inverse care law…

”The availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served. This inverse care law operates more completely where medical care is most exposed to market forces, and less so where such exposure is reduced.

The market distribution of medical care is a primitive and historically outdated social form, and any return to it would further exaggerate the maldistribution of medical resources.”

Trawling through medical and economical literature on health inequality/inequity this afternoon….  This quote by Julian Hart from The Lancet in 1971 seems even more relevant today as it probably was then.  And it strikes me that perhaps some of the UK policy makers *cough Jeremy Hunt *cough* should review the knowledge base linking economics, health and inequality and rethink some of the recent movements that seem to be aimed at dismantling the NHS.

Just a thought.

Any excuse to fika..

 After an intense and slightly exhausting first week I was expecting to catch up on sleep this weekend, early to bed on Friday and a nice lay in Saturday, that was the plan.  However, after two weeks of early starts my body clock had other ideas and woke me at 8am, not to be discouraged I quickly changed my plans and took the T-bana to Södermalm and arranged a morning fika with a friend from my course.  Fika is quite possibly one of my favourite things about Sweden. Although there seems to be no literal translation for the word I like to think of it as a turbo charged coffee break. During our introduction week it was referred to many times and even proposed to be the reason for the success of many a Swedish company and a method for quicker promotion at work.  Whether this is true or not, the fact remains that fika is a great excuse to drink coffee, eat a delicious baked good or small treat, chat with existing friends or make new ones.  You don’t need to have known me for too long to know that I have developed a great love for the kanelbulle, or cinnamon bun, and this is what I would suggest any fika newbie would order to accompany their coffee. On this particular occasion I broke with (my own) tradition and had a smörbulle, a vanilla-y, buttery, almondy ball of goodness, it did not dissapoint.  Equally as good are the cardamon flavoured buns, which is not a spice regularly used at home but one which I love.  Unfortunately my cardiovascular health and waistline are not too fond of these, now almost daily, baked good accompanied fikas so I may have to curtail the habit before it gets out of control…

Travelling through time..

When I was about 14 years into my life my mother took us to Arizona.  On one of the long car journeys we took through the scorched red desert to a soundtrack of indistinct country and western radio we stopped.  It was monument valley.  And it was so beautiful that I scanned the horizon and told my mind to mentally photograph the scene so I would never forget it. And I haven’t.  A few years later I painted the scene for school art class, checking my memory against a picture provided by my mum.  My only problem now is that life is so full of memories that I cant keep them all, and the ones I keep are distorted by time, because the paint never dries on the canvas of life…

Neruda in the Botanicals..


“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
In secret, between the shadow and the soul.”