Wednesday, 30 September 2015


I like celebrating birthdays - as long as they are somebody else's.

When it comes to my birthday, the best thing anybody can do is to send me a card and leave me alone in a strange city. Lots of birthday cards and a new city to get lost in - paradise!)
But I digress -

Birthday celebrations are however quite simplified in this household when it comes to birthday celebration stuff. We have a gift bag that says Happy Birthday, minimizing the need to wrap any possible presents. Each person also has a button that says I am the birthday boy (except that mine says Leave me alone! or some to that effect). The three celebratory garlands or festoons that we have, are reused every year and for all events. (Now they are a little embarrassing as one is pink, one has white doves and one is with Swedish flags and completely unused. Maybe a more generic garland, better suited for all occasions should be put on the wishlist for when the pink one breaks?)

We also have five golden party napkin rings and one and a half bag of little umbrellas for that extra festive feeling. If we really want to go all out for an event, paper streamers will be bought. There are also events so special that we dig into the box of new year decorations for some extra umph.

This year for the man's birthday, he also very surprisingly dug up two electrified garlands with flowers (one red geraniums and one very appropriate with white marguerites) from the basement. He says they may been left by the squatters (the original squatters of his previous house. I know they had good taste in art, but it is a little surprising that they could possibly be that old. As far as I know, the squatters left ...  ehm ... twenty-one years ago!!! Actually, he probably bought them himself for something and does not remember now.) Anyway, they work fine and porn up the house in a lovely way.

Birthday season is however now almost over for this year. Only the karate-princess left. She turns six in November.

How much birthday-party stuff do you currently have?

Tuesday, 29 September 2015


Den tappre Starkater, älskade enkelhet, "och han var afvog mot all omåttlighet i måltidsväg. Han feste sig icke vid njutningen, visade sina handlingar alltid vördnad för dygden och efterliknade i återhållsamhet gamla tiders sed; han eftertrådde blott en landtligt enkel kost och kände vedervilja mot de omkostnader en dyrbar måltid kräfde. I det han alltså avskydde allt slags slösaktigt lätsinne beträffande måltider och själf åt rökt och härsken mat, fördref hand hungern med dess större smak, med ju enklare rätter det skedde. Han ville icke genom smittan af främmande folks njutningsmedel, liksom genom en slags oäkta sötma, låta den sanna dygden slappas i styrka eller genom ovanliga utsväfningar i svalg och dryckenskap adskaffa den gamla tarfliga enkelheten som lefnadsnorm. I öfrigt var det honom motbjudande, att man till ett och samma mål bekostade både stekta och kokta rätter. Han betraktade såsom något vidunderligt den föda, som tillredts i köket ångor, och som kockens skicklighet hade försatt med mångahanda olika blandningar. ...

Med sådana skäl alltså övertygade han en mängd människor till måttlighet och nykterhet och andra dygder, så att ganska många funnos hvilka sades aldrig ens unnat sig att smaka en rusande dryck. De ville icke, att återhållsamheten, som är tapperhetens styrkebälte, skulle förkväfvas genom vällefnad."

Olaus Magnus skrev i landsflykt i Rom, sin bok om Historia om de nordiska folken (1555) (sid 211-213 i utgåva av Olaus Magnus och John Granlund (red). Citatet ovan kommer från bok 5 kapitel 14 och Olaus Magnus citerar Saxo "den danska häfdens frejdade tecknare".

Saxo Grammaticus levde från circa 1160 till efter 1208 men skrev om tidigare händelser inom det danska kungariket. I sina egna ögon var han historiker.

Idag bör han närmare betecknas historieskrivare och hade han levt nu hade han skapat sig sin berömmelse genom att publicera vandringsmyter.

Monday, 28 September 2015


Since I sold my house, no actually, since I started moving countries - no, since forever -
I have had certain, and only a few items I really like.

I have a mirror.

It was bought in August 1989 in the basement of an old man's house in Debrecen, Hungary. It was not legal for foreigners to buy (in hard currency) items from the public  - but after December 1988, it was not as completely illegal as it had been before. It was however still not legal.

My teacher in Hungarian had invited everybody in his class to his house for tea. He then brought us to his neighbour to see traditional Hungarian woodcarvings. The basement had a wonderful but windowless room with very VERY curvy wood carved items. I was then a poor student, travelling with a back-pack and not then and not now into curvy carvings.
Especially not the large picture frames or the bed posts.

I bought a little hand held mirror. It is carved in one piece of wood, and it has a very simple design. It is wood coloured, varnished and completely smooth. Was I asked if I didn't want a painted with roses in red and green in the traditional style? I do remember however that I was a little pressured into buying something. I do not remember what I paid but it was one of the cheapest items. It is everything I ever wanted from a mirror.

It has been with me to most of my permanent residences. It is not the last item I will ever get rid off, but since it is both beautiful, simple and useful, I do not see that it will leave my possession soon.
It has been knocked onto the ground several times and the back came off once. The mirror didn't break but I did attach a stronger ribbon. Now it lives in the back of my closet, behind a stack of t-shirts. It only comes out when I cut my hair or when I want to see the back of my head.
No, it does not come out often enough but when I need it, it is there.
It is the only one of its kind.

Sunday, 27 September 2015


"Every man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniences, and amusements of human life.

But after the division of labour has once thoroughly taken place, it is but a very small part of these with which a man’s own labour can supply him.

The far greater part of them he must derive from the labour of other people, and he must be rich or poor according to the quantity of that labour which he can command, or which he can afford to purchase.

The value of any commodity, therefore, to the person who possesses it, and who means not to use or consume it himself, but to exchange if for other commodities, is equal to the quantity of labour which it enables him to purchase or command.

Labour, therefore, is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities."

Adam Smith. (1723–1790). Wealth of Nations. Chapter V. Of the Real and Nominal Price of Commodities, or of Their Price in Labour, and Their Price in Money

Saturday, 26 September 2015


There will be 18 people coming for an afternoon party today.
It is time to use all the items labelled “don’t get rid of that, we’ll use it when the family comes for parties”. The family is coming for a party.

This is what will be used:
- 16 tea and coffee mugs in porcelain and ceramics + 3 glass cups + 1 novelty mug. There are also 2+2 plastic camping mugs, less fancy indeed, to substitute this.
In total: We can serve 24 hot drinks simultaneously!
- 8 teaspoons, 4 plastic teaspoons and 10 coffee spoons.
In total: 22 persons can stir their hot drinks simultaneously. (As far as I know, none for the 18 people coming use sugar in their hot drink so probably none of these will be used.)
- 26 paper plates + 2 side plates + 4 dessert plates + 5 dinner plates.
In total: We can serve 37 people scones simultaneously!
- 19 forks which means we can have 19 people eating cake simultaneously. We also have 4 dessert forks and 3 cocktail forks so if another seven people showed up it would not be a problem. We would not even have to dig into the spoons or the 12 plastic forks or the four forks in the picnic set.
Consequently, we can have 40 people eating with a fork in our house simultaneously.
This is truly a “but wait, there is more”-moment.
- 47 + 11 paper napkins in beige and plaid blue (either or).
So we can wipe 58 mouths more than once without having to take out the kitchen roll. I do not think we own any fabric napkins any more, mostly because they were never used. I lick my fingers and the man wipes his on his clothes (or the covers of the furniture; oh yes you do!). 

We also have one tray (rescued from the trash last year, cleaned and sort of painted) as well as two oven plates that can be used as serving trays for sandwiches and cakes.

There are also at least 3x6 plastic boxes with lids to be used to transport the snacks in when we later take everybody for drinks on the canal boat. (The canal boat captain arranges the drinks and wine glasses as she can load them on direct from her dock and we do not have to bring our 6 non matching wine glasses, 15 drinking glasses (the smaller ones normally used for drinking wine, the larger more the size of a flower vase), 7 assorted glasses on foot and 9 shot glasses.)

There are also six sponges and an almost full bottle of washing up liquid for tomorrow morning.

Now we must find more than 14 seats (which does include both the office chair and a discarded bar stool).

Thursday, 24 September 2015


If I remember correctly, and then I might not, I had 14 nail files in 2010.  Sand paper files and one metal. The metal one had been bought early 1980s and was never a first choice to be used. It was quickly discarded. The rest were bundled up together with the the orange wood sticks using an elastic and stored in the toilet bag. I have been using them one by one since then.

Today, I have no more nail files. All have been used up and the last one was worn up and thrown out yesterday. When camping I use any little rock, a stick and my knife to care for my nails.
In town, however, I use nail files. It is time to buy a new pack.

There are a few requirements on the next batch of nail files.
- Sand paper. (This is my decision and I am sticking to it)
- Short.
- Durable and sturdy. (This is going to be the tough one; can I ask to try one?)
- Cheap.
- Preferable come in a resealable packaging.
- Target price is ten for €1.
We'll see if I can make it.

I still have five orange wood sticks, five mini-bottles of nail polish (red, blue, orange, clear and gold) as well as a 1950s skin covered nail buffer in authentic red and white plastic (works wonderfully and never needs replacing) and nail scissors.

PS. Ten almost white nail files in a resealable package has been bought for €1,20.
So far they feel good.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


Rekommendationer från Livsmedelsverket för vad vi bör äta varje dag:

Minst 500 gram frukt och grönsaker per dag.
50 ml (en halv dl) kokta baljväxter som ärtor, bönor, linser per dag.
1-2 portioner potatis, ris eller pasta per dag (men tyvärr finns det ingen uppgift om storlek på portionerna)
200-250 gram flingor/gryn eller bröd per dag (6-8 skivor bröd du vet)
500 ml mager mjöl, fil, yoghurt eller ost per dag
100 g kött eller charkuteriprodukter per dag
2-3 portioner à 120 gram fisk två till tre portioner per vecka

Enkelt uttryck gröt och smörgås varje dag plus ett halvt kilo grönsaker, lite linser eller bönor, lite pasta, potatis eller ris, mjölk och ost samt 100-120 gram kött eller fisk varje dag.
Inte mindre och sällan mer.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


Pre-Christian, pre-Viking and very well connected with the rest of Europe during the Bronze Age, the people creating the Rock Art in Tanum have become world famous.

They have left pictures of 30 000 boats, thousands of sun wheels, fighters, animals and a few women that remain today. There has probably been many more but time, water and erosion have erased them.

Rock art are not carvings, they are ground or hacked into a southern or eastern facing flat rock face of the Scandinavian countries. They are made from around 1500 BCE until the beginning for the first century. The artists and their uses are still quite unknown. The pictures are probably only symbols, not depictions. Most symbols are however unchanged during the entire time-period. Imagine that - an unchanged religion during a thousand years! Many regions around Europe have had similar or even identical symbols, and the same technique has been used around the world (regardless if there are rocks to hack the into or not). Not all have been saved or has survived.

To meet a picture that is three thousand years old, in its original location, that is unchanged and unaltered in surroundings that are still wild, wet and slightly cold is fascinating. I felt as if I had post cards from an old friend. "Look at this! This is what I like! This is what I admire and what makes my world special."
The man is more spiritual than I am and he had a different experience.

The gods are pre-Viking and possibly influenced by the stories from where the metals of the bronze was made: copper and tin. The oldest religions in the world are as diverse as today but have several similar godlike figures with the properties of strength, growth and survival.

We pitched our tent and stayed the night. Seeing the rock art in the sun set or with the dew over them was magic. Comparable to seeing a piece of art in the studio of the artist. We cooked out porridge and slept well in our sleeping bags (adding socks and hats for the night).
                                           Photo credit: Vitlycke museum
(yes, there are only men on this picture. The women were pictured with long pony-tales.)

Sunday, 20 September 2015


I am 20% retired since 2013.

So far, I do not feel a need not to work at all.

Mostly because I like what I currently do.
I got a nice raise this year. I could use that to cut the savings rate down to 50 % of income, meaning I would cut more of my working hours. But, I have plenty of stimulating tasks and I have decided to stay working four days a week (32 hours, not a minute more and usually less) for another few years.
This may of course change quickly. I am after all financially independent.

This is where all those years of hard working, hard saving, careful planning and avoiding short-term treats have placed me.
I used to work six days a week and commute weekly between two or more countries. I have had a work life where I did not spend two continuous weeks at home in over ten years. I used to dream about Saturday mornings in bed. I had an ultimate impossible dream of having Saturday every day.

Now, all is different but it has been quite a process.
I still have to stop hating and despising the people I used to work for - that is a progress too.
(How could they allow a working situation like mine without concerns? I didn't break, not entirely much, but others did and remain broken. I still had to give everything to the job without any consideration given by management. I do not understand it but I try not to think too much about it.)

Saturday, 19 September 2015


All expensive purchases requires a waiting period.

I only buy expensive things after a waiting period. More expensive means more than €10 and most certainly everything over €50. The waiting period is commonly also used for less expensive items, but then more to make sure I need what I buy, and do not only need the buying experience.

The waiting period includes to identify exactly what it is I am going to buy and if possible, also what I am willing to pay for it. 
To identify exactly what I need and what I want includes establishing exactly what it is going to be used for as well as quality, quantity, function, form and fit. 
This goes for everything. 

A frame for my lead soldier had to be black, small, deep, specific with and be less than 1 €. There were frames for less than that that I found but they were larger than what I needed or they were not black, which was what I wanted. It took several months to find the right frame but now when it is on the wall, it is perfect. 
The conditions for my new rain jacket were developed in the same way.

Developing the requirements for the purchase give me time to establish what I want and to see if I really want it. Primarily it also gives me time to see if I can fill my want and my need in some other way. Sometimes my need can be filled in some other way than I thought, occasionally through something I already own or can fix/find/fabricate. Sometimes my need turns out to have been a want and after a cooling period of a day or a month, it falls away. I have items on my wish list that have been there a very long time but I do not seem to do anything to acquire them so they are definitely only wants and not needs.

The waiting period is still at least a walk around the block, after the perfect item has been located. A 30 days cool off period is used for more expensive items and an indefinite cool off period for items I have not thought through in advance.

I break this rule every so often. I am however becoming better and better at it. When out and about in shops, I force myself to just making a note, an actual physical note on a piece of paper or my phone, about what I want (or would have bought if I didn't have a brain). 

When I come home and look at the list, I often laugh at myself. 
Why why why did I yesterday really though about buying a blue bra? Just because it looked like it had the right shape and possibly could fit and was cheap? A BLUE bra, really?? 
The wish list states a need for a white bra with a specific shape. A blue bra will most certainly not fill the need! Regardless of price. 
I am so silly in shops sometimes.

Friday, 18 September 2015


It has been brought to my attention (you know who you are...) that some things that I have been trained to consider normal and ordinary, makes other people go "whaaat?".

So for you, slave of the hard working Nicholas, let me tell about roasted veggies and mayonnaise.

Fill your largest oven pan, or two if you have an air circulating oven, with hard vegetables. Potatoes, swedes, parsnip, beets, parsley root, pumpkin, celery root, yam, onions, beetroot, carrots, a whole head of garlic, topinambour (aka Jerusalem artichoke) but primarily spuds. If you do soft veggies, put them on a separate plate as they need much shorter cooking time.
Scrub the veggies but do not peal unless you must in order to get them clean. (Celery root (aka celeriac), I am looking at you here.) I do peel the carrots though, it makes then roast nicer. Put the whole head of garlic on there as is. They cook in their own packaging.

Cut the hard veg in similar sized chunks. They will be done at the same time if they are the same size. Potatoes can be slightly larger.
How big should the chunks be?, I hear you ask. Well, how big is your mouth? Double that if using knife or fingers and not being afraid of double-dipping. Mouth sized if using chopsticks or dainty.
Also think about how much time (or gas) you have. The thicker they are, the longer the time they need. The bigger they are, the less time chopping you have to spend.

I put all chunks of hard veggies on a baking paper in an oven pan (I hate scrubbing pans hence the paper). I put everything with skin down and not on top of each other.
No oil. No salt. No spices. No nothing.
The oven is on 240-250° C. I do not know what gas mark setting or Fahrenheit it is but in my oven, it is almost as warm as it gets. Shove them in. Close lid. On open fire, just shove them on there.

The time needed seems to vary a bit (or I have a very short memory) so I do check them after ten-twenty-thirty minutes using the kitchen timer. The smaller chunks (size of a potato wedge) take 12-15 min or so. The halved potatoes can take up to 30-35 min. They are ready when they are golden with a brown/burned ridge and have puffed up a bit (or when you can not wait any longer). Take one out and make sure they are ready in the middle.
(There is NOTHING worse than badly prepared potatoes and fires. Only eat double-fired Flemish fries. Life is too short for soggy, dropping bad fries.)

When the veggies are done, the fun begins.
Take the oven pan out. Put it down on something heat resistant. (Remember, it has been in the oven so it is hot. Do try to remember this, note to self). Use something to fill your plate to the rim with veggies. Just tumble them all on the plate.
If you really really have to, add salt but you should try it without any salt at all, at least once.

Take your mayonnaise. Put a dollop (more, more, more - OK, that is a start) on to the plate.
Dip veggie in mayo. Use a fork if you have to. Put in mouth. Close. Chew.
Meat or side dishes are not needed (you did make two oven pans right? One oven sized pan (the whole thing) stuffs two persons comfortably into food coma. The content of another pan can be eaten cold then next day.)

Now, about mayonnaise - there are so many different mayo's out there. From frits sause to home made and all added flavours in between.
You really should go through several of them (taste them with a spoon). Find the one that suits your taste buds as well as the different dishes you eat. Yes, all brands taste different. Personally, I prefer the lighter more savoy less eggy mayo's, but the man goes for the thick heavy eggy ones. Consequently it is not uncommon that we have several different jars in the house.

More advanced is to dip your veggies in mustard. This is perhaps a little more out of the box and not for the faint hearted. We usually have several different mustard's in the house too. In fries region of the world, it is not uncommon that the fries place has up to 60 different mayo flavours to choose from.
I have also experimented with wasabi and with horseradish - this is of course right outside of the box but still, with good oven potatoes, nice, nice, nice, nice.

TL;DR: Cut veg. Put on plate in oven. Wait a little. Eat with mayo out of jar. (Edit: turn oven on)

I will add a photo next time I make it (probably within a few days).

Thursday, 17 September 2015


Last night we wiped down all the doors inside the house.

We have seven doors in the apartment as well as a front door. They were all wiped down with a scrubber soaked in washing liquid and then wiped dry with an already dirty tea towel.
They now look really nice!

With the outside becoming grey and dark, the weather promises yet another week of rain and a season of new television shows starting - we decided that we need to be active every evening. Something outside the house preferably, at least a walk every evening, but if not, we really should do something good around the house every day.

Avoiding the TV-coma is our new task.

Both of us are currently working in outside offices. We come home in the late afternoon/early evening exhausted. I arrive at least an hour and a half earlier as I do not commute. My task is to start dinner and do my studying. The man gets his dinner on the table within a few minutes after coming home. (I am not a domestic goddess - I do not cook very well and keep time even worse, but he is really hungry when he comes so I try. And he does the same for me when he is working from home. And the laundry too.)

During dinner, we usually watch BBC's Pointless, screaming answers at the telly. It is really addictive. If nothing else happens we also watch BBC's Eggheads. As I said, avoiding the TV-coma is our new task. This means that we ambitiously try to move our lives forward one single step every day. Something is done that makes the future better.

Last night we wiped all the doors in the house.
The day before we measured the floor space in the wardrobe. And noted the amount of left over flooring in the basement.
The day before that - I can not remember what it was but it was something equally fantastic (and then I watched Paris St. Germain play Malmö FF in the Champions League).
Tonight - who knows what crazy ideas we will come up with to brighten our lives in the rain.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015


I like my money. I value them just because they are there, not in terms of what they can buy.

My first step towards valuing my money was to set up a little shrine to them. Oh yeah, it is so silly, but it is only a mental marker and reminder.

I picked a Chinese symbol for money (Happy Buddha with a gold ingot, but anything that you connect with good money will do). I placed him in my direct line of sight and told myself that he will keep the money I have and that he draw more money towards me.
It is a part of the Chinese tradition of Feng Shui (you can not avoid it in China so just roll with it).

My little Buddha looked so out of place.
Every time I saw him, I would think: - Hey, what's that there? Oh, right, my money maker.
I like money. Right, yes, I like money.

I put a red thread with three knots in my wallet. It fell out every time I opened it and it told me to not give out more money than I really had to. None if possibly.

I started respecting my money and valuing them for themselves, not for their later results.
Almost like loving children not for the sporting results but just because they are yours.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015


The taxation of the house sale 2014 is finally finished. All tax discussions 2011-2013 seem to be finally finished as I have not heard from anybody in more than a year. I am aware I may be creating a false security but I think all is actually finished (Besides, I am tired of throwing money at tax authorities so I will firmly place my taxation head in the sand for the future.)

I have now finally been able to sort through all papers from 2010-2015 and discard what is no longer needed. (I also made a list of what I ought to do: figure out an odd but non-important letter from the previous county, investigate any overlapping travel insurances, aviation benefits and memberships as well as debit and credit cards and as a new annual task - calculate the expected pension.)

Today was a day when I managed to sort through all papers.

I have a very simple paper sorting system based on a few binders:
1. Degrees and Diplomas. This also includes references from work and other participation notices.
I added my new Bachelor of Arts degree and (without looking at it) the final paperwork from my previous place of business.
2. Important papers. This includes house papers (rent, buy and sale at least ten years back), insurance documentations, pension papers, bank contracts, all fixed bill contracts such as energy and telephone, this years tax statements, and all health related papers from my entire life. Most of this I do not have the strength to deal with on a daily basis but with a fixed place for them, I do not loose anything. Those days when I can or have to deal with it, everything will there. This binder also has nice papers in it such as the final payment of my student loan and the verification that my mortgage was paid off in full.
3. Tax declarations. Possibly not necessary, but I have saved all my tax declarations since my first year of paying taxes (the annexes only go back six years, I am not that bad). One day I'll make a graph and show my income over twenty odd years.
4-5 Binders containing any papers relating to anything with any kind of responsibility in the two latest countries I have lived in.
6. Binder titled Genealogy that contains the family tree and all related information on paper. (Computerised information is wonderful but the last time I plotted everything into a database was 2003 and that was because the information added in 1993 had become unreadable. Not doing that again.)
7-10 University papers are collected in binders containing the most interesting information and the papers and thesis's created through my genius and hard work during my years as a student.

Monday, 14 September 2015


2014 sålde jag mitt hus utan belåning för tre gånger inköpspriset. Skatteeffekt – jajamensan! Massor av pengar på fickan – oja!

Nu är den slutliga skatten slutligt betalt. Uträkningen från Skatteverket stämde helt med mina beräkningar och jag har sparat separat för att genomföra betalningen.

Inbetalningen skulle göras före den 12 november 2015 men ju tidigare det bokförs på skattekontot, desto mindre ränteeffekt blir det. Alternativet är ett nästan ränte-löst konto en dryg månad så ränteförlusten är minimal.

Nu när detta är betalt – är ÄNTLIGEN allt skattetrassel i tre länder avslutat! 
Målet är nått!
Alla skattemyndigheter i alla länder har fått betalt och jag har fått behålla en hel del av inkomster och intäkter.

Aldrig mer!
I fortsättningen blir det bara en enkel skattedeklaration från ett land med inkomst, intäkt och utdelningsskatt. 
(Alla mina investeringar är långsiktiga med utdelning.)

Tror jag... tra-la-la

Sunday, 13 September 2015


"[Trade] had undergone continuous expansion over the preceding century - in the shape of the Hanseatic League, for example, and had altered the balance of power within society. Cities of growing commercial and financial strength now rose up alongside the feudal lords of old, and within city republics such as Florence it was the bankers and merchants who held the reins of power. It was thanks to his banks and businesses that Cosimo de' Medici became a political ruler of Florence, even if he never flaunted his power in public. Like all Florentine merchants, he dressed in a plain red cloak and a simple black cap."

              From 15th century Paintings by Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen page 54
              in the chapter Fra Angelico: St Nicholas of Bari, 1437 A Saint with a practical turn of mind.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Yes, I know who I am

Do you know who you are?
I know who I am - I am well researched. it is almost completely without interest.

Me, my mother's father, my father and several random cousins (third, fifth and eight generations removed) have done family research.

It is easy for us.
Find the five parishes and read all available registries in the archives. Almost all of them are there.

They all farm the land of their family before them or they develop new land close by.
All women are called Maria in some form but then so are all of our neighbours.

They all have as many children that they can and that they can keep alive. The adventurous marry somebody from the next parish. Possibly, actually quite common, the woman gives birth to the first born less than nine months after the wedding (no need to marry if there is no need - see, I knew I wasn't the first in the family to hate weddings!). They most commonly were engaged though.

The family tree peters out by the end of the 17th century, around 1660 or so. The registries were kept diligently from about 1700 and from then they registered everybody. Most archives have survived.
This week I have been in touch with another genealogist who provided me with some extra information on one eight of the family tree, taking also that branch down to 1746 and 1666 respectively.

The family contains no soldiers, no nobility, nobody educated, nobody with a trade and no criminals, as well as nobody with any foreign roots after 1700. Possibly also nobody who walked any longer distances from their home without coming back.

And then there is me (and my mother's fathers sister). We left. We educated.
The others are all there. Possibly happier but for certain, solid on the ground.

I am a result of my family, my heritage and my roots.
And because of it, I have no need for them in my every day life.

But I do call a visit to the parish cemeteries, a family reunion.
And I appreciate knowing it is all there. 

Friday, 11 September 2015


On sunny afternoons, our local square turns into an outdoor playground for the children and all the neighbourhood musicians come out to play together. Very charming. Most of it is out of tune and key but it is enjoyed by all.

I came back today and promptly dug out my alto recorder (wooden flute instrument). I have played on and off since I was about 9. Mostly off and therefore I have never gained any great skills. But I like it, and I do keep coming back to it. In all my clearing sessions, my recorder always gets to stay.
It is f

The man used to play the horn. He also did it better and much more seriously than I ever did. He was even in a marching band, touring in Europe. He however has no instruments left, except a pair of drums sticks that were given away and a pair of maracas that were a gag gift for a birthday many years ago.

None of us have any notes or musical scores left. If I am lucky, I have my old training books in a box at my mother's but they may be gone. 

The total number of musical instruments in our house is 3.
How many things do you have that you can make music with?
Do you?

Now - I just have to stretch my fingers to get the flexibility back so that I can play properly.

Thursday, 10 September 2015


The new rain jacket has been bought.

After a long, a very long process filled with contemplation, searching the internet, trying on jackets of different models and price levels as well as waiting for the right moment (after the summer season), I have now bought it. The rain jacket that will last me the next ten years.

The new jacket does fulfil all criteria:
- fits perfectly, long enough sleeves, goes down past the waist and roomy around the shoulders (because I am blessed with a lot of body, I got a man’s sized jacket)
- black (no other colour or accent except a small logo (that I will not mention)
- high quality protection against the rain
- excellent hood
- thumb grip for the sleeves
- high pocket to fit the waist band for the back pack without problems
- lower at the back than the front to keep it from riding up
- small and light weight

Although the jacket does not pack into its own pocket, it rolls up small (two fists of a child) and weights less than 250 grams.

The only negative thing was of course the price. 
I not only had to pay for it, I had to pay full price for it. The only financial benefit was that the jacket is the brand’s previous model and, truly in the back corner of a very chaotic sport shop, I managed to find a black jacket in my size with the at least last years price tag on it. 
I saved at least 20% on the price in comparison to this years model. This years model has apparently improvements but I’m not sure they are worth the money or that I completely agree with them being improvements. 
I have tried on so many jackets, and I have almost bought several of them. But I remembered the list of mandatory requirements, especially the one that it has to be black, and never went back to get it after the waiting period.

The jacket I did buy has already saved me from being completely soaked on several occasions.

Now I only have to figure out what to do with the old and not very good jacket. Donate is obvious, but to a general collection or to a specific person? There is a beggar-street musician I keep an eye out for; however, he is a quite a bit smaller than me so the jacket might be too big for him and besides, he would probably be better of with a rain jacket that actually would keep him dry. 
I will figure something out and find a good next user for it.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


The task for September is all about shoes.

I am not a shoe addict but my feet are picky about what they wear. How many shoes do you have?

Make a list of all shoes and boots you own, note the number.
Do not forget to include flip-flops, rain boots, hiking boots, slippers and garden clogs. 
Try them all on.
All shoes and boots should fit comfortably, be properly heeled, cleaned, sorted and have functioning shoelaces. They should also be stored properly. Not that you need a shoe closet like a New Yorker with too much money and less sense, but a pile on the floor is not a place for investments. Shoes can be quite expensive; do treat them with respect.

Weather is forever changing and most shoes should therefore be to used during a year. 
If you have shoes that you are not using, there should really be a good reason for it. 

If you have too many good shoes, bring one of each sort to the front of your use. 
Put all the other in your personal storage for when you can use up one pair and then go shopping for free in your own closet. 

If you only have one pair of shoes, consider yourself lucky that you at least have a pair of shoes. 
However, it makes me wonder how varied your life is. Can you really go running, hiking, dancing, fancying and enter posh French restaurants - all with the same pair of shoes? And this is NOT a gender issue!!
Brush, polish and wipe off all shoes and boots.
Check shoe laces and the storage of shoe laces.
Use shoe horns if you have them.
Hang boots with strings and a clothes pin (put paper to protect from pinch-marks).

Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Set a target and join a challenge to stay motivated. Just think of the 100 push up challenge, the buy nothing for a year challenge, the no-car challenge, the X dollar a month food challenge, the no impact challenge, and so on.

Set rules, realistic rules for your targets. That means you have a target that is a little bigger than you know how to deal with and then you break it down into smaller steps. Each one of those steps will be possible although a challenge to do.

Where do you want to be in 100 days? Being able to do 100 sit-ups, push-ups or any other of your favourite torture? Then start with ten today. NOW!
Really, only think about today. (Repeat and rinse tomorrow.)
Buy nothing for a year, then start by buying nothing today while you set the rules for what you will buy (food?) or how you otherwise will feed yourself. But it starts with buying nothing NOW! (Don't go out and buy a notebook to register your buy nothing challenge.)

You know where your obstacles are. Identify one action towards to other side. Break down that action into smaller steps. Want a university degree? Find out what the requirements are - exactly.

Like this example:
We want new flooring in almost all rooms of our rent-apartment (not included in our rent). Step one: Measure the closet. (Then we can know how big the floor space is in there. Then we can go down in the basement to measure the remaining flooring stored there. Then we can measure the remaining flooring in the basement to see if it is enough for the closet space. Then we can start planning the next step after that.)

The things you are already doing, is not a challenge. This is about pushing a little bit further.
How will you challenge yourself this month?

Monday, 7 September 2015

An Old Woman of the Roads

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods upon the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!

To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!

I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!

Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there's never a house nor bush
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house—a house of my own—
Out of the wind's and the rain's way.

Padraig Colum 1881-1972

It is nice to be home again.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015


Chocking drop in the financial markets gives me the lowest financial independence number since I started recording it in the present way.
28 years can I live on my present annual budget before my money runs out.
It should be 30 and above and it used to be close.

Could you all just please stop speculating and stabilise the world markets?

Although, to be fair, and fair is more important than truthful but let me be truthful too, I have also paid the last of the tax debt. It took all income this month and then some but as of now I owe no money to the tax authority (taxation of the profit I made when I sold my house last year).

As of now I do not owe anybody any money at all.

I should be happy with a FI-number of 28 and I am. I am really grateful I have all this money. I like my money and I am glad that it sticks around.

Everything is placed according to plan and in "relatively" solid and secure placements.
I have engaged yet another bank and will weed out cards during this month with the ambition of solidifying cash savings into something safe* in one financial institute.

(*I do not quite know what I mean with this in today's markets but I envision something that will allow me to keep at least the nominal value of my money over time - interest would be nicer though.)