Philosophies of summer drives

Laxå

View from sitting at the edge of one of Sweden’s many waterways.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It seems like summer decided to begin just as the tail-end of its official months with many regions of Sweden feeling warm as toast. If not too warm, a favourite thing to do is to get in the car and do small road trips, anywhere from between two hour to three hour drives from Gothenburg that leaves quite a radius of interesting exploration.

While there’s been a culture of second-hand findings where Swedes readily barter or trade at low cost things tired of or unwanted to what they want, it has only been in the past couple of years that antique shop hopping and second-hand goods browsing has really taken off, much due to the hipster culture and greater awareness of the sourcing of ecological produce. It is just about these past years that see the those born from the 1990s and forwards step out of school and into the labour force, bringing with them their own awareness and motivations into their living interests and entrepreneurial ambitions.

It was on one of these summer drives where we decided to absolutely ignore the voice of the GPS nicely suckered onto the windshield insisting that we go where we should go that we found an interesting farmhouse set up with several barnyards for different needs. There was the family house of medium size, then there were two barns that housed a vintage shop and a café. Beside those barns stood several generous indoor-outdoor animal pens of various sizes that far outsized the other two barns. You could find most anything you wanted in second-hand under the roofs of the barns including a library to spend some hours reading with fresh brewed coffee and cinnamon cake.

Out in the garden, neighbours and friends of the family gathered for coffee at different incoming times, so it seemed that for the time we spent there having coffee ourselves, the garden was never quite empty. In one of these rushes between the house and the barnyards, we caught up with the owners of the farm to give our complements of their smooth and lively management of multiple tasks at hand. The eldest daughter of the family in her early twenties, one of three daughters of the family, then beamed brightly in our direction and said, “It is our mother who loves animals really. And we thought it was a good idea to have this vintage shop going. We grew up here and we thought the vintage shop and café is a good way to attract people to our place. It’s nice to give the animals some people to look at, otherwise, it is so boring for them to be only seeing each other.”

We couldn’t help but return the warm smile and hospitality given us by the eldest daughter of the house. It was without doubt, their life’s philosophy that kept the workings of the place in a vibrant cogwheel rotation of activity.

Lysekil

A vintage bicycle as garden decoration.

Lysekil

A barnyard library and café replete with a chandelier possibly up for a vintage sale.

Lysekil

Guinea pig, Lysekil

I once had eight of these, from mixed-breed Abyssinians to Teddies, in a much smaller cage housed in Singapore. I fed my little pigs with fresh green leaves purchased every morning from the wet market just around the corner to the house in which we lived, and made a fatal mistake of feeding them oatmeal after one got ill. ‘Fatal’ I’m not sure whether for myself or for them, but after their first oatmeal try, they refused to drink water. So that became a small glitch to manage whilst I was at school and left nobody to make them oatmeal. Still, I think these here at this farmhouse have it much better with the larger, protected (from humans) enclosure that house other cavy friendly animals. Summer’s also the perfect time for fruit buffets, from pears to apples.

Bunny, Lysekil

This little one, a neighbour to the cavies, munching on fallen cherry apples from the garden tree.

Lysekil

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