I hadn't been in Sweden since 2005 and can't really explain why I left it so long, since it has to be my favourite country. Perhaps it's because the last time I returned with a restoration project, and you can't cope with too many of those, see An Expedition to Stockholm
Seriously though, finding Juni was a truly good thing, which got me interested in Swedish designs and designers. Coincidentally Juni is on the point of leaving for a new home, in good hands to be looked after by someone with much greater skills than I have.
I was very sad to learn that Sonja Herlin had passed away in July, just ten days short of her 102nd birthday. I had been indirectly in contact with her from time to time through my Swedish friends at the Herlin Society, but had never met her. I think she was pleased that I had rescued Juni and I'd love to have heard about her exploits in her.
Sonja had enjoyed an incredibly full and interesting life and stayed very competent mentally to the end. There's a nice video of her sailing one of her father's creations here: Sonja sailing, aged 93
Isn't that the nicest wee cruising boat of your dreams? Tore Herlin was a genius.
We were picked up by my old friend Petter, who immediately plunged us into boat porn.
Then into town, where I had to meet up with Evert Taube, possessor of a unique singing voice and style to match, a saint to Swedes and of course inspiration to ABBA.
Stockholm is as interesting and lovely as always, a great example of a well run Northern European country that should be an inspiration to all of us Scots. The monarchy has been turned into rather a nice tourist attraction without too much baggage and just enough theatre.
At night the city, especially the old Gamla Stan, where we were lucky to be staying, is full of life and interest.
Further afield the city lights are magic on the water.
Great use is made of the water for urban transport via countless ferries.
Here's Petter and me in 2005,
And here we are, with Birgitta and Paul in 2019,
back at our favourite Pelikan. Hope to get back before long.