Midsommar

Raise the maypole, grab the schnapps, put flowers in your hair and eat pickled fish. It’s midsommar!

Midsommar morning kisses

This is the best time of year to be in Sweden. The sun doesn’t go down and Swede’s forget about their social phobia for a short while. Schnapps may play a role. Nevertheless, now is a good time to be Swedish. The feeling of community in the sailing club is wonderful. Everyone is welcome and everyone does their part.

Pirates

One couple had the duty of organising a pirate treasure hunt for the kids. They dressed up as pirates and had a whole story and adventure organised, along with treasure. The amount of effort that went into this activity alone was admirable.

Follow the pirate

The kids followed the pirates around the island, finding clues towards the treasure and bumping into snoring monsters.

Even pirates blow bubbles

Maja took Björn along for the whole adventure. He’s too young to understand the concept, but he loved the activity and being around other kids. Maja, on the other hand, was engaged to the fullest. She insisted that she tagged along “for Björn’s sake.”

Björn’s share of the bounty

Eventually the kids found the hidden treasure, which was shared equally, as Swedes do. Björn bagged a very cool boat. The temperature reached 30 degrees and it was high time to test his vessel.

The penis pole

It just wouldn’t be midsommar without the pagan tradition of dancing around a fertility symbol.

Festivities are hungry work
On the beach after dinner
Climbing onboard for bedtime

Change of plan

Because we’re island hopping short distances, we have the luxury of flexibility. The original plan was to celebrate midsummer at our home marina ESK. But Säby Klint is beautiful, comfortable and convenient. So instead of prepping the boat to sail three nautical miles, we’ll just stay put.

Björn’s favourite spot

The island is tiny, and the beach is just seconds from the boat. Björn refuses to wear the hats we bought for him, but he will happily keep mommy’s cap.

People arriving for midsummer celebrations

When we arrived yesterday, there were two boats in the marina. This afternoon the mooring spots began to fill up and people assumed positions in the sun. Tomorrow is midsummer eve and the Swedes will celebrate like pagan savages.

Dinner with a view

The weather has been kind to us and there is always a shady spot for dinner by the water.

Säby Klint

Two nights per island is our rule of thumb. It gives us enough time to relax and explore the island before preparing the boat for another voyage. Today, our voyage wasn’t even two nautical miles, but it still takes prep.

Running after Björn with his hat

A sailor must always have a hat. Björn rebels against this rule with all his will.

Loading precious cargo

There can never be a rush when leaving a mooring spot. We slowly get ready and take things as they come. Having solid expectations about when to set sail will only lead to frustration and stress onboard. Björn’s mood and the weather determine most things. In a way, it’s relaxing to not be in control and let go.

Back on Säby Klint

Björn’s favourite word right now is “bada”. It means to bathe in Swedish. He would probably spend meal times in the water if we allowed him. We encourage him to “bada” as much as possible. It keeps him happy, active and clean.

Sandy and happy
My best attempt at posing for Instagram

Norsholmen

Our first real sailing trip of the season. Björn is walking and has very real ideas of his own. To keep him safe and still we’ve installed a bicycle seat into the cockpit.

Preparing to cast off from ESK
Björn in his safe place
View from the cockpit
Moored at Norsholmen
Playground on the island
Dinner onboard
Exploring the island
He loves the water
Indecent exposure

Extension

Extension cords. Those things that are designed to be 20cm too short, no matter where you use them.

At the store you think, “six outlets on an extension will be plenty!” You’re an idiot. Once at home, that cord no longer belongs to you. In fact, it never did. As you swiped your bank card it became the official property of her royal majesty, your wife. The six outlets will be used for her headphones, iPhone, electric toothbrush, E-reader, her other phone and two laptops. Yes, that’s seven items. You should have bought a bigger one, moron! Well, can I use one of the outlets? No, get your own!

IKEA

The couch I’m sitting on is from IKEA. The company with amusing adverts that sells crappy furniture made by Chinese children. Why do I occasionally support them? Because they’re cheap. I’m cheap. Spending thousands of Crowns at a real furniture store, just for somewhere to rest my arse, is nonsense. This couch does its job. I can sit here a few minutes every day and stare into the oven, because we don’t own a TV. When we have guests they can spend the night developing chronic back pain and, with any luck, they’ll never come back.

Being inside IKEA is strangely calming. Their exhibitions of various functional kitchens, tidy bedrooms and neat homes has a soothing effect. This does, however, create the feeling that you’ve invaded someone’s personal space – someone else’s home. But as a South African I’m comfortable with breaking and entering. In fact, it brings a smile to my face along with a warm sense of nostalgia. I can feel the African sun shining through the window, sirens wailing, police dogs barking and the occasional gunshot. Swedish couples walk past, pretending not to see me as I stand smiling in a bathroom suite with my head tilted slightly back, eyes closed, hands in pockets. They’ll never understand.

IKEA has a very convenient restaurant. Also very necessary as there is no “quick trip to IKEA.” A bit like Hotel California. Couples are doomed to spend at least half the day there. Most of which will be spent arguing about whether or not you really need a set of sun chairs.

“They’re so cheap, let’s just get them!”
“That’s what you said about the tiki torches!”
“But we’ll use the sun chairs.”
“We live in Sweden! The next time we’ll see the sun will be in Portugal!”
“We can give them to my mother.”
“They only take a max load of 200kg.”
“You’re such an arsehole!”

The tension eases as you sit at the restaurant and take in carbohydrates. I recommend the vego balls with rice. It’s cheap. The food is of surprisingly high quality, unlike the furniture. It’s also prepared by underpaid foreigners, like the furniture. You attempt apologies to each other, forget the comment about your walrus mother-in-law and try to ignore all the screaming children covered in ice-cream swarming your table. The noise and stale air aren’t helping your pounding headache. It’s time to vacate.

Leaving IKEA with products you never needed and additional emotional baggage, you’re both exhausted and the rest of your weekend is stuffed. Back to your crappy couch and whatever the Netflix producers have vomited onto the platform.

Hanging Laundry

Putting dirty clothes into the machine is no biggy. Laundry goes in the big round hole. Detergent and fabric softener, however, require an extra braincell. Number one or number two? The bottle symbol or the pretty flower picture? Hope that your phone is in your pocket and Google that bad boy like a real man.

Make sure the machines are spinning before leaving the laundry room. You’ve made this mistake before. You remember because your wife hasn’t let it go since it happened three years ago.

Sit on the couch, open your laptop and find some crap on Netflix. A guy having a love affair with an octopus in Cape Town. Sounds like entertainment. Now that you’ve wasted one hour of your life watching a middle-aged man get fondled by tentacles, it’s time to hang the laundry.

You’re not allowed to throw everything into the tumble drier, because cashmere blah blah wool bleh bleh shrinks blah blah are you even listening? Hanging the larger items like hoodies feels good. They leave a dent in the basket and make you feel productive, like you’re going somewhere in life. Until you lift that baggy T-shirt you like to bum around in. The one your wife hates. Under your favourite shirt are ninety-seven socks. That’s right numb nuts, you lost one!

Tiny white socks, barely visible to the male eye. The missus insists on wearing secret socks because fashion. They resemble toe condoms. Like a traffic cop hiding in the bushes, these little cotton bastards have brought your easy ride to a halt. During the wash cycle they manage to crunch up into balls smaller than your own, which you have to flatten out with your sausage fingers.

By now you’ve lost track of the days since that first sock. Time no longer has meaning and you can see the sun rising for the third time since the spin cycle. Leopard crawling away from the battle, your legs are finished and your throat is screaming for a beer. You’re grateful to have made it out with your life and can’t wait to hug your wife in clean bed sheets. That’s if she hasn’t moved on and found someone else in the time that you’ve been manning the front line.

Selling Dreams

Not sure what to do with your life? Just Google it. That’s where all the answers are. You’ll receive an endless list of gurus and successful business people singing their songs of victory. Check out Ted Talks and listen to hundreds of quacks babble on for twenty minutes about why you should give them money.

And you can do it too! ….. for a small fee….. buy their book, subscribe, like, donate and you’ll receive instant happiness. Put someone on a stage with a microphone and suddenly they’re Buddha selling enlightenment package deals.

There is an enormous market of unmotivated individuals searching for greater meaning in their average lives. Why not capitalise on their lack of direction? Enter Tim Ferriss, Robert Kiyosaki and the circus of Get Rich Yesterday. Their talks are packed with catch phrases, parallels which don’t really have anything to do with your situation but sound great and metaphors which will have you fired up and on the edge of your seat with credit card in hand! Tell me that my dreams can come true!

Kiyosaki’s own ventures flopped like a fat man off a diving board. He then opened his own business school. You know, to share his knowledge of how not to run a business. Today we know that his books and seminars were all lies and the company is bankrupt. He’s still a millionaire while his followers are poorer in both cash and confidence.

Ferriss at least made some dollar before selling the 4-hour toilet paper series. Hey here’s a unique idea! Come up with a vague business plan, like selling sketchy supplements, lie in a hammock and outsource the work to over-qualified Indians. Who’s with me?

Josh Kaufman is willing to sell you the dream of learning any skill extremely quickly. Just whip out that bank card, plug yourself into the matrix and download guitar fingers in under 20 hours. Of course people are going to buy the book! Who doesn’t want ten years worth of competence in just a few days? But that’s not all! This magician has another cash cow up his sleeve. Don’t have the time or money to invest in an MBA? This is so ridiculous it’s sad. Josh can show you how. Just pay him.

All these men take advantage of people who are looking for ways to better their lives. Average people are willing to pay a lot of money for reputable advice on financial independence and quality of life. Donal Trump was quoted as saying to a sales rep at Trump University that they’re not selling degrees, they’re selling dreams.

Their tactics may be immoral and occasionally illegal, but it’s the general public who behave like salmon every time their favourite lure lands in front of their gaping mouths. Whether it’s financial freedom, business knowledge or a ukulele in a banana hammock, everyone is after happiness. And they’re willing to pay clowns to give it to them.

Home Office

Working from home is one of those millennial goals that constantly appear on Facebook. It’s always a photo of some twat in a hammock with a Mac Book, pretending to focus on their screen while holding a beer. We get it. Your partner took the picture with their iPhone while you updated your Facebook status. #unemployed #imsomiserable #foolingmyself

Mac Books are not designed for work. They are built specifically for sitting at coffee shops, scrolling through Facebook and watching videos of your favourite ideologue destroying college students in debates. Put on your best checkered shirt, polish those thick-framed glasses, comb your non-binary facial hair and ride your electric skateboard straight to Star Bucks, like the anti-capitalist you were born to be!

Their Instagram profile reads something like “travel blogger, entrepreneur, explorer.” Entrepreneur because they’re desperately scrounging the web for easy cash. Their favourite YouTuber guaranteed that once the first step of a spiritual path had been taken then the rest would fall into place. A falling bank balance wasn’t part of the vision which came to them during their meditation retreat in Bali. Explorer makes them sound edgy and unique like everyone else born after 1984 with an internet connection. Employers love that mysterious shit!

Three years ago they bought a physical newspaper at Heathrow airport and added “journalist” to their resumé. If you can read an article then you can write one.

Meanwhile, back in Corona-land, people with PCs carry on with real work and keep the global economy ticking. But now they do it from home. The question we’re asking ourselves is why didn’t we do this sooner? Working from home in our underwear affords us more sleep and saves us from drinking the sewerage which the office calls coffee. No more tea breaks with Sandra from HR telling everyone about Mr Fluffle’s appointment with the vet and how it rained during her Saturday brunch with the Crazy Cat Lady Committee.

Studies show that the average office employee is only productive for three out of eight hours. Why do nothing at work when you can do it from home? Give your bluetooth mouse a shake every ten minutes to keep your profile icon green and do something you actually give a damn about. You’re not really passionate about environmental urban development. You pulled that out of your arse to ace the job interview and snatch a stable income in return for your soul.

Use this time to clean out your wardrobe, bake bread, continue to ignore your in-laws, get to know that oddball you married and write down life plans together. Cancel Netfilx, it’s garbage, you know it. The guitar on your wall is not only for decoration, your mountain bike is collecting dust and your dog wants more cuddles. Or go back to the office and pretend.

Raw Meat

I’m a vegetarian. Kind of. At home I’ll only cook vegetarian food. After watching Cow-spiracy and other documentaries on the meat industries, I decided to do the environment a solid and go green.

But not when I get invited to someone’s home for dinner. Then I’ll eat what’s cooking. I’m not one of those obnoxious tree-huggers with a loudspeaker who insist on making a public statement and putting it on Instagram. “Sorry, but the candles on this table are not vegan, I can’t sit here. #beesarepeopletoo” Go sit on a pineapple. They’re vegan.

Recently I caved in to the idea of biltong. It didn’t take much convincing. I’m weak. One “home-made biltong” video on YouTube later and I woke up at the hardware store. Making a biltong dryer is insanely simple. I could buy beef jerky in Sweden, but it’s expensive and tastes like a vegan candle.

Finding a butcher was surprisingly difficult and the price of meat obviously follows the gold index. Then I remembered that this isn’t a banana republic with livestock grazing at the airport. Gone are the days when flat goat off the runway was on special.

My home now smells like a dead animal. A delicious dead animal, marinaded in red wine vinegar and spiced with pepper and coriander. I’ve decided that biltong is a vegetable (bovine flora) and cows produce too much methane. We should eat them. You’re welcome, Nature.