That should say Furnace in Sweden, but as I don’t speak Swedish I can’t be sure! Hopefully it doesn’t say anything rude…
So a while back I had the amazing opportunity to visit the wonderful country of Sweden! I was invited over by a great friend of mine, Leif Ahnland, who used to be a librarian at a school in Norwich (my old school). Leif is a writer too, and was in charge of the awesome The Librarian’s Revenge anthology that I blogged about last year. To be honest I was a little nervous of flying, because I HATE planes, but I didn’t want to let that put me off seeing Leif and visiting a country I’ve always wanted to see. So I went down to Heathrow and courageously boarded a big plane and made it all the way over to Gothenburg without so much as a scream or a change of underwear. Are you proud of me?
Sweden is gorgeous. The first thing you notice when you’re coming in to land is how green and sparkly it is. There are forests and lakes everywhere, and you can smell them in the air – which is just about the freshest I have ever had the pleasure of breathing. Even in Gothenburg, which I think is the second biggest city in Sweden, I felt like I was standing in the middle of the countryside. This lasted for approximately thirty minutes, until I managed to get sun cream in my eye and spent the rest of the afternoon in terrible, weeping agony.
Leif met me in Gothenburg and we hung out there for a while in these amazing public gardens by the river. It was awesome to see him, and we spent a good few hours chatting about projects past, present and future. Then we headed over to Mariestad, which lies next to a lake bigger than Norfolk! It’s a lovely place. We chilled out for the evening in Leif’s place, with his partner Jane and her lovely daughter, and the next day I had my first event. I was a little worried that the language thing might be a problem, but I soon discovered that everyone in Sweden speaks pretty much perfect English (in fact some were even correcting my English, which was a little embarrassing)! I did a couple of talks in an amazing free school, and everyone there was fantastic! For the rest of the day I explored the town and the lake, which was going really well until I managed to get sun cream in my eye again and spent the rest of the afternoon in terrible, weeping agony.
After throwing away my sun cream and buying a hat, the rest of the week went brilliantly! I did a workshop on the Wednesday with the spectacular folk in Leif’s creative writing group (hi everyone!), then another couple of school events on the Thursday, and finished with a final workshoppy talk thing in the evening. On my last day we drove over to a nearby town with the creative writing group as Leif was running a role playing / writing weekend with them. To be honest, the place he had rented turned out to be the scariest house I have ever been in. Everywhere you looked there were old dolls, scary paintings, and the most disturbing colouring-in book ever written. Certainly good fodder for horror stories! Luckily unlike them I wasn’t staying the night, and at the end of the day I headed back to my nice, non-scary hotel in Gothenburg ready for my flight back the next day.
So that was my Swedish adventure, and I am already looking forward to heading back soon. Thanks Leif!!