I served a long apprenticeship. I started writing as a child, and sold my first story at 35. Ten years later I was a full-time pro. In the last 30 years I have written everything from TV drama to company histories, novels to wedding speeches. My latest project? A stage musical. So this blog is a record of one jobbing writer's never-ending attempts to keep the wolf from the door.
I’ve been trying to remember the last time we had a holiday which
didn’t involve strenuous physical activity – and/or getting wet, and I can’t.
Until now, that is. We’re just back from a wonderfully lazy week in Sweden,
staying with old friends in their summerhouse on the west coast, about 50 miles
north of Gothenburg. We took short hikes, picked blueberries, ate seafood and enjoyed
fair weather and long light nights.
The most energetic undertaking was rowing out to Krakan (pictured below
-the name means ‘crow’). It’s an uninhabited
island two or three miles by sea from where we were staying and just a few
miles from the former shipbuilding town of Uddevalla, visible in the background.
Of course, we camped there – what else would you do? No tent, just a fire of
fallen wood, a bottle of wine and our bags laid out on the grass.
My pal Bror, whom I’ve known since the 1970s, is a
ceramicist and teacher (of art and history). For much of the week he was distracted
by having to fix the roof – it’s the price he pays for being the most skilled
of the siblings who share ownership of a family property. However, he didn’t
need much persuading to sit and drink beer now and then. The assembled
collection of empties, I ought to point out, represent the work of four adults,
not just us two. Not at our age.
We had everything we needed at Lilla Hafsten: a warm sea, quiet woods and good company. We only took one trip out when Bror and his wife Carina
took us up the coast to see a collection of Bronze Age rock carvings. This site
was once on the coast but the sea retreated long ago and the granite (yes, granite) rocks now overlook a fertile plain.
I fell in love with Sweden
in 1977 on my first visit there. I loved the landscape, the sense of space (it’s
twice the size of Britain
with about a sixth of our population). I was also enchanted by their Allemansrattan, or ‘every man’s right’
which entitles you to camp, gather wood and water on any land, so long as you move on after one night.
It seemed to me a kind of tramps' charter, and I have taken advantage of it - in Norway as well as Sweden. Obviously you ask permission if you’re on farmland, but it’s as much as anything
a matter of courtesy. Scandinavians love the outdoors and expect to be able to
Ah well, I’m now back to work on the brewery project – but only
for four weeks. Come mid-September we’re off to the States.