Archive for August, 2002


August 30, 2002

New description for Néablog—more like a motto, really. It’s up on the left, above the archive links. Bet you never read the old one. . . in any case, thanks to Watty for coming up with this one.


August 29, 2002

Today I did something I’ve never done before: took my bike apart, cleaned and oiled it and put it back together. I got all parts back to where they were before, and the bike runs much better now. I’m way proud, actually, for I’m used to thinking of myself as having nothing but thumbs, and being ambisinister to boot. The only mishap was dropping a spanner on the very toe a swan trod on last summer, but that’s ok — I have 9 other toes.


August 26, 2002

The phone rang, and I heard Johan answer it. A minute later, he came into the room. “Something for Néablog, this”, he said, with a slightly bewildered expression on his face.

Thus went the call:

“Johan speaking.”


“Er. . . yes. . . I called to find out what time it is. To whom am I speaking?”

“My name is Johan, and it’s ten minutes to one.”

“OK, thanks.” click


August 25, 2002

While we’re on the topic of underrated Swedish fish edibles: Johan’s nieces and nephew show good taste, in that they love the Swedish caviare disdainfully known among visiting Brits and Australians as “pink stuff”. So it’s not just me.


August 24, 2002

Oops. I got the name wrong a few posts back—Karin Björkelid is actually Karin Väremo. Though perhaps there is a Karin Björkelid as well, somewhere; perhaps she is related to Gustaf Björkelid. . .


August 24, 2002

Last night it was time. It had been too, too long—three years, in fact. But last night, I finally got to eat it again.

Fermented herring.

It is not rotten, it is not spoiled. It’s soured—fermented—under carefully controlled conditions. Many people are turned off by the smell. This is understandable, but unfortunate. Many others don’t like the taste. That’s ok—there’s no disputing taste. But don’t try to claim that it is inedible because it’s rotten fish, for that is simply not true!

I first had it when I was 14, at a camp in northern Sweden. Almost all the other kids were locals, and I have my mother’s family up there so felt like a half-local myself, and was determined not to be the squeamish southerner kid who refused the sour herring (even if a bunch of the northerners did, that wasn’t the point.) I rather thought I wouldn’t like it, even before I’d felt the smell; when I smelt the air in the dining room I was convinced I wouldn’t, but still set in my determination to eat. And I did, and found I liked it!

I haven’t had it more than perhaps a dozen times in my life, it is very much a seasonal fare, eaten in August-September, and not very frequently down here. Last night, I found that I liked the smell. It’s still a bad smell, but when I felt it it made my mouth water. Isn’t that odd?

I never have a lot, though; two herrings was yesterday’s tally, divided on three slices of thin flat unleavened bread covered with potatoes and onions and folded over into a sandwich. Heavenly. The pre-filleted fish was rather wimpy, but the newbies liked it (which proves that they are of the right stuff and just need to get used to it—nowt wrong with that) while the rest of us agreed that the jar from 1998 was much better than the one from 2002. There’s something I’d never known: even sour herring has its vintage!


August 24, 2002

Contact lens update: I’ll go back next week and bring the lenses, and then I’ll get a new examination for free and new lenses, also. They didn’t even pause to think about it. So that’s all right, except that it would have been nice to have the lenses now, given that the weather is very hot and sunny and it would be nice to be able to wear sunglasses. But that’s a mild annoyance—I mostly stay in the shade anyway.