As I grew up, me and my siblings always spent our summers at our grandparents. We lived in a large city and my parents wanted us to be out in the countryside in the summers. My grandparents lived on a beautiful farm where they rented a small house. They were not farmers, just renting a house. The farm is actually part of a huge estate, Tullgarn, with a beautiful castle owned by our royal highness, the king of Sweden.
And no! We have absolutely no royal blood in our veins, and in all the years staying at my grandparents house I only saw the king once! I believe he uses the lands surrounding the estate as his hunting ground in the autumn, and the one time I saw him he was about to go out hunting. The picture below is of the castle (borrowed from www.trosa.com where you can find out more of these beautiful surroundings).
Anyway, the house was beautifuly settled on a small hill with views of both lush farmland and the archipelago where we learned how to swim! The stables for the horses and cows was just a hundred meters away from the house and here and there stood large oak trees that was several hundred years. Some of them hollow and serving as hiding places for us or just as a playground.
My beautiful grandma, Ingeborg, and my granddad, Ruben. How I miss them! <3
My grandparents neighbours was the farmers and keepers of the land. They owned all the cows and hourses and their daughter was the same age as me and my twinsister. We had so much fun togheter! Taking care of and riding their shetland ponys (on occasions), playing in the hay in the loft (although not allowed) and sneaking in to the bull pines and trying to touch their horns without being knocked of our feet. I know, a lethal game, and had my granddad known he would have been furios and grounded us for life! We did so many things that would have made my grandparents sick with worry if they knew. Like climbing on top of the milk truck, opening the hatch and competing in who could reach the milk inside. Had we fallen in...well, we would ofcourse had drowned as there where no way up from there. We also liked climbing on the tractors, and going inside the cow pens throwing rocks in their poo-poo! ;)
This is me, my twinsister and our grandfather, and I'm guessing we're about 3-4 years old at that time. My granddad always played with us if we asked him! If we wanted to go swimming he took us to the beach and sat watching us like a hawk hour after hour. When we whined about having nothing to do (like when raining) he made us go outside to find as many different blade of grass that we could find, and when getting back with a bunch he sat down with us and searched after their names in flora book. Sometimes we went to the forest next to the house he was born in. He knew exactly where to find the largest chanterelles, the best blueberries and the tastiest wild raspberries. And he told us fascinating storys from his childhood when walking through the woods. Teaching us about the forest witch, gnomes, fairies, trolls, elves and every other creatures you can think of. And how we loved it! He said: "They only exists if we believe in them, so never stop believing!" And I haven't!
This is me and my siblings with granddad. And this is how I remember my summers, always happy and content. In the evenings he read to us. Books like The Chronicles of Narnia. And as he was a poet we always got to listen to grandma reading his new poems and we all gave him feedback on his writing. My grandma was a queen in the kitchen, and I know my granddad was so proud of her! Her cooking and baking skills were well known near and far, and she was always busy in the kitchen baking to some friends or acquaintances. She loved us to bits. Always hugging us and telling us about how good and kind we were, and how proud she was of us. She died of cancer in 1993, and my granddad lived alone for the rest of his life. Almost 20 years. He died 4 years ago in May, the day after his 94th birthday.
This is the last time I met my granddad, he died two days after this picture was taken. He had fallen in his apartment and had been taken to the hospital. He had lost so much weight since I saw him last, and I could tell he wasn't quite himself, although as loving and caring as always. He got to hold mini-me (just four months old by then) one last time and he laughed hearing her giggle of joy. I didn't know that I would never see him again when leaving, but as I always left him with an "I love you", I feel happy that he knew how strong my love for him was!
We wrote to eachother from the day I was able to write and I've kept all the letters he wrote me. He told me secrets, and things about his childhood, his life with grandma and the years he spent as a soldier during the second world war and how that affected him and ordinary life. I asked him questions about his feelings for the one closest to his heart and mine, about his writing (he wrote both poems and books) and I truly felt a deep connection with him that I will always cherish! He was my rock, always there for me when I needed him. Always showering me with love and comfort. Or just saying the words I needed to hear at a specific moment or time. I will always hang on to the sound of his voice when greeting me on the phone or when visiting: "Hur är det med dig då lilla gumman?" (How are you, little sweetie) It didn't matter that I was old (in my late thirties), I was always "little sweetie" to him.
We all miss him and grandma! So much! They gave us some of the happiest days of my life, and I will always be thankfull for that!
I wouldn't be me without them!
Over and out