‘English’ Butchers in Stockholm

English Butchers in Stockholm


I say ‘English’ because the chaps are actually Irish and Welsh. As I have written below Jamie put me onto Taylors so as I had a big bbq to attend last Friday I thought I should give them a try out.

When I stepped into the shop it was almost like being back home, it could have been the Butchers at Morriston Cross. It was great to see a wide choice of real sausages and of course a smiling Butcher who was happy to give out advice. I opted for the Beef and Guiness, Lamb and Rosemary, Pork and Apple sausages. They were lovely and my Swedish friends agreed that they were nice. Their favourites though were the peppercorn burgers.

I think it was Mr Taylor that served me and then I heard a familiar sounding accent as Mr Jones said hello. Turns out Mr Jones is a fellow Swansea Jack, originally from Mumbles, small world!

They also had a nice selection of cheeses, which is great to see as Sweden can be a little lacking in the cheese dept. I look forward to trying out the Welsh ‘caws’ and extolling its virtues to my Swedish friends and colleagues.

Ok so maybe I am a little bias as Swansea people like to support Swansea businesmen but the sausages were superb and I will definitely be back for me. With a little bit of luck Taylor and Jones may be able to source some Y Fenni cheese. Mums. (No I am not calling for my Mum, even though she read this, thats the Swedish equivalent of Yum!)

They were really easy to find by the way, nearest tube is Rådhuset.



10,000 and counting

I am amazed.

I have been so busy that I have not had chance to post as much as I normally do. When I logged in today I was amazed to read that this blog has notched up over 10,126 visits since it started. I am really touched by that. This blog was really only going to be for close friends and family but it appears many others are interested in my my life in Sweden and of course many people surf on in whilst looking for information on all things Sweden.

From now on though I dont think I can commit to blogging daily. My workload has increased significantly since I changed jobs, plus I am getting a sense of normality now, I am starting to understand the Swedes and the Swedish way of life. In the early days everything was new so it was easy to blog.

Knowing me I will have mad flourishes of posting but I will try and update the blog several times a week, and of course take photos.

I still have the photos of Skansen to upload as well as write up to trip to Vikbolandet. So there will be lots of fresh content to come, just not every day as in the past.

Heres’ to the next 10,000 visits!


Who ate all the Pies?

Greetings from Amsterdam.

Plymouth Jamie sends me this link hmmm sausages, good choice too, now if only they did Y Fenni!

Not really the link I needed when on my fitness drive but I do love British sausages, not to mention Haggis which they also offer, cheers Jamie!

Not just in Northern Ireland

Many of us are familiar with the sight of Orangemen marching though Ulster during the marching season, we are also familiar with the Nationalist response and in days of yore the violence that went with it. Fortunately things have calmed down a bit.

I was interested to read that Sweden also had its fair share of sectarian rumbling. I was interested to read about the Swedish Polish Union and the ‘fight between the Protestant Swede Duke Charles and Sigismund, Catholic King of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth.  Sigismund was eventually given the throne despite being a Catholic but of course he reneged on his promise not to promote Catholicism in Sverige. That lead to the good old Duke taking him on and driving him and his Catholic supporters out of the land.

You can read more about this here, interesting stuff.


Swedish ID and Personnummers, the trauma!

I am going to reproduce the following article from The Local

I am laughing here as I have had to go through similar experiences as this Italian chap. The Swedes certainly dont make things easy for foreigners.

Is Italy in the EU? – A Swedish ID card farce

Published: 13 May 08 13:11 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.se/11732/

Getting an ID card might not seem like rocket science but Riccardo Bevilacqua from the Division of Applied Nuclear Physics at Uppsala University has found splitting atoms easy by comparison.

Is Italy in the European Union or have I just imagined the last fifty years of my country’s history? This unusual question has sprung to mind on several occasions recently when I have been in contact with Swedish customer service.

A few months ago I applied for an Ica card at my local supermarket. The girl at reception stared for ten long minutes at my Italian national ID card searching for the Swedish personal identification number, unwilling to understand that she was never going to find it on a non-Swedish document.

She was greatly surprised when she asked to see my passport and I answered that I did not have it with me.

“And how did you enter Sweden without a passport?” she wondered.

I did not know if it was better to explain to her that it is possible to travel from Italy to Sweden with just a national ID, or if I had to tell her that actually I did not come directly from Italy to Ica, but have in fact lived in Sweden for a year and had just come from home where there is no passport control at the door.

Recently I tried to buy a bed at Ikea in Uppsala. There was an offer for payment over 12 months without interest. This time I came prepared: I had with me both an official document stating my personal identification number and my Italian passport.

But the guy at the customer service desk refused to let me apply for the offer.

“You do not have a valid ID”. Referring to my Italian passport, he stated: “This is not a valid passport, since it does not have the personal identification number”.

Of course I tried to explain him that a foreign passport will never include a Swedish personnummer, to which he retorted: “If you do not have it in the passport, it means that you do not have it, thus you are not eligible”.

So I showed him, again, my ID document from the tax office and his answer was: “Well, if you have a personnummer, just go and get a Swedish passport”.

At this point I asked to speak to a supervisor. The guy phoned his supervisor and told him he had a problem with a customer (me) who had a passport “that he claims to be from Italy”.

Finally I was able to talk to the supervisor. But he had some bad news for me.

“I am sorry, we cannot offer you the 12 month rate since you are not an EU citizen”. Try as I might I could not convince him that Italy actually is a member of the EU.

I decided there and then that it was finally time to get a Swedish ID card.

Since I am a customer of Nordea bank I decided to call their customer service to find out how to get the card. A nice woman told me to take the following with me to my bank: an ID document from the tax office, a personal picture of specific size and features, my Italian passport and 350 kronor.

Along I went to my local branch and presented all the requested documents. The first answer I got was: “We do not provide this service anymore”.

Not being in the least surprised at this stage, I informed them that the customer service had expressly told me, just a couple of days before, that they do provide this service.

The second answer was quite funny: “Do you have a Swedish ID? You’ll need one to get a Swedish ID.”

“Of course not, I am here to get one.”

The third answer brought me right back to Ikea: “I am sorry, you have only an Italian passport and you are not an EU citizen. We cannot provide this service to non-EU citizens”.

The front page of my passport bears the words: “Unione Europea, Repubblica Italiana”. On the second page this is translated into all 27 languages of the Union.

Despite this, I had to explain once more that Italy was one of the founders in 1957 of what today is the European Union and that Sweden joined it only 38 years later (in 1995).

However it took another half hour, the advice of a supervisor, and the signature of my Swedish-citizen girlfriend (with her ID), to fill out all the forms necessary to obtain the elusive ID card.

They told me that I should receive it in a couple of weeks. I really hope so. Meanwhile I have now been waiting five months for my Ica card.

And I haven’t bought that Ikea bed yet.



A similarity between Sweden and the UK

Sweden cant defend itself and neither can we if we are honest about things. The savage cuts on our armed forces is a joke, not to mention not giving our boysand girls the right gear for warfare. At least Sweden is neutral whats our excuse?

Santas’ gaff

Sorry for the lack of posts this week, its been hectic. Next week I am out in Amsterdam and then a long weekend on my first leisure weekend in the wilds of Sverige. I shall be going to place called Vikbolandet! More on that later

I wish I had called this blog ‘Let Me Tell You About Scandinavia’ as I am learning lots about other countries as well. I am so looking forward to exploring more. I was researching Finland and stumbled across this site. So thats where Santa lives, he even has an office!

Different nationalities think he lives in different places. I believe the Danes reckon he lives in Greenland, the Norwegians reckon he lives in Norway for example. The Finns often say that he went to those countries to test out the areas before settling in Lapland. They are quite nasty about the Swedes, they reckon Santa couldnt find any helpful elves there.

I suspect he found the taxes too high and the ‘workers rights’ for elves too complicated for him to set up camp there so jogged on to Lapland where they welcomed his contribution….