As has become a tradition by now, we went out to Utö over the Midsummer weekend. We boarded the morning boat from Strömkajen in a light but cool drizzle, which continued on and off during our journey. As we arrived, we took a little stroll long the main street, thinking perhaps we should eat down in the village, when the restaurant there turned on their music machine and blasted the area with the current hits, so we quickly went up the hill to the inn. We didn’t recognise any of the staff and we even got directed to a table diagonally off from our usual one, but the food was, as usual, excellent. Then we withdrew to our room and dropped off for a nap in spite of the bass thumping from the village restaurant being clearly audible. Before going for dinner I caught an episode of Riverside Cottage on the telly. Sustainable veggie cooking. Good stuff.

At dinner a group of male friends arrived, managing to still look hung over from, presumably, the midsummer celebrations the day before. The food was good and varied. As we exited, a police patrol appeared at the door, doing the rounds. No violent crime in progress at the inn, though.

Sunday morning was sunny, even though there were clouds rolling by in the distance. We decided to go for a long walk after breakfast.

Summer skies

Räfstavik, looking out towards the open sea.

There were pools up on the rocks, full with little fishes that presumably had been splashed up there as spawn. I was very concerned for their sake—eventually they’d have to return to the sea. Would they figure out how to jump and in which direction?

Walking back through the forest.

After lunch we took the boat to Årsta. When we got to the train station, the rain started to fall again.



For my birthday Honeybuns had given me a boat trip on Gustafsberg VII, and now it was time to cash in on it. The weather wasn’t the best, but we might have to wait for ever for that the way this summer has been going, so now was as good a time as any.

As usual we were a bit late in the start, so had to run a bit, but made the boat in time. There were not particularly many other travellers, so we got good seats at the front. As we got under steam, we found that we had a tour guide, pointing out the usual landmarks long the way. I think it must have been the guide’s first trip, or at least I hope it was, as the exposition was less than smooth, with, odd pauses, and the English translation was clumpy. In particular century numbers were difficult—they are one off from the way you say the years, but is it one lower or one higher? We got both variants.

Still, the archipelago is as it is and it was nice to glide through it. In Gustavsberg we had a couple of hours and decided to eat as a first priority. The restaurant that I had been to on my one previous visit to Gustavsberg was gone, but we found another one. It looked like any random pizza place, but they turned out to serve huge portions of quite well-prepared food.

Before returning to the boat I located birthday presents for the sisterly children in the factory outlet. On the way back we sat in the aft saloon in very comfortable easy chairs.



Prometheus had gotten pretty good reviews, so we decided go see it. Oh, but were we let down… So the special effects were pretty good and the 3D wasn’t too awful, but talk about plot holes you can drive spaceships through.
The main problem was that absolutely nothing seemed to have any consequences whatsoever: A discovery that overturns absolutely everything we know of history and biology? No matter, that won’t change measurement methods, technology or anything. You need a crack scientific team to explore a hugely important issue? Just gather random people with all the discrimination of a charter trip to Mallorca. You’re travelling through the galaxy, space and supplies at such a premium that people have to be put into hypersleep? Well, once they wake up, they’ll have all the amenities of a five-star spa hotel. Somebody tries to lock you up, so you had to beat them up and steal the use of expensive and prohibited equipment, leaving it all bloody and infested with parasites? No worries, nobody cares a whit. You have just have major abdominal surgery? No worries, a couple of painkillers will keep the wound from ripping open even if you keep hitting your tummy with every available object on the planet.

Still, the most egregious problem is the lack of understanding of biology. I forget how many films I’ve seen where they analyse the “DNA” of alien creatures. How likely is it that alien life should be DNA-based to begin with? Somehow people seem to have the idea that life is necessarily based on DNA, and once you have DNA, yeah, well, obviously you can combine it any way you see fit to make human-alien hybrids. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the proposal that alien life would come to Earth and start making jellyfish-alien hybrids, or fern-alien hybrids, though that would make at least as much sense, for some infinitesimal value of sense.

There is also a bizarre scene where the archaeologist protagonist starts inserting electrodes into a magically preserved alien head in order to…well, turn it alive again, as far as we can tell. She does it as a routine matter, which makes one wonder how archaeology is performed in the future. I would presume there would be even more protests from indigenous populations not only having their graves robbed but their ancestors turned into reanimated zombies. She then proceeds to put “50 amps” into the head. 50 A! No wonder it explodes.

In the end one was left wondering whether the positive reviews were simply due to Noomi Rapace being in the film, which seems a bit unfair.


Nor glom of nit

The weather didn’t look very promising, so I thought it best to call J and check:
“Are you on?”
“Of course I am!”
Well then! Soon we were on the train to Linköping, J nodding off and I reading. As we arrived in Linköpingand looked for our bus, we were greeted by staff from the local public transport who showed us to the bus to Malmslätt and quickly instructed us how to buy SMS tickets. The entrance to the airfield was through the museum (where I had to briefly stop to photograph the Tp 85 that had appeared outside the museum since our last visit). And there it was: The Swedish Armed Forces Air Show 2012.

The weather had gotten worse, which not only affected the aerial displays, some of which—like paradrops and replica pioneer aircraft—had to be cancelled due to the high winds. I realised exactly how inadequately I had dressed as a horizontal rain started. J calmly dug out a wind- and water-proof ski suit for himself from his bat pack. He offered me an umbrella, but it threatened to be shredded by the wind, so back it went into the pack. Instead he took out a plastic bag for me to cover my camera with, as he was concerned it wouldn’t take well to the rain. At least my hearing protectors doubled nicely as ear muffs.

Not so much a picture of the 6-group Sk 60, but of the cloud formations that day.

The Saab Historic Flight, Gripen leading, followed by Sk 60 (which has never had a proper name), Tunnan and Lansen, finally flanked by Viggen and Draken. Teared eyes all over the airfield.

The flight on the ground, augmented by a Hunter.

I’ve always been fond of the MU-2, here in a target tug version.

No airshow is complete without a Spitfire.

But well, an airshow is an airshow, so even though my teeth occasionally chattered, we had a good time. We threaded a weaving path about the airfield, as I tend to be mostly interested in the static displays, where you actually have a chance to see the aircraft close up, whereas J didn’t want to miss any of the aerial displays, so wanted to be close to the flightline. I for my part tend to be a bit blasé about aerobatics and wasn’t all that impressed until the performance by the Baltic Bees, which had the right components for an aerial display: fast jets and a well-trained group. They had been preceded by the Swiss PC-7 team, which, while doing a nice display, had a speaker who had me groaning as he repeated for every manœuvre that it was executed with Swiss precision (well yes, but we got it the first time) and managed to mention the team’s web site probably eight times during the display.

Then of course, it was this was a PR event for the Armed Forces and the speakers, while knowledgeable about their subject (not necessarily a requirement at some Swedish air days I have been to), underscored what a great job it was to be a military pilot, or military anything, really, especially as you got to protect Freedom, Democracy, and all that in faraway countries. I did not appreciate the demonstration of a helicopter-supported attack on a terrorist holdout, heavy machine guns rattling off blanks into the audience during the entire display. (Yeah, I know, but we’ve talked about the cognitive dissonance thing before.)

Finally the day wound down and I decided it was time to have a look at the stand selling model kits. As I stood there going through the stacks (eventually going for RS Model’s brand new D-3800) the Saab Historic Flight started their engines one by one in the enclosure I was standing next to, in preparation for leaving. Hot exhaust washed over me. I was warmed in all respects though grateful I still had my ear protectors on. And then, with great roars they returned to their lair, and so did we.

The people from the bus company were standing by the bus stop, requesting extra busses according to need. I chatted a bit with the guy, who demonstrated that Linköping indeed is Air City, as he had initiated comments not only on the day’s display but also of aviation in the city in his youth. He also had some acerbic comments about Saab putting on a big show, but not having the courtesy of hiring coaches, instead letting the bus company cover the bill for that.