London-Alnö

CrossingLanding in Gothenburg meant stepping into a new country! Sweden! Regardless to say but worth repeating it was the follow up and direct consequence of blind and true love. It just wouldn’t hold, to be apart any longer.

After travelling on the train between the two most important cities of the country I can but recall how I just could not understand and take in that the heat I found there was so intense that transpiration was taking the best of me and that this feeling g was shared by my fellow travellers despite open windows in all compartments!

Mona was there at the Central Station eagerly waiting for our reunion! The painful wait was over and we could look forward to a few weeks sharing each other’s company! We took ourselves to the next means of transport- a VW light blue 1300 commonly known as” beetle”! Mona sat at the driver’s seat and even if I would have wanted to help drive, I couldn’t, as I did not know how!

Our long north bound journey started, taking us out of Stockholm and passing through a number of towns on the way! There were many miles in front of us and I learnt they were about 40 Swedish ones! A Swedish mile, Mona explained was quite simply 10 kms. It did not matter, we were together and the towns of Uppsala, Gävle, Söderhamn and Hudiksvall had to be driven through before arrival at the destiny of our trip- Mona’s Sundsvall and her home on the island of Alnö!

My eyes tried to take in as much as possible especially when it wasn’t endless forests that met them. The road signs showing danger of wild elks crossing the road was if anything exotic. So was also the fact that night never dawned properly on us…

We crossed the much awaited bridge taking us to Alnö. This one I had seen on postcards and looked familiar. When we arrived on the island it was late. We had to keep quiet as I was shown my quarters in the basement where I shared my sleeping hours with a bath tub and a boiler!

Next day we would meet the parent’s. First mother Aime and about half an hour past 4 o’clock the father that made his way upstairs to the kitchen where dinner awaited and firmly shook my hand with the words- OLLE!

The brown velvet jacket

Saga     Vistos

I can only tell you that leaving Nevern Square was not easy. There were bills to pay, no right to the deposit and no new tenants to take over. Pepe was meant to look for new digs, even temporarily, but did not succeed. I finished up in Neil’s apartment near Earl’s Court’s Olympia in a sleeping bag on the floor! Neil was a working colleague from Tramp’s!

This was my situation as I awaited embarkation on Wednesday the July the 5th 1972 on MS Saga with arrival two days later in Gothenburg, Sweden! One of my most valuable possessions was a brown velvet jacket that I had bought from António, a Portuguese from the Porto area! This smart jacket would do fine for my trip and meeting Mona!

Finally the day came. I went on board and we sailed off to the new country. I was impressed to hear the Swedish language being trumpeted off the loud speakers. They were sounds, I already liked, having heard Swedish spoken innumerable times first by Åsa and Mona and later by Jannike and Ulla!

I was also impressed by the blonde kids on board that threw themselves on the pool without any measure of uncertainty! What confidence and well-being did they not express?

After arrival at about 6.30 on the 7th I had to get to the train station! The connection was done by a bus leaving the Skandia harbour at 6.50 and 7.45 to Central Railway station. The fare was 4 Swedish Crowns.

I got on the train and started my trip to Stockholm. The heat was unbearable and I could not for my life get it into my head that Sweden could be warmer than Britain. So I kept my jacket on!

 

 

The list

Sussie

So it was settled. After weeks of unbearable separation and innumerable telephone calls and exchange of letters a decision was taken!

I would travel to Sweden! The means of transportation it was decided, would be taking the boat from Tilbury to Gothenburg on M/S Saga! It was a new adventure as just half a year before Sweden was not on my map, all together!

Our letters should be revealing, but were they? On my mind I was trying to create a picture on my head where the people and the places could become visible! From Mona’s letters I understood that her father got up early (6 o’clock) so I should avoid ringing too late at night. Two things became also evident as they were a big worry for Mona! Drinking alcohol is very bad and only alcoholics drink and it is important not to be perceived as lazy!

Mona’s mother sent greetings and a kitten called Sussie was on every letter being Mona’s company as she wrote her letters!

Our love could not be questioned. It was strong and could not bare separations any longer! Mona worked as a telephone operator, a job she took in the summers. On her free time she went with Åsa to the Marina disco or a place called “Sommarnöje”! She complained that nothing was fun and that was also my state of mind as I wrapped up my time at Tramp’s.

I gathered some of my belongings and booked my trip with Swedish Lloyd for Wednesday the 5th of July 1972 arriving in Sweden on the 7th. From Gothenburg I would take a train to Stockholm where Mona would pick me up by car!

I got a shopping list containing the following items.

1/1 bottle of Whisky “Long John” for uncle Folke! (The reader will now wonder, as I did!)

Nailpolish (Mary Quandt) dark red

Wine gums and one Kit-kat!

That’s’ all folks…next stop Sweden!