Floating building, floating grasses

The main shows one of the huge wooden buildings at the station in Sundsvall, where very big changes are underway. Where the forecourt parking used to be there is a deep and wide hole in the ground, and this building has been dug out from underneath, rather than been raised up - I think! I was fascinated that the whole building was resting on steel girders, which in turn were resting on these Jenga-like constructions of wooden blocks (reminiscent of railway sleepers but thicker). I was amused to see the tiny clamps that were part of the arrangement, looking most inadequate, but what do I know? You can see one in the thumbnail.

We put Caroline and Grace on the train taking them south to Arlanda and a bit of a wait for the plane back to London and quarantine. We have loved having them here and became more relaxed together regarding covid, as the days went by. It is lovely to have concentrated time here with our relations, it's very different to when we drop into their regular lives. Being with us in the village offers few distractions, and daily life is quite different to life in London and so on.

We rang our friends who live in Sundsvall and discovered two tired out people who have been "entertaining" in a similar way and were alone for the first time in a week. We had a really good visit with them, relaxed, undemanding, and it included a road trip out to the wild, forested area where Roger grew up. Such a pristine wilderness, and so close to the city - I have never been there before and it was a treat to have a guide who knew the place so well. The extra shows part of the "virgin stream" as it's called here, meaning an untouched, clean and left-alone waterway. The water was chilly and utterly clear - and we saw, for the first time ever, pearl mussels lying in the stream bed with their mouths wide open and filtering the water for nutrients.

Roger told us he had done an inventory for one of the authorities when he was a lad. They were incredulous that there were so many colonies of these rare mussels and were disinclined to believe him, till they went and checked. There were more mussels here than in the whole of the rest of Europe! They were beautiful to see, dark, purple shells and grey mouths that close quickly when you pick them up to look closely. They relax when you put them back... and they can be 200 years old, you can read the rings in their shells just like you read trees.

It was a really good trip out, we tried to invite them out for a meal but they often feel like I do, disappointed by the standard of the food served. In the end we ate at their place and shared the food they were planning to eat - cooked on the gas barbecue outside. What a blessing it is to have friends where the time spent together just rolls along in a gentle rhythm, with conversations effortlessly ranging over things that interest us, and matter. Keith drove us home in the almost darkness (!) and we left the washing that had been hung out in the morning to its own devices till the next morning, and went straight to bed without blipping.

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