Tuesday 23rd - Sunday 28th July: Sweden’s Magic to Germany’s Societies.

It feels great to have finally bought some water proof sailing gear to replace our makeshift stuff.


Spent the morning relaxing, watching the bees work. Super Swedish garden. 

Breakfast safari: Out hunting for mushrooms. Saw two massive hares. They didn’t see me camouflaged in my mushroom basket on my head. Embarrassing? 


Drew drew inspiration from mushrooms for floor heating and aircon designs.


This is what IKEA’s lingon berry jam comes from:


GOLD!!! We spotted a porcini (also known as a “Karl Johan”) and so rare. It could grow to 10 times its size with the forecast rain st night, so we left it.




Billions of water droplets seemed to glitter like snow and light up the road up to the cottage. 

No matter what time of the year, Sweden’s nature plays tricks with your eyes.

At night when all bees stopped work, all but one of the four boxes were quiet. That box had a hive of social activity. My best man Christer, said they may be worried if the queen abandoned them. 

There’s a small community of bee growers teach the art on the mainland. 


Tomorrow is our 10th wedding anniversary. 

Meeting Christer (a party animal who I was named after and who was my best man) was one of those meetings that easily snowballed into drawing out Bullaren village’s family & friends along many detours across the country side. Including tasting home made blueberry ice cream at a creamery and ending up at a harbourside pub in Grebbestad late at night. It all started with Schnucki giving me stern looks to limit our H&B (hello and goodbye) meeting to 2 hours, and trying to politely refuse invitations to hang out. Then his wife offered the finest elk meat stew from the local hunt and that we should go dig up fresh potatoes for the meal, finishing with “you can’t be that much in a hurry!”. We thought, ‘Elk,.. that’s wedding food!’ There was no turning back.

While picking potatoes we visited a guy who was building his own beach and a hut purely made for an indoor BBQ.

I’m glad the elk stew and the guilt trip worked because one of those detours included meeting Elke & Ingo who ran the place we got married at. They shared memories, coffee and inspired us to spend our wedding anniversary kayaking the archipelago.


200-600 AD, locals buried Scottish looters and their chieftains that they had chased back down the coast and murdered. To give your harassing enemy a proper burial tells me the locals were wiser about spirituality than we are today. I assume they didn’t want ghosts hanging around. 

Starting in Grebbestad, we paddled a bit further north than the map we were given. I lost my map and enjoyed being lost & figuring it out.

The archipelago, it’s beaches and one shallow where we could wade between two islands was breathtaking. Apparently, small Greenland sharks roam the area. The cold currents from Norway also allow coral to grow at 200m depth here. I wonder what else lives here where I grew up.

Schnucki said she had forgotten how beautiful Sweden is. 

Trying to get out of the kayak, I rolled over and fell in the water. After 7h of paddling, that was more of a nice cool dip than embrassing, though Schnucki avd bystanders couldn’t stop laughing.


This outfit had must-have appeal. Schnucki’s taste can be so conservative. But give me 3 days of gentle reminding, and I’ll get to buy things that’ll make her look amazing. 3 days is like a rule. Another trick is finding an adventurous shop assistant to collaborate with. All that’s missing is the photographer. 

Ultimately she always admits I have good taste.


Dinner with views from on Resö island. My potato rosti cake was infused with cheese! Great combination with pork cutlet. 


While driving 3:30am to the airport, we saw an elk mother followed by two sets of ears, like shark fins swimming through the tall grass (her calves). 

In Sweden you sometimes see thin layers of mist hovering above the fields. They coloured beautifully in the night sun.

Gothenburg’s airport was so relaxing. The room where you get items x-rayed had benches to sit to help you undress, spaces to unpack, white fabric in the ceiling to look like clouds and white timber cabinets to hide technology.

Flying above Sweden, I took these photo to help illustrate why there is so much potential for magic / spiritual wonders, and untapped inspiration for good design. While this shows photos from south sweden, you’ll see that societies are predominantly surrounded by nature they have a deep appreciation for. The ancient knowledge has a chance to live on despite the threat of globalisation, consumerism and other forms of short term thinking. Direct access to ancient wisdom in their backyard and knowledge about how nature works is key to happiness, wellbeing, curiosity and inspiration. I like how Alistair calked Sweden rustic because so much of it feels like it’s in a phase of experimentation or like no one has even started yet (when you observe nature at work all by itself with the intention to draw inspiration from it). There’s room for evolution, and since last year I just wanted to keep evolving. 

In the Swedish national anthem there is a well remembered line that my heart resonates with and means “yes, I want to live, I want to die in the Nordic region”:

“Ja jag bill leva, jag bill dö I Norden”

Arriving in Germany, so much feels finished, highly organised and it’s culture is so refined. Rules and established ways seems restrictive & a stressor for people.

Hamburg’s miniature museum replicated whole regions of the world to the intricacies logistics of the airport (with flying planes landing, taxiing to their gate and back again to take off). 

2 brothers got a bank loan to build this and it’s a huge success drawing millions of visitors yearly.

Hidden details like couples making love in flower fields and tiny hotel rooms seemed at first like the model makers were showing their sense of humour & displaying society’s peculiarities. 

But when they designed their own city and we found cows wearing scuba gear, grazing at the bottom of a river and representations of the New World Order & Fed’s currency printing press, I wondered if each installation had an conceptual-artistic intent? 

I love how the electromechanical workings were made visible in the walls as an exhibit, including the control room. I felt right at home in the creativity and this is what we tried doing at the Powerhouse Museum.

Going back stage, we saw dark experimental exhibits, reminiscent of themes from the Matrix: people being fed by tubes and women giving birth on conveyor belts. 

The childhood fantasies of playing with LEGO and playing Simcity matured and turned into art. I left wondering:

  • What is perverted / accepted? 

  • What is real? 

  • Who’s influencing who? 

  • Is there a hive mind? 

  • How are our peculiar behaviours used by / entertaining others?

I wonder if too many artists get stuck in unearthing the sinister stuff and can’t evolve to highlight things that lift people and makes us reflect on what’s good that we can do.

Got fed up with men’s shoe colours being that of either:

  • Dead grass

  • Cancer & tobacco 

  • Vomit

  • Concrete

Why should I have to be a woman, child or gay to wear colour? In the 1700’s men’s and women’s styles were an explosion of colour & styles that influenced each other. Our socio-economic times are no more crazy than back then, but styles have since been influenced more by military dress code and workwear, not the joy of life. More men should set a better example. 

It took 20 min to convert the shopkeepers from judging my choices. The atmosphere went from heavy to light.

Ironically, I felt more man for having stuck to doing things my way than conventions.


Warnemünde beach: Seeing one naked person walk towards you on the beach is a lot to process suddenly. Seeing more people naked feels normal. Came back this morning for a swim in the North Sea. So cold it hurt but we got used to it.


Family gathering with summer cakes & coffee. Then sailing around Bliesenrade with Onkel Ingo.


Driving deeper north: Monday 22nd July 2019

We loved Volvo’s human centred design as much as we questioned the way Ford celebrates technology in its cockpit by giving you cool stuff but which makes driving a new car hassle. Yet Ford owns Volvo.

Hertz upgraded us to a smooth and powerful Volvo V40 Crosscountry. 


We arrived deep in the forest at our first Air BnB and found more dinner growing in the backyard. 

The sky was so much brighter just 1.5h drive north in Strömstad. This is 9pm at night, with overcast:


Rustic is spectacular in the sun:

Outdoor hot shower under the apple tree on the fine soft grass, and a loo in the forest.


Open fireplaces are so easy to start here vs in Sydney. The air here is dry and the birch bark ignited like cardboard first, enveloping the timber perfectly in fire.


A home that smells of hardwood, fire and leather are what I wish for the first house we build / restore.

Marstrand on Sunday

The weather wasn’t great for picnic on the water in the archipelago, so we visited Marstrand, the royal bath place from 1800’s. The fort is garrisoned with musketeers staging shows.

I’m so tempted to play “capture the flag” and watch what happens when I run off with it! 

But I’d probably get to a dead end like this, facing the Baltic Sea. I love seeing the effect of the ice age though, such smoothly polished rocks.


The view from my family’s holiday house in Glose. The windmill on the hill stopped milling local wheat varieties in 1957.

The SAAB though 20 years old, was so refined to drive. Just beautiful.

Foraging & design: Sun 21 July

Started 4:30am with breakfast by just picking wild berries & more mushrooms. Blue berries grow everywhere. They are my fave berry bush and inspiration for my ring design. 


Playing with my food, as you do. 

Maybe it’s a ring.


Any thoughts?

There’s so much mystery & potential for magic here on the islands. 


And rain drops to inspire more jewellery.

Evidence of when the Vikings switched to Christianity. This tombstone is not a cross yet. It’s a rune in the shape of an arrow pointing to the god of Thor. And the letter “T” in the runic alphabet. The cemetery my grands lie in dates back to when Kungälv was the biggest Scandinavian city in Viking times.


I just snuck right up on 2 badgers 🦡 in the midnight sun. They were eating wild raspberries. I could almost touch them. I’ve never seen them in the wild before. Also a baby deer 🦌 (only half a meter long). So tiny. 

Gastronomic supersized landing: Sat 20 July

Family welcome, so happy. I also missed the ferries for so long. I love it how the ice age created this landscape.

This is what I’m talking about. Tallest sandwich cake (smörgåstårta) I ever seen. No shortcuts! Gluten & dairy free. The baker vowed “first and last time I ever do this.” :)

Princess cake with green marzipan & vanilla cream & jam sponge cake.


Visiting the islands around Glose with family, I learned a lot about who on the mainland owned or contributed to each island. Each little red hut and hundreds of tiny islands are their own story. Love those stories of perseverance.

Foraging for tomorrow’s breakfast in the midnight sun. Found chantarell mushrooms.