September can be a wonderful autumn month, when the trees are on fire with colour and the ground has finally dried out a bit from last winter’s snow. This year, however, we’ve been sitting in a dense fog for weeks, and when the fog moved on, it rained. Our plans for walking, fishing, picnicking in the hills, all gone. I don’t like to be scared off by weather, but I do think that cold wetness can be endured if necessary, but otherwise is to be avoided. I learnt this from our neighbour’s hunting dog who refuses to go out in the rain.

So one’s thoughts turn to a fire in the woodburner, and a good book. I’m a bit short on these at the moment, so I picked up ‘Tales of Gnomes and Trolls’, a bargain from the charity shop from last Christmas. A Swedish troll is a bit of a mystery. They can look just like a person and live alongside the rest of us, hiding their telltale tail under baggy clothing. Some trolls are sneaky and unpleasant, but some can be rather charming. In one story in the book a troll demands 1,000 in payment for a special cure. ‘1000 what?’ the boy asks, ‘1000 raspberry toffees’ says the troll.

The other thing that bad weather brings is remembrance of DIY jobs that have needed doing for a very long time. A ceiling needing re-painting, a blind replacing, a shelf re-fixing. It was day five before we ran out of excuses for doing the DIY. The ceiling is about to receive its second coat, though the shelf is still lingering on the floor. Last week I googled ‘blinds, Kiruna’ and found there was a Kiruna company selling blinds, and not only that but it was within walking distance. Opening hours were 9-5, with, of course, an hour for lunch. So we walked round to the address, which appeared to be just a house, and round the back, in a small outbuilding, saw signs of the blind trade – there were packages of blinds stacked outside. But the door was locked.

So back we walked, in the rain, and Rolf rang the number. A man replied, and in response to our mild accusation that the shop had been shut, said, ‘We’re open on Mondays. Come next Monday.’ Obviously anyone who would normally have bought a blind from this shop would know it was only open on Mondays, and now we knew too.

So back we went this Monday, and walked straight in. Many houses in Kiruna have these large wooden outbuildings which would have been stables, or stores of some kind, or toilets. Now they’re used in other ways, and this one, we supposed, was a blind shop. The space looked like a large garden shed, with tools and workbenches,though it was hard to work out exactly what business was being run in here. There was a man perched on a stool at the end with a laptop computer at his side.

Clearly there couldn’t have been much of a stock of blinds (so little space), and there was no display either. Tentatively we made our request, for a particular size of blind. ‘Aha,’ said the blind man, ‘colour?’. We only wanted white, but the man showed us five different shades of white. So we chose the whitest, by now wondering how long it was going to take to order this one small blind from his supplier. ‘Aha,’ said the blind man, ‘tomorrow then? about midday?’ This man, who was only a seller of blinds on Mondays, could make one to size and provide it the next day.

When we collected our blind, the man didn’t ask for any money, so Rolf asked him how we should pay. He didn’t want paying then he said – he’d send us an invoice, sometime next week. The smiling blind-maker peered at us over his glasses. And the price? 950 raspberry toffees of course.