Late April in Kiruna, we’re not often here. Not around to watch the slow melt of metres of snow around the house, or see the fall of more snow, or then watch the melt of that snow, and so on. So repetitive, and all in that damn bright light. It’s called ‘spring tiredness’ in Sweden.
Feeling rather tired we were slumbering in the middle of the day, taking a break from reading news of the world crisis, or taking a rest from one of our many self-improvement projects (music theory, drawing skills, book production, bird watching, whatever). Then there was a shake of the house and a muffled bang.
At a time when our world feels increasingly uncertain, a sudden ‘expected seismic event’ from the mine – an earthquake basically – can make us shudder in our shoes. The house shakes and the air thunders. The sky is falling the sky is falling! Oh – no -it’s just another ‘expected seismic event’, no problem. We slumber on.
But then, a steady tick, or gentle groan, repeated at irregular intervals. Unnerving in view of seismic events and cracks appearing in the basement, so we survey the room to check everything is still at right angles. It is. But still, tick tick. So quiet, not an earthquake, hardly anything really. The ear strains to the source of the sound, which is behind the floor-to-ceiling wood burner. Tick tick. Yup, that’s a drip.
Upstairs a pool of water in the bedroom leads us to the source of the leak from the roof. Up there a whole winter’s worth of snow is melting, and the path of least resistance for some of it is apparently through two of our ceilings.
That leads us to the really bad news: this means trying to find someone in Kiruna to mend it. Our previous attempts to get specialist help usually follow this pattern: ring a few companies and they all say they can’t come until tomorrow; the next day no-one comes; the next day we ring again and they say they’ll send someone, but no-one comes; we ring again – they say they can’t do that kind of repair and we need to look somewhere else; the next day we do a crash course in electrics/plumbing/drainage and work out how to do it ourselves. But this time it’s the roof, and if this is following the usual pattern, we don’t want to go there.
So today here we were, patiently, hopefully, waiting for our man. The required credit card in our hand. He’s never early – he’s always late, one thing we have to learn is you always have to wait. Waiting for our man.
Rolf waits, I go out for a walk, and when I return miraculously there are two men on the roof of our (wooden) house, smoking cigarettes. (Just remember this image when you next read something in the press about how sensible and law-abiding Swedes are.)
Rolf had appeared out the house and seen an empty vehicle and no-one there, and not thinking they might already be on the roof had returned inside.
Turns out there’s – you’d never guess it – there’s a hole. Tomorrow, one of them says – tomorrow he’ll come and fix it. Well we’ll still be here, waiting for our man.