A typical spring morning in our living room. A bright glare from high piles of snow reflects into the room and the sun warms us through the triple glazed windows. We’re enjoying a slow start to the day, reading, drinking coffee. Waxwings flutter around the rowan berries in the trees outside.

A Haydn symphony is playing in the background. Rolf’s absorbed in his book.

Outside, just a metre from the window, a machine completely blocks the light from the window, a huge glowering monster that roars and bleeps. Inside there’s a child at the wheel. Well maybe he’s 12. Oh I suppose he could be 17. Anyway he’s obviously been driving these huge machines since he was three because his skillfull manoevering of the beast is plain to see.

The monster’s scooping arm towers above us, then swoops down on its prey and back up to the sky in one smooth movement. Then it bleeps furiously, backing away like a mad animal. It’s removing snow that’s begun to block the street.

I look behind me, through another window, where a lorry is parked. The back of the lorry receives the snow and will later drive it out of town to dump it. The snow-clearing machine will take five minutes to fill up the lorry. So, while he’s waiting, the driver of the lorry is catching up on social media, alternately staring at his phone and out the window.

We’re reading, and listening to the tranquil music. The driver is calmly reading, passing the time. The monster roars up and down devouring the snow, it’s massive iron arm so close to the glass of our window, hard steel and vulnerable glass so close in contact you might think you were in danger, sitting on your soft sofa, sipping coffee. But you know it won’t, and you aren’t, because this is Kiruna. It’s a typical spring morning in our living room.