I have been doing last-minute book edits, and catching up on all the stuff I haven’t been doing while doing last-minute book edits. It occurs to me that I haven’t had a proper holiday all year. No wonder I am so unproductive and stupid at the moment.
Possibly related, I was looking round the sites of estate agents in Lapland. Jorun, who comes from those parts, sent me a photograph taken in Ammarnäs at noon on New Year’s Eve, when it was between -25 and -30. This is rather discouraging. It is even more discouraging for geeks who look at the exif data and find it took 1/4 of a second at f2.8 to make the exposure.
On the other hand, you could buy a really quite pretty little farm there for £30,000, though of course most of the land is forest. If that’s too isolated, there is “a cheaper bungalow”:http://www.hemnet.se/beskrivning/hemnet/35986 in Moskosel, a place I dimly remember driving past, and wondering why anyone should live there. It is close to the Pite Älv, one of the most beautiful rivers I know. It costs maybe £20,000 and would make a truly wonderful retreat to write in. But one would have to have a car up there, and there is always the matter of winter.
Otherwise, there is a farm out towards the Norwegian border 600 miles south of these two, which I may even have visited. It is certainly very close to a place where an extremely drunk person took me home and tied a fly for me. And there must, somewhere, be the ideal cottage for me, with a balcony from which I can see a river with trout in it.