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IN SWEDEN

Sweden had the reputation of being an expensive place in which to live and it did not take the Australians long to discover this. Some sort of low cost living arrangements would have to be made, as it would not be possible to live on the bare and unheated vessel for some time. A small portable hut was hired and the late owners generously offered a space in their yard where it could be set up. They also allowed the group to use their shower facilities, the use of which became one of the most important events of the day, as, in addition to getting clean, it was a good way to get warm after working in the icy conditions.

The hut became not only the living quarters, but the centre of all activities. Everything except the actual restoration work was carried out there, discussions and planning, often well into the night after the evening meal. As food was expensive, each time a visitor came from England they were asked to bring a food parcel with them, so at times the hut looked more like a larder than a living space. People came and went, but all squeezed into this tiny hut, some sleeping in makeshift bunks, others on the floor.

None of the party could speak Swedish, but as most people in Sweden can speak some English, communication was possible. Also one of the group had previously lived in Denmark so could speak a little Danish, which is not unlike Swedish. The late owner's son enjoyed speaking English and, being interested in what was being done, became a very useful contact with his knowledge of local suppliers. He could tell if rates or charges were reasonable and, over a period of time, became a very good friend to all involved.

 


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