Right now I’m heading down to London to meet with my young son Aris and I just had a flash back to those month when I’d lived in Sweden from August 2010 to Feb 2012 and the last days in Scandinavia after spending just short of 18 months there. Those 18 months were both the most challenging period of my entire life, though for many weeks after my return to the UK I had a slight tinge of regret at the deviation from straight-line that was my life before I’d embarked on the whole chapter and where it had taken me. On reflection and from what I have learned about how the framing of life events can allow you to see benefits to what seemed like hell on earth and the biggest mess of my life at the time. Don’t get me wrong there were of course many smiles and laughter and experiences to appreciate but…!
Let’s get down to it though I’ll start the end…
The Last Quarter - Everyone Wants Sunshine
After parting company on not to friendly terms with my girlfriend there, a real beauty and the reason I found myself in Sweden in the first place, I fell through the cracks and somehow found myself living the basement of a large house on the other side town. The house was owned by the girlfriend of a real scoundrel of a South African fella I befriended at the language school I’d been attending. This chance acquaintance was like many things a blessing and course at the same time. I was blessed that I had someone to park myself after my relationship ended. It also allowed me the tranquillity to regroup and set up camp and plan the next chapter. Unfortunately the scoundrel was also quite manipulative and of entirely dubious character. I should have guess really after hearing him blatantly lying to his Swedish girlfriend that he was at work when really he was just hanging out with me while I worked as a vehicle diagnostic system install for Honda. The lies did come thick and fast after that to my detriment after I generously pulled some strings to get him work doing what I was doing too, that left me several thousand kronor out of pocket.
Before all that unfolded the association did however paved the way to me getting my own set of wheel s, an old Volvo 740 that although had seen better years it was reliable and allowed me to end renting cars and get around Sweden on my own steam. I must confess I was proud of the car as it represented my resourcefulness being reawakened out of the depths of despare. A bit like a hero of mine "James Bond" (the Daniel Craig version) or "Jack Reacher" using ones wits to turn a minus into a plus while behind enemy lines so to speak.
Back to the car, it was owned by the Scoundrel´’s girlfriend’s friend’s son. He’s got himself a much flashy vehicle. I think this was once his dad’s car and now it was just parked at the house out of the way. I expressed interest and soon the boy and his posse turned up. I kicked the tires, took it for a spin up the highway. On returning I wrestled with tires and made out that the wheel bearings where shot (… I had no know idea but it was worth a try). He did explain that it was prone to overheating as it had a problem with the radiator. In the end after throwing out random estimates of the cost of setting it right I squared with him. “Listen, at the end of the day you’ve already got a car and this is just taking up space, I’ll give you 1500kr right now and you’ll have got rid of it and you’ll have some really good beer money in your hand just like that”. It seemed with his entire posse there I’d read him right. He agreed and soon after I was the proud owner of my first Volvo and vehicle in a foreign country all for just what would equate to £150!!!
It came with it’s own Winter tyres which probably were worth 4 times what the car had cost me but they were at this point sitting in the boot. I headed to the local tyre shop as soon as I could as this beast need to be sea worthy for the following week. The owner of the shop was a rugged tall swede as expected who could probably lift the car with one hand and undo the wheel nuts with that other, then change the tyre without the use of machinery or tools by himself.
He looked over the tyres and noted that one would not be safe. He explained that if he were to change them it would explode after a time. This wasn’t what I wanted to hear at all. I had little budget left for new tires and this would be significant change to fix plus he had a waiting list. It sounded unlikely he’d be able to get it done today. I must confess my chin was about to drop fearing that it wouldn’t be able to get the beast going. I then spotted a framed photo of a leather clad rider on the wall behind him that was speeding round some bend on a race track. I’d also seen possibly the same bike in the corner of the workshop as I walked through. With a smile I pointed the photo and remarked that’s a nice bike is that you? That was it, his mood changed from being too busy to deal with this strange English that could speak the language to now a fellow race bike enthusiast. We traded banter where told me where the photo was taken, and his bike heroes from days past with me interjecting with bikes I’d had and also bikes I’d admired from “back in the day”. After that a many minutes he stopped and walked over to a pile of tyres in the corner of the workshop and casually explained that he mike have a part warn tyre that may fit my wheel to replace the dodgy one and a few minutes later after checking several he hauled one out and preceded to as slick as a formula one pit crew processed the exchange not only of the faulty tyre but also fitting all 4 wheels with the winter set too
Bingo… That was it. I was set. I thanked him profusely and said we have to keep in touch for the bike season.
And there you have it. All those clichés and says are not without truth. If you give other what they want, you’re well on your way to getting what you want.
To be continued…