It was stormy and grey on the streets of Stockholm where I was visiting family last week, so for a change I was photographing the glow of a Scandinavian Christmas, but indoors. Tastefully designed, as you would expect, Christmas here knocks the stuffing out of the predictable old tat that it often brings out . . .
My dear old Dad loved Christmas and did his very best to provide a magical morning of surprises under the tree. During the years when he was left alone with four girls under the age of 9, his inner child often went shopping for the kind of presents that any small boy would adore. We girls got cowboy suits, holsters and dart . . .
In our house, it was common enough to find girls lying down in dark rooms listening to poetry sung by an older, Canadian man. My own battered copy of Songs of Leonard Cohen, with the sad face on the front, would throb away, the soundtrack to my homework, so annoying to my father. Leonard Moan he called him We girls hid our records and . . .
We head out west where the roads are small and everything takes time. We arrive in the rain of course and the van winds across the mountains of Connemara as we aim for Killary Harbour. The family are gathering with a small Swedish Grandnephew as the centre of it all. He is a smiling bundle of energy with a thing for household and domestic . . .
My sister is honey coloured so she tones in beautifully with traditional Swedish architecture. From the old town of Gamla Stan to the hilly cobbled streets of Sodermalm, the Swedes seem to favour warm Italian tones. That's the first surprise I wanted to share with you. Maybe this is why . . .
They were born here on the lake last spring. Swans often don't survive that first year, foxes or mink take the young eventually. These two are about 9 months old, hiding amongst the reeds, tall and strong. My own chicks have been here for a few weeks. All six footers with beards and long legs, they are . . .
I'm in Micky Macs place. It's been disturbed by party goers, doors open to the yard, a gentle sea breeze blowing through windows, cracked and broken. I once visited him here in his smokey room, walls blackened from the wood fire. I sat on a settle bed in a wollen blanket while he sat on that once pink arm chair with a once yellow . . .