Killing the neighbours hens – a right to feel guilt

This week has been VERY eventful, which considering it is Wednesday lunchtime is quite something. If they say life begins at 40, it unfortunately also ends…

Chickens eating in the garden

Sunday evening Mr M and I watch About a Boy – it is pouring with rain and it is a pretty uneventful evening to be honest. We hop to bed without a care in the world.  At three I wake up… I am feeling like I have forgotten something.  At 3.05 I realise what…. the neighbours hens that we are looking after have not been penned in for the night.  Mr M runs across in his PJ’s and wellies…. comes back after about 5 min, but why oh why I am lying in bed missing that very soothing click of the door locking. Unfortunately a very good reason no hens!  Ho goes back out and comes back sometime after 4 in the morning. No hens, but a lot of feathers.

Monday morning I get up early to look for hens, there is one in the hen house sitting on her egg (there were 5)… she looks worse for wear and is not the happy chicken she was running around at my birthday part last week.  She has very few (read none) feathers on her bottom, but except for that and a look of fear she seems ok.

Now proceeds, looking for the other 4, but we realise pretty quickly they have gone to hen heaven, or rather into a fox… Then it is feather clean up time. Speak to the neighbours who are very understanding and off to get 4 more hens, as they are pack animals.  The farmer says they should all play nicely so another 4 hens get picked up and placed in the hen house.

A few hours later we also get the ‘old’ hen into the hen house for the night and they all look like they are sitting pretty on nice straw and saw dust well fed and watered.

Tuesday morning – plenty of eggs and 4 bullies.  Overnight they have picked on their new friends bottom so much it is in a terrible state. Mr M and I realise we have to do the dirty deed and send her to hen heaven too.  This is not a job I EVER want to do again, albeit I can very much understand the statement ‘it is kinder to the animal’ now.  Now there are 4 hens – they seem happy and I will NEVER forget to close the hen house door at night again.

Just to ensure that Karma is in full working order on Tuesday night the cellar filled with poo water… Luckily our insurance company was very efficient.

I realise the little I have spoken about me highlights a lot the guilt I feel – this was justified guilt.  How awful can I be – one thing I forgot with some serious consequences for the poor chickens.

To make my self feel better I had the leftover raspberry crumble on greek yougurt and cherries for breakfast. Oh so delicous!


Is Lagom killing Sweden?

Sorry no food today – I had a weekend of millions of kids parties, a GREAT birthday party of my wonderful neighbours and last night I was soooo tired I ate all the kids goodie bags.  It does annoy me I eat them when they are not even sweets I like, but hey such is life.  I am currently pondering Swedish society….

In Sweden Lagom is seen as good – not too much and not too little; it is a word that most other languages do not have. You are not allowed to be too rich or too poor, or too flamboyant or too boring – you should be like everyone else and not stand out. The article below got published in The Local today which is rather exciting!

Is Swedens equality culture killing careers and growth

Why are the Swedes so stressed?

For the last 5 years, the number of people taking time off due to stress increased in Sweden, according to the Swedish work environment authority (Arbetsmiljöverket). With over 40% of work related illness being due to stress it is time to take a long hard look at ourselves. I love many aspects of working life here such as generous holiday allowances, maternity and paternity packages as well as a supportive government when it comes to child care, elderly care, health care etc in addition we work less than our European counterparts in most cases.  So what is making the Swedish workforce so stressed?

Is lagom and equality killing them off? I think it might be.

Having worked at a large Swedish company and numerous large American and British firms I think I see at least part of the problem.  In Sweden everyone should get the chance and time to give their opinion and be involved.  But are companies not actually there to ’do’ not just think and debate?

Maslows hierarchy of needs states that basic security is key – I think it is hard to dispute this.  People want to (I want to) feel like my life is secure and in today’s society that means having a regular income that covers basic needs such as food, housing, basic living etc. I think Swedish corporates cover this. But, then you also want to feel valued, to make a difference, do work that has a purpose and fulfill your own potential.

This, is my opinion (and experience) is where the Swedish work culture falls down.  Giving everyone a chance to voice their concern and give a view means decisions are never really made, sometimes they just happen but that doesn’t give people a sense of satisfaction.

Also all the things in a working day, week, month, year that employees should give feedback and views on is overwhelming. This makes it hard to prioritize and which in turn makes people feel uncomfortable; the fact that they discussed the toilet paper brand instead of the sales that needs to be made is not motivating.  Lacking in achievement, the guilt of never being enough is in my mind a negative stress – and it is this stress that makes people as it is expressed in Sweden – ’Hit the Wall’.

In English speaking countries they call it a nervous breakdown. Albeit not statistically checked it feels like hitting the wall in Sweden is a fairly common occurrence. I never met one person in my 12 years on the London job market who had a nervous breakdown.  Am I just lucky, ignorant or is there actually a stress epidemic in Sweden?

I am sitting here in the sunshine typing this because I realised I had enough. The negative stress sucked life out of me and I too realized I could have hit the wall if I didn’t make a change in my life. I am one of the lucky ones as I felt I had a choice but many don’t as covering basic needs means many people keep going. After hitting the wall it can then take months or even years to be able to handle even minimum stress again.

So why do I think lagom and equality is killing the Swedes?

Who wants to be a lagom good mother/father or employee I for one want to be GREAT. I know of one successful business woman who was consistently overachieving her sales budgets. When she was called in to her managers office for a meeting she expected a pat on the back or at least a “well done”. Instead, she was asked to take her foot off the accelerator and to slow down as she was showing up the others who were struggling to make their targets. Is this a culture of lagom?

Business leaders should be encouraging employees to fulfill their potential!

I’m not advocating that we all start to adopt a superiority complex by the way, far from it. I believe that everyone is equal and should be treated as such.

If managers and leaders created a culture where everyone could succeed and develop, I for one, believe that we could radically reduce these stresses.

We do not become more equal by letting everyone discuss everything – we become tired and overwhelmed.

My advice to companies out there is to support leadership – and when I say leadership I mean leaders i.e. people who make decisions and inform their employees. Of course listen to the key people for input but not everyone every time.

Create a vision and purpose for the organisation and create motivating, understandable goals that stretch and challenge your employees.

What else can we do to redress the balance?

  1. Set SMART motivating goals that people understand and that matter to the company.
  1. Allow people to do – brave leadership inspires brave employees. It means you are allowed to fail and learn and grow both as an individual and a business.
  1. Talk about what is important and what you can change and make better.
  1. Create a coaching culture based on two way feedback.


Today I am in a dipp, a little sad.  No idea why!  What to do with my life. When I am in a dip I used to eat Cheese Doodles / Wotsits.  These days I eat a vast amount of crisp bread/knäckebröd (which is Rye so a little better). But 10 slices with lots of butter and salt… It doesn’t make me feel better. I would like to work with food and FUN.  I have done about 15 stand up gigs and now need to get into action again… But how can I turn this into something where I can actually make enough money to live on? Any ideas?

If you met me today you probably thought I was on great form – and I wasn’t faking it!  But if I then get a few minutes to think I think not so happy thoughts… I think I will go to bed another day tomorrow – a good one where I am unlikely to remember why I felt down today.

On a good note I had the leftover Deluxe Taco’s for dinner, it was very tasty!  And it was the first dinner this year outside. Bring on the summer!


Taco Seasoning – Saturday morning… The day after

Right – Friday cosy time was a success and our new guests were VERY nice!  The only thing after a glass of wine my photo skills are not so hot… But the first part of making the slow cooked beef is to use Taco spice.  For this I have my own mix which I usually do with mince.  I spend most of my time at home in my pyjamas, usually with my hair tied up on top of my head… I took the colour out of the picture to tread carefully with social media and everyone looking so darn good it can be scary!

Taco Spice MixJMDayAfter

Dry fry:

2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin (spiskummin)

1/2 tsp cayenne (for kids version otherwise I would go for at least 1)

2 tsp paprika

After a few min add 2 tbs flavourless oil

1 crushed garlic clove

2tbs tomato puree

Then add mince – or piece of meat. Details to follow.

Grumpy or not Grumpy?

I was told that the comment “At home in the privacy of my own home it feels like it is easy to get away with behaving like a big shit. ” resonated with people. I think as a woman I feel like I behave much worse at home, I can be grumpy, condescending and in general now very nice. If someone turns up in the middle of this… I am like sunshine. I am warm, glowing, witty and in great form.  I do think that is a little unfair on my poor husband whom I believe to be much much more consistent in his feelings and moods.  I don’t dare say it is a woman thing almost, albeit I think it may be.  Do blokes actually not have the need to talk about things in the same way most women do?  Or is their canary yellow Porsche the equivalent of some women ongoing emotional ups and downs?


P.S. The Mr in my life does not have a Canary Yellow Porsche!

…bedtime discussions – one-sided!

Just started reading a copy of Morantologi #CaitlinMoran – I bought a new book quite somethign for me who always buy them from charity shops! I admire the courage and ability to just write about all the weird and wonderful things that actually goes on in a relationship/head. She starts with deciding to have the dicsussion in bed with her husband about her lack of a nick name. Not something I have done or worried about but falls perfectly into the I am just about to go to sleep – they are a asleep – discussion topics I feel the need to have when Mr. finally believes all is well and the world (and I) are quiet. For example:

I always remeber the things I didn’t do during the day which I should have done which I now want to share and therefore portion out a little blame on my other half.  I also put reminding me on his plate…. Attractive and smart trait. I think not!

Worrying about him cykling a 300km cykle race in June (it is now March!) falling off as he cycles in a group and destroying his face.

Thinking it was lycky I never fell in the stairs when the kids were young and I was carrying them down stairs.

I do realise thoughts or ’discussions’ add nothing positive to my life which annoys me of course because I claim to be a very positive go lycky and happy person. Sometimes I think all my friends would agree, but my husband would disagree. At home in the privacy of my own home it feels like it is easy to get away with behaving like a big shit. But I realise I don’t know how to say ’Dont use my toothbrush’ without sounding like a vindictive cow; but he does get to sleep with me…