This is mostly a blog about SF and Science, I live in a
sleepy suburb of Stockholm and nothing much happens around here. Last week,
however, was something else.

It started last Friday with work colleagues
getting strange texts from their loved ones and it ended this Friday (today) with
sub-machine guns in the garden. Between times it was fairly quiet, though…

Last Friday was the end of one of our more dramatic domestic
weeks. Things that can go wrong in a
house were going wrong. The boiler
cut out leading to cold showers and a blockage in the main drain caused a flood
of things that normally go down the toilet visiting our basement bathroom. No
danger of even a cold shower until it was fixed by 24 hour plumbing service
that our house insurance didn’t cover. So it was TGI Friday until the
aforementioned texts.

The texts started just after three o’clock with reassurances
from family members that all was okay when, of course, everything should be okay. Social media and the
internet were consulted and the enfolding drama of the lorry attack in central Stockholm
reached us.

My wife was returning from abroad, so I tried to locate my
daughters. No answer from their phones. I warned my wife and it transpired both
girls were out and about in central Stockholm, but thankfully unharmed. One
wisely heads out of town on a bus before all public transport is stopped. The
second gets trapped in the Central railway station and needs to be rescued. A
long walk for father and daughter ensues. Thinking we were at a safe distance
from similar events in London a few weeks before, it was quite a shock to have it happen so close to home. Though
if you track back a few years the same street was subject to a potential
suicide bomber, who only succeeded in blowing themselves up, rather than their
intended targets.

So today, Good Friday and a public holiday, we were hoping
for relaxation. And then a police car appears. The number of police cars
visiting our neighborhood in the last 20 years is less than the number of
fingers on my hand –and they never have their sirens blazing or their lights
flashing like this one did. It is soon
joined by another, and then an unmarked police car arrives and blocks off our

We stare out of our front windows and observe a large police
van loitering just round the corner. What is
going on? We hear the helicopter above and thus almost miss the initial appearance
of the police dog scampering unhindered through our garden/yard. It is
immediately followed by a posse of police officers in and out of uniform but
all armed with automatic rifles. They rendezvous outside our front gate, leaving
it wide open. (This leads to a wild theory that we have now discovered why we
often find the aforementioned gate open at the end of the day when it is closed
in the morning

We try to attract the policemen’s attention but
they are focused on the task in hand. Local media gossip reveals that a car
that was involved in a robbery a mile kilometre or so up the road has crashed close
by and the thieves have dispersed into our immediate neighbourhood. We are
saying goodbye to an American friend from Chicago, so she leaves with a
different impression of Sweden from the one she might have had. Though she is hardly
fazed by the drama, given her home city.