The Subbotnik

When we came up to the cabin last week, there was a sign on the information board: "Clean-up Day. Saturday, July 28. 10.00. Decided on at yearly meeting. Everyone shows up. The board."

Well, I've seen more polite invitations for me to donate free work coming from students. They couldn't have sent an email around, informing people? Asking what day would be best? Maybe saying "please?"

The night before was the Olympics opening gala, and so I didn't get to bed until 2 am. I crawled out of bed and made some coffee at 9, and heard that they were already at work. I ignored them until the dot of 10, got out my work gloves and ambled over.

There were a good dozen people here, some with trimmers clearing out the bush, and the rest raking everything together. Two guys were using a chain saw to saw through some of the larger bits of wood. I greeted the folks I knew, and dove in.

Ten minutes later it was break time, since they had already started well before. At least the board had organized cold beer and water. It was nice to chat with some of the neighbors, ones from the other end of the colony that we haven't seen in years. The German spoke shyly to me - "I think I saw you on TV last year." Yup. And the new neighbors asked if they had heard me in Swedish radio just the day after I had introduced myself to them. Yes again, I had been up to give a talk and a bunch of interviews, had sort of a blitz of Swedish media, radio, TV, and newspaper. My!

After about half an hour the bossy, nosy wife of the board speaker (she is the vice speaker, keeps it all in the family) came around to check on who all showed up. She came up to me to ask me who I was - I've only had this house for about 16 years and she bitched *bitterly* about the shenanigans of our son for years. Guess I'm not as famous as I thought :) I told her, and she excused herself for not working, she just had an operation. I think she should have stayed home and rested.

Anyway, had a nice chat with the neighbors on both sides, and got a big bear hug from the Italian guy who was happy to see me, as I always stop to chat with him when I see him in his garden. On the dot of 11 I excused myself, said that I had an appointment, and hurried home to change. As I drove out, they were all standing around, talking. Must be good for getting to know your neighbors, although I know a number of people who didn't go because they hated the rude tone of the sign.

My appointment? Running through the "loppis", the flea markets, looking for a new office chair. Got a great one with armrests for 100 SEK, that's about 12 €, with the euro being so low against the krona. But still a great bargain.

The title of this article, Subbotnik? Go look it up in the Wikipedia.

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