• Sweden edition
 
My Sweden: Rural Skåne
Skåne: Former cop pursues pig-barn 'dream'

Skåne: Former cop pursues pig-barn 'dream'

Published: 22 Mar 2013 13:56 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Mar 2013 13:56 GMT+01:00

For this week’s My Sweden, The Local heads south and talks to former US Marine Ron Tibbs, who lives on a secluded farm near Kristianstad where he's converting a 100-year-old pig house into a traditional Swedish café.

Tibbs, a 49-year-old American, left the Marine Corps to work as a policeman "chasing the bad guys" in California. Now retired after being injured in the line of duty, he finds himself happily married and living in Skåne, southern Sweden.

"I love it down here, I couldn't ask for more," Tibbs tells The Local.

"It’s beautiful, the people are friendly and welcoming, and it's such a tranquil location. What I love about Sweden is that they don't overdevelop things. The countryside is so uncluttered. If it doesn't need to be developed in Sweden - it isn't."

Tibbs lives with his wife Jeanette in a house by the Oppmanasjön lake midway between the towns of Kristianstad and Årkelstorp ("I call it Erkelville,” Tibbs jokes, "My Swedish pronunciation has a long way to go").

According to the Ohio native, it's hard to find a more scenic setting than his own isolated corner of Sweden.

"The view from each window of our 100-year-old farm house is like taking a trip to a nature reserve. Elk, deer, foxes, badgers, countless bird species, wild boar... It's just so peaceful. It's hard to describe the sensation of hearing nothing yet feeling connected to everything around you," he says.

But it's not only Tibbs and his wife enjoying the serenity. Tourists and Swedes alike have ended up on his doorstep curious to find out more about the nearby buildings and the idyllic scenery.

"We've had people pull up in their cars asking if our house was a restaurant," the 49-year-old says.

When the couple realized the barns near their home were being converted into a set of shops and boutiques, they snapped up the opportunity to stake their own claim on one of the stables.

"It dawned on us that we should open an old-school fika place, not like Starbucks or anything, more like the kind of fika you’d have if you visited your grandparents. Proper Swedish coffee and cakes. So we got started," Tibbs explains.

IN PICTURES: The coffee-shop, mid-restoration

Now, the structure is in place for the café – to be named Fika Hos Lillan – and Tibbs has toiled on the transformation from pig house to coffee house, taking special care to source material from around the region to maintain that southern Swedish feel.

He plans to add a book exchange, authentic old furniture, and has already collected bricks, barn posts, and beams from other abandoned structures in the area.

The building, like their home, backs onto the lake, and a whole host of bike tracks and walking opportunities.

"We thought we'd provide the nature-lovers with the picnic food before they leave, or that much-needed coffee afterwards."

However, plans for the August launch took a turn for the worse when the couple's personal funding ran out and Tibbs was refused a bank loan.

IN PICTURES: Take a walk around Ron’s farmground, and see the animals and nature at their wildest

"I found out that I'm not recognized by the banks because I have no employment history in Sweden. We’re looking into the possibilities of crowd sourcing at the moment to continue with the dream."

"Or maybe we could feature on one those reality shows where they film a renovation project – we'd be up for that...

"You don't know anyone in the business, do you?" he adds with a laugh.

While he admits a TV programme might be a long shot, Tibbs is content to be living in his own paradise with spring and its opportunities not far away.

"We certainly enjoy our little corner of Sweden, hopefully we'll inspire others to visit," he tells The Local.

"There’s no place like this around."

SEE ALSO: A list of The Local's past My Swedens

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

14:48 March 22, 2013 by Ronald_Tibbs
Great article, Oliver!

Jeanette and I couldn't feel more honored and we're glad to be able to share our little slice of paradise with others.

I particularly like the Cop - Pig reference. I'm sure journalists are licking their chops to get to use a headline like that. :))

Anyway, thanks again and we'll be sure to keep you up to date on the project. Look for your invitation to the Private Launch Party!
20:24 March 22, 2013 by gerrielee
Hi Ron and Jeanette. Really great article! Such a beautiful place to fulfill your dream. Hope you can get "Fika Hos Lillan" back on track very soon! How do I make a donation to the project? Best wishes for completing it very soon!

GTipton from WA State
01:23 March 23, 2013 by Pat Tibbs
Terrific story. Am looking forward to investing in Fika his Lillan.
10:45 March 25, 2013 by Logic_and_Reason
I will try to visit next time I am in Skåne. Such a beautiful area and the farm looks wonderful!
18:43 March 25, 2013 by tinafina
Good luck Ron and Jeanette! I just blogged about your great idea at www.livinglavidalagom.blogspot.com. Hope it goes well because I'm looking forward to having some coffee there!
Today's headlines
Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

UPDATED: Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. READ () »

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop
TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind. File photo: TT

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop

Stockholm-listed telecom operator TeliaSonera on Wednesday said profits had fallen in the first quarter, but hoped offering customers more data solutions in the future would turn things around. READ () »

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'
Fredrik Reinfeldt. File photo: TT

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday urged young voters to head to the European parliamentary polls on May 25th "to cure the European disease of nationalism". READ () »

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg at the first quarter press conference. Photo: TT

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson on Wednesday announced a drop in sales but posted a sharp rise in first-quarter profit, which nonetheless fell shy of analyst predictions. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping brawl
Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals

Swedish police fear that several people involved in a brawl in eastern Sweden on Monday night may be seeking revenge after two brothers were shot dead. READ () »

Sponsored Article
Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden
The town of Västervik.

Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden

Ask a Swede, and they are likely to say that their favourite holiday spot is in the southeast of Sweden. Eastern Småland and Öland offer a smörgåsbord of all the things dearest to the Swedes - from the beloved children's book author Astrid Lindgren to deep forests, long sandy beaches, perfect spots for that all-important 'fika', and a surprising amount of space, peace and quiet. READ () »

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth
Swedes enjoy hot dogs and cherry blossoms in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth

The sun is set to stick around and temperatures could climb into the twenties over the weekend, Swedish meteorologists said on Wednesday READ () »

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

A 21-year-old man confessed on Wednesday to sex crimes against eight children at a day care where he was working as an intern. READ () »

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles
An unrelated bodybuilder. File photo: Ann Törnkvist

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles

Police in Sweden's south who hauled a muscular man in for steroid testing have had their knuckles rapped, after it was ruled that big biceps cannot be grounds for narcotics suspicions. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Advertisement:
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

718
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com