Impress the family with a sanitized Swedish summer

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Impress the family with a sanitized Swedish summer

Tipping Point: Kathleen Harman and her high-heeled shoes have never really fallen in love with Swedish summer houses. But down by the water in Stockholm she's found Mälarpaviljongen - a civilized way to enjoy summer in Sweden.


The season is nigh when invitations to friends’ summer houses abound. So now is the time to develop a contagious illness or a malingering great aunt in Bognor Regis or Orlando, basically anything to avoid actually accepting said invitations.

Staying at a summer house is a wonderful experience if you actually like primordial sanitation, vicious mosquitoes, paralysis-inducing leeches and being surrounded by ‘nature’, which to me simply equates to more excrement and bigger, hairier and possibly slathering-at-the-mouth creatures lurking in the bushes.

And to prove this point, I would like to tell you a cautionary tale about a very recent trip out beyond the suburbs. For the most part, I have managed to live quite contentedly for some years within the inner confines of the Stockholm underground system and rarely venture further afield, partly through inertia but mainly through a deep mistrust for all things untamed by man. Did God create Lycra or control top knickers? No, he did not. I rest my case.

So, I have no idea why I agreed to a nature ramble out to a summer house – one can’t really ramble in heels, and I would rather been seen dead than in a pair of comfortable shoes.

Anyway, I had staggered on sinking heels for only a matter of yards when I practically stumbled over a wildlife scene that would have made David Attenborough reconsider his retirement options. There, not even in the undergrowth, was a lesser clad female of the porn star variety practising her ‘fluffing’ technique on an even lesser clad male of the aging porn star variety who was wearing very little except a gold medallion and a smug expression.

The woman had her back to me and I think was oblivious to my presence – her partner who was quite clearly facing my direction seemed in no particular hurry to point out that they had company. When she realised, her alarming joke boobs flounced off into the bushes with the rest of her following some time later. Then the man stalked - no, perhaps that’s an unfortunate word to use in this instance - walked, off in the other direction.

So, the moral of this story is don’t go down to the woods today unless you want a big unsavoury surprise. Needless to say, I won’t be venturing out to the wilderness for the foreseeable future. Should I feel the need for a bit of greenery and water frontage, I will simply pop down to the Malarpaviljongen on Norr Malarstrand where I can marvel at nature from behind my Prada sunglasses and a large bottle of chilled cava.

I do hesitate slightly in recommending this gorgeous outdoor café/ bar, only because it is my absolute favourite place in Stockholm and I don’t want it overrun by under-clad porn star types. But apart from them, it is the perfect place to bring just about anyone who may be visiting, including malingering great aunts from Bognor Regis or Orlando.

Malarpaviljongen, Norr Malarstrand 64. tel 08 650 8707,


Dirk Diggler Dining 0/10

Ohmygodthisissoamazing Gasping Guest Award 10/10

Kathleen Harman


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