Jack of all trades Lindgren

This particular Jack is actually a Jill. Or, to be more precise, an Anna-Stina

She grew up in the village of Lögås, on the mainland, with her mother and three half-brothers. At 21, she married Karl-Erik, a tailor’s son who was 13 years her senior. They had three children: Christer, Olle and Kerstin.
Anna-Stina and Karl-Erik made their home in the Grundsund building now known as Lindgrens hus i Krögen (Lindgren’s house on the bend), which now houses a café and b&b, but is perhaps best known as the tobacconist in Saltön, the popular Swedish TV-series that was filmed on our island.

During the 50s, the Lindgren family’s two businesses – a dairy and a taxi firm – kept Anna-Stina very busy indeed. She manned the tills and phone lines until she old enough to take a driving test. After that, she was always on the road. Often in and out of different cars, Anna-Stina needed a safe place to keep her driver’s licence and found the perfect spot in her bra.

Outside of work, Skaftö’s first female taxi driver loved nothing more than cooking and baking, but as passengers took priority over food, she often had to prepare meals in advance and nip back to finish them between driving gigs. For the most part, this tactic worked well, but it soon became apparent that bread doughs have a tendency to spill out across kitchen counters if they’re not knocked back in time.

Anna-Stina loved driving and she rarely took her foot off the accelerator. One time, while driving a heart attack victim to the hospital in Uddevalla, she overtook another car at such speed that she failed to notice she’d raced past a police car. The officers followed her all the way to A&E, ready to slap a hefty fine on the ‘reckless driver’, but when it turned out she’d saved the passenger by getting him to hospital so quickly, they let her go without charge.

When the taxi business was sold in 1978, Anna-Stina swapped her cab for a Post Office van. Always on the road, she was a colourful and fast-paced woman that we at Slipens have a lot in common with.

Just like her, we love a speedy service and get our kicks from sharing good food with the people around us, but we’ll stick to storing driver’s licences in our wallets.

Commander Johnsson

Ossian’s first love was the ocean

He made a career at sea, which at the end of the 19th century brought him all the way to South America, where he became commander of the Chilean navy.
As an officer, Ossian travelled extensively, but he also kept a home in the harbour Valparaiso, where he met the second love of his life: a Chilean stunner named Rosa Enero.

The pair married in 1911 but Rosa sadly passed away just 13 years later and the heart-broken Ossian decided it was time to move back to Fiskebäckskil. He made his return the following year.

Despite still spending plenty of time at sea, Ossian managed to meet another girl. His second wife, Greta, gave him two children and he loved them all very much. Still, you can’t help but wonder if his earlier heartbreak had left irreparable damage. Ossian died of a ‘weak heart’ at the age of just 55.

Many years later, when Ossian’s granddaughter Eva got engaged, she discovered that her grandfather had saved the rings from his first marriage to Rosa. A jeweller helped turn the two faited rings into a wedding band for Eva and she still wears that ring to this day.

Ossian is buried by the church in Fiskebäckskil, right next to our hotel. Each day as we walk past the churchyard, we’re reminded of eternal love.

As you sleep, or make love, beneath Ossian’s tattoo, we hope you are too.

Salty Sea Dog Karlsson

The son a deep-sea fisherman, Göthe Karlsson was only ten years old when his mother passed away

As his father spent too much time at sea to look after five children, Göthe and his siblings were split up and raised by various relatives. Their bond nevertheless remained strong and the family’s three boys would soon follow in their father’s footsteps.

Göthe and his brothers Eskil and Allert spent most of their life on boats, supporting their own growing families. They mostly fished for herring or prawns in the Skagerrak and North Sea but would sometimes go as far afield as Iceland or Shetland.

By investing in a pair of well-equipped steel trawlers – Skogland and Skaftö – The Karlsson brothers could bring home larger catches than other local boats and, as such, were seen as pioneers of modern fishery. They even exported fish to Germany and Great Britain.

There are countless stories of Göthe’s dramatic life at sea. On the 14th of November, 1963, he even managed to steer his crew through a tsunami. They’d been trawling for herring south of Iceland when they suddenly found themselves confronted by a wall of water (caused by the same volcanic eruption that created the island of Surtsey). The wave knocked out all the windows of the trawler’s pilot house but all her crew miraculously survived.

Some 19 years later, in August -82, Göthe was to narrowly cheat death once more. Skogland was fishing off the north-east coast of Denmark when she was rammed by the Japanese tanker ship Fuyoh Maru. There was an almighty bang! If the trawler had been hit just one metre further aft, the crew wouldn’t have stood a chance, but they all somehow managed to escape and were rescued by a fellow Swedish fishing boat, the Florön from Kungshamn.

Skogland herself wasn’t so lucky. The trawler was crushed and sank before it could be rescued. But, as the Japanese tanker was judged to be at fault, Göthe could buy himself a new fishing boat on insurance and carry on in his beloved profession for the rest of his life.

The memory of Göthe washes over us every time we enjoy some freshly caught fish. And, yes, despite that incident in 1982, we do still stock Japanese whisky in our bar.

Iron Lady Efraimsson

When Hulda (née Abrahamsson) and her sweetheart Henrik planned their wedding in 1911, they wanted to start a family. The pair decided to mark their union with a new name and settled on Efraimsson, after Henrik’s father Efraim.

They also built themselves a new home, where their children Hildur, Blenda, Karl-Albert, Evert and Folke were born.
Henrik was a fisherman and spent most of his time at sea, while Hulda took care of their home and children. On New Year’s Day 1924, when their youngest daughter Blenda was just five weeks old, Henrik tragically died from acute appendicitis.

Hulda was forced to find herself a job and ended up at the local workwear manufacturer Didriksons, where she treated the fabrics used to make oilskins. It was backbreaking work for both Hulda and her eldest daughter Hildur, who left school aged 11 to look after her siblings, but at least the family was provided for.

The community did their bit too, as reported by local newspaper LysekilsPosten, which on the 19th of January 1924 published the following notice: ‘Sweet charity for widow and her five young children. 900kr have been collected in honour of skipper Henrik Efraimsson from Grundsund, who recently passed away at the hospital in Uddevalla.’

Hulda never refused a donation, but often cried herself to sleep for shame of being poor. When she finally departed, aged 83, in July 1969, she left her five wonderful children with the reminder that it’s possible to have a good life in hard times, as long as you stick together. Her struggle reminds us to be kind to those around us.

Council Bigwig Julsén

A lifelong resident of Skaftö, Anders Julius Julsén was born at Fossa, near Rågårdsvik, and later moved to Grönskult farm. He served as a local councillor for 40 years.

In 1952, when the smaller communities of Skaftö, Grundsund, Fiskebäckskil, Bokenäs and Dragsmark were combined to form a larger council, Julsén was appointed chairman. He was a man with many irons in the fire, whose name appears in countless records, due to his frequent, and often successful, debates.

Julsén was particularly prolific during the war, when he headed up the council’s crisis group. As usual, he got involved in every aspect of the work. Together with his wife, Ellen, he was even in charge of distributing everyone’s rationing coupons, which they kept in a locked leather bag.

Anders Julius Julsén died in 1975 but his memory, as one of our country’s most active politicians, lives on. In this room, you’ll find his old leather bag. The coupons may well be long gone but there’s no need to worry: we’re known for being generous with both food and drink rations.

Master Blacksmith Pettersson

Werner grew up at Repelia in Fiskebäckskil, where his father, Carl August, had a forge.

His brothers, Johan and Axel, were both chief engineers on ships, while his three sisters, Alfhild, Ester and Hilma, in turn worked in sewing, knitting and canning. Werner, too, had plans. He’d applied and been accepted for a job with the customs office, but was forced to turn it down when his father asked him to join the family business.

After falling for Gerda, the cook at the legendary local restaurant Utsikten (“The View”), Werner ended up staying in Fiskebäckskil for the rest of his life.

At the forge, Werner worked both as a blacksmith and watch repairman. He soon learned everything he needed to know about making tools, railings and drainpipes. In time, he also taught himself to deal with heating pipes, engines and sheet metal. When you’re the area’s best blacksmith, you need to stay on top of new developments.

Werner’s skills may have been unrivalled, but he wasn’t the fastest of workers. He once told a customer that his drainpipes would soon be ready, only to get the reply “Soon?! I ordered them two years ago!” “Two years? My, how time flies,” said the laid-back blacksmith.

Werner enjoyed a long and happy life. He passed away in 1973, aged 88. However warmly we remember him, we’re glad we got somebody else to sort the ironwork in our hotel – or we probably wouldn’t have opened on time.

The explosive Mr Pålsson

Joel grew up in Gåsevik, not far from our hotel.

He was fostered by his aunt Lotta and her husband, a stone mason and demolitionist called Karl, who taught Joel all about the volatile art he’d be associated with for the rest of his life.

The young boy proved to be a fast learner and was soon picking up his own jobs. In the middle of the 1930s, Joel received his largest assignment to date. The dam that supplied fresh water to the island wasn’t big enough to cater to the demands of all the tourists who had started flocking there in summer.

To widen the dam, Joel needed to demolish and remove large amounts of rocks, earth and peat. It was also his responsibility to dig new trenches and put water lines below frost level. The project was to give Joel a prominent position in society, as he knew all about the mains and discharges around the island. In short, he controlled the water.

Joel was a calm and kind man, who seldom turned down a drink. One night, when he’d had a few too many, he met Margareta from Munkedal, a kindly girl who lent him a steady hand when he needed it most.

The pair fell in love and bought a house on Kaptensgatan, right in the middle of Fiskebäckskil, where Joel stored his dynamite in the garden shed. An accident waiting to happen, you might say, but Joel didn’t worry much about these things. Miraculously, the village managed to stay intact throughout Joel’s career, but his relaxed relationship with explosives did end up costing him a thumb.   

That Joel was partial to a drink was well known on the island. You could often hear a little “poff” as he cracked open a beer on his boat. He also rented some land off the church, where he kept apple trees, a small vegetable patch and an outdoor loo. The fact that this outhouse was known as “Joel’s Bar” would suggest he didn’t use it for its intended purpose.