Friends that pass in the night…

A few months have passed since the last instalment of the Viking Saga has been written, and to be sure, Lyskväll seems like a lifetime away, a distant memory of my love affair with the north of Scandinavia. Life has interrupted my dreamy existence, where fresh air and tranquility had become the norm and this troubled, flawed and yet beautiful drama that is our world, intervening, as I always knew it would, rocking me on my foundations once more.


Dear Anders Hollmo, a beautiful man and friend.

This has been a year tinged with sadness for me personally, and most of my Swedish friends; with the deaths of Caroline, in the Netherlands, and most recently, Anders, the brother of my dear friend Kjell-Arne, in Sweden.

Anders was a gentle and kind man, with a wonderfully dry sense of humour in the Swedish way. He lived his life with great courage having endured cancer for many years, and his passing has left a huge hole in the lives of his family and friends. I feel so privileged to have known him and indeed to have been befriended by the Hollmo family during my sojourn in these northern latitudes. Without them, I doubt whether my Saga could have continued as long as it has.

The passing of Anders and Caroline has drawn me into reflection on the nature of friendship and its fluctuating quality. Sometimes one makes a friend only to find that they weren’t really there at all, and had an agenda to try and change your nature to fit with their own expectations, despite the fact that it was your very nature that brought them into your life in the first place.


Caroline, taken so tragically…

Alas, this year has seen the termination of two relationships involving such a ‘friendship’, two people whose loyalty I had over estimated, one of whom could have become special, and the other, with a preference to projecting all his bile and poison onto me, someone who only wanted to listen, and help. In the past I have been forgiving, patient and tolerant, but there are times when one has to realise that there are beings who can pray off one’s kindness and grow opulent on compassionate energy, which is abused and tainted.

This sailing life is a little unusual in that I am transient and therefore fiercely independent, as one has to be to survive. When a friendship begins to blossom, there is a tendency to let one’s guard down and allow the heart to entertain all manner of possibilities. To live with courage through the heart, one must trust and take the risks to open up, and even a Viking can be vulnerable at times!

Friends come and go in all our lives, and I am privileged to have some very special ones. A true friend will always be there for you no matter what. They will respect and honour what is sacred, special and unique in you without trying to manipulate and change you. There is never any guarantee about tomorrow but if I have learned one thing in this crazy old life it is this:

Value and cherish your friends for you never know if it may be the last time you ever see them…

The equinox came and went and in the past few days here in Liverpool, the coming Autumn has finally introduced herself with a distinct drop in temperature and cascading leaves, whipped up by the Irish Sea’s sou’ westerlies. Winter is on its way, for sure, and with it my thoughts turn again to dear old Free and Borka in Sweden and the very special folk who live there.


About Viking Queen

I am a sailor, and I live on my boat 'Free'. I have no allegiance, just a desire to do no harm and live with courage and an open heart. We have so little time in this precious life but what we do should define us, and our reputation is all that we leave behind.
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29 Responses to Friends that pass in the night…

  1. cornishtim says:

    Sorry to hear of all those losses. As usual, your post has caused me to take some moments to reflect on the importance of certain folk in my life and the importance of not taking their kindnesses for granted.

  2. Clare says:

    So sorry to hear about Anders & Caroline…I’m sure you touched & enriched their lives with your kindness and smiley nature. I’ve always loved the name Anders since I first heard it in San Sebastian, The Basque Country, Spain…My student and ex boyfriend’s little brother (an amazing accordianist) had the same name. Such a gentle-sounding, happy name 🙂

    I had a trying year for friendship too. Often trauma/extreme stress can be a big test in a friendship, even long ones, and distance can lead to misunderstandings. I have lost some friends who I had thought of as loyal and kind but felt abandoned by following a traumatic experience alone at night. I got insomnia, it made me grumpy, I lashed out. I had panic attacks, strong suicidal thoughts. I felt completely alone, treated like a leper. But I made new friends, mostly ones who’d had very hard lives, who understood what trauma does. I feel sad when I think of my lost friendships. But also lucky that I have the new ones.

    So many people think they are loyal friends and that their loyalty is boundless, but few try to understand when we are not at our best, and we hurt those we love, because they are the only people who care enough to listen…

  3. Andy says:

    Good to hear from you again, Poppy.
    You are right about the value of true friendship. I have a handful that go right back to school, some even primary school, and such a long time of knowing each other has developed special binds of trust and intimacy.
    I think of Caroline again 😦 Sorry to hear about Anders.

  4. christian costenoble says:

    bon voyage abrazos from peru

  5. Katr says:

    Hi Poppy,
    Good to hear your words again. You back on land for a while? Why don’t you come and visit us in Devon? We have a spare room now and would love to see you. Kat xxx

  6. Kat says:

    Hi Poppy,
    Lovely to to hear your wise words again. You on land for long? Come and visit us in Barnstaple we have a spare room now. Would be lovely to see you pet. Xxx

  7. Roger Lundqvist says:

    Sorry to hear about Anders, but life goes on. And thanks for all wise words.
    Yes winter is here already its been snowing to day, if its continue it will be a long winter.

  8. Denise says:

    Dear Poppy, It is always a pleasure to receive news from you and to know it is a genuine account of what you are going through and that you can share your moments of grief and pleasure. I am sorry for your loss, there can be no substitute or replacements and only time and gratitude for what we have and had help us eventually overcome the sorrow. My biggest sorrow is being home and leaving all of you back there. Just made a trip around the north island to visit family and friends, so good to catch up with them and share in some significant moments in their lives. After spending two winters in a row Im managing to thaw out now the weather is improving. The Tararua and Ruahine Ranges are close to where I live and were covered in snow, hence the freezing conditions. One of the joys I am experiencing comes from my garden, some I have done in 15 litre water bottles as l can cut off the top part and use it at a cloche, great for growing salad greens and herbs. in my garden l have rhubarb, chard, beetroot, leeks, and bok choi , Just managed to weed them between my 4 week trip and now lm doing a 3week motel sit for a friend while she visits family and friends in Austrailia. Next Christmas will be upon us. I hope your accommodation is going well and the company great and all the bikes you hire are in top shape. Much love Denise

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Denise. How lovely for you to be back in your beloved homeland! What a beautiful place it is, a site of such passion and rugged beauty. All is well here and it is the usual transient wander between hostels and friends, until the return to Scandinavia next May. This may be my last winter away from my boat ‘Free’ as i intend to sail south next year towards Poland and Germany. If i can reach a reasonably climatically sound region, I should be able to live on board again. Take care my friend, and may the Maori and Scandinavian Gods be with you!

  9. Simona says:

    Hello Poppy,
    So sorry to hear of your friend Kjell-Arne’s loss. May his brother rest in his peace and and his family take comfort from cherished memories.
    Love, S. x

  10. Rosemarie Nitschke says:

    Dear Poppy,
    yes, life seems to be so transient at times and we never really seem know what lies around the corner. I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Kjell-Arne’s brother, Anders. He looks like a gentle soul on the photo. I know how appreciate of Kjell-Arne you are, as you have often talked to me about his help and friendship. I love the way you describe your feelings and what is touching you deeply. We don’t do enough of that, being honest about what hurts us and also being vulnerable with regards to our friendships.
    I am just in Toronto and am enjoying the beautiful sunny and mild Indian Summer. The maple trees are all ablaze here and I am soaking it all up. I will write you a mail in a few days to catch up.
    Big hug, Rose

  11. says:

    Dear Poppy, A long time since your last email to which I replied. I hope you are well and having a warm, comfortable Christmas.

    I’ve had some medical “interruptions” during the year which have been a nuisance but which are better now and I’m with my family at the moment. I’m hoping my driving licence may be renewed , I do miss it! Perhaps you can come down for a day in January.Let’s make contact mid-January.

    All very best wishes as ever and love from


    • Viking Queen says:

      Lovely to receive your message, Ruth. Yes, it would be lovely to meet up again. I’ll email you soon. Love from Poppy

  12. arcady001 says:

    Amen to that. Life has taught me the value of true friends also.

    Poppy, I have just discovered your blog and am enchanted by much of what you write. I hope life brings you all that you wish for, be that afloat or ashore.

    Best wishes,


  13. Viking Queen says:

    Welcome Keith.

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