Frank and his Swedish adventure part three: winter, thesis topics and thinking about coming home

Posted on March 14, 2018 by AireAdmin No Comments

Consultant anaesthetist and sustainability champion Frank Swinton is taking a sabbatical from Airedale to study for a Masters in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability, in Sweden.  Frank will share his experiences via this blog over the coming months…enjoy!

Time is really starting to fly. It seems like only a couple of weeks ago that I last wrote but it’s actually several months.

This is what the paraffin lamps look like

I completed the project with the lamp company (remind yourself about this by reading my last blog post).

They were delighted with our work and I now have a very nice, handmade, Swedish lamp to bring home as a souvenir!

The process for deciding thesis topics was pretty complicated, mostly because we write our theses in groups of three or four so I needed to find, not only a topic I’m interested in but also, a group of others who were willing to work on that topic and work with me. Eventually we managed to figure it all out and I’m now in a really great group with a Swede, a German, and a Ukrainian, writing about how to make school lunches more sustainable.  This is of interest to me because school lunches are a public service and there will be some overlap with healthcare but also because of the totally inspirational work of The Real Junk Food Project ( If you haven’t been to their cafe in Saltaire ( then please get it onto your bucket list – they’re amazing people doing amazing work!

Standing on the frozen sea!

The winter here as been pretty similar to a Yorkshire winter, mostly around zero degrees Centigrade with a few cold days followed by a few warmer days. The most exciting part is that the sea froze over for a couple of weeks so we were able to ice skate around on the water where we went swimming last summer. Right now we’ve had a lot of snow due to the “Beast from the East” but the BBC assures me that you have suffered quite a lot too.

More and more, we are feeling at home here. The kids are like native Swedish speakers and Alex is volunteering at a school and joining in with loads of local activities and sports clubs etc. I feel like we’re really getting to grips with the Scandinavian way of living but at the same time, I’m starting to remember how hard it is to leave a place when you’ve started to make really good friendships there.

I’ve started to really think about returning to work as well. I know I’ll be really nervous at first and I’ll be relying on my colleagues to let me shadow them until I’m really sure that I’m back in the groove of giving anaesthetics. I think I’ll have lots of ideas about how we might do things differently and I know that I’ll find it frustrating that not everyone agrees with my, “great” ideas but that was always the case and I think that this year of learning at a deep level about personal and organisational change will equip me with a better idea of what’s worth pushing for and what is not.

There’s still a lot of water to flow under the bridge before that though. As well as writing my thesis, I’m on the committee to organise the graduation party and we have a long list of people who want to visit once the weather is better now that we know our way around. It’s going to feel a lot like a B&B at Swinton Towers. Then there’s a bit of a summer holiday to think about and the logistics of getting us and all our stuff home – and that’s before we start unpacking all our stuff that’s left in the UK!

I expect I’ll write again before I get home, even if it’s just to warn you that my reappearance is imminent…  

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