Time to belatedly post my first blog of 2021. Once again I’m going to avoid all reference to The Thing and will instead provide some blatant escapism, which I think is what we all need. (Think of this blog as the Bridgerton of naval history, if you like.) I can’t quite believe that it’s coming up to the tenth anniversary of the trip I made to Sweden in February 2011 to do research for the fourth Quinton novel, The Lion of Midnight, but that seems to be a perfectly valid excuse to post some of the photos I took on that trip. I divided it between Kalmar and Gothenburg, arriving at the former’s tiny airport in a turboprop aircraft during a snowstorm – which has to be right up there on the Scariest Experience of Life To Date chart. Why Kalmar? Well, whenever people think of Sweden and 17th century naval history they tend to think of the Vasa, the astonishing flagship of King Gustavus II Adolphus, which is on display in Stockholm. But I knew that Kalmar’s museum contained many relics from the wreck of the huge Kronan, blown up in battle with the Danes in 1676, and having been to the Vasa a couple of times I decided it was high time that I ticked the Kronan off my bucket list. So here, without further ado, are some of the photos I took back then (with a few bonus ones of Kalmar’s stunning castle).