A.B.Urfabriken: The Borgstrom Family contribution to World Sportfishing Excellence
The ABU Cottage or Fiskestugan at Svangsta (Memories.....in Len's words)
Latest update based upon my invitation to visit Svangsta and stay with Len Borgstom at the ABU Lodge in June 2018
This trip really has to be experienced to be fully appreciated where Royalty and Heads of Industry have been invited.
arrived around 11 am Thursday and the details/images
with be linked out here due to amount of data to be
All roads (at least in my mind) lead to Svangsta...forgot who sent me this...
You can keep the drawings of the ABU Lodge..
The final lodge did not have the same interior and a basement was also added including one guest room and a sauna. ( important for President Kekkonen’s frequent visits)
As a matter of fact, the cottage was inaugurated by Prince
The The President presented the lodge with the sauna oven!
If you want a recent picture of the lodge, look at the Fiske for alla artikel by Patrik Tjornmark.
Fond regards! Len
So many wonderful memories must have been created here, Royalty, leaders of business, journalists and ordinary ABU fishers. It is worthy of repeating some from Len's book "ABU and Garcia What happened?"
Below, one can see Uffe and I (in my ABU room) enjoying a Snaps in the one of the very Kekkonen cups made specifically for the inaugural opening of the Fishstugan cottage on the banks of the Morrum River. These were used by all present, including President Kekkonen of Finland.
A treasure that he sourced for me at great cost due to it's rarity!
details below from Uffe where we
toast with this cup and Queensland Bundaberg Rum, a taste we
These items were made by a small firm that ABU used. The item is called the "Kekkonen cup" Kekkonen was the president in Finland. Urho Kekkonen was a friend to the Borgström family. When Kekkonen ware in Svängsta, Sweden, for some fishing in Mörrum river he stayed in the ABU stugan, ABU cottage house. As Kekkonen was a man of big love to life, he fished, eat, drank and enjoyed life as good as any life loving man can! To have a speciall "snapsglas" to drink out of the idea came up to have a special glass or cup to drink a SNAPS or call it a shot from. One guy in the crew got the idea to make this special cup. So this is the Kekkonen cup. A very rare and nice collectible item for a bait collector or just a history of the ABU collector!
"The most interesting guest we had the pleasure of having in Svangsta was Finland's President Urbo Kekkonen. The first time came to Svangsta, he was the guest of our Finnish representative. My parents had organized a black tie dinner that evening, and everything was very formal. Kekkonem, however, never really cared for all that fuss, so it often happened that he retired early from the festivities. He and I usually ended up in the kitchen of our home up the street, where we shared an improvised meal of simple fried herring and aquavit.
In 1969, we built a fishing lodge right by the Morrum river about a mile from the factory. When this lodge was inaugurated President Kekkonen and Prince Bertil of Sweden were out first guests. Their signatures, as well as those of King Karl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, are still inscribed in the marble slabs in front of the lodge's fireplace.
After dinner at my parent's home, we returned to have a nightcap at the ABU lodge, where everyone was then staying. Kekkonen had brought along a bottle of Finlandia vodka and poured out a straight shot for everyone. They all drank - except for Prince Bertil's personal aide, who cordially declined. When the bottle was passed around the second time, the aide again declined, at which point Kekkonen set down the bottle and told him quite severely, 'Well , then I think that you should go to bed.' The rest of us remained another hour or so, during which time something funny happened.
During the entire evening, Prince Bertil and President Kekkonen addressed each other according to formal protocol. The Prince was 'Your Royal Highness' and the President was either ' Mr. President ' or 'Your Excellency'. A this point, one of the gentlemen suddenly used the informal 'du' with the other. (Tis in Swedish is like calling each other by the first name). What ensued was a serious discussion about which one of them was higher in rank, and therefore who should have been the one to suggest that titles be dismissed, so that they might address each other informally. It sounded something like this.
Prince Bertil: 'I thought that you'd be the one to suggest it. After all, you are head of state and that must have the highest ranking.'
President Kekkonen: 'Yes, but you're royalty. That must be higher in rank!'
Prince Bertil: 'I'm just a lousy prince, that's nothing much! Well what's said is said, now it's done , so who the hell cares?'
The the two men hugged each other and became friends for life. President Kekkonen was one of Europe's greatest statesmen. In my opinion, he was in the same class as Churchill ad Adenauer. Even though Finland lost the war against Russia, I believe that Kekkonen played a vital role in saving his country from suffering the fate of its Baltic neighbours.
Over the years we became very close friends, and we fished together not only in Svangsta. Kekkonen once invited me to hunt grouse on the island in the Turku archipelago, where he had his summer cottage. At that time, King Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, the grandfather of the present King, was on his deathbed.
King Carl Gustaf was a frequent guest of ours fishing the Morrum River. Like Prince Bertil, the King was a great fisherman. The year before the King was engaged to Silvia Sommerlath, I spent an entire week with him and his closest friends in his fishing cottage north of Tarnaby in Northern Sweden. That year Sweden's domestic airline Linejeflyg was on strike. Consequently, the entire party met at Stockholm's Central Station to take a sleeper to the town of Ostersund, from where we would travel to the cottage at Tarnaby the following day. As I had injured my foot just prior to the trip, I stayed near the cottage where I fished in the company of the King's brother-in-law, John Ambler. He was suffering from back problems and therefore had some difficulty getting in and out of the boat that took the rest of the fishing party upstream. John and I, however, caught just as many fish where we were and what is more, we could take a break whenever we felt like it, to return to the cottage for a beer or cup of coffee.
Whenever six gentlemen spend a week together without television or any other kind of entertainment, they get to know each other very well. Inthe evenings, we played backgammon or cards, and we told every joke or story we had ever heard.
The official opening of the fishing season on the private waters of the Morrum River takes place each year on March 15. The year after our fishing week in Tarnaby, I invited King Carl Gustaf and President Kekkonen to the opening day. Also, as we had just sold the major share of ABU to Incentive, we invited both Marcus Wallenberg and Sten Gustafsson and his wife. I had also invited Tom Lenk and his wife Mary. I thought this might be a good opportunity for Sten and Tom to talk informally about the future of ABU and Garcia.
A few days before the visit, the King's aide telephoned to ask whether it would be all right for the King to bring along a friend! Naturally this was fine! On March 14, the King announced his engagement to Silvia Sommerlath. The future Queen was thus the extra guest that the King asked to bring along to Svangsta. The very first time that the King and the future Queens showed themselves together in public after their engagement was at Svangsta. Some 250 journalists from all over the world came to see the woman who was to become the next Queen of Sweden. Just imagine the P.R. for Sweden, ABU, the Morrum River and sport fishing in general. Just like so many successful events, this was a product of luck and favourable circumstances.
Since the King and Miss Sommerlath were only engaged, the protocol would not allow them to sleep under the same roof. She therefore stayed in our private guesthouse, while the King remained at the ABU lodge. As it was, we had an indoor swimming pool in our guesthouse, and on that very evening, the dehumidifying system broke down. How embarrassing the next morning, as I wakened the future Queen while water dripped from the bedroom walls. and her looked like she had just stepped from the shower. Fortunately we could both laugh at the situation. The dehumidifier never broke down again.
To allow our guests to fish in peace and quiet, at least part of the opening day on March 15, we kept the press people and any other curiosity seekers away until after lunch. Every guest caught a fish, and I had the good fortune to help the future Queen bring in her very first salmon. I was rewarded with her lovely smile and a kiss on the cheek."
Len, what a life!
The cottage hosted some wonderful times and I guess these traditions will continue for some time to come...Wonderful recollections!
day I may be able to accept your offer to share the hallowed
experience here and on the Morrum.
Thanks for sharing them with us..
Len still has access to the cottage and invites friends to share the heady atmosphere, by the River Morrum, of the golden days of ABU.
While this invitation has been extended to me, sadly I can't avail of such generosity but do enjoy Len's sharing with his friends.
Mikael Risberg and Len caught up recently and here are some pics he supplied in the ABU Cottage grounds with Len and him fishing on the Morrum.