Jesper Blomqvist, Manchester United Champions League winner, arrives at his pizza restaurant at midday and knocks the snow off his boots.
He wants to make coffee for us but first he must start the fire in the custom-built Neapolitan pizza oven that has been cold for two days.
To do that he chops up some of the logs in a pile alongside it and when he is done with the axe, the wood is arranged, and eventually the flame leaps.
We are in Lidingö, an island 20 minutes east of central Stockholm where one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's old team-mates has found a new passion after all those years of injury and uncertainty that followed his part in United's magical treble season 20 years ago.
Then Blomqvist, who Alex Ferguson bought in the summer of 1998 at the third attempt, played in so many of the big games for United.
They included the Champions League final against Bayern Munich and also the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal, when Ryan Giggs came on for him to score one of the competition's great goals.
It has been a hard road for Blomqvist, in Sweden's 1994 World Cup team at the age of 20, who jokes ruefully that his career ended that night in Barcelona when Solskjaer, the club's current manager who faces Arsenal in the FA Cup again tonight, scored the winner against Bayern.
By the pre-season his right knee was swelling, the start of the articular cartilage problem that four operations and years of rehab could not solve.
His friend Solskjaer would later suffer the same problem, but for Blomqvist it was effectively over at United and so began the decline via Everton, Charlton Athletic and then back to Sweden.
Now 44, he talks about the "bad investments" that lost him money and the search to find an identity after football where he felt useful, driven on by an upbringing in rural northern Sweden where a work ethic is prized above all.
People are surprised when they see him behind the counter at the pizzeria. They wonder what a former Manchester United footballer is doing there. And Blomqvist is happy to tell them, although it is not a simple story.
He tried coaching, first of all in the youth team at Djurgardens, and then the Swedish second tier, but struggled with the ruthlessness that came so easy to those he had played under like Fabio Capello and Ferguson.
"Putting the team in front and not taking into consideration the human being behind the player - for me that was the toughest challenge," he says.
"I tend to look more at the human being. Ferguson was good at that. When it comes to winning games you can't care about the human being. You have to be ruthless and sometimes I missed that. That's my nature and it is hard to change."
Five years coaching. Two more in television punditry. Various television programmes as a Swedish celebrity including victory in the Swedish equivalent of 'Strictly Come Dancing'.
Divorced with a six-year-old son, Caspar, who loves United, Blomqvist tried to do the things most famous former players do, but he had always been different.
The son of a university maths professor, he had started a pure maths degree at Gothenburg University. His football career took over and he never completed it.
What helped to change his life was a year's creative cookery course. He had become interested in food during two years in Italy at AC Milan and then Parma before United.
Now retired, out of the game and having lost money, he was looking for a new start.
He found it in Lidingö, most famous for being the home of AGA - suppliers of gas, and manufacturers of the cooking ranges considered a badge of middle-class identity in British homes.
On a remote part of Lidingö, Blomqvist discovered a restaurant serving pizza as he remembered it from Italy.
He went into business with the two owners, between them they raised a total of two million Swedish kroner - around £200,000 (€231,000) - and restaurant 450 Gradi was born.
Unlike the lost investments of previous years, this time he helped oversee every aspect of the business, from the fit-out to the menu.
In the summer there were queues waiting an hour for a pizza. Behind the counter he worked so hard he barely had time to talk. He experienced something he had not felt in years: a love for what he was doing.
"I have to say it is tough when people ask me in the beginning, 'What are you doing?' And I say, 'I have a pizzeria'.
"It was tough that people look down at you. Then I have to explain it's the best pizzeria! Now I don't care. People seem to be saying, 'Are you down there? Have you lost all your money?' It can be a little bit…" He tails off and smiles. "I couldn't care less.
"Footballers have been very spoiled. It's very easy to lose perspective and to get carried away and this money can destroy players.
"It's the way it is, you have to learn to handle it and it's difficult. I am so happy I was brought up in the north of Sweden where you keep your feet on the ground and you have to work hard."
He is at peace with himself having been a boy from the Swedish countryside plunged into football.
He remembers Ferguson coming to pick him up from Manchester airport when he signed, and carrying his luggage to the car. They went to Mottram Hall hotel for lunch where Ferguson reassured him that despite Ryan Giggs's pre-eminence on the left wing there would be plenty of game-time.
"Ferguson made you feel important. How, I don't know. He fooled us all! He realised you needed a lot of players. I think he was struggling with rotation and he learned a lot during these years that you need to rest players and convince them and keep them happy. He became the master of that."
With Solskjaer, Ronny Johnsen and Henning Berg, Blomqvist says he was part of the 'Scandinavian mafia' at the club.
He politely points out that it was they who were part of driving the culture of self-improvement for which the club became so famous.
"With Ole I did crossing and he did finishing. Me and Phil Neville did one against one. We started pushing each other, working out in the gym afterwards. At that time it wasn't a big thing. It has changed a lot now. We Scandinavians were more given to working out in the gym. We were known for that."
Solskjaer was different too, Blomqvist says.
"He started a lot of the games on the bench but he was always analysing the game and how the defenders played. He was not sitting there laughing."
These were also the years of peak Roy Keane.
"In Sweden I was used to positive feedback but in Roy I got something completely different. I got hammered by him when I missed a pass. He would say all kinds - I can't even repeat it.
"In the beginning I got really upset and I couldn't understand what his problem was. But after a while I realised he was doing it for the best, for the team. I would never want to be without him.
"On the pitch, he always stood up for you when you got a bad tackle. In training he was testing us Scandinavians. If you can't make it in training you won't last on the pitch either."
It was in his later years as a professional that Blomqvist made some bad choices. Looking back he finds it hard to believe that he signed money over without ever asking how or why an investment would work.
"That's like giving people money and saying 'I don't care' or 'Do what you want'.
"Sometimes you can be lucky but I was unlucky, or not careful enough. I did not acknowledge that not everyone is honest. There have been some good lessons.
"The wages I earned were not as high as they are now. Even so if I had have surrounded myself with good people and just made normal investments that give you four or five per cent I would have been fine. But I don't care about that. I would still do this restaurant because I love it."
He and his partners are looking at opening seven days a week in the summer and perhaps, in the future, a second and third restaurant.
He will be back in Manchester in May to play in the 20th anniversary game against Bayern Munich when Ferguson is expected once again to take charge of those boys of 1999.
Blomqvist's knee gives him less pain now, able to support all the skiing and skating he does with Caspar.
"You appreciate the friendship (with old team-mates) more even though you don't speak on a regular basis.
"When you see each other it's a better connection than back in the day because then there was still a bit of competition."
He enjoys the memories but it has also taken him 15 years to recover from his football career and find the next thing he loves.
"When the customers say this is the best pizza they have ever had, that gives you a lot. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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