Watching a Classic


I never actually thought it would happen so early in Zelda’s life, being eight years old. We had no plan, had not talked about it until a few days ago after we had watched a couple of Narnia films on TV. When we suggested it to our daughters, it was with a certain hope of agreement, though in my heart it felt too soon to pose the question “Shall we watch The Hobbit?” And now, less than a week later, we have all seen the trilogy.

Jo and I had only seen the first film at the cinema. It did not lessen our enjoyment in the slightest. I have to say, though, that I did not recall it being as violent as it was. I was a tad surprised that Zelda did not react to the fighting scenes, where a good number of decapitations occur over the three parts. I imagine that the lack of blood and gore helped make it seem more acceptable than it should.

The end brought about a few deaths of the dwarfs (not beheadings, thankfully). Zelda shed a few tears at the death of the dwarven king, Thorin. It was so long ago that I read the book that I had no real idea of the plot, with Thorins death being both sad and a shock. Sometimes it can be advantageous to have a bad memory.

I love The Hobbit. It is thanks to J R R Tolkein that the pen and paper game, Dungeons and Dragons came about, a game I played regularly through my school years (and some) with Chip and Matt. And it is thanks to Tolkein that the family will be soon sitting through another trilogy. Lord of the Rings awaits us, and I cannot wait.


Surviving The First Year Of School

Zelda, you are approaching the last few weeks before summer holidays. The first year in a new learning environment is coming to an end. You have survived the transition from the security and relative calmness of nursery school to the intimidating world of primary school. But it was not easy.

The first few months were turbulent, to say the least. Your teacher had come to preschool a few months before school start to meet and chat with you. Shortly before your first day, we found out that you had been placed into another group. This decision disappointed us a bit, as we had heard good things about the originally planned teacher.

The person you were to have instead lasted a week or so, before becoming ill and eventually leaving her job. On the very first day, she was obviously flustered by the lack of information she had been given. Her attitude won her no friends, being quite rude. Mum had foolishly enquired about lunch for you, to which she arrogantly replied she knew about the vegan diet, being vegetarian herself (as it turned out, she did not).

The hunt for a new teacher seemed to last an eternity, and the stand in was someone who co-owned the company. She had been a teacher herself, I presume, but she was unable to bring order to your class. This was undoubtedly what you found most distressing, having so many new children around you and so much noise and chaos. You cried at night, you woke up with stomach ache, and cried on your way to school. Mum and I took it in turns to attend school with you, and we both agreed that the lack of respect and discipline were unacceptable. I even stepped in on a number of occasions, reproaching some of the children (boys) for their behaviour, to no avail.

That period, before the arrival of a new teacher, was terrible for us all. To feel your fear, and to sit outside the classroom whilst you cried for our presence was an exceptionally difficult situation to go through. Our hearts ached as the hope of your accustoming to the disorder faded. And yet, with the arrival of your current teacher, Karin, your fear of school diminished. It is no exaggeration to say that you now love school, something which you, yourself, often say. Those terrible early days seem almost unbelievable, though gladly behind us. So, Zelda, continue to love life, and look forward to the next year in school. And thank you, Karin.

41 plus 5

This week has seen two family members celebrate their birthdays: Jo and Zelda.

Jo received a couple of presents that she wished for earlier this year. My memory, at least when it comes to presents, is mighty fine. Jo only needs to mention an interest in something one time, and it is stored in a part of my brain that actually works. I also use my phone to make notes, so armed with a double hard drive, I am force to be reckoned with.

Now Jo is the proud owner of a pizza stone and a staple gun. Unfortunately, a couple of gifts are still being delivered, but there is still a lot one can do with a pizza stone staple gun.

In the evening the family surprised Jo with one more present: a visit to the comically named Wong Kee restaurant. The food is a bit overpriced for what it is, but it is still tasty, the offspring like it, and it is near to where we live.

Today, Zelda had her birthday, starting with breakfast in bed, which consisted of five strawberries and some orange juice (Zelda’s wish). Her presents, as always, are quite difficult to think of. She requested a pony and a mobile phone, though I do not think she was disappointed to get a new scooter, kite, and swimming goggles, amongst other things.

After a small party in the park, and time spent by the water nearby, we ate pizza using Jo’s newly acquired stone. Because the girls were famished, we opted for a shop-bought pizza base. We soon realised that this was not the optimal way to start experimenting with pizza, the base being difficult to work with. The end result was very similar to the normal way we have it, but the girls did not complain.

So, congratulations to Jo and Zelda on their birthdays. I hope you both have many more, and I hope I get to see many more.

ESC in Malmö – Thursday

The day finally came for us to travel down to Malmö. The ladies of the family took an early morning train, and I followed in the afternoon. For the long weekend of Eurovision fever, we had the company of an old friend from our Luxembourg days, Debbie.

By the time I arrived at the flat that we had hired, the female members had made themselves at home, and unsurprisingly some alcohol had been imbibed. I was very impressed with our accommodation, which we had got from a friend of a friend of a friend for an exceptionally good price. Not only was it spacious and homely, (we later found out) it was ideally situated, being pretty much central to all our intended destinations during our stay.

I had only a short amount of time to regain myself after the long and slightly painstaking train journey. Eurovision awaited, and by seven o’clock we were outside the arena, standing in one of the long queues to get inside. And then, just to our left, a small demonstration started.

Now, I enjoy a good demonstration, but this was definitely not one. The subject matter chosen was the Israeli occupation of Palestine (of which I know next to nothing), so I had no bone of contention with the issue, though for some reason it felt that the Eurovision Song Contest was the wrong platform for a political diatribe. If there is one event that deserves a respite from political issues, it should be the glamour, glitter and gayness that is ESC. The rubbish PA system they were using did not help, and I can’t imagine the message being heard by many of the assembled croud. But by far the most agonising part of the whole thing was when they ended with a rewritten version of ABBA’s Euro classic, ‘Waterloo’, which I shall give the title ‘Israel’. I cannot remember the words, but the whole idea and performance was naïve and very silly. And just to make sure they killed of any last bit of respect and self respect, they were awful singers. Slaughtering a classic song in the band’s home country, to a potential audience of ABBA lovers is not the way to get supporters to your cause.

The actual show was exactly how it should have been. The arena floor was untraditionally standing room only, and unbeknownst to us the floor was divided into two sections. This meant that we ended up in the section further away from the main stage. Our view was somewhat limited, bringing down the experience a tad. We relied more on the TV screens to see what was going on, but the ambience of the evening contributed enough to make it a very entertaining evening.

Day one completed, and a thoroughly enjoable day had by all.

Kom Igen Zelda, kom igen!

Zelda went to her first football training this evening. There were over one hundred and fifty children there, so it was split into two sessions, which meant she was in a small group of eight girls, all the same age. Frederik and Olle were her trainers, both very pleasnt and calm young men, and she listened well to their instructions. Naturally, she was a litlle bit cautious in the beginning, when they practiced foot skills, though she looked like she enjoyed herself immensely when they started dribbling the ball from one goal to the other.

I have never seen her playing football like this before, and she was actually quite good. Most importantly, she was smiling lots, and even made a new friend. It was wonderful to see her in action, dressed in her newly acquired Adidas track suit (a fetching blue, sine the only alternative that Jo could find in the shop was pink).

Considering the number of children, the whole thing was exceptionally well organised. We only hope that the next seven weeks of training are less windy. The way the weather has been behaving the last few months, that is not a given.