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.

The Time We Did Not Go To Örebro

We were supposed to join our friends, the Färdig family, in a joint mission to Örebro today. The idea was that we take a van big enough for the two families plus a load of vegan footware, so that Nina could sell some at the vegomässa that takes place there on this day. We did a similar thing last summer, going a little further afield to Oslo, which we all enjoyed immensely, even though the van we hired broke down on the way back.

Sadly, the trip was not to be. Around four hours before intended time of departure, Nina received a phone call from the preschool her son goes to. Her son had fallen foul to an ear infection and was in a lot of pain.

The news that we were cancelling the trip left us all disappointed. We had planned the weekend many months ago, which included a night at a youth hostel. Food had been made and packed, beer and wine put aside for our arrival in Ôrebro. Freya took the news worst, but tears became shrieks of joy when we arranged that Nika could come for a sleepover.

A Moving Experience

This weekend has been absolutely full-on, with our moving flats in just two days. I have been packing, packing and packing, looking after my daughters, and looking after Jo.

Jo had a bicycle accident this week, and broke her foot. Luckily, she had already done a bit of putting stuff away in boxes, but there was a lot left to do, and she was pretty much unable to help, much to her dismay and frustration. So the ball was passed to me, and it is thanks to our friends Mark and Alex that I sit here this evening with a reasonably easy two days ahead of me. They may not think they did much, but just going out to get more moving boxes saved me valuable time.

They say that moving is one of the most stressful things to do. I cannot entirely agree, but this weekend has shown me how capable I can be if needed. Three cheers for me!

We Are Newsworthy

Well, it took forty years, but I finally got myself in one of the national newspapers. Best of all, I did it without sadistically murdering someone and eating their pubic-hair, which appears to be an increasingly easy way into the headlines nowadays.

Nope. Jo, Freya and I got into the DN Sunday supplement for just being, really, though more specifically for being vegan. But don’t let the Sunday supplement suffix fool you, my non-existent readers; the DN is a newspaper of distinction here in Sweden, equivalent to The Times, Telegraph or the slightly inferior Guardian. And although the Sundayness of it implies a jauntier, lifestyle feel, one should still consider it a worthy contribution to the journalistic world.

Lotten, our neighbour and (after her decision to base an article on us) admirer good friend wrote an article about four families and their different ways of saving the planet. Not that I’d ever seen myself in the same light that some do Superman, and I would never vocally make such claims, though it is of course well-deserved (if not a bit embarrassing) to receive such accolade from the rest of society. I would obviously not even try to compare our “work” with the great names (like Gandhi), though unlike Gandhi we continue our fight without the fame-game he and his ego were involved in. No, we are more comparable with the likes of the Nobel Prize winners (which Gandhi has never won, by the way), I would say, than to the star-struck elite who go on and on like a broken record about their “plight”.

The article did a very good job of making us (and thereby vegans) look normal, approachable and a little bit cool. I’d had a good idea of what I wanted to get across, which, despite the lack of column space, I think we manged to do quite well. Anyway, hats off to Lotten, who did a splendid job.

Mission To Sigtuna

We went on a mission today to Sigtuna.

Without our usual co-pilot, Chris.

We’re………sorry, Chris.

In our defence it was more of a mini-mission, Sigtuna being neither that far away nor that big a place. Also, I don’t reckon Chris would mind, since I believe he’s currently diving in Egypt. Still, it did feel treacherous, and we had to console ourselves by eating pommes-frites and onion rings when we got there.

Sigtuna is a quaint village situated by Lake Malar, the third biggest lake in Sweden. It’s one of those touristy places that, despite having lots of modern shops strewn along its main road, still manages to blend them into the surrounding architecture without it being too much of an eyesore.

In fact the only eyesore we saw was a seashore t-shirt store. Actually it wasn’t, but once I saw a tongue-twister on the horizon my animal instincts took over. No, the only eyesore in the rustic village of Sigtuna was the brutally bleak crazy-golf course. Seemingly designed by a clinically depressed Puritan who had got a degree in drawing straight lines, thereafter eschewing his education because drawing lines was too much fun, I think I’d find more enjoyable things to do if I were locked in a white windowless room with a golf ball and a knife with which to stab myself repeatedly in the eyes.

Apart from that it was a wonderfully relaxing day out that all the family seemed to appreciate.