Waltzing on the bus

I don’t know about British children. Well, I do, actually.

I was amazed that my Swedish bus this morning could offer a ‘pre-school’ ticket. By that I mean that three women boarded the bus with a horde of pre-schoolers. Thankfully the bus swallowed them up, without me having anybody sitting on my lap. And they just ask for a pre-school ticket, and never mind how many they are.

With my usual good timing, I then travelled back with the same children at lunchtime. One of them threw his bag towards the luggage rack and missed. Where the British teacher would at best tell him to pick it up again, here the teacher picked it up for him. I tried not grinding my teeth.

But then. There was another cultural difference manifesting itself. As Daughter phoned me up to find out what she was to do about the mouldy oranges in the kitchen, she asked what the racket in the background was. The children were singing. Singing well, too. And after a while I realised what I was hearing. It was a waltz by a 20th century Swedish poet and composer, Evert Taube. Sjösala Vals. You may get the British child to pick up their bag, if ordered to, but will six-year-olds sing waltzes on the bus?

I told Daughter to bin the oranges.


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