‘You must tell me the significance of, erm, this thing,’ said Mrs Tumbler in her thank you note to Daughter. Maybe she didn’t phrase it exactly like that, but it was close. You could visualise how she was staring in total bewilderment at the little piece of wood she’d been given for Christmas, by her Y5 pupil, aka Daughter.

I wonder what happened to Mrs T and her wood? They changed the teachers around at the start of spring term and I don’t think an explanation ever forthcame, so to speak. We’d gone to experience the wonderful Christmas fair at Liseberg in Gothenburg, taking Offspring out of school for one day. I told Son’s head teacher that it was a most cultural thing to want to do, this once.

And it was.

We bought stuff – mainly for ourselves – as though we’d never seen anything like it. And we hadn’t really, stuck in exile as we are. The teachers needed gifts. I vetoed a lot, on grounds of cost and weight. So in the end we got Mrs T a piece of wood, aka a wooden butter knife. It had a painted Father Christmas at the non-business end. Quite nice, albeit inexplicably odd.

Liseberg - Christmas fair

Last December when Son and Dodo went over for more happy shopping, I asked him to find me some wooden forks. Not to go with the butter knife (I do have my own, you know), but for stirring bread dough with, so considerably larger. And almost impossible to find. But he managed it.

I gather Dodo as a proper Englishwoman found the Disney music piped all over town somewhat strange. (Surely not as strange as the butter knife?) But it’s what Swedes expect. Ever since television was invented we have sat ourselves down on Christmas Eve to watch an hour of Mr Disney’s finest, only some of it remotely to do with Christmas.

When you wish upon a star..!

Christmas bliss.

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