So my Swedish fantasy has been fulfilled. This does not involve blond hunks or even meatballs; but my children playing in the Swedish woods and more importantly leaving the woods with dark blue mouths on account of eating too many blueberries.
The weather, it has to be said, has been dreadful. Cold, wet, windy and that was on a good day. But still that hasn’t stopped us having a good time. Although at one stage Olivia did say “you know mummy, the grandes vacances are meant to be warm”.
The Stockholm archipelago is as lovely as I imagined with beautiful houses, stunning nature and more blueberries than you could eat in several lifetimes. We are staying with my cousin Erika and her family in their house on a small island called Edlunda. There are 47 houses on the island inhabited by various eclectic types like Swedish diplomats and pop stars. In fact the archipelago is stuffed full of Swedish celebs. Not that I would recognise them. But apparently Tiger Woods’ wife comes from the nearest place you can buy milk; a ten-minute boat ride away.
Today Bea insisted on Rupert holding her upside down as she picked blueberries in the moss-covered wood. One upside to the rain is that the ground is like walking on a mattress, so if he’d dropped her on her head she would barely have dropped her blueberries. It was a scene I will remember for years to come. It’s a funny thing holidays with small children. Well actually most of it isn’t much fun if I’m honest, but some highlights make it all worth while. Like the blueberries and like Leo saying when he saw his first plate of meatballs: “This was a good idea.” Like Bea and I walking around Vaxholm castle and me showing her how you put a feather in the ground and make a silent wish and her saying; “I wish I knew what you had wished for.”
Obviously I wished it would stop raining. Fat chance. It occurred to me in the middle of the night that if I were a Swedish homeless person I would move to Montpellier immediately. But before I get any more comments about how marvellous Sweden is, I don’t mean that as a criticism of the country, just a reflection on the weather.
As a place to holiday with children it is top notch. And despite my misgivings about the place I still feel emotional every time I see the flag or pick a blueberry. I think I view her rather like a relation I’m allowed to be rude about but still love deeply.
Tomorrow we begin our journey back to France where the forecast for the rest of the week is 39 degrees and sunny. As we Swedes say; Borta bra, men hemma bast.Loosely translated: There’s no place like home.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007