Update on Leonardo

I realise that Bea gets most of the column inches on my blog, but I have a few updates on Leo.

A few evenings ago we were invited to the Swedish ambassador’s residence to celebrate Santa Lucia. This is a Swedish tradition, a festival of light, where children wear candles (or lights nowadays I think it is, much safer I suppose but not as romantic) and sing beautiful songs. Traditionally we wake our parents up with coffee and cakes singing. Every school has a ‘Lucia-train’ as it is called and being chosen as the Lucia is a huge honour; like being a prom-queen or winning a beauty contest.


So there we were, listening to the lovely Swedish voices in the moonlight. I was almost in tears the nostalgia was so much. After two songs Leo turned to me.


“Mummy,” he said. “Is this going to go on all night?”

“Why?” I asked. “Don’t you like it?”

“Not much.”

I’m not sure he is really in touch with his Swedish side.

The bad news is that his best friend at school, Oscar, whom Leo describes as “just like me, only with less hair”, is moving to another school. He is leaving the French system for the British system. He will have a school uniform and play cricket. I am so tempted to move Leo as well, but is it mad to pay double the school fees so he can play cricket and be with his friend? Also it would mean the end of his French I fear….but on the other hand, the thought of Leo in a school uniform is just too divine. And I think he would be very happy; he is definitely more English than anything else.

Next year I might try taking him to the embassy carol concert instead.

Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2009

6 thoughts on “Update on Leonardo

  1. Poor Leo; I’m sure he will, in time, come around to appreciate beautiful blonds dressed all in white with candles in their hair. Just give him time.
    I remember we once had a Swedish au pair and it was a wonderful spectacle and experience to be woken by her dressed as you describe and singing her songs.

    On the subject of education: my daughter, educated in France, has just gone to a university in England. She and an Austrian friend are amazed at how the English students appear to be so poorly educated. I find this rather sad, especially as most of the young there will have been educated at state schools, which appear to have failed them once again. As she says, the French smoke, the English drink to excess.

    Perhaps Leo should stick with what he has started out with. It is probably better to have a good grounding in French than wearing a little uniform whilst swing a cricket bat.

    Have a Christmas full of joy. Arthur

  2. Hi, Helena…

    Sorry this is off subject, but I just finished watching an episode of Rick Stein’s travels in France in which you were talking about writing a book(?) from the angle of the French dealing with the influx of Europeans, principaly the British.

    I thought this was a wonderful idea. As you said most of what’s out there is about the ex-pats moving to France and having to deal with the French way of life.

    I was wondering if you have already covered this in one of your columns or if you’re working on a book? I’m intrigued!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family from the Deep South.

  3. Hi Apple and thanks for your post. I never did write that book, but I think I probably covered the topic in the Sunday Times column several times. Just go to http://www.sunday-times.co.uk and do a search under my name and they should all come up.
    Merry Christmas to you too

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