Creaky Snow and Grandmothers

Bit fresh outside, it has to be said… It’s now gone below -24 degrees Celcius and it’s pretty damn cold! The white Christmas I wished for is truly here, and then some.

After a full on Christmas Eve (when Christmas is celebrated in Sweden – Christmas Day is really just “the day after”) we didn’t set the alarm and got up when we naturally woke up, which was just after 9:30am. We had a big breakfast with boiled eggs, orange juice, bread and ham, then decided to go for a walk – this loop around here that we both run in warmer months. At -15 degrees this morning, it was borderline too cold and half way into it when we were on the hill overlooking the lake where the breeze got us, our faces were aching from the cold. So were my thighs – I had warm socks on in my winter boots, and all layered up underneath my thick winter coat along with my huge Alice scarf, hat and gloves, but with only my skinny jeans to keep my pins warm the cold bit through me like a ferocious tiger.

It was beautiful though, in the bright winter landscape. The snow creaked under our feet and the snow glittered, and towards the end of our walk a couple of deer leapt across the road in front of us. No, seriously, this really is like living in a Disney film like Frozen.

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Monkey is with his cousins (my brother D’s three sons, two of whom are close in age and the nearest thing he has to brothers) so we don’t see much of him any time we’re in Sweden, so we decided that Christmas Day we’ll have an “us” day. After our walk, we had a bit of lunch and then headed off to see my grandmothers.

First up, was Dad’s mum. It’s easy to see where my father gets his quick wit from, and she kept B and I entertained for the hour and a bit that we were at hers, continuously prompting B to have more cake, biscuits and cinnamon buns. Swedish grandmas bake in abundance and always put out at least five types of home baked biscuits and cakes with the coffee and if you don’t sample each kind you incur their eternal wrath. B did very well and she gave him a hearty hug when we left.

On to my maternal grandmother. More hugs, more coffee, more cakes and biscuits. My grandmothers are the same age – 86 – and both sprightly, full of energy and not a hint of confusion or bad memory capacity, both running and taking care of and running their homes (albeit with a little help from kids and grandkids with mowing lawns in the summer and shovelling walk- and driveways in winter). They keep in touch much for that reason – many of their contemporaries are now in nursing homes and/or are too old to be clear. My two grandmothers are abreast of current news as well as sharp as anything, both the way they’ve always been, if perhaps a little slower physically.

Beyond being at their full wits (and witty they both are, to say the least!), they both adore B, which is understandable – it’d be very hard not to like him. Because they are of an older generation, neither speaks much English, so with them we’re quite dependent on B’s Swedish and he delighted them both by saying hello, asking how they were and telling them “thanks for the coffee” when we left – it made them both chuckle and smile at him even more warmly. Gosh, B scores full points with everyone I introduce him to, although my grandmas he’s met several times before by now.

Given the temperature has this evening fallen down to -24 degrees Celcius, so we are holed up at Falla and just having a bit of time together, having a bit of wine and later cooking dinner and perhaps have a game of cards.

Yes. -24 degrees Celcius. -24.6, in fact, it has got colder since I took the photo of the thermometer. Oh, it’s not 13 degrees inside, it’s just that the thing is on a windowsill in a room we’re not using much and the radiator’s not on in there. The rest of Falla is warm and cosy, due to radiators on full blast and the fire we’ve got going in the fireplace. Well, any way you look at it, outside it’s fucking FREEZING.

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