Our Midsummer weekend actually started a week ago, when we drove to Skåne from Brussels on Tuesday evening. After our looong drive to Sweden in May we decided that the best way to avoid trafic jams in Germany (between Bremen and Hamburg) was to drive during the night. It was a very smooth drive and we even managed to perfectly time the ferry in Puttgarden – always a relief! The journey took us 10 hours and we arrived to my parents’ place at 06.15 in the morning.
Maypole in Åhus on Thursday – we took time to have an ice cream on the square before going to the supermarket, the meat shop, the bakery, the pharmacy (a certain Spaniard has been suffering from a terrible allergy the last few weeks, culminating during the stay in Skåne) and the “smokery” (where they sell smoked fish and pickled herring)…
The extension was finished 3 days before Midsummer and wasn’t actually needed since the sun shone the whole weeked. It was used as sleeping quarters though – 7½ of us slept in the living room + extension (and two snored really loud!)
A Swedish “potato-scrub-machine” that fascinated all the foreigners. When O and I were in the supermarket, he was surprised to see that everybody was trying to pick out the smallest potatoes in the boxes. In Spain small potatoes are given to the pigs!
The foreign guests arrived just on time for the Midsummer’s lunch on Friday – four French and one Greek from Brussels. Don’t ask me who did the math for the table – at lunch time we had two places too many as some [Swedish] guests were delayed, at dinner we were missing one place?
My father found something more interesting to do than to participate in the “brännboll” (Swedish softball) championship, but the team containing my brother, my sister, my mother and I (plus some others*) still won 😉
A Swedish Midsummer celebration is not complete without a “sångblad” (song leaflet) – I had included some international songs such as “Brother John” in various languages, a Swenglish version of “I am sailing”, “Hell and gore” (English phonetic version of Helan går), “La ballade des gens heureux” (a French song from the 70’s) and “The Lumberjack song” (Monty Python song). I decided against including “The ball of Inverness” to some loud protests… The French girls felt a little attacked by the “Fat French women”-song but they were good sports and enjoyed the “Bordeaux, Bordeaux”-song as well.
However, if you look really hard you can see more bonfires along the coast. It is actually a Danish tradition to light fires on “St Hans” (Johannes Döparens afton / St John’s eve) on the 23rd June. One of the guests told us that apparently the smoke from the Danish bonfires had blown towards the West coast of Skåne in the morning of the 24th June and the fire brigade had received hundreds of phone calls about there being “a fire somewhere”…
*) And it wasn’t one of my family members who changed the ball to a “faster” one when it was our turn… The brännboll championship impressed the foreign guests who [mistakenly] thought that my family is very sporty – not in comparison with most Swedish families!?