Birmingham Day 2: Miniatura or “It’s a small world after all…”

My view from my window!

My view from my window!

I did not sleep well, the first night. The room was very hot. But it was quiet. None of the door slamming you always hear, at all hours, in London hotels. None of the loud talking and screaming, indoor and outdoors. Best of all, I could not hear any cars nor more than one airplane. And no sirens. When I woke up, I looked out at my view and this might have explained the lack of car noise? Facing a court-yard and not the road. But, the room’s windows were double, in order to cut out noise, so I have a difficult time believing in all the “Alex Polizzis”, reviewing the hotel, on Trip Advisor. I will have to leave a full length review here on my blog, for the hotel, since the official sites work so poorly. But someone needs to leave an honest opinion of this hotel!

I was at least rested enough, to take a good look around my room and as far as I could tell, without acting like “Four in Bed” and “The Hotel Inspector”, the room was clean. Nothing was missing and it was a happy surprise, to see a make up bag full of bottles containing shampoo, conditioner and so forth. I wish I had known, then I needed not to have packed some of those things. I had worried extra much about the shower’s water pressure, since tons of people on the above mentioned site, complained of no water pressure what so ever. That it only would drip and that one would stand there with shampoo or soap suds, not being able to clean oneself or rinse off. Scared, I climbed in to the bathtub and scolded my feet, since I misunderstood how to turn on the shower head. But once I got the hang of that, there was nothing wrong what so ever with the water pressure. It was the same as at home, so I had no complaints at all. And got furious with people who seem to come from another planet, with their complaints.

I had decided to start walking to the NEC around 09:00. So this is what I did. In a way I felt excited but in another way, I felt weary.Was it really right of me to go spend money on miniatures, when our family needs so many other things? Like a new car, instead of the mistake we bought a year ago, which has cost us an arm and a leg in repairs so far. Like a new bed, so that T. and I at least can pretend to be an ordinary married couple, sharing bedroom. As it is now, he sleeps in “Boo’s” bed, since the mattress has collapsed on his side of the bed, from his heavy weight. “Boo” sleeps there now. Like a bed for “Gubby”, so that he can try to sleep in an own bed, having me in view the entire time. The list could get as long as you want it to be. And here I was, on my way to spending money on silly things.

First stretch of the LONG walk to NEC from Birmingham International Train Station!

First stretch of the LONG walk to NEC, from Birmingham International Train Station!


But I was not the only person standing in the queue outside Miniatura. We were quite a lot of silly people. This nasty German couple behind me, for example. When the doors opened at 10:00, the pressure to get in, was on. I got up to this black young man, or brown coloured one, as “Gubby” would say. His colour did not matter of course, but his intelligence did. I have never had a weekend ticket before, and when I gave him mine, he tore off the only part which could be torn off. I started wondering how I would be able to get in, on the next day, when he had torn off the ticket part of the ticket, if that makes sense. At first he looked like a question mark and then he told me to stand to the side, after the Germans rudely had sighed as loud as they could and had said in Gestapo voices, that there were many people waiting. I stood to the side for a while, as the young man let about ten people go through. Then I got mad and started talking  to myself but also to let him know that this was not alright: “So I am going to stand here till everyone has entered am I? Don’t think so!” I walked up to him and said “Is there an information, because if there is, I will go to it right now!”. He said that there was. Why did he not tell me before, pray tell? I found it without that stupid man’s help and asked them about the ticket procedure the next day. Once that was sorted out, I also bought myself a cheap Miniatura carrier bag.

From my visit two years earlier, I knew that some stalls you need to get to as quickly as possible. I had made a little list and quickly located the stalls, in the program I had bought outside, from the same funny man, who sold them two years ago. My first stall, was The Little Doll House Company, which had come all the way from Canada. I had been in on their site, beforehand, and while there were too many things to look at, I had checked some things and discovered something I had never seen anyone selling before. A pair of man’s suspenders. But arriving at the stall, the man had not brought them. He suggested I send for them. Forget that! They would get stuck in customs and these overseas companies charge an arm and a leg in shipping for items which weigh imagenext to nothing. Then he suggested I come to his next fair in Amsterdam. Sorry, but I am not going to Amsterdam either. Pity, because they were really nice. I continued to Truly Scrumptious, to look if they had got their Kodak camera in a box, back in stock, but they had not. So nothing bought in that stall either. My third stall, which was a must, was, since I had seen some funny things on their site:  a boy’s catapult, a little paper hat made out of “newspaper” and a little wooden toy sword.  Little items which will easily find a home, in Rose’s son’s attic room, in my dollhouse. And I was happy, to find the items available.

From there, it was time to go for one of many visits, to the cancer research stall. They are a charity stall, and the most wonderful of all the stalls. Because you never know what you will find there. The problem is that everyone else finds it equally exciting, so it is difficult to see anything and get up to the tables. When I finally got up there, I stood and was wishy-washy about this closet. I don’t know why, because it was a good price and obviously both Lily will need a closet in her room and Rose in the master bedroom. But I did not know if it was really the right time period, ca. 1939, nor if that is the first piece of furniture one needs for the bedrooms. And like in 2014, when someone snapped up a double bed, when I put it down to think, someone else snapped the closet up, in front of my eyes. I decided to not put an item down again, until I had decided a definite NO on it. So, on my first visit to their stall that day, I did not buy anything. But I sure did on my second visit. More on that later on. But, this is the stall which is in constant transition. They can’t put out everything from the beginning, so you need to come back over and over again, to see what they have put out while you were gone.

Next thing on my list, was going to the stall. I really do not understand this stall at all. The woman stands and says that the items are hand-made by her, but if I understand things correctly, they are made in Switzerland. Whichever, they are nice. And shipping is atrocious, so if one wants things from this company, it is best to buy them at a show. From my eBay watch list, I had two items to shop for and that was a pair of male shoes, for Rose’s husband, serving his country in one of the forces. Haven’t decided which yet. And a pair of black thick stockings, for poor Lily. When I received her, after special ordering her, at Miniatura two years ago (, I was delighted with her, except for the fact that she had white legs. Not wearing black stockings! One did not have white stockings with the WAAF uniform and it was not something which I thought about when ordering her, that one should order black legs, nor did I want to write and complain. Instead, in my mind, I came up with a story: Lily has arrived home on leave, and has taken off her hat, and her stockings, in order to protect the latter. Alternatively, she is on her way back to base, after a weekend leave in London, and has not put her stockings on yet. All stockings sold, are very thin though and on the Heidi Ott site, a year ago, I saw thick black stockings. Unfortunately, there were none at the stall Saturday 1 October 2016. Don’t know how to solve the problem. But she had shoes. And actually, she also had a bedstand and mattress on sale, so my trip to that stall was not wasted. It actually is a lovely stall, she has so many wonderful things, but most of them are out of my league, price wise.

Since I do not know when I will get to shop from Heidi Ott again and when I will get to go to a fair which has shoes etc. I splurged and bought 2 male shoes, one for Rose's evacuated son and a pair of Wellingtons for the Victory Garden work.

Since I do not know when I will get to shop from Heidi Ott again and when I will get to go to a fair which has shoes etc. I splurged and bought 2 male shoes, one pair for Rose’s evacuated son and a pair of Wellingtons for the Victory Garden work.

Either for Lily's room or her nephew's.

Either for Lily’s room or her nephew’s.

Double mattress

Double mattress

Last time I was at Miniatura, things were very much different from this time. That time, I travelled out to Birmingham from London, and only for one day. I ran through the show like a maniac, to be able to see every single stall at least once. I hardly even gave myself time to visit the loo, which was a permanent place, at the back wall of the hall. And I did not give myself any time to eat, which meant I felt very faint at the end of the day. When I walked to the cafeteria 2014, there was nothing left to eat, except a bag of crisps. This time at the show, I quickly decided to: 1. Look carefully the first time around, because trying to find a stall a second time, if it is not one of the large and well-known ones, is almost impossible, if you don’t make scribbles in your program. I am not a scribbler. Also, going back hours after seeing something, often means that the item will be sold. 2. I also decided to let myself go to the loo, even though they were disgusting port-a-potties. No, disgusting is not the word, because they were clean, but since they were housed in “wagons”, every stall in there, was very small and narrow. Not for the claustrophobic person at all. Everyone whined about them that day, so I was not the only one  hating to go to them. 3. I had also decided to let myself have a proper meal, midday, since I had no idea what I would be eating in the evening and IF I would be eating anything.

So, at this point, I headed for the cafeteria to buy something to eat. I had decided on a sandwich but when I saw the fish, I decided to have fish and chips instead. The sad part about this meal was, that the English eat very bizarre combinations of food. I do not feel that beans in tomato sauce has anything to do with fish & chips, so I would not let the lady put that on my plate. How disgusting to have soggy chips covered with disgusting tomato sauce! Nor would I let her put on the mushy peas, since I knew that consistency would make me evacuate, and I did not want my fish nor my chips float in that green gall-like substance. But since I opted away those two, could she not have given me some extra chips? This meal did not fill me up! And was very dry since I could not find any tartar sauce.


The fish was very nice though and so were the chips. They were not as greasy as expected, which was nice, since I get problems with my gall system then, not having a gall bladder. No, I was fine all afternoon and needed no anti-acids, which is a good mark for the chef! So I can recommend having lunch at the NEC.

After the lunch, I decided to go and have a look at the three stalls, which had promised on the internet site for Miniatura, to have Art Deco items. One, had not shown up, at the show. The second one, was too expensive for me. But the third had me all excited. Not so much over the Art Deco items per se, but I have this thing about painted pewter items. Well, pewter items painted or unpainted, really. Perhaps because they give a lot of detail and because there is some substance to them. They are not usually that fragile either. At, I fell totally in love with the following items:

The Art Deco clock is lighter green than it shows on the photo. To the left a Spitfire and to the right a Hurricane.

The Art Deco clock is lighter green than it shows on the photo. To the left a Spitfire and to the right a Hurricane.

Yes, I could have bought the pewter clock from Phoenix Model Developments and painted it myself, cheaper than buying it ready-made. But I don’t know how to do the nice marble effect, and the clock will look lovely in Rose’s bedroom, which I plan to make pink and green. The funny part is, that before I went to Miniatura, the attic rooms in my dollhouse did not really hold any interest for me. I meant to leave them to the last, letting one room be a little boy’s room. But then finding the little catapult, the paper hat and little sword, made me realize that this is also fun. Having five boys of my own, boys’ toys have been my thing for years. And when I saw these aircrafts from WWII, well how could I seriously resist? I grabbed the expensive Spitfire and gave the clock and Spit to the lady, in order to pay. But then I started reasoning with myselfpart, “I can’t leave the Hurricane behind! When will I see something like that again? I will have it like a fixation on my brain for years to come, if I do not buy it NOW” so I said, “Wait! I’ll have the Hurricane as well!”. Her husband, who was the one who had painted them was excited, no doubt about it! He looked happy and I was THRILLED to pieces, since this is so perfect for my WWII house and I suspect they were one offs, because they are not on their site. Nor are all the little sets with trains! If I had had more money! They had a box with a train set and tracks, both a normal one and one painted like “Thomas the Tank Engine”. Some people have sooooooo much talent! I just LOVED them both. And the funny part was, that the reason why I had headed to this stall, at this early stage, was because they were one of three people advertising that they were selling art deco items! Yet it was really other things which attracted my eye. A stall I very much would like to visit again in the future.
imageI got my notebook out of my bag again, to see my errand list. Next thing, was a toilet paper holder, from For those of you who have not been in on their site, you are in for a treat. These are high quality items. Not the sort of garbage you find from say Doll House Emporium. No, these are detailed items copied from museum items, and what can I say, but that they are a true delight and a feast for the eyes! I headed for their stall and just admired at first and then asked for the toilet paper holder, even though I might not be able to set up a garden for my dollhouse and place my outhouse there. The husband, of the woman who makes all the items, was a nice chap. We started to discuss an item, me asking what it was used for and he was funny. We agreed on that even if an item existed by this and that date, it does not mean that everyone had one, nor is it often possible to date items to a set year. Some people are always early in catching on to news, while others will purchase them at the end. Like me getting an iPhone 4 when everyone else was buying an iPhone 6! While he took payment for the toilet paper holder, he giggled and said it was authentic paper from WWII as well, since they had managed to get hold of some. That was very funny and pleasing to hear! I so wish I could have afforded their copper, but this quality item was way out of my league as many other things, but it is free to drool, isn’t it? And their stall was one that I reluctantly left.

Next, I went to for the first time of four, during that weekend. She and this other stall, it turned out, were the only ones who had brought wallpaper. And I fully intended to buy wallpaper for my dollhouse, when I could see them with my own eyes and not via a computer screen, which always show the wrong colours. But the first time I visited the stall, there were just too many people, the second time when I went to look at the wallpapers, I was disappointed with the selection. I did not like anything! And they were mostly Victorian wallpapers for say Downton Abbey-style dollhouses! Third time I visited, I only got an acrylic sheet with a stained glass look, in the shape of diamonds, and the fourth time, a tiny little number sign for the house, which I can not find, now when I am back home. She “glued” the sign on a piece of paper, and I have run out of places to look. Very sad. But during my first visit, I did not know what was going to happen the next day. I just left, because of the crowding and headed for One of the main reasons for coming to Miniatura in the first place.

Bromley Crafts or craft-products as they are called on the internet, sells a brick compound which should come out cheaper to use, than buying little individual bricks, and gluing them on to your house. But I had lots of questions about it, since I never dared to ask a thing, two years ago, not even owning a house then. But now I had lots, after watching their YouTube video on how to apply it, and after reading about the different compounds, the regular one and the one being sent to international customers. I wanted to know, if it is possible to put it on, on an already assembled house, since all they show on their videos, are pieces of an un-assembled house or one without windows and doors. I wanted to know if one can mix regular brick compound with the international one, if one runs out of the real “stuff” in the middle of the “decorating”. And I wanted to know exactly how it is put on and if it is very difficult. So I spent quite some time at the stall. Showing my house, on photos, telling how I want to transform it from 1900 Copenhagen to 1940 London. Richard Bromley himself, told me that I am in for a challenge alright, trying to put on the compound on an already assembled house, with windows attached. But it can be done. He told me, that the best thing would be to take the windows out, and then put them back in at the end. But they are too fragile. If I try to remove them, they will break for sure. And I can not afford to replace eleven windows in one go. It is bad enough that I accidentally broke off the door, but it also has facilitated the putting on brick around that area, so it is not all bad. Plus of course, I now can have the door of my dreams!

He also told me that if I run out of the regular thick compound, I can not continue with the lighter weight international compound, because there will be a visual difference. THAT was bad news. One can not make any mistakes in other words. And I had to buy all the compound I might need, while at the show. I was not ready to carry all that weight around though, so I told him that I would be back at the end of the day, but since I had plans then, I actually waited with buying the compound to the next day. Knowing exactly how heavy it would be! But it was informative talking to him, and while it all seems so easy when he talks about it, it is not. Not really. Which you can read all about, in my other dollhouse posts!

imageFrom him, I decided to finally bite the bullet and head to I had walked by their stall already once, and it was full of people. I was nervous about meeting Angie, who I had had so much e-mail contact with and her husband John, who made my 1930s door, to my specifications. Looking at their stall earlier, I could tell that they were not the sort of bubbly, extroverted people, who a lot of the miniaturists are. They were older, very business like, and they had a young girl helping them out as well, who seemed totally clueless. SHE is the one, whom I had to talk to. When she could not help me, she called on what I suspect is her grandmother, Angie. Angie did not smile but just said “nice to have a face to the person”. I guess she was not impressed. She showed me the door and I told her that I also would like to buy the copper. So she put the two of them in a paper bag each and I gave her my card to pay with, since their stall was one of the few taking credit cards. She looked at me and said in a surprised, half irritated tone “That is it? You are not getting anything else?”. I felt embarrassed. Excuse me but spending £35 is a lot for me! And quite enough! I had looked at a small side table, but felt unsure about it. There were other things I needed and wanted more at that point. So I was disappointed that she felt that I did not spend enough from them and I felt like they did not appreciate my business. Sad really, because I might have to turn to them again and order windows, if something happens to the ones I have right now! But do I dare? I left the stall a little bit uncomfortable, since she had obviously expected me to have shopped a lot more.


Quite an investment but a 1940 house really need one of these coppers. This one is made I think by jandasupplies but Country Contrast also sells them.

Quite an investment but a 1940 Blitz house really need one of these coppers. This one is made I think by jandasupplies but Country Contrast also sells them.

Since I was doing must things from my list, I walked over to And THERE is a lady who is

The best of the pictures I gave Teresa Thompson!

The best of the pictures I gave Teresa Thompson!

pleasant to talk to, sweet and all the rest. She made my WAAF doll Lily two years ago and now I walked up to her and asked her to make Rose for me. She was all up for it and excited, when I handed her a bunch of pictures of girls serving in WWII, as ambulance drivers. I asked her for a red-head and got to choose between two different kinds of shades and then three different kind of faces. It actually is fun to order a doll from her but also scary. Many people make dolls at that show, but I really love her dolls the most. Don’t know why, but they look a little bit like her really, British, sweet and nice. They have kind faces. I wish I could afford to make a husband for Rose, as well, and a son, but in a way it feels like too many dolls in my house. Plus I want the husband to be out in the war, fighting, and the son to be an evacuee. Now starts the wait. She was actually very quick when it came to making Lily. Can’t remember how long it was, but I was surprised at how quickly she mailed me with a photo. I am not sure if I have ever posted a photo of Lily here on my blog, so enjoy:

Lily, serving in the WAAF, made by Teresa Thompson in 2014.

Lily, serving in the WAAF, made by Teresa Thompson in 2014. Sorry, but I do not want to dig her out of her safe spot, where she is waiting for her room to be ready, so I am using Teresa’s photo of her!


When I had done this last “chore”, I finally felt free to just go and look at things, at leisure. Anything which I would find after this, would be a bonus in my book. I decided to go over to the left of the room and start walking row by row, up and down, only looking at one side at a time. But before I got over there, I walked by Jane Harrop. I did buy some kits from her in Farum, Denmark, when I went to a dollhouse fair over there. I stood and looked at some kits this day as well, but since I have not put the first together yet, I did not feel like I should buy more. But I do love the style of her furniture and things, all copies from the 1930s and Edwardian era, with some items also being from the end of the war, called the Utility furniture. But they are very fragile. I picked up her new kit, which contains suitcases and realized that they are only made from cardstock. Somehow, I want the things I buy to last, to become perhaps heirlooms. Things of very fragile wood and cardstock, will not last and can get harmed already in my lifetime, so perhaps I will not buy too many more of her kits. But I did buy the fragile cupboard, which has been “featured” in both “Foyle’s War” and in “Poirot”! It must have been the most common cupboard in the 1930s and I have not seen anyone else selling

£55 from

£55 from

something like it, except Country Contrast, who asks £55 for it. And THAT I am not willing to pay for ANYTHING!

On my way to the loo, I walked by the big stall of, where I paused, since their books and magazines, really are something. Many people had paused in order to look at their lovely Beatrix Potter miniature books, it being an anniversary for her this year. But I started to look at books for Rose’s husband and some more war newspapers, to add to the one I already own. Unfortunately, the one I really wanted, had already sold that day and the owner tried to sell me the one I already had at home. He lost patience with me and tattle taled (?) to his sons/co-workers, but I just ignored the old man. I managed to do some damage at that stall as well.


3 1940s newspapers which can be opened and read if you have excellent eye vision and then “Henry V” for Rose’s husband and “Wind in the Willows” for Rose’s son.

I wanted to have had an Agatha Christie, for Rose’s husband, but the one I wanted was sold. “Henry V” was played over and over on the radio, during D-day, 6 June 1944, so I guess that play would be an alright choice for a WWII dollhouse. I would have loved a “”Biggles” book or something for the boy’s room, but no such thing, so I finally settled for the “Wind in the the Willows”, because my boys have lately taken to that in the film version (Monty Python gang). I bought the big size books, since they are nicer than the small size ones, made to fit in bookcases. That is what the younger man in the stall recommended, while the older one washed his hands of me and stood in a corner and pouted! Oh well…

After my loo visit, I returned to the cancer research stall and struck luck in my opinion. They had put out a bunch of Phoenix Model Development things in pewter and I grabbed some of them, even if maybe some of them did not make sense, in a modern 1940 family.

A little shaving set to paint, for Rose's husband, to be kept in their bedroom.

A little shaving set to paint, for Rose’s husband, to be kept in their bedroom.

It was the camera I was out after in this kit, not so much the opera glasses. Perhaps I can sell those on eBay or something?

It was the camera I was out after in this kit, not so much the opera glasses. Perhaps I can sell those on eBay or something?

This had me thrilled since it OPENS, has a removable section and I have had this on my brain for years, as something which Lily would store all her treasures in. I had resolved to buy a wooden trunk, paint it and so forth. So this was a REAL find. The only negative part is that the lid does not want to stay open since the leather used is a little bit too stiff.

This had me thrilled since it OPENS, has a removable section and I have had this on my brain for years, as something which Lily would store all her treasures in. I had resolved to buy a wooden trunk, paint it and so forth. So this was a REAL find. The only negative part is that the lid does not want to stay open, since the leather used, is a little bit too stiff.

Another cute little find, for the kitchen. A candle box which I think I will paint green for my typical 1930s kitchen in green and yellow/cream. Believe it or not, but the tiny drawer opens.

Another cute little find, for the kitchen. A candle box which I think I will paint green for my typical 1930s kitchen in green and yellow/cream. Believe it or not, but the tiny drawer opens.

When I had purchased these items, I stopped at the stall, which sounds more mysterious than it is. They were showing miniature needlework and they had the most amazing little socks in green, which I would have loved to have knitted. But they did not have a pattern for them. The two elderly ladies manning the stall, told me that it was the same principle as making big socks, but I can’t imagine that I can just take a normal sock pattern, very thin thread and then just make them that small naturally! Maybe one can find something on the internet? What they did have though, was a pattern for a quilt, which one of them had made in several copies. Just gorgeous little grandmother’s garden quilts. Since that pattern of quilt is my very favourite, I just had to buy the pattern. How I am going to find all the fabrics needed to make one, is beyond me, but a pattern is the best start.


All excited, after that long conversation with the ladies, I moved on to, since she had two boxes standing in her stall, full of patterns. What I need for my house, is linen and clothing, you see. To hang to dry, in the kitchen, but also to put in the bedrooms. And I suddenly had this idea, that maybe she would have patterns for the right time period, since everyone selling ready-made dollhouse doll clothes, only selling Victorian ones. So I started to look at all her patterns and she got excited at having a customer, so she came out to me on the floor, to help me look what could be used for my time period. I found a cricket outfit and quickly saw that the trouser pattern could be used to make any kind of trousers for a man, shirt and tie the same thing. Then Sue found a kit for an evacuee outfit. How perfect was that? And what says that one can not make a couple of extra outfits, to fill cupboards, washing basket and so on? And then she brought out another kit. I hated the fabric which came with it. She was not too keen on the fabric she had put in to it, either, but she pointed out that the pattern was perfect. Somehow she had been involved with the TV show, “The 40s House” and had created those clothes for the mother of the house. I asked her nicely, if she would be willing to just sell me the pattern, so I could choose fabrics I liked better, and she agreed, since she did not like the fabrics herself! That was very sweet of her!!! This is when they called out, that the show was closed for the day, and I was very upset with myself, since I really had not seen that much of it, at all! But luckily, I did have one more day, to look at everything.

image image

When I got out, from the show, I realized that I really would need that carrier box from WHSmith, BEFORE Monday, to pack all little fragile things in from the show. What to do? I was at Birmingham International or almost, being over at the NEC, and I would have to get myself to New Street Station and run to WHSmith quickly, because I suspected that it was closing at 18:00. I phoned T. at home and told him to quickly get in on the internet and check the opening times, while I walked as fast as I could, to the train station. He soon phoned me back and said to not bother, that they were closing as I suspected, at 18:00, and now it was 17:20. But I was determined. I could make, I must make it. So I breathed slowly, said a prayer, placed myself in the long queue for  tickets and decided to keep calm. Luckily five people belonged to the same group and then another five to another group. They had quick questions. At first, I moved toward the wrong ticket booth but when I noticed, I walked up to the right one and this black woman, who had tried to cut the line three times ( I had observed her because there was nothing else to look at and because her behaviour was vexing, all of us being in a hurry!), walked up to me and screamed at me that I had not stood in the queue! Right, I had been in the queue when she first arrived and tried to cut it in front of me and then right behind me, where this man was standing. I had noticed HER but she was so full of herself, that she had not paid attention to what the others in the queue looked like! I bawled her out while buying my ticket and paying for it, telling her that I had miscalculated which booth was going to be free first, but I HAD been in the queue the entire time. COW!

I ran down the stairs and got on the train right before they closed the doors. One step closer to WHSmith. When I got to New Street, I ran in the proper direction but could not remember where I had seen WHSmith. Was it High Street or New Street? I closed my eyes and tried to remember the picture, since I have visual memory, close to photographic memory, and then I headed straight for the place. I ran in at exactly 17:55. YES! In my mind I said a silent prayer of thanks and walked up the wrong aisle, where I found a cheaper and BETTER carrier box than the one I had seen the day before! And also a round one, for wallpapers or the sheet of stained glass plastic, I had bought from Jennifer’s of Walsall. While I grabbed those, the shop turned off their lights and I had to head to the cashier. But not before I grabbed some other funny things which I have had on my eBay watch list. Like a battery operated rubber for colouring (when you make a slight mistake and do not want to erase more than that mistake), a sharpener, blender pens and waxing pens, all by the company Derwent. All of it bought for my colouring books for adults, of course. I was very pleased with it all and that I had a 20% coupon for all my purchases or was it £5 off, can’t remember which one was the valid one.

The only way to carry home miniatures from a show, really. At least if you travel by aircraft.

The only way to carry home miniatures from a show, really. At least if you travel by aircraft.

Now, I had the option of going back to Solihull or do some other things. I opted for going to Clarks, since I have been wanting a pair of biker boots for years, but have not found any I like, here in Sweden. Clarks shoes are comfortable, so this is why I headed there, and spent a lot of time there, trying on boots, with my swollen feet, full of water blisters. They asked me what size I am and how on earth can one answer that question, when every company has their own sizing? But Clarks personnel brought out a funny tool and measured both the width of my foot and the length, so now I know that I need a size UK 4 wide, in their shoes at least! After buying myself a very nice pair of boots, I headed for the funny shop, where everything was on sale, once again, called the Works. I stood there till they closed, looking at all the different colouring books and finally settled on a book which is very popular in the colouring books for adults Facebook group, I belong to: “Imagimorphia”. It is creepy in one way, that is why I have stayed away from it, but at the same time, it has so much detail to it, which could be really funny to colour. And at half the British price, who could resist?


By now, all the high street shops were closed, so I headed to the shopping centre to try to find a Boots. I could NOT go back without something sharp to puncture the water blisters with. I had not had dinner, and they had no nice sandwiches left at all, so in the end I had to emergency shop. For sharp object, I had to buy a pair of cuticle scissors. I thought I would find some safety pins or an emergency sewing kit, but no such was available at Boots. And for dinner? A bag of chocolate minstrels. Did not really matter since I was not that hungry after all. Limping, with two big bulky bags and one cloth bag full of miniatures, I headed out in the pouring rain towards New Street Station. It was not particularly nice to walk from Birmingham International, in pouring rain and the bags which cut in to my hands. It even got worse. When I thought I had finally made it, when I stood by my door, at the hotel, my door card did not work! It had taken 15 tries the night before, so there I stood wet, tired and with aching feet, trying the card over and over again. Finally I was close to crying, since my feet really were hurting badly. I abandoned my bags and was going to head to the reception downstairs, when I noticed someone from housekeeping, carrying an ironing board. I asked if she please could let me in to my room, which she did, but she told me that my card must have got de-magnetized. But how? I had kept the mobile away from it, my credit cards were kept in a pouch around my neck, to now get robbed like T. was in Paris, so what de-magnetized the card? At that point, I did not even care to find out. I pulled off my shoes, my plasters, and set out to cut holes on those blisters with the scissors. And when I had thus tortured myself, I found a TV channel which showed British mysteries all evening, pulled out my chocolates, my new colouring book “Secret London” and my pencils. It was nice to just relax. I made a decision for the next day. After the show, I would go back to the hotel, go down to the pool and have a swim, then order food to my room and pack. I had had enough of New Street station. Besides, I wanted to at least keep the Sabbath Day somewhat holy, even if I was going to shop at the show and go swimming, which do not really count as appropriate Sunday activities.

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Birmingham Day 1: “What else will go wrong?”

Well, I am back from my four-day holiday to Birmingham, England. A trip I felt both negative and positive about making, but finally settled on going on. I booked the trip with, after watching their commercial, telling the audience that one would have money left over for fun purchases on site. And weeks after I had bought my weekend ticket to Miniatura, the reason for me going at all. I had had a bed & breakfast up in one tab on my iPad, all summer, but that was fully booked by the time I decided to go. So, Expedia seemed to be my solution. I booked basically the cheapest hotel I could find, as close to Birmingham International/the NEC as I could get. The Hotel’s name being the Arden Hotel & Leisure Club. But two weeks before departure, I did the mistake of looking on Trip Advisor for the hotel, and read the reviews. They scared the living daylight out of me, many talking about the showers only dripping and not being able to get soap suds off, and the rooms either smelling strongly of mold or nicotine/smoke. If there is one thing I must have when travelling, it is a shower and loo which work, or I will be in a foul temper and feel the entire trip a fiasco. And thanks to allergies, I can not be in rooms full of dust, mold or nicotine smell. Dust and mold will have me all congested in both nose and throat and nicotine remains, will also mean a migraine within minutes. So, I was worried sick all week, before going, not wanting to go, but not being able to cancel since the money was non-refundable. I did not really sleep at all the night before going, worrying, and I had to be up at 05:00.

My plans for my trip were these. Day 1, I would fly in to Birmingham, go to the Arden and drop my luggage, get the box for D. out of the suitcase, head off to New Street Station in the centre of the city, walk to the post office at Pinfold Street and post his package, then phone the Back-to-Back Museum to find out if there was room for me, at any of their guided tours, that day. Depending on the time, I might squeeze in a second museum as well or try to find the bakery Maison Macey, which competed on Britain’s Best Bakery, a couple of years ago. Day 2 & 3 would be spent at Miniatura of course and day 4, shopping in and around New Street Station. Those were my plans. But things never become the way we have planned, do they?

In my case, it started finding out about the hotel having bad reviews. And then that luggage was not included in the price of my ticket. My son, serving an LDS mission in the Birmingham, England Mission, of course had to receive a care package, now when I was going to be so close to him. He is having a tough time of things and his Birthday a couple of weeks ago, was spent without as much as a piece of cake, so I decided to put together a fun package with all sorts of foods he might be missing. Since shipping in England is cheaper than sending things from Sweden, I decided that the package would also hold, his Christmas presents, all bought and wrapped by now. The box became big and heavy, 2,6 kilos. My plan to put it in the carry-on, did not work out. The package was too big. So, the box had to go in a suitcase, and the carry-on could not fit in the suitcase as planned, with the box in there. In other words, I would have to balance two bags on my way to the hotel, as well as my shoulder bag.  And of course, I would have to pay for taking my suitcase with me. Which if I had shown up at the airport in Copenhagen with it, would have cost me over 1200 kronor (£110, €125, $140). Now we paid for it, over the internet, and got the cost down to a little over 500 kronor (£46, €52, $58).

I took as little clothes with me as possible, so I could shop for things in England. I put D.’s package in there which filled half the suitcase and then also the toilet articles, since not all bottles filled the regulations of less than 50 mls. I also resent walking around with a see through plastic bag, containing my private things, the way terrorism has forced us all to do. In my carry-on, I put the neck pillow I wanted to use on the flight, to sleep, my charging cords, and my iPad with keypad. That was all. At 05:00, I silently climbed out of bed not to wake “Gubby” and “Boo”, who sleeps with their mummy. Took a shower, got dressed and at 05:45, my husband got out the door with the suitcase, while I tried to silently walk around kissing my boys on the forehead, trying not to wake anyone, and whispering to E., if she could get them ready for school, in case their dad did not make it back until it was time to drive them there. We got to the airport without any hassle but I asked him if he could please help me at the self-service machines. We had picked a seat for me already, we had checked me in already and printed out a boarding pass, BUT I needed a tag for my suitcase. So he parked the car and we walked to get the tag and while I went to the loo, he had someone help him put it on, because we were in the wrong terminal. We walked to the right one, and stood in queue to drop the bag off, till I asked this young man, why I had to stand there, when the bag was ready to go. He told me, he had not realized and pointed where for us to go instead, and we took the bag to this un-manned place and put the bag on the conveyor belt. My words were “Can I really trust this now?”. Famous last words right?!

T. gave me a quick, non-passionate kiss, like good riddance. It was a year since I got a kiss I think, or was it two? Anyway, contemplating the sadness of my friendship marriage, I walked off to security while he left for Sweden and his own troubles. He had shown his passport at the border crossing and the custom’s police asked him what his business was in Sweden. Instead of saying “I live here since 1992/I am going home to take my children to school/I just took my SWEDISH wife to the airport/I live in … and work in Helsingborg” or showing his Swedish driver’s license, he just sat there and took the verbal abuse, having to show his green card and was given the time of his life, being treated like an illegal migrant. Why???? I was glad I did not know, since I had my own troubles with security. I was chosen to do the dance! I had to stand with my hands in the air and turn around, not once but twice, because I look so very much like a muslim terrorist, being a blonde light-skinned woman who unfortunately has passed age 50. I will never ever agree to telling anyone, this piece of information again! So enjoy! I am 25 from now on, alright!??

But this was not the only humiliation. This man rudely asked me if the carry-on was mine. “Yes!” -Do you have a computer in there? “I have an iPad!” He now started yelling at me, that I was supposed to have taken that out of the bag. “Excuse me then, I will do it right now! But this is the very first time I fly with an iPad and how was I suppose to know?” He could not have cared less, just angrily walked off with the carry on in one hand and the iPad in another. They could have put up signs about this, you know! Instead all I saw were  signs about liquids having to go in plastic bags and that one must remove one’s jacket and belt. IDIOTS! Idiot Danes! They have a sign problem, both at Legoland and at the airport. Not to speak about their road signs, which do not appear until the moment that you are supposed to turn, when it is too late for the sign to show up!

Rattled, I could not enjoy looking at tax-free at all. I did walk over to make up to see if I could find a better eye-liner than the one I currently use, which breaks when used and which breaks when sharpened. I had no idea which brand to look at so I ended up at Smashbox, which had an eye-liner which self-sharpens itself. While I was looking, this woman came up to the brand name next to Smashbox and put on her entire make up. I did not leave because I was totally fascinated at the gall but also, because I was curious to see what she would look like in the end. Next time I fly, I will not bother putting make up on before the airport and walk up to the MAC people and have them put on the make up for me. They stood there doing nothing. I did not feel like looking in any other shop really, feeling depressed over how everyone always scream at me and treats me like a dog turd.

This was not a big flight at all, which I realized when I got to my gate, where there were only a couple of chairs, already occupied of course. The shabbiest part of the airport for sure. Most of my fellow passengers at that point were muslim men and women which had me feel uneasy, especially after this air stewardess called out this male Muslim name, resembling the one’s who was in charge of the Paris murders. The man was present and I could see the panic in her face and anger, when she told him that his flight was cancelled, that he was not allowed to fly with us. So there we all stood ready to walk on board the plane, and all they cared about was removing this man from us and have him go and identify his luggage, so that it could be taken off the airplane. As far as I can tell, they suspected the man of terrorism, the way they treated him. But when I sat on the plane, which was delayed because of this incident, he came on board after everyone else, his hands full of papers. I have no idea what went on there, but it left me feeling uneasier than ever. Before his re-entrance, a bunch of middle-aged Danish men had come on board as well, stinking of alcohol, being loud and they were seated surrounding me on all sides.  Right beside me though, sat a Polish woman, who did not say boo or bah to me.

When we landed, we all got off, that woman first of all, since she just pushed herself off. But she did not get very far, since passport control took forever and then she had to stand waiting for her suitcase with the rest of us, forever. Because four suitcases came on to the conveyor belt and went around it for the next two hours. I stood beside this German man, some years younger than me, and his two elderly travelling companions. We all felt bewildered. Where were our bags? After an hour, this Danish man went and fetched someone from luggage and asked where our bags were. She walked up to the bags passing our view over and over again and said that our bags had been sent elsewhere, but not to Birmingham. The poor German man only understood a fraction and his companions nothing at all. But I understood, that it was time to follow the lady and report one’s bag missing. So the entire flight’s passengers entered two queues. I ended up at the very end of the slowest moving of the two, and only had three young Russian girls behind me, complaining that they had nothing now, except toothbrushes. I turned around and told them that I did not even have a toothbrush. The lady, had handed out papers for everyone to fill in before one got up to the counter, but the four of us did not get any. Nice, so I had to stand and worry about that. Because soon, other passengers from other flights were added to our queues. The Polish lady, was not in the queue from the start, but then she just pushed herself in front of me. I was too tired and too upset to say anything. But finally she spoke to me and told me that she could not work all day now, since all her charger cords were in her luggage. Too bad lady, she at least lived in Birmingham. I was visiting for four days, had a package to post that day, which I did not know where it was at that moment, and all my toilet articles, underwear, jacket and clothes, were in the suitcase. I had nothing! And for how long?

This vision of Lasse Åberg’s film from the 1980s called “Sällskapsresan” came to mind. His bag is lost on his flight to Gran Canaria and all week he has to borrow clothes from a new-found friend. Not until the last day, does his bag show up. If my bag did not show up in Birmingham, I would not be able to send that care package to D. after all. It costing too much from Sweden. And worse, I would have to spend the entire first day, shopping for what I would need during my stay. The Danish men, who were all part of a big group of about 20 people, received a little overnight bag each, but the oldest was concerned about going to a formal dinner that evening, dressed in a cheerful striped tennis shirt. None of them were dressed for a formal dinner. The Polish lady really wanted to know what had happened to her bag and when it was finally our turn at the counter, I could hear the answer. The entire flight’s bags were still in Copenhagen and would maybe come with the evening flight. Perhaps! What to do? Trust that information or??

When I finally had my bag reported missing, I headed with my almost empty carry-on towards the exit and found the free air-link leading to Birmingham International train station. I sat down inside it, feeling sad and exhausted, since all my plans had been ruined. This really fat Indian man sat down beside me. I recognised him from the missing bag queue and he asked me if I had lost my bag as well. He lived in Birmingham, so he was not too upset but he understood how upset I must be. But he hoped my day would turn out better from then on. We both got off at the train station and he headed for the car park while I headed out to start my walk to the hotel, having printed out a map from their site, at home, which showed how to walk to them. The following photos were taken as I was leaving the hotel later on, not going to it, so they are turned the wrong way, but I was pleasantly surprised actually. The walk took no more than ten minutes, I was constantly in lit areas, and I never felt unsafe. Arriving, I of course did so in daylight and when there were people about, working in all office buildings surrounding the hotel, but there was no difference really in the evening. No weirdos out. Except me of course!


The first stretch went by a trafficated road, starting on the other side of that walking bridge, where the station was.

The first stretch went by a trafficated road, starting on the other side of that walking bridge, where the station was.

Then arriving at the round-about where I was supposed to keep to the left

Then arriving at the round-about where I was supposed to keep to the left

Then turning in on this road, at the top of the picture, and walking this stretch towards a gate in the middle of a car parking lot...

Then turning in on this road, at the top of the picture, and walking this stretch towards a gate in the middle of a parking lot…


From there, you walked uphill a little bit, or over the grass when tired, and followed the edge of the hotel till you finally ended up in front of the hotel, at the grand entrance:

Some people on Trip Advisor complained they could not find the entrance and walked in through a cafeteria. They must have left their blind sticks and blind dogs at home. How can you not find an entrance to a house? You just walk around till you get there. Some people are not very bright, are they?

Some people on Trip Advisor complained they could not find the entrance and walked in through a cafeteria. They must have left their blind sticks and blind dogs at home. How can you not find an entrance to a house? You just walk around till you get there. Some people are not very bright, are they?

I was concerned when I arrived at the reception desk. But there was no need. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. I explained that my bag had gone missing and that the airport had promised that it might arrive in the evening. They made a note of it and what the bag looked like, since they do not dare to accept a bag without an owner, unless forewarned. I could not check in at noon, which I had not expected either, but they took my carry-on, so I did not have to drag that around all day. Happy having met nice people without a patronizing manner or the arrogance one meets with all London hotel staffs, I walked back the way I had come, to the train station and bought myself lunch. Because I was feeling faint. I was upset, so my lunch consisted of the best there is:

Comfort food? You bet!

Comfort food? You bet!

I was shocked at the train ticket price: £4.80 (53:-, €5.46, $6.12) but decided that it had to be. But it is strange to pay that much for travelling inside the same city, and only travelling one stop. Rather much for only a ten minute ride when you in most likelihood have to stand up, since all seats are already taken by the time the train arrives at Birmingham International. I had to stand all the way, of course, but that was alright. When I got off, I felt upset, since I had no package with me to go and post. My plan to do that and go to the back-to-back museum had been wrecked, so what now? I decided to do the shopping that day instead and save the other stuff for the Monday. My first stop of course had to be Cath Kidston, located in the New Street Station Shopping Centre. But there were way too many nice things. I walked out, with only a skinny pencil-case! imageOf course thinking about the beautiful bags I had seen. I just LOVE that shop!


No other shop in that shopping area,  really held my interest at this point, so I headed out to the high street to find Waterstones, the book shop. The lastimage couple of times in London, I have not had time to step in to a bookshop, so I had decided that this time, I must. Only problem was that I came in and hit the history table as the first thing, and right beside it were four different book cases holding history books in hardback. To a book lover like myself, this was going to heaven, and yet I quickly realized that no way could I buy all the books I wanted. So I got my mobile phone up and started to take pictures of all books I wanted to get, but could not because you are only allowed to take 23 kilos in your suitcase. There was one book I refused to leave without though, one from my Amazon wish list and which I felt I deserved after everything which had happened to me, the last week. So I grabbed that 827 page long book, called “Britain’s War Into Battle 1937-1941” by Daniel Todman, and decided right away that it would have to go in the carry-on and if that weighed too much, in my shoulder bag, as reading material for the flight home! THAT is how much it weighs! But I moved on up to the floor which had history on it and started drooling over books up there, next. I have never checked this out before, but they have an entire section called Winston Churchill and of course I had to buy at least one Winston book! I took a lot of photos in that section and in English History WWII. And then I moved on to the floor which had colouring books for adults, where I finally settled for secret London, since I love that city as much as Venice. Alright, I love Venice an inch more, but still… The bag ended up REALLY heavy and I started to feel sorry for myself as soon as my hand started to hurt and turn in to strange colours. But onwards I went, in search of Primark.

imageNow, I have visited Primark twice before. The first time was in London on Oxford Street and I only went in, saw the chaos and all the people and then walked out again. The second time was in Canterbury, summer 2015, when E. really wanted to go in there. It was close to closing time, we had a timed ticket for the tunnel, so we just rushed in there and I went to the children’s section right off to find fun things for the boys, while the girls were left to their own devices in the women’s section. Now, I was going to look properly, to see if I could find pretty things there, like E. did in Berlin. But with aching shoulders and fingers hurting… I hate the amount of people, clothes laying on the floor, or in a disorder, on a table. You can’t really find anything! But I had to be in there since what if my suitcase did not show up? I forced myself to try on a cute top and a pair of pyjamas. And I did walk through the boys’ section three times, desperately trying to find something fun for my boys. I ended up getting a pair of too big pyjamas, since I have a long crotch, the top, socks, a sweatshirt (in case the hotel was as cold as reviews on trip advisor said), and a bum/tum/thigh shaper for myself. For the boys I bought T-shirts, same for E., and for F., a pair of footlets. Standing in the enormous queue to pay, was a real turn off though, and really makes one not wanting to go there again!


My Gryffindor Harry Potter Pyjamas with a too large waist (not drawstring, only decoration) so they will go UP to the waist. Below, since WordPress is such a crap program to do things in when it comes to pictures, is the Pókemon T-shirt I got for both “Kitty” and “Boo” and the “Minecraft” one for little “Gubby”. And then the footlets for F., since she is psychologically ill and thinks we all have footwarts and will pass them on to her. She steals my wool socks and keeps them outside her door, to wear as soon as she leaves it, to not catch anything from us, from the floors.

image image image

When I was done in Primark, I noticed a shop called “the Works” and curious to what it had to sell, I walked over to it. Everything was half price in there or even more. And of course I could not resist this one book, which I had photographed at Waterstones, since it was less than a third of the price. So, another weight added to my already heavy book bag. And on to the next shop. I decided to go and look what High Street had in comparison to New Street. On High Street I found WHSmith, another favourite shop of mine. I went to the art section to see what sort of things they had over there, like if they had some plastic box to carry little miniatures in, after the fair. I was not disappointed. They had two different kinds of what looked like tool boxes. The only problem was that I had one big bag full of heavy books in one hand, one big bag full of clothes from Primark and a heavy shoulder bag on my shoulder. I decided to come back another day. But I did walk over to the pen section and lo and behold, they had singles of Derwent artist and coloursoft pencils. And they were three for the price of two. So I stood there and tested greens and browns and ended up with nine, or was it twelve, new pencils.

I was getting a little bit tired by this time, having slept poorly and having been up since 05:00, so I went to have a meal at McDonald’s. Seemed the easiest. Noone stares at you there for not being in a company. While there, I got telephone calls from my family, who had gone to the shopping mall at home, to find jackets for “Boo” and “Kitty”. I was asked for advice and also to set down my foot at what sort of clothes F. would be allowed to receive. Like a too tight dress? I was just so happy to be so far away from them at that moment, at the same time, I could not understand why T. did let F. come with. She has started taking to going in to a shop and gathering up an arm full of clothes and if you say no to all of them, she starts screaming and crying like the worse spoiled brat. The kid is turning 16 in 25 days! I walk out of the shop every time she does this now! I am not going to be made a fool of nor will I put up with such manners.

imageWhen I had swallowed the food in a haste, thanks to those bad news, I walked back to New Street Station. I just had to go and look at the handbags again at Cath Kidston and finally settled on the one I had had my heart set on, when looking at the website. A good, small bag, with individuality and an excellent choice for going to a fair with the next day, instead of my heavy big shoulder bag, killing my shoulder, since the strap is too narrow. I also walked in to this French shop, since I saw the following:



I just had to enter this funny shop, which also exists in Le Touquet, France. But this one was more fun, since it did not have as many or any kitchen things, but things which are funnier to shop for. I ended up getting eye-glass cleaners for both my eye-glass cases and one for T. He always speaks so fondly of our visit to Amsterdam, when we first ended up at a hotel in the red light district, and when we refused to stay there, getting a very nice hotel on the outskirts of the city instead. So, he received the Amsterdam one:


By now, it was high time to return to the hotel, I thought. I was hurting so much, including my feet which were wearing Doc Marten’s, and should not have been in trouble. But they were in trouble alright. I could feel at least one water blister, which forced me to visit Boots, to buy the best things Britain can offer: Padded plasters! Compeede (?) eat your heart out. Your plasters are useless since they just melt (I’m serious, they do when your foot gets warm!) and then you are in as much pain as before. These budget plasters from Boots, are the best. They keep your blistered feet totally padded so you can go on with all your activities without problem. Until you get a new blister of course and do not have any plasters to put on, in your bag.


Hurting badly, I took the train back to Birmingham International, and started my walk towards the hotel, in the dark. But I felt perfectly fine with that. When I arrived, it was time to check in and to my delight, my suitcase had arrived. I had stood at Boots, wondering if I ought to buy a tooth-brush just in case, deodorant and soap, but I decided to hope for the best. I am glad that I did! Happily, I grabbed hold of my now broken suitcase, the pull up handle part being totally wrecked, and walked up to my room. I had stacked my carry-on, on top of it, so I could handle all shopping bags, shoulder bag and so forth, but it did not work. This man saw my dilemma and offered his help, which was nice. But when I arrived to the door, it took ten tries before the green light finally came on. So embarassing! I really do hate these cards. An old-fashioned key never fails to open a door, like those cards do! Getting inside felt like a dream. Shoes were ripped off my feet, and the socks, to inspect the damage. Then I looked at my room. No smell of nicotine nor of mold, like reviewers on Trip Advisor, said there would be. Actually, I am going to have to leave a review on my blog, because Expedia’s site crashed four times when I tried to leave one on their site, and Trip Advisor’s site crashed when I tried to leave one there. Two hours wasted this morning.

That evening, in room 154, I was tired, hurting, but relieved that D.’s package had arrived safely, as well as all my things. And I was happy at least about the gifts I had bought for people and my Cath Kidston shoulder bag. Now I had to try to open up a water blister, without having anything sharp with me, to do so.


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Removing wallpaper in my WWII Dollhouse

or what will one day be, my WWII dollhouse. Hopefully! I am not 100% certain of my success after today’s (8th September) failure to remove the wallpaper in the kitchen of it. I started from the bottom, since I knew that one, would be a nightmare, thanks to the angle.

House in position!

House in position!

For months, I have planned on doing this, but have just not got started. I bought the kitchen paint in the spring and was all up for starting, but how? After careful research on the internet and thinking through things more than one time, I lifted the dollhouse from its stand, today, and tried to lay it down on the sofa, windows down, since my dollhouse most stupidly opens at the back. “Gubby” screamed “mamma, the door is broken”. Not that he could help me with the lifting at all, being autistic and getting stressed out over his mum’s crazy ideas. He prefers to stand on the side lines. Could I not have asked my husband for help this evening, with the lifting? No. He is against me doing any alterations to the house in the first place and wash his hands of it all.

So, the black front door is now broken off. Spiffy! And how much will that cost to replace? On the other hand, it was a very flimsy door and why on earth did the woman who built this house, in the first place, put in a door which opens outwards? It was asking for trouble! I got the dollhouse down on the sofa with a blanket under and propped the backdoor up with a suitcase. Now, I was ready. I thought. To make sure, I sat down and looked for the formula. How was it now one was supposed to remove the wallpaper and with what?

On one site it said, just spray on warm water and it will dissolve the wallpaper glue and you can pull the wallpaper off. Ha! You

Glue still in place!

Glue still in place!

can’t control the spray and all it did on my house, was dry and then I was back to square one. All sites saying that one should wait, while this and that work on the glue.

Time for tougher methods! I mixed in vinegar. Made no difference. Now I decided to play hardball. Instead of spraying, I got a sponge out and wiped down the backdoor area, which held the kitchen part wallpaper. But it just dried very nicely without having any effect at all. Madder than a hatter, I now stormed out to MY kitchen and pulled out the baking soda. Heated up the water again, but the mixture hot water, vinegar and baking soda only made the wallpaper wet, so I could get that off, but ALL the glue was still on the walls.

The only way I have been able to get wallpaper and glue off today has been by:

1. Mixing hot water, vinegar, dishwashing liquid and baking soda in a bowl. With a sponge, I have soaked the area. Yes, you heard me, soaked the area.

2. And right away (none of the foolishly suggested waiting time), I have had to attack the area with a cheese cutter and metal butter knife. I have scraped as hard as I could and my neck and shoulders are screaming in pain.

3. As soon as it has got too messy, I have used the vacuum cleaner to vacuum up all the garbage created by my scraping. (Otherwise the garbage glues on!) But I will admit, that the windows have got hurt on the edges and the pretty edgings came off the walls, since they were attached on top of the wallpaper.

I am not a happy camper right now. Since I have three more rooms to do. I will send my husband to some paint shop and ask if they have some less painful method of removing the wallpaper. This was not fun at all and I did not like to soak the wood the way I had to.


20 days later:

I am ready to murder Bob Vila, who on a site said that the mixture warm water, vinegar, dishwashing liquid and baking soda works like a miracle, that it is only to scrape with one’s nail, after applying it to the wall, and the glue will come off. It has taken me three weeks to remove wallpaper and glue from four of the rooms in my dollhouse and the door which opens it. I very quickly decided to leave the attic rooms, because of the hassle, even though I do not love the wallpapers there either.

To all of you out there, who buy an old dollhouse, or like me, a brand new  ready-assembled and decorated house, beware of a couple of things. First of all, if you can, find out what the previous owner used for wallpaper glue. This will affect how easy or how difficult it will be to alter the house in to YOUR dream house. Also consider how much it will cost to alter it and compare if you really will save money. Perhaps it is better to buy your dream house as a kit and start from scratch? During these three weeks I have not been a happy camper and my thoughts have wandered to the house I really would have liked, many times over.

If the previous owner have used a standard wallpaper glue from a dollhouse shop, you will probably have no problems what so ever. You might be able to remove things with just hot water. But chances are that they have not, depending on how old the house is. I had a conversation last Friday, with a man at our local hardware shop. His first job ever, was in a dollhouse factory, located in our village actually. They made dollhouses for the company BRIO and his job was to wallpaper the houses. He laughed when he told me what they used for glue. “Karlsson’s klister” or in other words superglue. They did not care if people wanted to keep that wallpaper permanently or not. And what would bite on super glue pray tell?

I have been saying some really bad things about the lady who made this house. She bought the kit, built it and decorated, not for herself, but for selling.  Her choice of wallpapers, was terrible in my view. And to use your own concoction of glue, was very unwise, since the new owner might want to make changes. Her suggestion was to just paint over the wallpapers or put other wallpapers on top. But said man, from “Woody” in our village, said that this is not a good idea at all. You need to get things off the walls, paper and glue, to start anew. He dispelled the myth that you must not wet down the house too much. He said, “it will dry”. And I am here to testify, that when the glue sits like “Konrad’s Kalas Klister” (see tramp selling glue in “Pippi Longstocking”, which can be put on your shoes and then you can walk around on the ceiling!), you get so angry that you care nothing about anything, except to get that wallpaper glue off! I soaked the house!

When I got to the top-level of the house, she had used a different kind of glue, that was four times as bad as the other one. How could that be possible? It turned orange, when it got wet and stayed orange. Made it easier to see of course but that was the only positive aspect. By this time, I had given up the ceramic stove scraper, cheese cutter and butter knife. Instead I bought sandpaper but was too scared to go rough, since I did not want to have to paint the house all over first, before putting on new wallpaper. But sandpaper grade 180 was just laughable! It made a nice smooth surface but did not remove anything and if I do not find a nice wallpaper for the rooms, then I will have to paint. Imagine what it will look like with paint on parts of paper?!

My next thing to try out, was going to a paint shop in town. There I bought industrial strength glue dissolver. That glue was going to come off, whether it wanted to or not. The sales man, told me that they used it in the shop to remove their wallpapers, them always having some sample walls. He instructed me to wear gloves, be in a well ventilated room when dealing with the dissolver and putting down plastic for protection. Apprehensive, I went home with the expensive bottle. “Kitty” helped me carry out the dollhouse on our deck, since no way was I going to endanger our furniture or wood floor, indoors. I covered the deck with plastic, put on gloves and made the mixture. I litre hot water and one cap of the dissolver. No problem with ventilation in the garden. Success? None what so ever. It made no particle of difference. The glue was as stuck as before. But I sat there suffering, listening to our neighbours getting more and more drunk, having a crayfish party. I gave up when the woman started to sing a song in Finnish, not being able to a hold a tune for anything. Then I had tried a new mixture of the dissolver, less than 1 litre of hot water and 2 caps of “the dangerous stuff”. Waste of time!


No, last Friday I was as desperate as you can get and bought a rough sandpaper but also a sandpaper sponge. And THIS was great! I made the concoction I had made earlier, since I did not want to carry the house outside again. And I was very liberal with the measurements. 6 dl hot water, in a large bowl, since you will get a chemical reaction in the bowl! 3 heaped table spoons of baking soda. NOW the water will rise. At least 1 table spoon dish washing liquid and finally 1 dl vinegar. With a sponge, I soaked the area I wanted to work on, and then I took the sandpaper sponge and dipped it in the concoction. Then I started scrubbing with the rough side. Unfortunately, it leaves black little specks all over, so you can’t see if you have got the glue off or not, but I had the vacuum cleaner handy, right beside me, sucking up all the “gravel”, so I could see. As with the sandpaper earlier, I did not want to take too much off, since the lady had painted the house first, before she wallpapered it, and I do not want to redo that work. When the house had dried, I went over small spots, with the rough sandpaper. I think that maybe, maybe, the house might be ready for new wallpaper and/or paint now. But this was NOT done in an afternoon, like some people have described on the internet. This was three weeks full of frustration and demanded a lot of muscle.

Tools I had to use in combination plus hot water.

Tools I had to use in combination plus hot water: Ceramic stove top scraper, hobby knife, cheese cutter, butter knife, grade 100 sandpaper, rubber gloves, sandpaper sponge, vinegar, dishwashing liquid and baking soda.

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My Friday Book: “The Miniaturist” by Jessie Burton

imageThose of you who follow my blog, know by now that miniatures is a passion of mine, one which has grown through the years. And when this book first was published, my attention was drawn to it, because of its name. Of course it also had an attractive cover, but beware, because books with beautiful covers, rarely are any good. And this book has had mixed reviews even if it is considered a bestseller. People have talked of flat characters, too long and a strange ending. I did not jump at buying the book as quickly as I thought I would, because of these reviews. And now, when I succumbed to temptation, I wish I had let the book stay in the book shop instead of bringing it home.

In a small Dutch town, Assendelft, Petronella/Nella Oortman looses her father at age 16. Leaving the family more or less destitute, Nella’s, mother sets out to do two things. Find a husband for her daughter, from her husband’s former business associates in Amsterdam, and train her daughter to become a wife. Two years later, a suitor shows up from Amsterdam. 39-year-old, successful, handsome Johannes Brandt, joins the family to hear Nella play the lute. They marry in a short ceremony, without his family and he leaves at once. A month later, Nella arrives alone to the big city, accompanied only by her beloved parrot Peebo, to take up her position as wife of Johannes. But noone is there to greet her at the house, only after a while, the butler Otto/Toot shows up, the maid Cornelia and Johannes nasty sister Marin. Marin has no news of Johannes and Nella, who worried about the wedding night, starts getting anxious to have it over and done with. But her husband, who abandoned her right after the wedding ceremony, has no wish to see her now either. He arrives home in the middle of the night, and sends her packing to her own room. And it is obvious that he is more interested in his sister, than in Nella. Incest? NO!

Two lonely days pass, when everyone in the household ignore Nella. Then an expensive cabinet arrives and happily, Johannes joins the “family”, to inform them that it is a wedding gift for Nella. That the cabinet is a dollhouse and that it will teach her things, educate her. Marin hates the house and the money which has been spent on it. One of Johannes’ dogs, hates it as well. So the house is moved to Nella’s room, but she does not really appreciate the gift. She feels humiliated by it. She would have loved it as a child, but now she feels too old for it and there is noone to show it off too either.

When Marin is out, Nella tries to discover who her sister-in-law is, and realizes from exploring Marin’s room, that she has a very scientific mind, is very clever, but also has a very morbid taste keeping stuffed animals, old snake skins, strange books and other things, in her little “cell” of a room. The rest of the house is not really different, with paintings full of blood and death. Marin, catches Nella in her room, and pinches her really hard as a punishment for snooping. Nella gets a big bruise, but who is there to tattle tell to? Noone. In order to rebel, she goes to fetch her parrot, whom Marin has exiled to the kitchens, and puts him in her room instead. That is when Marin does a bizarre thing.

She enters Nella’s room and gives her a business directory and a pile of “I owe you notes”, which work as money in this world of  Amsterdam 1686. Marin orders her to find a miniaturist, to make things for the dollhouse. If she does not, she will be spitting at Johannes’ generous gift. Out of spite, Nella sits down with the directory and finds one miniaturist. She writes to him and orders three things. 1. A lute, because Marin will not allow her to play on the two lutes downstairs, in the sitting room. They just hang on the wall. 2. A little box of Marzipan, since Marin will not allow any sugar in the house and Nella has grown up in a household full of sweets. 3. An engagement cup, because all couples in the Netherlands drink out of one at their engagement, and she never got to do that either, with Johannes.

Three days later, there is a knock on the door, and a handsome man, introducing himself as John Philips from Bermondsey, England, stands with a package for her. While she stands there talking to him, Johannes sneaks up on her from behind and yells at the young man, wondering what he is doing there. In a cheeky fashion, John answers that he delivers things for a lot of firms in the city. This is when I really got suspicious of the story line. Why was a handsome 39-year-old not married? Why does he react like this at the door? But I kept reading. Nella, explains that the package is from a miniaturist, containing things for the dollhouse. Finally she thinks that her husband might show some interest in her. He is pleased to hear what the package contains but do not want to see the items or go to her room.

In the package she finds a perfect little lute, a perfect little silver box with real marzipan in miniature and with her initials N O on the lid (Nella Oortman) and finally a beautiful little engagement cup, also in silver. But to her dismay, he has also made two identical chairs to the ones standing in the real house’s sitting room, two identical copies of Johannes’ dogs Rezeki and Dhana. And worse of all, a tiny cradle, which highly offends Nella, since this person obviously knows that her marriage has not been consummated and that there is no need for a cradle in the house. She feels scared. And she feels humiliated. So she writes to him that she loves the items she ordered, but that she will not let any human mock her, so she no longer needs his business. This time, she does not sign the letter Nella Oortman, but Petronella Brandt.

One day, she is informed that she must get dressed nicely, because Johannes is going to take her to a party, and introduce her to Amsterdam society. The dresses that Marin has had made for her, are all too big, even though her mother sent the correct measurements. But then Marin always disapproved of her brother’s marriage. That evening, she and Johannes set off for the party in his boat and she wonders if this evening will end in bed with him. She is after eleven days totally ready for it. Wishing for it to happen. When he touches her neck, and says he will have a necklace made for it, she is thrilled. But she does not understand his next comment, when he says that he will never hurt her. He says it several times. Well, I KNOW what that means!

I am on page 89 by now, and just grab about ten pages. Now I want to know if Johannes is homosexual. You see, a couple of years ago, I was told about this amazing author and settled for one of her books set in Florence, in the time of Savonarola. Young girl gets married off to older rich man, he does not want to consummate the marriage, she finds out he is homosexual, he is arrested, tortured, killed. I am not going to read another book like that!

When I get back in to the story, having moved so many pages forward, Nella has gone to see Johannes in his office. She opens the door to his office and there on a bed, lies her naked husband with his male organ all erect. On top of that organ, is John Philips of Bermondsey’s face, busy giving her husband an orgasm! I am sorry about this ghastly description, but what can I say? I moved to the end of the book: Johannes is executed, just months after their marriage, for being a sodomite. John Philips having turned him in. Like all criminals and misfits in Amsterdam, a mill stone is put around him and he is thrown in the water to drown. Now, my husband says, that I should go on and read the book, because I must surely have read the worse already. But have I? This was not the book I thought it would be. And I am sorry, but I am not a politically correct person.

I am religious. I believe in God, I believe he created Adam and Eve in his own image, to multiply and replenish the earth, like all other species do. I am totally and utterly appalled and tired of, every single TV-program, Tv-series, film and book, having to have a homosexual angle. So, this book, which I thought would be an exciting spooky thriller, with strange things happening in the dollhouse, is heading for our paper recycle bin to be taken to the city dump. Sorry, but this is a crap book, because the author is like everyone else, riding on the trend. And once again, I have been taught that books written in the 21st Century are not worth reading.

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Legoland, Billund: 4 September 2016

The boys really were tired, from two days on the go, full of activities, so I woke up before them and had showered by the time they got out of bed. T. treated “Boo” and “Kitty” to fried eggs for breakfast again, which they truly enjoyed. We prepared ourselves, after one look out the window, for a day full of rain and maybe also cold weather. What was really annoying this morning, was the dampness in the holiday let rooms at Bindesbølgård farm. We had noticed it already the previous day, but now it was getting upsetting. The flat was intended to house five people, but there were no hooks for towels. We had to drape them over all the chairs, and they never dried. I am not too happy to wipe myself on an already wet towel. And the bathroom was wearing our patience thin. When you showered, the water went all over the bathroom floor, but when you after the shower, tried to scrape it down the sewer, it just floated out over the floor again! We all had to take off our socks, before going in there, during our entire stay, since the socks would get wet, the floor never drying. And we had to have the bathroom carpet outside the door, so we could wipe our wet feet on it, coming out of the bathroom. For the price we paid, these things were really annoying. As was the fact that there was no fan above the stove, so that the entire flat got smokey, when frying food.

This morning, we also had another nasty experience. Since it was damp in the flat, I walked around in my underwear after showering, as did my husband, because he is always overheated. The front door have a big window in it, with a thin net covering it, but that did not prevent people from staring in. When I got out of the bathroom, naked, on my way to get underwear, the neighbour flat’s two kids stood and just stared in through the window. Not a meter from the door, but with their noses pressed to the window, in order to see everything. Honestly! I can not abide parents who do not keep an eye on their kids! We are always expected to have 100% control over all our kids, but others seem to be allowed to do whatever. And this was rude! I screamed and ran in to the bedroom and got my underwear on, but it was too hot/muggy to get fully dressed, yet. When I got out and started packing for the day, an adult woman stood and stared in to the flat, just like the kids had done. Are people insane? I just stared at her in disbelief and hope she felt ashamed of herself, but who knows. Silently I was cursing under my breath though, since the owners of the flats,  could do a lot to improve those flats. One thing would be to exchange those doors! So one can not look in through them! And of course the bathrooms really need to be sorted out. It is disgusting and unsanitary.

All that said, what about Legoland? Our feelings were somewhat muted that morning, thanks to it pouring down rain. We had to travel to Legoland already dressed in rain clothes and wellingtons. But we had decided that the rain was not going to spoil our day. This day, since it was a Sunday, they did wait till 1000 sharp, before the magical gate went up and everyone ran to the ticket machines, which let you in. “Kitty” was upset at the amount of people still there in the rain, but I told him that it was nothing to what it could have been and that the park is big, so when everyone spread out, it would not feel like a lot of people after all. As the day before, we headed for the information, to receive the handicap cards for “Gubby” and “Boo”. This time it went quicker, since we were already in the system. They got stamps on another hand than the day before, just to make sure.

How could we afford two days at Legoland, you might wonder? Well, on the bags for hamburger buns and hot dog bread, you have received adult freebie tickets for Legoland, for probably the last six months! You can only use the ticket when you pay the full price for a child, but it is still a big saving! And when you go a second day, you get to buy your tickets for a third of the regular price. Well, maybe not exactly a third, but it sure is less than half the price! So, it does not have to be as bad as you think. If you hate hamburgers and hotdogs, the toy shop BR usually offer free child tickets, if your children join their  club. And why not? It does not cost a thing, your child gets a free Birthday present each year, you get bonus stickers every time you shop and they have special membership prices, sometimes, on chosen toys. So, all in your favour!

When we got in, the boys started to discuss where to go first and almost took off when I told them, to follow me. I had made an important decision the night before. There is something called the SEAT traffic school. Your entrance ticket to Legoland, lets you ride on everything, except going to the SEAT place. That costs 80 DKK. What it is, is small cars moving on electricity. Not fast. The children with these special tickets, are supposed to drive around a course looking like a little town, with traffic lights, roundabouts, petrol station, car wash… The goal is to get a little driver’s license. But you are supposed to follow the traffic rules and not crash in to other drivers. ALL my children have begged to get to go on this. And I have always said NO. Because I had a traumatic experience from that place, from “childhood”.  Let us reminisce together:

My father died when I was 14. My sister was 9. Eight months later, our neighbour’s daughter, 16 years old, begged my mother to persuade her mother, to buy a trip to Gran Canaria. My mum did not just persuade Karin to go there with her daughter, she also booked a trip for the three of us. Feeling that our life had been so sad for years and that we needed a break. In San Augustin, my mother met another single mother, vacationing there with her two children. The boy was the same age as my sister and the girl, the same age as our neighbour’s daughter. The mother became friends with my mother and that summer, when I was 15, we went to visit them in Stockholm and then she came with her son, to visit us later on, the same summer. But our town being a very boring one, was not much to host in, so it was decided that we would go to Legoland. Back then, all of the personnel, were basically grown ups. Grumpy middle-aged people, most of them. Especially the ones running the traffic school.

I was too old to go to it of course, but Christian and my sister being ten years of age, insisted on going through that one. My sister did not know the traffic rules very well though or at all. She sat down in that car and took off without a care in the world, driving the way she pleased. The Danish men stood and screamed in their microphones, over the loud speakers, in Danish, at her that she was breaking the rules! They were furious, but her not understanding a word of Danish, was not troubled at all. She was clueless as to who they were shouting at. And I, who understood Danish, stood there ashamed. In those days, you only got a driver’s license if those men determined you had done a good job out there on the course. Let us be honest and admit that my sister did not receive one and Christian did! And my mum scolded my sister and asked her why she did not obey the men’s instructions on the loud speakers.

I never wanted to go through something like that again. I felt ashamed of my stupid sister. And in latter years, when I became a mother myself, I was not going to let my children be treated in the manner she was and stand there with empty faces, not receiving a license like all the other children. I have not wanted to subject them to that, to failure in an amusement park, which is supposed to be all about having fun. And I must also say, that I have not felt the wait, worth it. It being the most popular place in the park! But my little boys have looked at it with longing eyes and nagging with their mouths, for years. In 2013, 2014 and on the 3 September 2016. I told T. about my plan. Go there first, before the queues. And explain our situation.

So we went there, and the boys could hardly believe their eyes. That they were going to get to do it. Last opportunity for “Kitty” as it turned out, since you have to be between 7-13. Turned out, he just made it being 12 and so did little “Gubby”, just having turned 8. I held up the handicap cards and told the man at the payment desk: “All three of my boys are autistic, even though only two carry the cards today. They so much want to do this, but they do not really know the traffic rules. You can’t scream at them. You need to explain to them calmly, both one and two times, for them to understand what you mean. And the little one, is very scared of everything, he is insecure and afraid of making a mistake, so he will need extra guidance. Can this be done?”. He assured me that they would take extra care of them. So I paid, and “Gubby” started to worry, even though their ride was not until 1100. To make him calm down, we went over to some of the Duplo rides, which we never got around to the day before, out of lack of time. Soon, it was time to show up at SEAT and all eager children had gathered by the gate.

Legoland is really run by personnel aging between 17-20 now. So, a young girl and a young man stepped forward and explained, in all languages, the basics of traffic rules and signs. All children holding a flag, showing what country they were from. I had to step up and tell the young man speaking Norwegian and not Swedish, that he had lost “Gubby” from the word go, my son staring off in to space with his “Chinese face”, not hearing a word. From my place I had to quickly do a summary for “Boo” and “Kitty” while the two “teachers” took photos of the children and tried to explain simply, for “Gubby”. He stood and tugged at the young man’s shirt and said “Will you please sit in my car?” and when the young man looked at me, I nodded and whispered “please”.

imageAnd then, there was nothing T. and I could do! “Boo” drove a little bit like my sister did, back in time. He crashed in to people, he forgot to put out his arm to indicate where he was going to turn, but he had such a fun time and not a soul screamed at him. “Kitty” had a big smile on his face throughout. “Gubby” looked worried and looked at the young man for assurance the entire time. But towards the end, when the young man jumped off the car to sort out a crash, T. called out to him and said “Drive ‘Gubby’, you can do it!”. And he did! He drove in to get petrol (pretend of course) and he drove in to the car wash as well. Then he got stuck there, so the young man returned to him. But the boys came out with big smiles on their faces and little licenses in their hands, the “teachers” asking for us all to applaud, which we of course did. I know it was an expensive treat, but how often do we do something like this? And it is not fun to always scrimp and save when on vacation, like I do. Sometimes it is just nice to treat the children to that little extra, if one can.

We headed for the Ninjago area next, since we were right next to it, and went through the ride again. I insisted on “Kitty” going in our carriage, since “Gubby” and I did not know what to do and perhaps he could show us? He did before it started and we did pretty well, as a team, actually. “Kitty” deciding to play for two people, thinking that would raise our score. I am not sure it would have differed, but he was proud of himself that he played two tables! Both boys really wanted the picture and I did have it put in a plastic frame which squashes around some gel-like fluid, when you move it. They actually offer it in the place and we chose red gel. But the rain was now pouring down worse than ever. The fight started for keeping everything in the pram dry or as dry as possible. So we had to put the frame in a safe spot. I was just happy that it had only sprinkled when the boys were at the traffic school. The poor children after them, must have suffered.


We tried to go through the laser maze now, when there was no queue at all, and sorry, but it was pathetic. No, actually “Kitty” thought it fun. He has ADHD as well as autism, and his body parts always seem to be all over the place. He might actually like parkour? We walked in like Michelin men to this activity. You get to two rooms and choose which to queue for. When it is your turn, you push a button which says easy or difficult. Now, the day before, I wore ballerina shoes, a T-shirt and comfortable Capri trousers, which let me move. This day, I was wearing jeans Capri trousers, shirt, hoodie, rain jacket, too big rain trousers since mine have disappeared, Doc Marten’s boots on my feet and a rucksack on my back. Not quite as Ninja-like as I would have wished. After pushing the button, these laser beams stretch all over the room and like a burglar at a museum, you have to pass from one door through the room, to the opposite door. Not touching the beams and being timed! I tried my best for the sake of my children, but my rucksack caught all the beams. Finally, I just stopped right in the middle of the room and took it off, but this lost me a lot of time, so I was out. “Boo” watched “Kitty” in the other room and said “He was crazy, he just flew through that room like a Ninja”, so little brother was impressed with older brother! None of the two Ninjago activities were fun enough, to try them a second time that day. T. and “Boo” tried to do the Ninja reaction booths outside the building, but “Boo” with his motor problems, did not manage to hit a single lamp, which was the goal, and T. was not much better than his son, so we left disappointed with that area of the park. Instead we headed for the Duplo things we had not done before the traffic school, then we took the Legotop, which is just a scenic tour up in the air, because I got motion sick on the Duplo airplanes! From there we headed down to all the FUN rides.

We all went on the Dragon, even though coming out of the mountain, ment being in a regular shower! Or like I have named it, Noah’s Ark rain. T. wanted to buy a fun  family picture in a kitchen magnet. But “Gubby” and I just could not get ourselves to look in the camera, when all that water splattered our faces, so we looked down and ruined every photo! We had to give up and decided to make a magnet of the previous day’s best picture! I would say, that we went on all the rides we went on the previous day, which you can read about in my previous post, with a few alterations. “Kitty” and I managed to get “Boo” to come with us on the superfast rollercoaster X-treme Racers. And T. and “Kitty” managed to get him to go on the Polar X-plorer. So his fears are finally gone! But “Gubby” totally refused, so we went and did the insane thing: We bought “Mamma Is”  (see my previous post from Legoland 3 September)! I would have liked to have bought it at the end of the day, but you always over-estimate how much time you have left then. You want to ride till the moment the rides close down, and by then, the shops have closed too. I don’t know how many times I have run across all of Legoland, to make it to this or that shop, for a child who has finally decided what souvenir they want, arriving with my heart pumping uncomfortably hard, all sweaty. I did not want a repeat of that in the rain. Especially since we had to make it to the restaurant, before they closed the ordering, and the main photo stall, to have the family kitchen magnet made. Everything it turned out, was closing earlier, since it was off-season and a Sunday. Something I had missed when planning the trip and making bookings!

So, while the others rode the Polar ride over and over again, “Gubby” and I stood and looked at each penguin’s face till we found the right one. It had to be packed in two plastic bags to prevent it from getting soaked! And be put under all our things, in order to prevent a theft. Since it was raining so bad, we realized we could not sit down and get breads and such out for lunch. We had to succumb to foolery and eat ice-cream for lunch. The boys did not mind, not at all. But we were all disappointed, since the same thing that happened to us in our village, on the last day of school, 2015, happened here. Different people make different size ice cream cones. The ones we got the day before, 3 September, were big and worth the price, the ones handed to us this day, were small and definitely not worth the price. The children whined at the tiny little over-priced cones and I was boiling on the inside, because this was deceit. But what can one do about it? Nothing!

We did go on all the water rides and the Viking ride was actually amusing in the rain, since by now, it was just sprinkling. We ended up sitting with two Dutch men of about 30-35. They were not wearing any rain clothes and looked at us all in rather an amused look. They saw me prepare for the gigantic slide, where you get really splashed, by pulling “Gubby’s” hood over his head, since he does not want wet hair, and pulling my hood over my head, trying to protect my glasses. Then we arrived by the lift that takes you up to the top of the slide. Everyone screamed in glee since that is when you know who will get splashed the worse! The one’s who will face the slide with their backs, will be drenched and this Dutch man turns to me in horror and says “Can I borrow your rain clothes?”. We laughed since we knew it was too late and he, “Gubby” and I prepared ourselves for getting drenched, us being the ones facing the slide backwards. Not a ride to go on without rain clothes!

When the day started to draw towards its end, panic struck. Which rides to go on when you have very little time left and it being the last day there? The boys had gone on the Safari ride for cute photos and  while T. and “Boo” went to the haunted house, “Kitty” and “Gubby” went on the lighthouse one, where the persons have to pull themselves up with a rope, in order to create a free fall. The girl dressed as a pirate had “Gubby” laughing out loud, teasing them with a sword, pretending to try to cut their feet off. “Kitty” was also totally up for the game, trying to stay out of her reach. I stood there contemplating how some of the youths working at Legoland really are troopers. They do their best to stay cheerful and make it a good experience for the children visiting, even if the weather is poor and depressing. We went on the mini-boats, even though this grandmother stood and accused “Kitty” of poor manners, because “he chose to go alone in a boat, when others were waiting in queue”. Stupid cow! He was with us and you are not allowed to sit three in one boat! Nor is there room for three people. But people just can’t keep their mouths shut can they, even though they know nothing of the background. I made sure to say something to him, just as we passed the cow, so she saw that he was part of a group and us being in the boat ahead of him. I am not going to take verbal abuse laying down!

When we only had a half an hour left, we split. T. and the older boys wanted to spend their last minutes on the Polar X-plorer and “Gubby” wanted to spend it on the Ice-pilots. Then we had gone one last time as a family, on the Dragon, but the photo came out bad again, since we were placed far back and not in the tree first carriages. “Gubby” and I, managed to squeeze in three times on the Ice-pilots, even though there was a long queue the last two times. He was as worried as before, demanding to know if this or that couple had programmed a fast program or a slow one. I had to calm him down and reassure him over and over again, that I had programmed for a slow program. Funny actually. The first time, it was really slow. We ended up sitting staring up in the ceiling a lot and “Gubby” asked me “What are we doing here?”. I had to laugh and say “You wanted this move!”. The two last times, I made sure we would not be on our backs staring at the ceiling, because there is nothing funny in that at all.

When we were on our way out, when the ride was closed, these ten teenagers snuck in the exit way, trying to get on one more ride. They ran us down actually and “Gubby” said “Where are they going, you said it is closed”. “Yes, it is closed and if they get in there, they still don’t have any cards with a program on it, so what they are doing is stupid!”. We met the others and decided to divide and conquer. We ran to the restaurant and I took one quick look on the menu and said that I did not want to eat another bland pizza, with only a couple of pieces of bacon. So I told T. to order Fettucine Salmone for me, an expensive dish, but I was sure it would taste better than the pizza. And then I quickly got the boys to tell me what they wanted: “Gubby” insisted that he wanted Spaghetti again. He refused to eat anything else, even though I tried to make him try something different. “Boo” wanted the same as the day before as well, the chicken on a stick and Lego chips and this day, “Kitty” would get the same thing, since he envied his brother’s food so much, the night before. T. went inside with everyone to get a table and order, while “Kitty” and I ran off to order the family photo, in a fridge magnet and then go and buy his souvenir from the Lego shop. Unfortunately, since it was off-season and Sunday, the rides closed 17:00 already, and the park 18:00. Very sad!

We had already been in the shop, the evening before. But the boys had got overwhelmed. It was hot, too many people, and they saw what other people bought. BIG boxes. And I had put a limit to what I was willing to pay for souvenirs. “Kitty”had not saved a penny, but he has such a difficult time to save for things. His ADHD demands instant gratification. I was not going to rub it in his face and ruin our holiday. So, I agreed to buying him one thing, but not anything expensive. Same thing for “Gubby”. I was very proud of “Boo” actually having saved up quite a bit, for something. All spring and summer, he had collected cans for Legoland. But at Legoland, your money do not stretch far. So, his money was not enough for the boxes which tempted him. We had to go home and discuss things Saturday evening. I told the price limit and I informed “Boo” how much I would be willing to add to what was missing, but that there was a limit to how much I would add. Now, we entered the shop and literally ran to get the box with the Corvette, which “Kitty” wanted. Then I stood there and did not know what “Boo” would want from the lower price range. After all that saving, I could not have him go home empty handed. So I took a photo with my mobile and sent “Kitty” to the


restaurant, in order to ask his brother, if this was a box he was interested in. “Kitty’s” body parts flaxing all over, took off like a sprinter and was back in no time. Yes, that was an agreeable box, so that sorted we were almost ready to leave. We picked some pixel Lego bags, to have at home for everybody to play with, since they were on sale, a popsicle tray with a lid, to make funny popsicles in, two mugs and that was where I thought, enough is enough. No way I was going to spend what the parents around me were spending. It got expensive as it was.

Over at the restaurant, the family had actually landed a table inside, right away. Thanks to it being a regular school week, no doubt. While people eat at Legoland on Saturdays off-season, they do not do so on Sunday evenings. Everyone takes off for home. So we sat there almost all alone, which in a way was nice. But unfortunately, we had our table beside what was probably a mixed family. I did not mean to listen in, but there was not a whole lot less to do. It was pretty obvious that either this middle-aged British man had been to Asia to fetch a bride and came back with a teenage daughter on his hands. Or, they were a dysfunctional family. There sat an Asian woman doting on her daughter, a sulky teenager, about 15-16 years old. Trying to make her eat, when she clearly was not interested in the food. The way the mother fussed, I studied the girl closely to see if she was handicapped, since her mother’s behaviour indicated that. But as far as I could tell, there was nothing wrong with the girl, except that she could not stand the father and did not want to be in that place. And in my mind, I wondered what on earth inspired the parents to take a teenager of that age, to Legoland? It is one thing to go as a family, with younger siblings, but it is a little bit odd to take ONE teenager to such a place. There are amusement parks which are more amusing for that age group. But it was quite obvious after a while, that the mother wanted to please the father, who was a bully, and her treating the daughter as a child much younger than she actually was. How dare I sit and draw such conclusions? Well, he was very opinionated about our children! Small children not quite the thing for this business man! I was happy when they left the table, so we could eat in peace, not being judged.


T. had ordered pizza a second day in a row. I was all amazement after the previous day’s fiasco, but I got my salmon meal. Not worth the money it cost, especially since it was to contain asparagus, but they had replaced them with leaks. T. said it was not leaks but I know a leak when I taste it. All boys loved their meals, so all in all, we were content. And we were the last people leaving Legoland! Unfortunately, it had started to rain pretty bad again, so I had to thwart “Kitty’s” plan to climb up on the sign, which he usually does for a goodbye picture. I was afraid of him slipping on the plastic and really hurting himself, so we just had to take some fast last pictures on the ground and then run to the car. We stopped by the local supermarket again, on the way back to the holiday let, and this time “Jane” led us up the garden path completely. We got lost out in the outskirts of Billund, in the dark and when we finally got back to Legoland, my husband who is the worse map reader in history, had me turn off to the airport. I was not at all amused by the time we arrived back to the flat and he was in a sulky mood, not speaking to me at all. Nice last evening!

The good thing or odd thing, was the dark farm we returned to. The other two families were gone, so we were the only ones left. Made it easier the next morning to clean though, not having to fight over the cleaning things, vacuum cleaner and so forth. Ask a perfectionist to clean a holiday let, and it will take a long time, but I left that place MUCH cleaner than what it was when we arrived. The boys had a fun time playing with the kittens, while I cleaned and T. tried to pack the car in a sensible way. Had I had the cash, I might have bought one of the funny cement hens that the owner makes, but while I was cleaning, I got more and more irate at things not working very well, there not being the things I am used to or that I wanted to use. So in the end, I just walked around taking photos of the funny hens and then we all, said a tender goodbye to the kittens, returned the key, and drove up the alley way to the big road. To once again be mislead by our “Jane”. We drove around like fools without the paper map, which I had left in the holiday let, since it belonged there, and finally we had to go on the internet again or we would have wasted bunches of petrol.

At Legoland, we had seen this funny wagon people drove around with, which they called Trekkvogn, when we asked them where they had bought them and what they were called. I had never seen them before, and would have loved one instead of using the old pram. You can load it with your food, rain clothes and everything else you need for a day. Very practical. One place which showed


that they had them, on the internet, was Bilka in Odense, so I stopped there on our way home. We did not find one there! Probably better to look in the spring and not when autumn is on its way. But we bought some little knickknacks, like some pens, pencil cases, socks and a Birthday card, since I suspected E. having forgot. We discovered that this area, where Bilka was situated, was gigantic. It had an IKEA, and a big shopping mall. I really wanted to go inside and see if they had a bookshop with colouring books, but T. did not want to come with me, nor the boys. So I took off on my own, and boy was that place huge. I got lost and it took me a while to find the two bookshops, but I ended up with my own little souvenir from Denmark: Two thin colouring books for adults, not available in Sweden, and they were on sale! With these, I was content, and returned to my sleeping family and we headed home to celebrate “Gubby’s” Birthday in our  traditional manner!!!!

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Legoland, Billund: 3 September 2016

At the end of our Givskud Zoo day, I went in to the souvenir shop to see if I could find a postcard with a lion, since we did not get any good pictures at all of lions. I looked at all the soft toys and in the middle of a bin of small animals, I found the most adorable little golden retriever puppy. It was purchased in haste, in order to actually have SOMETHING for “Gubby” on his Birthday, the 3rd September. For most children you can explain why you have chosen to delay the celebration of their Birthdays to another day, and that they will get their presents that day instead and so on. We had tried to explain to “Gubby” that we were going to Legoland for his Birthday, but that this meant that we would not celebrate his Birthday until the 5th September, when we had got back home. This so that his sisters could also be part. But also, because there was no way of celebrating the way we always do, in a holiday let in Denmark.

He did not really understand this fact though. Nor that some would feel very disappointed at not getting to celebrate him. That morning, he came in and said “Now you can sing to me and give me presents!”. Getting that toy the day before, was in other words inspired. I told the boys to join us and we walked in to the bunk bed and sang the usual songs and then I gave him the little paper bag from the souvenir shop, with the soft little toy puppy. He was delighted and did not say anything about it not being wrapped up nor did he get upset, when I told him that he would get his real gifts back in Sweden, on the Monday, together with cake, “candy” and film. He was as happy as can be, like he always is. And we quickly prepared for Legoland which was not easy. Rain had been predicted, so rain clothes and wellingtons had to come with, but what to do about shorts or trousers? Long sleeved or short-sleeved? We decided that you feel like a Michelin man in rain clothes, so it is better to not have too much under them. Short sleeved, shorts and hoodies just in case. Together with families from the other two holiday lets in the barn, we headed for Legoland. Not that Jane lead us there! No, I had found a paper map in the flat and we brought that one just in case and with me as a map reader. Plenty of people had already arrived but it was nothing near the amounts of August 2014! And at least now in September, they had changed their policy of not opening the ticket booths until just shortly before they open the park. We could walk straight up to a ticket booth on arrival at 0940.

After buying tickets and parking tickets, I asked about their handicap cards, which I had read about on the internet and which “Gubby’s” zero-class teacher had told me, we must go and fetch. She had done so for her autistic son, just weeks before, and it had helped immensely in making it a successful visit. I was told to head for information and that there would not be any problem with three autistic children and only two adults to look after them. I expected for us to have to stay in a long queue as usual, in front of the gates, till 1000. But lo and behold, people were already entering. As a matter of fact, this policy seemed to have changed as well, for the better. Instead of having everyone crowd in front of the gates and children getting antsy, they had set up a reception area ahead of the gates, where security checked everybody’s bags, if they had a conspicuous size. Like big rucksacks. ISIS sure has changed the world all over! But I would rather them check my bag, than something awful happening at such a place, as a children’s amusement park!

We were soon inside the gates and headed for the information, where our first disappointment took place. In order for your child to receive a handicap card for invisible handicaps like ADHD and Autism, you have to fill out a form AND you have to supply one caretaker for every child carrying a card. This meant, we were one person too short. But I realized that for the most part, “Kitty” can behave. He will not freak out and stand up in his seat or do anything forbidden. So of the three, we decided that he would go without a card. BUT each handicapped person is entitled to bring three people along, so he did not have to stand in one queue alone, while we went with the two we had to be glued to at all times. He was allowed to come right along with us. Now, this is a great idea in theory, only other people mind! But more on that later.

The way the handicap card work, is: You get two stamps on your hand and arm and you get a “show consideration” card with those words and a handicap symbol printed on it, to hang around your neck. In blue with white print so that it stands out. On all the major rides, you go to the q-bot entrance. (That is the fast track queue that people pay lots of money to use, in high season. But they only get to go once on each ride like that, then they have to pay a hefty sum a second time. Unless they want to stand in an hour-long queue of course!) For the minor rides, you go to the exit and make yourself known to the staff and they will let you pass the queue that way. Now, we did not get to try this idea full force, since the queues were never mega long, BUT we did get to see how awful people react to you going through the q-bot entrance and to the exit. We were told that “Danes know how to queue and stupid Swedes don’t”. We had to point at the children’s cards over and over again, but those idiots were like most people, without sympathy and understanding. Now they can go and get annoyed at the queues at Legoland one day, have kids whine, and then they go home and live normal lives, remembering their holiday. But we have to live with Autism and ADHD EVERY day! We can never escape it and their effects. Our children will have fits and meltdowns in queues, because of the wait, and our lives are not one day of frustration, like those other parents have. We have a life full of frustrations. In my mind, we and all parents deserve a break when we go to a place like Legoland. We are entitled to have fun with OUR children just like all other parents have with their children. And to have fun, all stress has to be cut out. As little queueing as possible helps. But it is no guarantee for a great day, that is for sure. SO, we did not need the criticism and snide remarks from old people and parents, being very poor examples for their children and grandchildren. It is a hard, cold and uncaring society we live in.

But for the most part, the personnel was a God-send! They really did something wonderful for “Gubby” that day! When the lady in the information handed out the handicap cards, she noticed that it was his Birthday and she put a big button on his chest which said that it was his Birthday! This made every single person at Legoland say “Til Lykke!” to “Gubby”, which we had to explain to him, means Happy Birthday in Danish. Or literally All Happiness! And they did high-five, so my little boy felt very special indeed. As a matter of fact, when we arrive at Legoland, we always feel a little bit lost the first day. One doesn’t know where to start, so one follows the stream. And that tream usually leads to the haunted house, but before getting there, you go by two minor children’s rides, that “Boo” and “Gubby” love. So we stopped because they begged us to, at the Frog Hopper. Here came disappointment number two. They measure all children to make sure they are 90 cm tall, but they on this ride also measure that you are not too tall. “Boo” who according to his age, should be 140 cm, was over 150 cm and was denied entrance. Before I realized what was happening, his happy smiling face had turned read, he was screaming and storming away. I did not want to spoil things for “Gubby”, so I had to send T. after the disappointed “Boo”. What made me really angry was that there were only six children there for the ride and three ” frog hoppers taking seven people each. And he did not need to be that stingy with the measurements! Why? Well, about two years ago, I read an article about the Crown


Prince of Denmark visiting Legoland with his family. And guess what? His wife, Crown Princess Mary who is clearly over 150 cm tall, was photographed on the Frog Hopper with her children! I am sure she both weighed too much and measured too tall, but they made an exception, so clearly it doesn’t break the machinery nor is there a security risk, if a person taller than 150 cm goes on the ride! It left a bitter taste in my mouth, since I know how much “Boo” loves that free fall ride and he is afraid of so many of the other rides, so it has made this one, one of the few he can handle!!!

But, he had jumped on the Caterpillar, next door so to speak, before T. could get to him. He had just stormed by the queue. And while this was happening, I was helping “Gubby” fasten himself in. When all the security latches were down, holding the children in place, the young man who had stopped “Boo” from entering, went to his hut and came back with a kazoo. At least I think that is what that tiny little instrument is called. And he started to play “Happy Birthday to You” on it, for little “Gubby”. “Gubby” sat there happy with his little “Chinese face” and I think he understood the man did it for him. After the ride was over, the man asked me if it was alright for “Gubby” to go a second time, so I nodded and let him stay in his seat. After two rides, he was satisfied with that one, and was eager to try something else. That is when T. suggested the haunted house. And “Gubby” screamed and ran off. T. came back after the chase and said that “Gubby” was petrified, and he would go on the Caterpillar with him and “Kitty” instead. I grabbed hold of “Boo”, who did not want to go in either, but for other reasons. It really is not a nice place to go through. I can’t really say it is scary. “Gubby” thinks so but he also thinks the free fall ride at the end, is scary. But “Boo” hated the house itself last time. Walking in flashing lights, bumping in to people and walls, loud noises etc. And last time I went through, it gave me a migraine. But I dragged him to the q-bot entrance and told him “mamma is going to fix this, alright!” I told the personnel that “Boo” can not handle the house and they asked “Too scary?”. “No, too much flickering lights and sounds. Can we please go straight to the ride please.” They took us to a lift with a handicap sign and voila, we were at the free fall machine. We were the only two on the ride. But we decided after the ride, that it is not really that funny. It makes painful halts, that make you bounce, so that was the only time I went on that ride during our two-day stay at Legoland.

imageFor two years, sometimes every day, “Gubby” has watched the Dragon rollercoaster on YouTube. Now he just went on and on and on about wanting to go there, so we did. Here came disappointment number three. The queue was not very long for people without handicap signs, but the young men handling that ride, all dressed as knights, were not as charming as the others, on the other rides. What Legoland has not yet fully understood about autism, is that autistic people like to do things over and over and over again. They do not tire of things the way the rest of us do. “Gubby” could gladly have sat down on that rollercoaster ten times in a row. But in a not so pleasant manner, we were told when we came through the q-bot entrance the second time, that we were not allowed to come back for a couple of hours. Try to explain that to a little autistic boy who associates Legoland with the Dragon ride. I had to use all my power of persuasion and make other rides sound enticing.

We headed for the Polar X-plorer. And now we had the problem of “Boo” utterly refusing to go on that ride. He refused in 2014 as well after going on it ONCE in 2013 and getting motion sick. I am not pointing a finger, because I got motion sick with him and therefore stood with him and waited for the others, every time they went on it in 2103 and 2014. Now, “Gubby” was willing to try the ride especially after “Kitty” whined that if noone with the handicap cards went, then he would have to stand in the regular queue, and he was quickly moving to meltdown. So, I decided to take the two, and T. had to take “Boo” to the Falck Fire Brigade “ride”. “Gubby” hated the X-plorer. It has a free fall at the end, and he did not like that one bit. It was not at all like the Frog Hopper in his opinion, but far more “creepy”. So he refused to go on that again, ever. When we got out, we walked like everyone, through the souvenir shop, and he just walked up to this gigantic Penguin soft toy and said “I want this one. A mamma Is.” (Last year in France, at NAUSICAA, the sea life museum in Boulogne-sur-Mer, the children chose souvenirs, and he immediately chose a soft cute little penguin, whom he named Is which is Swedish for ICE. And here was a mamma for his Is.) I told him, that we could not buy anything this early on, that there might be other funny things. I was afraid that someone might steal it actually, out of our stroller, which we had loaded full with wellingtons, rain clothes, lunch foods and hoodies. There was no room for a big penguin! But since “Kitty” can’t let “Gubby’s” big Pug alone, Pugs being “Kitty’s favourite dogs, I started considering letting “Kitty” take over Sergeant Pugsley permanently and “Gubby” receiving mamma Is, as a substitute. I had to think about it overnight, in my opinion, and discuss it. I would have to tell “Gubby” that if he chose mamma Is, then there would be no box of Lego in the Lego shop! I tried inaeit out on him and he was in full agreement with me. That was a fair deal in his opinion. Both about Sergeant Pugsley and no Lego.

My competitive children, always have loved the Falck Fire Brigade. Let’s say that I missed the older ones, like my son D., who goes all out on this “ride”, which involves speed and cooperation as well as physical strength and good aiming skills. I have always stood on the sidelines taking pictures, because getting sweaty is not my thing. But this time, there were no D., no E. and no F. Only T., the boys and me. T. instructed us all that the two who chose pumping would have to do so in unison to get the fire engine to cross the course quickly and then he and “Boo” would pump water, while I would help “Gubby” aim at the hole to take out the fire, as well as “Kitty” aiming with the other hose. The older and bigger ought to have got on first, so the little ones could have snuck on like little squirrels. Now the little ones got on first and it was hard for us big louts to get on and start the pumping. All the boys wanted to be active and help which was very difficult to coordinate when we competed against other competitive teams and everyone screaming. I knew it would end in tears and when we got to the hoses and the fire, I had one little boy behind me feeling lost and stressed out and he was teary eyed. So I slowed down, begged him to come help me and my husband screamed that we were not aiming right. More and more people were on their way back to the goal and “Kitty” was loosing his temper. Meltdown! I had to remind them all that it is just a game and then wheeze at T. that this was not a good thing to go on, with this company. To cheer everyone up after we came in last, I told them we were going to go and celebrate “Gubby’s” Birthday with an ice-cream. But we got sidetracked, to The Temple. It is actually a ride we all love, since you sit in a car and shoot with a laser pistol at lights and they are all different colours, you getting different points for each colour. The boys wanted photos of course and to my great disappointment, the scores which are always printed on the photos they take of you, when you are unaware of it, were all wrong. You got the scores of the carriage behind you printed on your photos! It has never been like that before, but it was the two days we were there and I think that it was outright robbery then, to ask full price for those photos. If they can’t make them right, then they have to give them at half price in my opinion. Now it shows that “Gubby” had “Boo’s” points and I had none, since “Boo” had snuck on alone in a carriage, T. not jumping in quick enough! Very annoying that the photo says I did not get any points when I had all of 25 000 and little “Gubby” had 900!

We walked to the ice-cream house and were glad that it was open, because more and more we realized that the same thing which had happened at Givskud Zoo, the day before, was happening here at Legoland. Lots of the food places/snack places were closed because it was not high season any longer. And som fun specialty souvenir shops were also closed. THIS was very disappointing, since it sure is not reflected on the entrance fee. But, the ice-cream place was open and happily the children, now back to their good mood, decided on soft ice-cream and toppings. They really do have the most wonderful soft ice-cream in Denmark and at Legoland! The children got big cones and “Gubby” took a green topping, which I still have not been able to ascertain from him, what it tasted like. And “Boo” and “Kitty” chose a pink topping, which they say tasted like Tutti Frutti. T. and I could not resist Daim topping. We sat down and ate our cones on the steps, since there were no chairs and when it was all eaten up, the boys went on the carousel called Western Ride. I loved it, that they still love that one. My boys are after all growing and are not babies anymore.

It was very difficult to keep them focused. We would decide what ride to go on and while walking to that ride, they would see something else they wanted to ride on. The here and now syndrome. But we did get to ride on the Vikings River Splash, against “Gubby’s” wish. He was content to not get wet though, after I got him dressed for rain, to prevent him getting soaked. Actually we all got dressed in rain clothes and went on that ride, Jungle Racers, the Canoe and also the Pirate Splash Battle, which is another one I have refused to go on before, because one gets soaked. By other boat crews splashing you and bystanders outside the fence, shooting at you with water cannons. But to not be a party pooper, I went along to make up the numbers.

We also decided to be nice to T. and finally let him go in and see Atlantis. I guess he enjoyed it, but after NAUSICAA, THE sealifeimage museum, everything like it will be a let down. Sure they had a couple of sharks, but not as big and creepy. Sure they had Doris and Nemo, but not as nicely displayed nor as many. No, the real funny thing was when in a water tunnel, “Kitty” looked up above him and this really long fish was just resting there, bent in the archlike way that the tunnel was shaped. I took two funny pictures because “Kitty” first got so surprised having a fish “laying” above his head and then clowned around about it.

Close to Atlantis, was the new area called Ninjago World. Honestly, I am not sure why they built this? Ninjago were out years ago. I had bought some and hid them in my closet, for the boys’ Christmas gifts and they are still there, because they were a fad that came and went more quickly than anything Lego. And now they are back? We walked in to the main ride which is called the Ride. Curious to what it was of course. The q-bot had us come in to an area where we fetched 4D glasses, but then we had to stand in queue with everybody else, which took a while. You sit down in a carriage and you are supposed to have understood what to do, from watching an animated film by the glasses pick up bins. It was not as simple as that animated bloke showed. Through the entire ride you have to sit and hold

Picture 1 shows how Legoland advertises this ride and picture 2, what it looks like in reality! Not what kids are looking forward to!!!

your arms up at least 20 cm above a “table” in front of you. This has lights that you are supposed to sweep your hands over to shoot at things, on a screen ahead of you. You have no idea if it is your “flashes” shooting at things or if it is one of your three neighbours in the carriage. Your shoulders start aching from sitting with your arms that way through the entire ride. And it really was not that fun, so the boys did not ask for a second turn around that day.

People shooting flashes and then the entire Ninjago complex with a useless climbing wall, a hoot down the cans with a bean bag stall, which has children walk away disappointed etc.

The entire Ninjago complex with a useless climbing wall, a shoot down the cans with a bean bag stall, which has children walk away disappointed etc. and a closed food place.


Outside they had some machines to practice Ninja reactions on, but they were full of people that day, so we headed for the Laser Maze. But when we got there, you were not allowed to go in through the exit as a handicapped person and the queue stood still. We decided to leave and run for the Ice Pilots, which is a robot ride where you have programmed the ride yourself. We went through the q-bot entrance, got a card per two people and had to start programming. “Gubby” was scared and I promised him I would choose all the slow moves. When programmed, we had to enter the area and stand in the slowest moving queue. I am not sure what handicapped people were supposed to do there. I did not see any other option than to wait. One robot was broken down and they were just running one side of the complex, so only eight people at a go, could ride. Thereby all the delays. And it was plenty of time for “Gubby” to get worried and scared. He asked “Did that one program fast or slow?”. Since most of the riders were teenagers, I assumed they had programmed fast and complicated moves. So I told him that it was fast, but ours would be much slower. He actually had a fun time, but was afraid of dropping his shoes and he told me to take off my glasses before we were seated. I did as ordered, to calm him down. It turned out that he actually thought it was a fun ride but in a scary way.


By now it had started to rain, so it was not fun, when the rides had stopped running, to head for the pizzeria restaurant, and find out that there were only tables outside. It was a long wait or food, as well. But we settled down outside, wearing our rain clothes, and tried to decide what to eat. I quickly decided that the only pizza I could stomach, would be the Jamaica one with pineapple and bacon minus ham, which it usually contains. We thought that the children would jump at the opportunity of getting pizza but “Gubby” clearly stated that he wanted spaghetti. We just stared at him and said “But it is your Birthday! Don’t you want Pizza to celebrate?”. “I want spaghetti on my Birthday”. So be it. Then “Boo” said he wanted chicken and we were even more surprised. But he wanted the chicken on a stick, with chips looking like Lego pieces. “Kitty” was whining that he would not get full on a children’s pizza, so we settled for an adult Jamaica, but without pineapple, since that would not go over well with him. T. of course took a Jamaica with nothing taken off.

By the time we had decided what to eat and had gone to order, a table indoors had become open and we gladly moved inside. With the meal, the salad bar was included. I wish it had not been so! T. went and got himself a big salad and then a couple of slices of Italian farmer’s bread. Dense in other words. I got myself one piece and poured a little olive oil in the salad bowl, which I had been given, and I sat and dipped my bread in it. We were all so starved. “Gubby” took a couple of carrots, “Boo” two slices of bread and “Kitty” went and got himself FOUR slices of bread. I told him, he would not have room for his pizza, but he insisted he would still have lots of room. Right! After a LONG wait, as the last table getting its food, because now they were closed for ordering, our dinner arrived, carried out by “Kitty” and me. T. had run off to the men’s room, since he refuses to say prayer in public. “Kitty” took one look at “Boo’s” food and got jealous. He realized that this was what he would have liked to have eaten. So he sat and looked at “Boo” enjoying himself. And “Gubby” sat there happily eating his spaghetti with a Danish flag placed by his plate, by the staff, since it was his Birthday. I looked at my pizza and was disappointed. A lot of undercooked bread, no cheese visible, tons of pineapple and tomato sauce, and three strips of bacon, looking lonely and forlorn. Could they not have added extra bacon, since I still had had to pay for the ham, not put on the pizza? I thought that cheeky indeed. When T. got back, he started in on his pizza and we noticed “Kitty” just playing with a piece of his. He was full from the bread he had eaten! And let’s say, food at Legoland is overpriced, so we were not happy with him. T. felt forced to eat his entire pizza and then eat a little over half of “Kitty’s” pizza. He was nauseous when we all stood up and left as almost the last people, at the entire Legoland.

On the way out of Billund, we decided to find a supermarket. We knew it was in the center, and drove down there to get eggs and milk and some other small things. As soon as we got in to Fakta, “Gubby” noticed this four pack of cupcakes decorated with mini M&Ms and I decided to buy them as a little extra Birthday treat. He and “Boo” had room for it. The reason why I mention it all, was because I found dirt cheap Palmolive soap, chocolate scented. On the way out of Billund, Jane of course got us lost AGAIN, and in the dark it was difficult to read the paper map, so on with the roaming again. What will that bill be? And when we got home to the holiday let, it was time for the boys to take a shower. “Gubby” and “Boo” were very keen on trying MY new chocolate soap, and we looked in amazement when “Gubby” poured this thick brown soap in to his hand, which looked like melted milk chocolate. He stared at it, said “mmmmm” and started to lift it towards his lips while asking “Can I eat it?”. I had to disappoint him, but could of course remind him, that he had a pretty cupcake waiting for him. I do hope he has not tasted the soap. It does smell divine, and you do smell the same way, when having showered with it, but unfortunately it dried my skin out too bad for me to use it. I have to stick to soaps which say for extra dry skin/sensitive skin. No fun fragrances there.

The boys crashed right away, as soon as they hit the pillows. They had been up already at 0600, eager to go to Legoland, and they had had a wonderful day. I had indigestion from the dinner, as usual, since I have no gallbladder, and T.’s heavy snoring all night long, did not help me fall asleep. I fell asleep, when it was basically time to get up, and felt like a zombie!

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Givskud Zoo: 2 September 2016

All summer long, the children have been waiting to go on vacation. To my utter sadness, we could not book a holiday to Italy. Not when we still have not paid off the house paint from last year, bought on credit card. But oh would it have been nice to have had sun, sun, sun and bathing, in both the mediterranean and a pool. I have gone for a dip three times this summer and they were dips, nothing else, since the weather has not been conducive to staying in the water at all. My brave children have gone every day though, with their dad, in the cold, in the rain, in the wind, at around 18:00. But nothing will make me do that! So summer went past too quickly and did not contain the necessary weather, for it to have felt like a proper summer.

I did want to take the children on some kind of vacation this year though. But what? Everything is so horribly expensive. “Gubby” had the answer: Legoland! He is always up for going to Legoland. He watches the roller coaster rides on YouTube most days and asks me almost every day, if we are going there. So this year, I said, why not? All the tax return money was put aside for this trip, just to make it nice for the boys. Because at an early stage, I decided to only take the boys, leaving the girls behind. Less stressful and much nicer for the rest of us. The boys are autistic and can’t deal with the girls’ constant warfare, their constant bickering. They showed me last year in France, that they can’t even behave when on vacation. They could not care less where we are and that one has to show consideration to other people, who do not want to listen to the girls’ fighting and verbal abuse, on THEIR vacation.

Not just that, but they both hate “Boo” and push all buttons, so he will explode. And they are not much nicer towards “Kitty”. F. started karate kicking “Kitty” on the beach in Boulogne-sur-Mer, last year. While I tried to keep “Gubby” safe, I watched in horror how T. tried to stand in between the two, since “Kitty” was not going to take that sort of abuse, starting to kick back. So one 15-year-old so-called normal girl, kicking an 11-year-old autistic boy with ADHD,  and then the reverse. T. could not do anything to separate the two, since “Kitty” went on to melt down. All French people sat up on their blankets to watch the spectacle, especially the grandmother and her little grandson, sitting next to us. I have NEVER been so ashamed in my life, so I grabbed “Gubby’s” hand and walked across the beach as quickly as I could, to the car. I will never get over that traumatic incident and F.’s response to the entire thing: “Who cares, we will never see those people again!”. With that attitude, I have decided to never bring her along on a family vacation again. And this time, I had a perfect excuse. One does not take a person out of school for two days, when the person has just started gymnasium.

My initial plan, was to drive over the bridge to Jylland, 2 september, in the afternoon. But then “Gubby” started saying that we must go to the zoo as well, like in previous years. And it did make sense. I had found a holiday let, at a farm in Give, right between Givskud Zoo and Legoland, and since I did not want to first sit and fight traffic, before spending an entire day at Legoland, I did book an extra night, so we would be in place, all ready on the 3rd. Why not use that one day in a less strenuous way, than Legoland? So, my plan was, head out at 07:00, in order to make the Camel feed at Givskud Zoo, stay the night in Give, go to Legoland on the 3rd and 4th September, and sleep that last night in Give as well. Monday 5th September, we had to clean the flat and head back home for “Gubby’s” formal Birthday celebration!

As usual, time flew by and I did not get packed little by little, during the week ahead of departure. No, it all had to be last-minute, as usual, and I slept poorly that night. Writing this a week after the fact, since my iPad had an “accident” in transit to Give and had to be reset to manufacture’s level. Big sigh! My plan for leaving at 07:00, of course did not come true, since my husband puts the brakes on when we are in a hurry. But I did manage to get everyone out the door by 07:20. We headed for the petrol station and I had three excited boys in the back, expecting “Piggelin”, a sugar specked popsicle. All summer long, the petrol station has given those out to children, when the parents have bought petrol. “Boo” ran in to fetch them and came back mighty upset, saying that they were no longer doing that deal. I walked in, since he usually misunderstands things, his feelings taking over. But sure enough, they stopped on the 31st August, since summer was officially over. I could not go out with that message, so I grabbed three ice-cream sandwiches, feeling that, a better “breakfast” for them and there were shouts of glee when I got back to the car. They did not need to know that I paid for them!

Traffic was heavy that Friday morning and we were not doing good time at all. After an hour and a half, T. had had enough of driving and after a short stop at a roadside loo, in a disgusting condition, I sat down behind the wheel and when mamma drives, let’s say she drives! Unfortunately, when we got over to Jylland, to a round-about nearby Vejle, our Jane pulled a Jane on us. Jane? Our GPS who sounds like Jane Fairfax in the Kate Beckinsale version of “Emma”. Her most famous thing to do, is asking us to “make a U-turn” on the Autobahn, or saying “now turn sharp left”, meaning that we should drive out in the Ocean or out on to a field or something. But now, she did her latest thing. She fell off the map. Just an orange arrow out in utter whiteness. I had to guess where to go, and we ended up on the narrowest farmroads possible, resembling the ones in Britain, with hedgerows as walls and no way to meet another car. Minus the hedgerows, but all the same. I freaked out and we had forgotten to pack the map book. And to turn on the internet when abroad? At first, T. refused, but as we got deeper and deeper in to trouble and Jane saying one crazy thing after the next, he finally had to succumb. After a maniac drive, me speeding, to get to the camel feeding, we arrived at Givskud Zoo and “Kitty” asked why we do not throw away Jane! We had ten minutes to get to the camels, and we made it just in time.

imageThe weather was not the nicest, sprinkling a little bit, but we were a small group of enthusiasts from Denmark, Germany and us, from Sweden. And the boys had fun feeding the camels carrots, which the caretaker had brought. Funny animals really. They were nowhere in sight, but Lars said “As soon as I start talking in the microphone, they know to come” and sure enough. The boys were scared that the camels would bite them, even though they saw how these cute long eye-lashed animals pucker up their lips in order to reach the goodies. They still managed to feed them despite their fear and it was funny, because “Kitty” listens more than one thinks and does not waste all his time on internet, on Minecraft. He actually reads things too. So he told me, “mamma, you know the humps are not filled with water but with fat”. And two minutes later the caretaker tells us all, “It is just a myth that the camels store water in the humps, the water is stored elsewhere in the body. The humps are made out of fat.” Funny “Kitty”!

From there, we were supposed to go to the elephant feeding, right across from the camels, which was to start 11:30. But we had some minutes still, so we headed for the car, to get rain jackets and something to eat. After all, we had not had breakfast and it was getting to be lunch time. T. had forgotten the expensive store-bought pancakes and the sliced cheese, in the fridge at home, so everyone was forced to eat “mjukost”, which is soft cheese on tube. Now, autistic children do not love smeary things, but we had nothing else to offer, so I tried to sell them on the idea. I had bought bacon flavour, shrimp flavour and regular flavour. The boys thought bacon sounded interesting enough, so while T. helped them with that, not having a butter knife to spread with either, I took a piece of bread and


started squeezing on the shrimp cheese. What I did not see, was the hornet hiding behind the tube in my hand, but T. saw it and so did “Kitty”, and they said nothing. Too bad. I saw it just as it stung me and I am now convinced that a parent must never ever say that a hornet is not dangerous, that a sting from it will just hurt for a second and then no more. It hurt like I don’t know what. And by the time we got over to the elephants, the entire hand was throbbing, was twice its size and I could not feel my fingers. Nothing felt fun anymore. (That swelling took five days, to disappear entirely. I had no use of the hand for three days and if I pressed on the spot, 9 days later (when I thought this would be ready for publishing), it STILL hurt. You can still see the sting place and feel a hard ball around it 15 days later. Insane!)

Finally, T. felt sorry for me and asked the caretaker if they had something for hornet stings. He called one of the others on his phone imageand I could hear the discussion in Danish. They were not surprised since they KNEW there was a big hornet nest by the parking place. The other caretaker arrived with two hornet plasters and told me to wet down my hand and put it on the sting. I could not see the sting for the swelling but we did as told. Sadly, I doubt the plaster worked since the throbbing kept on and since my troubles did not go away for such a long time. And I really got upset. They KNEW about the hornet nest but did not remove it? Why not? Is it right to keep a thing like that around, where people will get stung?We paid lots of money to visit the zoo that day, and my experience was partly spoiled because of the pain. And what if I had been allergic? And what about small children? THAT was irresponsible in my view.

That was not the only disappointing thing really. The zoo was open yes, but all ice-cream places and all eating places except for one, were closed. One might like to buy an ice-cream even if it is the 2nd September! We could not go earlier, because of the boys’ autism! And the grilling of bread on sticks, was also closed, as well as the gold search place. The boys got disappointed about that and I wish that both the zoo and Legoland would warn visitors about the fact that only a limited number of things are open, after August is over. At Legoland, most little specialized souvenir shops were closed and most of the eating places as well. I think that if they are going to do this, then it should be reflected on the ticket price!



We went on the safari drive and got to the new playground by the monkeys and gorillas. It was a fun and exciting one, but as I said, very disappointing that they no more sold ice-cream there. We let the children play, even though much of the things were too advanced for “Boo”, who has gross motor problems as well as fine ones, and little “Gubby” who climbed up on a tower and then got panicked, because he did not dare to go down, the way the architects had planned (see the boy in red shirt doing it the way it is supposed to be done?). We spent about 15 minutes trying to get him down from there and I am sure that the German families sitting watching us, wondered what was wrong with him. He kept down after that, on the things which were ground level. A little before 13:00, we headed to the car, to go see the wolves be fed, only to realize that we had misread the sign. It was not until 13:30, so we walked around to the closed down bread place and inside something which looked like a little wood enclosure/cage, the children commented “Is that duck supposed to sit there?”. In it sat a duck staring at us. I am sure it was not supposed to sit there, nothing kept it there, but it looked so funny and I don’t know why I did not take  a picture. The duck looked like “What are you staring at? So what if I am sitting here, far away from the other ducks? I like it!”. It looked so cheeky and he became the standing joke the rest of the day. We saw some poop: “Do not walk in the duck droppings”. Something broken: “Done by the super duck!”… We blamed everything on that duck. Particularly “Kitty” liked this game.

When 13:30 finally came around, we got to see the wolf cubs that to me, looked grown up. They had been born in May so they were no longer small and cute. And everyone’s eyes were on the anomaly of the pack. A beige wolf cub. They are born black and go grey, but this one is a freak. A genetic mistake, the caretaker said. But, he or she looked as happy as the other cubs and knew not that he/she is a freak of nature. So what is wrong with being beige? I thought it was the nicest looking one of the wolves actually. As long as it is not more prone to disease, what is wrong with being different?

We had to drive through the safari once again and while making duck comments and assuring “Gubby” that Llamas do not bite, only spit on you, (he worries about EVERYTHING), we tried to take photos in the rain. Why did it have to rain? All week we had had nice weather, so it was sad. We arrived a little bit early to the Gorilla feed and I felt sad. Looking at the new family constellation, brought back memories from two years ago. Then Samson the gorilla, was the main attraction. He was a big gorilla with his own Facebook page, souvenirs etc. The flock was big in my view, and to the side, sat his son, a gigantic gorilla, much larger than his dad, by the name of Kipenzi. I loved watching Samson interact with the flock and the playful babies, and thought it terrible when the caretaker told us all, that they did not know what to do with Samson. He was old and should they let him stay and die at Givskud and send away Kipenzi, or should they send Samson to Hawaii for retirement, and let Kipenzi take over the flock? I knew what I thought was right and I was glad to read on Facebook that Samson got to stay. Actually, they had kept them both and then Samson suddenly died this past year, only 44 years old, according to this caretaker Lars. Or did I hear wrong?

Not only did Samson die, but I no longer get anything on Facebook, so that all died with him, as did all gorilla souvenirs. And the female gorilla who grew up in a flat in Aarhus or wherever it was, also died this past year. She was a sad element indeed. She never mated with anyone since she thought she was a human and she flirted with all male caretakers. What a sad life! Now they had Kipenzi, who had mated with the two females. One miscarried but the funny one who always carry a stick, Minnie, was carrying a tiny little baby. Once again, a young male gorilla was sitting to the side, shunned and shut out. Sammie does not want to leave home, but they do not want the two males get in to a fight, so he has to go. It was funny, but this German lady asked if the gorillas can’t swim. There is a little bit of water, in front of where the caretaker gives his little lecture and then the gorillas sit and catch apples from him, on the other side of the water. Good catches really. “Kitty” thought it was hilarious that the other female gorilla, whose name eludes me right now, sat and applauded good catches! It was funny! They are funny animals really with individual personalities.

Anyway, the caretaker said that we did not have to worry about the gorillas getting an idea, to cross the water, jump the low wooden fence and attack us. BUT they had looked after a German gorilla who one day had decided to go exploring. He had swam across, jumped the fence right in front of a mother with a small child and had run for the parking lot. The caretakers had rushed there and cornered the gorilla, got him in to the men’s room right next to the parking lot and kept him in there till a vet could arrive and sedate him with an arrow. Wow! THAT is scary since the males are VERY big! And no doubt very strong.

It was so interesting finding out all the details about the gorillas. There is an institution in Europe who keeps track of all animals in all zoos, so that there will not be any inbreeding. They trade animals between them to keep the flocks and animals healthy, carrying good genes. Smart!

"Gubby's" favorite dino, since it had wings!

“Gubby’s” favorite dino,
since it had wings!

By now the rain was coming down hard and I do not know if that was the reason for all other monkeys being gone. That was sad! It is always so fun to watch the lemurs but they were nowhere to be seen. And the playground was no fun this time around, in the rain. So we drove on to the lions but they were also in hiding. We could see a female hide in between some trees, but far off, so real disappointment. We drove on to the last parking lot and decided to go through the new dinosaur park. THAT was a great hit with the boys. They loved looking at all the gigantic dinosaurs in live size and some of them moved jaws, made noises and waved their tails, so that the boys screamed. At the end of that park, they have set up a scientific playground where children can try to chisel out fossils out of stones. My boys did not find anything though. And in a sandbox covered with a tent, they get to use shovels and brushes to dig out a dinosaur skeleton and then guess which dinosaur it once was. “Gubby” loved that.

From there, we went to see the flamingoes, who were not there either!? And then to the second lion enclosure. I can’t believe it, but suddenly four lions came running straight for us, “Boo” and “Gubby” screamed of excitement and I was in such awe that I forgot to take a picture! When I got the camera out of my bag, the lions threw themselves on the ground to sleep, so no picture.

We had bought pea soup to eat that evening, at the holiday let, but when I checked out the menu, at the only eating place open, I discovered that if I bought the “kids hamburger meal with chips”, the boys would get plastic lunch boxes with dinosaurs on them, with the meal. So we decided to treat them to that instead. ONLY it backfired. “Kitty” munched away and loved it. But “Gubby” thought everything tasted strange. I got frustrated because these were really nice hamburgers. I could tell even though I did not eat of them. Good quality instead of the crap T. usually serves them here at home. But it turns out, they prefer crap! “Boo” and “Gubby” turned down both hamburgers and chips. So we brought them with us, but they were never eaten of course!

Next they ran to pet the little goats, but those were hiding in a shelter so the boys soon came back and asked if we could go to the trampoline park next. We did and they had so much fun. “Gubby” went on the ropeway over and over again and I wanted to try it, since there was noone but us around, but since I could not use my hornetstung hand, I could not go on it, since you need to hold on with both hands. The other two boys were racing with these little pedal cars. Suddenly, four teenage girls showed up and they took one trampoline each. The kind that can hold more than one person. “Gubby” was by then bored with the ropeway and had jumped a little on the gigantic half-moon trampoline. He said “That girl looks kind. I am going to jump with her!”. He is so sweet and she was awful! He took off his shoes, and started to jump behind her, expecting that she would smile at him and jump along. Instead, she says to her friend “I don’t think these were made for more than one person!”. She folded her arms and just stood there on the trampoline with her back towards “Gubby”. I tried to coax him in to moving to another trampoline, since the whole thing made me uncomfortable. But he happily jumped on, not understanding her body language at all. Then “Kitty” and “Boo” went on another trampoline together and I told “Gubby” to go and jump with them, since we soon had to leave. As soon as he left, the girl took up her jumping again. I just wanted to scream at her that her behaviour was appalling. He was so cute, so happy, so friendly, and all she did was being rude for no reason at all. He did not deserve that treatment. You do not reward kindness with rudeness in my book!!!

At 18:00, they closed the zoo, and it was time to let Jane lead us to the farm outside Give. Unfortunately she had other ideas. Once again she led us in on narrow farm roads and it got worse and worse. Finally they turned in to gravel roads and suddenly in the middle of the forest, we entered this private courtyard of the most beautiful farm ever seen. It was made up as a square, all in white with a thatched roof. Chocolate box as they say on “Escape to the Country”. Jane said we had arrived at our destination but we were so far off as one could be and there was no way to turn the car except drive in to the courtyard and make a U-turn. I have never been so embarrassed. T. had to turn on the internet again, to get us out of the mess. “Kitty” whispered to me “Can we not get dad a new Jane for his Birthday?”. I wish I could but I would not know what to buy, since I know nothing about that market at all. All I know is that I do not want a TomTom because that is what was in the rental car we got after our crash last year in Germany. She was as potty as Jane! We drove in to Bremen we both GPSs on and they gave totally opposite directions to each other, and neither were correct!

Arriving at the farm in Give, was fun. We were greeted by three adorable kittens all in black with tiny specks of white in their

Two of our little friends

Two of our little friends

faces. The boys went bananas. There was a big playground with pedal cars, trampoline, and a wood fortress. And beside all that was a pig pen and a chicken coop. “Gubby” poor thing tried to pet the hens and they of course ran off in fear. He also petted the piglets and loved the place entirely. While we unpacked the car, the children explored the place and played with the cats, which kept on running in to our flat. The owners were not there but a friend of theirs had given us the key. I finally had to lift all the kittens out and their mother, all black, who had joined them. My boys were totally impressed! Their allergic mother knew how to lift a cat! I told them how my family used to have a cat, till their grandmother one day snuck off to the vet and had him killed, because he was ruining her new sofa. We never ever connected my constantly congested nose and big eczema all over my cheeks, with Tusse. I was allergic already then, without knowing it!

Part of the playground seen from where we parked the car.

Part of the playground seen from where we parked the car.

The flat was nothing fancy but it had WiFi. Unfortunately, I had packed this iPad in a laptop case with my keyboard, and when I opened the case, the iPad said it had been disabled since I had entered the wrong password too many times. Somehow, pressure had made the screen come on and numbers had been entered. So I could not use the WiFi we paid extra for. But the alternative I had looked at before booking this one, would have been much worse. A camping cottage! They do know how to charge for as little as possible, taking advantage of the proximity to Legoland.


No, there was one room for the boys with one bunk bed and one regular bed. (And one bedroom for T. and myself, in this converted barn.) Strangely enough, “Gubby” did not insist on sleeping in our bed like at home. He just happily took the lower bunk and went to sleep as soon as he laid down. And so did the other two, as well. I guess an all activity day like ours had been, took all energy out of them?

Kitchen/Diner/Sitting room all in one. Not really big enough for the five of us, but if you eat in shifts and watch TV in shifts, turning the chairs towards the corner, where the TV was, then...

Kitchen/Diner/Sitting room all in one. Not really big enough for the five of us, but if you eat in shifts and watch TV in shifts, turning the chairs towards the corner, where the TV was, then…


The door to the left, is to the master bedroom, the one to the right, to where the boys slept.


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