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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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…

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

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My Friday Book: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

imageAll my life, I have heard how fantastic the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is, with gorgeous Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. But I was also told that it is a film about a luxury prostitute, which might account for why I have never ever seen the film nor have I read the book, until today. Yes, Audrey Hepburn  was the most beautiful woman of her time. And I have walked around with a black and white bag, covered with her face, wearing the tiara and bling glued to it, and her holding her famous cigarette. But it hardly makes this a good book, because I do not concur with other readers, I honestly do not find this a good novel. Not even a half decent novel.

The woman who wrote the foreword in my Swedish edition, which I bought and read today, claimed that everybody raved about the book when it came out in 1958. Hollyimage was the new woman, who everyone should aspire to be like. A woman who did as she pleased. Truman Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the part in the film, but she refused. So the role went to Audrey instead.

But since when do we applaud prostitution? And since when do we applaud promiscuity? Because when it all boils down to it, this is a book about a prostitute, a drug-addict, a party girl like Britain’s Essex girls and Stockhom’s Stureplan girls. But even worse, about pedophilia. And to claim that this is a classic, world literature? I claim that it is a deeply disturbing book, if society suddenly thought that women ought to become Holly Golightlys.

The book does not really have Holly Golightly, as the main character. Instead we have a young man as the protagonist, a young man living above her flat, somewhere in New York. It is not a building of well to do people and the young man is struggling to become an author. Why he is not in service, is never explained. But the book really takes place in 1943 and there is a desperate lack of men in uniform or signs of war, throughout.

For a while, Holly calls the young man “Fred” after her brother, whom he according to her, resembles. So I will call him Fred in this review. Fred is contacted one day, many years after the fact, to come and look at something, at a bar he used to frequent. The bar owner, Joe Bell, has a photo of an African statue to show him. And both agree, the statue looks just like Holly Golightly, whom they have not heard from, for ages, but the statue proves that she must have been in Africa. It is the description of the statue which really describes Holly to us. Too big eyes, a mouth too big for her face, short boy cut hair. Not at all a look that describes Marilyn Monroe, but not really Audrey either.

From then on, we are back in 1943, and Fred describes that he lives in the same house as Holly for a long time, before they actually meet. But he does hear her voice every time people have to let her in to the house at night, her not caring to bring a key and not caring about other people’s sleeping habits. He does not meet her proper until she climbs in through his window one day, trying to avoid a boring “client”. Because clients she have. She informs Fred that you get 50 dollars to go in to the ladies’ room with gentlemen at the clubs and restaurants she frequents, and that is and will always be prostitution.

He is invited for drinks at her flat, but when he arrives, he is not prepared for anything that he encounters. Holly sees herself as a traveller. She is always packed to go at short notice. So nothing in her flat is unpacked. And he is not the only man invited that evening, quite the contrary. All men equally disappointed that they are not the one and only invited. He gets to meet with her fiancée, the overgrown baby, Rutherfurd “Rusty” Trawler, who is too rich for his own good and who refuses to accept that he is homosexual. He gets to meet Holly’s former Hollywood agent, O.J. Berman, who tried to get her in to the film industry, but had to accept that the bird fled to New York, in order to avoid the first screen test. But the flat is full of men in uniform, yes here they are mentioned. Once! And most of them are in their middle age or above, while Holly is only 19 and I assume Fred to be of the same age. They are all hunkering after having sex with Holly and I guess you can say what you will about that.

The party is suddenly interrupted by photo model Mag Wildwood, who at first charms everyone, but when she visits the loo, Holly gets rid of the competition, by spreading around that Mag has a venereal disease. That makes most of the men run and believe it or not, but after a night of drinking, Holly and Mag become best friends and Mag moves in as a paying lodger.

During the weeks to come, in September 1943, Fred goes all over with Holly, trying to get to know her. He finds out that she visits an old man in prison every Thursday, whose name is Salvatore “Sally” Tomato, and she is paid $100 for the effort, by his lawyer. All she has to do is keep Sally happy and bring a coded message back to the lawyer, to prove that she has been to the prison.

But their friendship becomes difficult to uphold when Fred gets an office job and their times do not parallel each other. They do give each other a Christmas present though, and thanks to extra trips to the ladies’ room, Holly buys him a much coveted bird-cage from an antique shop. He on the other hand has splurged at Tiffany’s and bought her a S:t Christopher’s medal, since she travels so much. Tiffany’s being the place she goes to during her frequent panic attacks, since nothing bad ever happens there.

Up till then in the book, things have not been too bad for Holly. She enjoys life, playing with her hair and colouring it in all the shades of the rainbow (hardly sounding like a beauty, like Audrey Hepburn) at the same time, drinking and selling herself to her heart’s content. But one day a Dr. Golightly shows up at the house and informs Fred that Holly, or Lulamae Barnes, is his wife. She and her brother came to his house in Texas as children, trying to steal eggs and milk. He kept them there and raised them with his children. He had lost his wife 4 July 1936 and in December 1938, he married Lulamae alias Holiday (Holly) who had not even turned 14! He had spoiled her rotten so that his own children worked hard on the farm, while she could sit and read ladies’ magazines and take care of her looks. And one day she had just walked away. He had searched for her ever since, to bring her home to her children and husband, where she belonged. When Holly gets back home that day, she goes to bed with her husband and then sends him packing.

The next part of the storyline, tells past tense, how Mag and her Brazilian lover José, who can not be connected with scandal, since he is trying to become President in Brazil one day, went on holiday in the Caribbean with Rusty Trawler and Holly. Rusty  got in to a fight which landed him in hospital and Mag had sun tanned a wee bit too much, so while she and Rusty were bedridden, José and Holly travelled about together. This caused great jealousy in the bedridden people and to pay the others back, the two of them got married. Unfortunately, it did not have the effect they expected, since José and Holly only laughed at the entire thing. But the laughter did not last very long for Holly. She receives a telegram that her beloved brother has been killed in action, and she suddenly becomes a prisoner in her own home, by choice. José becomes her lover and moves in with her and proudly she tells “Fred” that she is six weeks pregnant and that she and José are off to Brazil, where they will get married.

But before that happens, Holly gets arrested. Sally Tomato was not as innocent as she thought him to be. The newspapers have a fun time writing up stories about Holly being an international drug dealer. All the coded messages were pertaining to Tomato’s mafia empire, and while the police soon realize that Holly is innocent, they want to use her to bring down the mafia empire of Tomato. José of course has fled to Brazil and wants no more part in Holly’s life. She miscarries the baby. Tomato dies in prison suddenly. And Holly escapes justice by using her pre-paid ticket to go to Rio. The only thing “Fred” ever hears from her again, is that she is living in Argentina, being the mistress of a married man.

When I read the last page I thought “That was it? What was the point?”. It is a story about a girl, who was sexually abused from the time she was a little girl and for some reason she had accepted that as a normal part of life. It is about a girl who decides who she is going to have sex with for money. And who numbs her pain by fleeing from it with alcohol, drugs and running from place to place. But how long will she be able to run away from herself? Critics can sit and say that this is a fantastic book, written ten years before the sexual revolution, and those men saying that she is a free spirit, can believe this, if it makes them feel good. But the truth is, that this is a deeply disturbing story about something which should not have been allowed to happen and about a girl trapped in prostitution. But noone in the story reacts to that. Nor the critics that raise the storyline to the skies. For that reason, Audrey Hepburn, the goddess, should not have been chosen to play the part. She made it all look normal, no doubt, fascinating and alright.

Apart from the storyline then? Well, I read a translation so I can not say anything about Capote’s language skills. But I enjoy a good storyteller and a storyteller, Capote is NOT. We only get to see flashes out of Holly’s and Fred’s lives. And since Fred is the story’s narrator, it is deeply disappointing to not find out a thing about him, except that he tries to write and finally succeeds. We can guess that he has fallen in love with Holly, like all other men, but why? According to the book, she is no beauty. Skinny and ugly is how she is described. So then it must be the prospect of sex that lures them all in to her nets. Including Fred, who by the sounds of it, never did get lucky. To be honest, after reading the short book, which is read in an hour or two, you feel completely empty. You have wasted your time and your money. And you realize that all you have learned, is nothing.

 

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Am I my mother’s keeper?

During Viking times, the elderly were forced to jump off a cliff or was done away with in some other fashion. During  the Catholic age, the Franciscan monks, looked after  the old and sick  in alms houses. And during the Protestant times, they put the old, who are generally poor and sick, in the poor house or work house. All depending on where you lived of course.

One alternative existed during the 1700s and 1800s, and that was to keep the old at home. Let them do the chores they could do, like babysitting. But the most common thing was for the parents or parent, to move to a less desirable part of the “estate” or house and get the scraps from a son’s or daughter’s table.

We are living in a time, when doctors do everything they can to save pre-mature babies and the elderly, without even considering if the saved ones, will live a worthy and dignified life. People live to a very, very old age, compared to what they lived to, in say the 1800s, when nature ran its course. There was no medicine to pickle them and had there been one, I am sure that the children of those parents, would have opted for not giving it to them. Why? Because in those days, you could not afford a mouth to feed, who was of no use. I know, it sounds like a propaganda statement from the 1930s, something which Goebbels would have said and which he indeed did say.

But it is not easy, to have an ageing parent, in today’s world. Or in my world at least. But I think that I am not the only one, who feel very divided. And more will join me, since people have children late in this country and when you have your children late, you will be old and need care, when your children are not really able to help you yet. Did that make sense? No?

My mother was 30 when she had me. She was never really sick a day in her life. Perhaps a little bit of sniffles, but the only thing she ever kept in her medicine cupboard, was a bottle of aspirin. And I do not know if she ever took one. She thought that good health came to everyone and that everyone who complained of an ailment, like myself, were all hypochondriacs. How can one have empathy when one has never felt any pain or had any problems? Well, some of us can, but she was incapable of it. After my dad had his accident in 1976, all she felt was anger towards him, since she from then on had to be in charge. Him having received aphasia in the fall and epilepsy, when the head injury healed.

My father died in 1979, and after that my mother went through a succession of men, one worse than the next. Alcoholics and men with money problems. Since 1992, there has not really been anyone, and perhaps that is what made here finally deteriorate? In the year 2000 she was forced to retire, having reached the age of 65. I had by then three children and one on its way. My suggestion of her selling her big house in Trollhättan, fell on deaf ears. She could not see any sense in my arguments. That it was rather insane for one person, without a job and without any close friends, to live 380 kilometers from its family. And for the person to live in a huge house with three bedrooms, two living rooms, kitchen, storage room, sewing room, two bathrooms and a laundry room, all alone. On top of that a big garden to take care of. I knew that one day she would need help, one day her health would fail, and there was no telling when that was going to happen. But she was like a teenager. Untouchable. She did not want to sell her house, since she had no loans and felt that she lived cheap in her house. And she has never been a cinnamon roll baking grandmother who have truly enjoyed socializing with her grandchildren. On the contrary she has kept as much away from them as possible, on visits in our home. She always prefered sitting watching TV, going shopping, sitting reading or cross-stitching, when visiting.

In 2010, her visits ceased. It all started with her phoning in June that year and wondering if we had moved. Or if our province had changed area code. She had tried to phone my dad’s sister (and silently I wondered why, since they had not had any contact for years) and ended up at the maternity clinic in Ystad, in our province. In other words, there was nothing wrong with the area code! Just her dialing of the phone number to persons. Obviously she reached us, since I had her on the phone, but that did not dawn on her. During my sister’s visit, from Australia, that summer, the quack doctors in Trollhättan came up with the bizarre idea that she must have had tons of little epilepsy seizures and this scarring her brain, so that she behaved in a strange manner. I did not believe it for a second but suspected Alzheimer’s. Even to this day, I do not know what is wrong with her, thanks to the secrecy act which protects every Swedish citizens’ rights. So much so that you can’t find out a thing about a parent, who has gone potty in the brain.

Because potty in the brain, she went. She was no longer allowed to drive. She could not remember to take her high blood pressure medicine, because suddenly she was afflicted by that as well. From always having had low blood pressure! She was lonelier than lonely up there in the North and there was nothing I could do about it. Having seven children to look after and some of them not all normal. Our oldest having serious problems, which today, would be diagnosed as autism. If he agreed to have himself tested!!! And our son “Kitty” having received an ADHD diagnosis at the age of five in 2009. (More diagnosises were to come, on him and his younger brothers.) When in a squirrel wheel, you can’t just take off and go take care of an ageing parent living 380 kilometers away. She started talking about moving down here, to this native province of hers, already in 2010, because she got angry at all people up there telling her that she needed help. In other words, she refused to see that there was a problem with HER.

And the years have gone by. Communication broke down between us, since the doctor ordered that she was put under the care of a trustee, her not being able to handle her own finances anymore. But my mum refused it and fought through all courts available with the help of a neighbour, since her own mind was not all there of course. I had to step in and write a letter to the court, that she must have a trustee. It was not something I did happily, but the judge ordered me to write the letter to put an end to all her foolery. So I did as ordered and the court sent the letter to my mum, who now saw me as the enemy and said some devilish things to me, which hurt me really badly. I was raised with conditional love and all that love was now gone. What she did not understand was that I did it for her sake and she was appointed a trustee against her will. But the trustee was not someone who was willing to share any information with me. And when I suggested that my mum was moved to a senior citizen flat instead, so she would have company during the days, the trustee refused to listen. She was of the opinion that my mum was fine where she was and had all the help she needed.

Today I know that the loneliness turned my mum in to an alcoholic. She has always been a weirdo and friends have always disappeared out of her life, since they got tired of her ways. But she has never wanted to sit isolated and today I can look in her diaries that most days she angrily wrote “LONELY!!!”. It is shocking to see it but I did try, without any success. The state wants the elderly to stay at home as long as possible since it is cheaper for the state. But I think in the long run it costs them more, since it makes people worse off more quickly.

From August 2013 to August 2015, I did not hear a thing from the trustee. But then suddenly last August, I get the strangest phone call. From a new trustee. My life was an utter mess at the time. We had crashed our car in Germany and life was so hard without a vehicle, living in the countryside where one is dependent on a car. We needed to paint our house desperately and without a car it was difficult to get paint home as well as scaffolding to stand on. Finally church members arrived to help as much as they could, and in the middle of this, I got the phone call. My mum’s old trustee had died, just like that, suddenly out of the blue and she had had this new trustee for over a year, without anyone telling me about it. Now she rang accusingly and asked me why I was against my mum moving to a nursing home. I really got angry and told her that I had tried getting the trustee to agree to it for years. And I told her what had happened years earlier.

On the 23rd December 2013, at 20:00, I received a phone call from the police in Trollhättan. My mum was missing. They wanted to know if we had fetched her to Skåne. I told them no and gave them her trustee’s telephone number. But they had already called her and she knew nothing. I tried to recall all the people she knew in her neighbourhood, but of course she had never mentioned any surnames. There was also the problem of her having come down to Skåne to visit her old classmates at times, without her even telling us, that she was around the corner. Her clearly wanting to avoid us. They could have fetched her as well, me not knowing their surnames either. I could not really help the police. Around 23:00 they phoned again. She was back at home and had been to a neighbour’s house all evening. But they were supposed to have notified the home service people, otherwise the latter call the police and say the person is missing. This was the neighbour who so kindly helped my mum fight the courts, who felt my mum needed no help at all!

At 23:00, sitting wrapping all Christmas presents, the policeman bawled me our for being a bad daughter. That I should have put her in a nursing home a long time ago and not left her living on her own like this. He could care less that I had no right to decide anything. But thanks to his words, I spent a miserable Christmas, once again feeling like the worse person in the world. My mum having raised me with those words, from early childhood. That I am a waste of space. This person who has never said a nice thing about me, is someone who I am supposed to honour and love deeper than anything. I have to say that it is a struggle.

But now it was August 2015, and I told the trustee, “by all means, move her to a nursing home so she will stop drinking and have people around her around the clock”. She said she would look in to it and phone at the end of the week. She never did. August came to a close, so did September and my mum was about to turn 80 years old. I bought her a mindfulness colouring book and pencils in lieu of ideas. What does one give someone who only needs company? Whose mind is gone? But I was worried that there was noone there to fetch the package from the post office. And what about a cake? You can’t sit alone and have noone there and no cake! But we were not able to go up there. The used car we bought at the end of August was basically living at the car mechanics, which is a totally different story, the story of not buying a used car when you know nothing about cars! There was no way we dared to go on a long journey, in the middle of the week, with that death trap!

So I contacted the trustee finally, through the council, since she had only introduced herself to the child who answered the phone in August, and had given no phone number or e-mail address. I wanted to know three questions: 1) What had happened on the nursing home front? 2) Could someone fetch the present? 3) Could someone buy her some cake or pastry? I never received an answer to questions number two and three but she wrote me back that she had not had time to do anything about it. Right, first bawl me out and then do nothing! After my mum’s Birthday she sent an MMS saying that she had bought a sandwich cake, invited some neighbours and included was a photo of my mother looking happy. I did not tell her that my mum is very finicky about sandwich cakes. She only likes her own recipe. But it was nice to know she had not been alone. What angered me was the fact that she did not have the courtesy to tell me if the gift had arrived and had been fetched. Such a small thing to do! It meant a lot to me, since I do not have an income, so all purchases are hard on the wallet and especially when I first have to send for the items, wrap them and then pay postage a second time! So, it was outright rude to not answer my questions. But that seems to be the policy of trustees.

Then nothing happened for a month, till I suddenly one day in November, receive a phone call from the council that I must come for an interview. I thought it was about one of my autistic boys but it turned out to be about my mother. The trustee had taken her to nursing homes in Trollhättan where she has lived since 1955 and she refused to move to any of them, just saying “I am moving to Skåne”. So now I had to persuade the council to let her move to Skåne and to my own council down here. We talked for a long time and then they had to make a decision. They told me that after a decision was made, housing had to be found within three months and after a place was offered, we had to accept and move her in within a week. I started to get scared but thought that nothing would happen before Christmas, so we would probably be fine.

From then on everything happened quickly. They said yes, she was offered a place at the dementia nursing home in our village and I went over there to insepct and felt enormously depressed. Walking in through the doors, I felt like 19 years old again, when I arrived as a substitute cleaner, to clean hospital wards. It looks like a hospital ward, even though the personnel insists on calling the rooms, flats. When you get in, to the room, you have a wooden hospital bed that can be raised and lowered. The alarm is on the wall. The microwaves are not hooked in since you can’t have that going on in a dementia ward. The toilet is big and a handicap one. The rooms totally lack personality and no matter what you do, you can’t make that room cozy. I felt so depressed. It would have been better had she just died suddenly. To have to end your life in such a place, when you have lived in a beautiful cozy home up till then, with your personality all over the place. There is just one word for it all and that is horrible. I could not say, “she will love this”. I tried to get some advice from the trustee but she just said, there was no alternative so finally I had to make the dreaded phone call and say YES. But it was not a happy or relieved yes, at all.

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The trustee refused to answer my e-mails after that, till we got one ordering us to meet the moving lorry on the 14 December, make the room look nice and stand at the home and greet my mum at 14:00, on the 15 December. I really got angry with the horrible woman. I have a family to look after. I had meetings to go to, children to fetch, Christmas presents to buy, Christmas cookies and cakes to bake, concerts, recitals and school events to go to, the list just went on and on. December is crazy in most people’s houses and worse so in our’s, since we have all the added visits to the care system about our three handicapped boys. But I had to drop everything.

Noone phoned me and told me when the lorry showed up and when I took the boys over, I just felt overwhelmed. I had to go home and muster up strength to go back. In the evening, my daughters had to serve themselves and “Kitty” sandwiches while T. and I took the two youngest with us, and tried to unpack things. T. hooked up the TV for her and unpacked all her clothes and put them in the closet. I could not understand the strange packing at all. 30 pairs of shoes and most of them high-heeled stiletto shoes. Was the trustee as insane as my mum? Silver cutlery was the sort of cutlery she had with her, but not dinner such. No, she had silver butter knives with her to eat with and salad forks. And the spoons where for mocha coffee cups. Not that they really need cutlery and plates etc. They eat all meals in the common room, but if there is acute stomach flu on the ward, they have to eat in their rooms, on their own plates etc.

We did our best. I put up the only books she had brought, my dad’s sport books. “Boo” put all the crystal glasses in the book-case and I silently wondered if she thought she would host formal dinner parties? I asked about alcohol and the staff answered that it is up to the relatives to buy that for the patients and I am sorry mum, but you now had to enter the teetotaler zone. I am a Latter-Day Saint and we are forbidden to drink alcohol. NEVER will I enter a liquor shop and buy something for her! So her alcoholism was cured by cold turkey!

To our vexation we discovered that she had billions of pictures with her, needing hooks on the walls. And all lamps arrived with the wrong electrical plugs and without light bulbs. The massive amount of clothes, needed to have name tags sewn in to them, which I had ordered and brought, but for heaven sakes, it was the 14 December and I did not have the time to sit and put name tags in all her clothes, 9 days before Christmas Eve. Instead of decorating my own home for Christmas, I was decorating my mum’s new room. Exhausted, we went home at 22:00, leaving a pretty room, without things on the walls, without lamps functioning, without curtains, and no carpets allowed because of the falling risk. But it looked alright. Not at all like her home, but tolerable.

The next day, I stood at the home with my two youngest sons waiting for her. But they grew anxious. “Gubby” starting to flax about which is a common thing for autistic children to do when bored, tired, confused etc. And “Boo” starting to be loud because nothing was happening. He acts out when bored. We had to go outdoors not to wear out our welcome. And then E. arrived, to play with her brothers. So they ran around like wild dogs, all three of them. Finally the trustee arrived with a friend in the passenger seat and with mum in the back with the trustee’s dog. My mum got out of the car and I could tell she was confused. When she saw us, she ran up to us and started kissing us all. I grew uncomfortable, because this is not her regular kind of behaviour and it felt wrong! If you did not kiss me when you had your brains, do not do it now.

We walked in, and my mum asked me if we live there. I told her no, that it was her new home. “Is it?”. She started to grow upset and I had to reassure her, that she had asked to move to Skåne for years now, and finally she had got her wish fulfilled but that the house still was hers in Trollhättan. Getting to the room, she could not understand how her things got there. Ingeli, the trustee, tried to tell her but it did not go through. I told I. that the electrical plugs needed changing, hooks were needed etc. And she told me that I could take my mum’s VISA card and buy what my mum needed. Then she walked off with the nurse to talk about my mum’s medicines. I found an envelope with the VISA card, but did not take it.Felt weird. And then I. came back having undergone a personality change. She ripped the envelope out of my hand and told me that I can’t have it, that my mum had money in her wallet which would have to be used for things needed and then she left with her friend for another friend’s house in Teckomatorp, some miles away from us. And my mum was upset that they left her behind.

My mum did not want us to leave and it felt really bad to do so, but my children were hungry and more children had arrived at home, phoning for me. Plus I felt she needed to get acquainted with the nurses and other care takers. So we said goodbye, but she tried to escape with us through the door, which is kept locked. The next day, she phoned me with the staff’s help and sat and cried and said that I had had her locked up in a prison. I tried to be civil and tell her that she no longer could live by herself, that she had begged to move to Skåne for years, that I was right around the corner, that it is not a prison, that she is not well and needs help. You name it, but she just said “Do not get angry with me, I love you!”. I was not angry and my children can testify that I was civil and did not sound angry, but I was getting upset inside. And I thought the “I love you” words so hypocritical. Why did she not tell me that when I grew up? Now it just sounds so false, when she is weak and helpless. It is too late.

Next time we went over there, she had ruined all our work. She had packed all things in her escritoire. I know! It is a writing desk, but when the lid is closed, it looks like a bureau. All Christmas decorations had been squeezed in there as well as telephone, cords for TV and clothes. I had to talk to the staff because now I felt really depressed and like we had made the wrong decision to move her there, if she did not want to be there. They told me that this often happens and it takes a couple of months for the patient to stop doing it. Also, I told them that I could not sit with her on the phone at all hours, her sitting crying saying that I had locked her up in a prison. They promised to not help her phone again, since they had let her phone from their office. But they understood that I can’t handle those kind of conversations. If my boys hear me upset, they get upset. They read tension like radar!!! So, I spent hours again, unpacking her things, realizing that some things now were broken from the manhandling and being pushed in to drawers.

The next time we went there, she was rude and angry. She once again had packed everything and I gave up. I had just come over with Christmas presents on our way to the cemetery to put a candle on our daughter’s grave. My mum was rude and asked if I would rather have her in the cemetery and I am afraid I lost it. I wheezed at her “I am going over to my beloved dead daughter Serena Rose, whom I miss very much. It is common practice to put a light on one’s loved one’s graves for Christmas!”. She did not apologize or anything, but then got angry when I said she could not come with to the cemetery.

As a family we decided that we could not have her come home to us on Christmas Eve. Her temper is too unpredictable. She scared some of the children the night before and to be honest, Christmas was not about her. It was about months of wait, months of anticipation from the children’s angle. And months of planning from my angle. I wanted to fulfill their dreams and not for my mother to steal the show and ruin the entire festivities. Because she has done that too many times before, during all Christmases she has spent with us in the past. Not one more Christmas, especially since my autistic boys can’t handle expectations not being fulfilled.  So we celebrated the Christmas as we wanted it celebrated and Christmas Day, the stove broke down. Or died might be a better word. We had to run off and buy a new one and the one they handed us, was not the one we had paid for, so for days our life was a nightmare, waiting for the right one to get back in to the shop, after the holidays. No way, we could have my mother over, without a proper stove!

In January, I had to go to a big meeting at the nursing home. A welcome and information meeting, which usually takes place earlier, but since Christmas and New Year’s came in the way, it was held later than usual. Big questions arose. My mum was still sitting without bulbs, hooks, electrical plugs suited for modern housing. But she also was without underwear, socks, hygiene articles. The trustee never checked my mum’s wallet before she left and there was no money in it at all. I can’t shop for my mum with our family’s money. And while one care taker at the nursing home had finally been given permission to go with my mum to the bank and take out money with my mother’s VISA card, my mum had hidden the wallet. So, no money available to buy anything. The care taker in charge of my mum, only had a week left to work at the place and had not had time to put name tags in my mum’s clothes, like she had promised to do, in December, and she had had to beg a friend in the hygiene articles business for freebie samples, for my mum. In other words, nothing was working the way it ought to. Part of the problem being that my mum’s trustee was 380 kilometers away and noone but her was allowed to touch my mum’s money. As for me, I told them, that I am not going to buy a single thing for her. She has money, lots of it, but we could not access it. And it is not fair, that a person without an income, should have to shell out money for a person who has a lot of money, not even knowing if the person will get reimbursed. My mother has never ever helped me out financially, nor have I asked her to.  And it is not my job, in my opinion, to support her now, on a non-existing income, when she has private funds and her pension to live on.

Her room looked insane, everything once again in all the drawers, and when the meeting was over, I unpacked things a third time. I just can’t go on doing this. An old Father Christmas ornament which I grew up with, was broken, and it almost made me cry. I took it home to try to fix it, but one thing was missing, so I think I will just have to photograph the pieces and throw it away. It breaks my heart that she acts this way. No care in the world that she is making her living space look awful and like an empty shell, when all the other patients’ rooms look lovely. The personnel told me that they have to hide the few existing underwear she owns, or she hides them. She hid the alarm they are all supposed to wear on their arms, the first day, and it can not be found anywhere. This just is not my mother anymore. She is totally hyper. Actually she resembles my son “Kitty” before we started medicating him for his ADHD. She is all over the place. “Gubby” finds it hilarious and he thinks he has a very funny nan, but I do not agree at all. Nor does the girls! And “Kitty” I think, is scared of her.

My task coming away from the meeting, was to phone the council and ask why she had not been appointed a new trustee, locally. That it was desperate. It took me two days to get hold of the right person and guess what her answer was? “We are busy with all the migrant children arriving here without parents.” I got furious and told her with tears running down my cheeks: “Is it right that Sweden’s elderly population, who have worked hard their entire lives, paid taxes and everything, have to sit in a room without lamp bulbs, without electrical plugs, without hooks, without soap, shampoo, conditioner, urine leakage pads, toilet paper, tooth paste, socks and  underwear. Is that the thank you they get after a long and hard life full of work? Is it right that my mother should have to inherit an old dead patient’s washed out night-gown? There is noone in Skåne allowed to touch her money, so she has to sit with all these needs in a supposed humane industrialized country! I could not care less about the migrants!”. I think the lady understood, but it took months before a trustee was appointed and I announced to her, that I was not setting my foot at the nursing home until they appointed a trustee for my mum. I could not bear to look at her room and everything she needed, nor could I face the staff’s accusing eyes!

I now that I am a lousy daughter. But I am already bending over backwards for my own children. I have nothing left. My three autistic boys, takes so much energy out of me and I really do not have any energy in the first place, thanks to a non functioning thyroid and no doctor giving me the right treatment for it. I battle the symptoms of hypothyroidism at the same time as I battle the system, to get what my boys are entitled to. I try to be there for my older children as well and help them when they need help. I just can’t be my mother’s keeper as well and fight for her rights. It is too much for anyone to carry, at least when not well oneself. A person I thought was my friend, told me one day that it is my duty to take care of my mother now, since she took care of me when I was a child. It made me so upset hearing that from a person whose children are all grown up with children of their own, almost all of them, and from a person who has never had a single handicapped child. No other human being has the right to judge me, until they live MY life in MY body. I am not saying that I wish my mother dead. I do not! But at the same time, that woman over in the nursing home is just the shell of my mother. Her brain is not there. And for me, every visit with her is traumatic and upsetting. I do not know what to do, but she will continue to make me upset till the day she dies, I think. If it is not the one thing, it is something else. She raised me to hate myself and have zero self-confidence and now people judge me for not sacrificing myself entirely for her. I just have one question: Who is going to take care of my children if I have to devote the rest of her life, to her? WHO?

The post above has taken me five months to write, because of the topic. Just thinking about my mother is exhausting. And nothing makes me more upset. We never got along when she was “well” and now they demand a total sacrifice from my side. It is a sacrifice I am incapable of doing. Noone is perfect, least of all I. So why does everyone demand that I should be perfect?

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Bojkotta Polarn’ och Pyrets kampanj “Lika Olika”

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Idag lanserar Polarn’ och Pyret klädkedjan sin regnbågskampanj “Lika Olika”. Alla T-shirtar i härliga primärfärgsränder och prickar, säljs till förmån för World Childhood foundation. Polarn’ och Pyret vill med kollektionen säga att de kämpar för att barn skall få lov att vara annorlunda och olika. Att man får vara alla sorters färger, religioner och komma med olika funktionshinder osv. Storstilat. Stämmer dåligt i det svenska samhället. Men också enligt Polarn’ och Pyret själva, eftersom barnen bara får vara annorlunda fram tills de börjar förskoleklass, sedan skall de banne mej passa in i samhället och följa skocken.

Var passar Polarn’ och Pyrets kampanj in? Hur kan man vända sig enbart till föräldrar med bebisar och förskolebarn/dagisbarn? Där har problemen oftast inte upptäckts ännu och där finns det resurser för att låta barnet vara lite annorlunda och udda. Så fort barnet skall börja förskoleklass och behöver storlek 122 cl i kläder, DÅ finns inte Lika Olika T-shirten att välja på längre. Då får man inte vara annorlunda! Man får definitivt inte vara den man är enligt Polarn’ och Pyret.

Idag har jag skrivit ett långt brev till dem med mina klagomål. För deras senaste tilltag är inte det enda de gör, för att få barn att rätta sig i ledet. Alla som varit inne och handlat på Polarn’ och Pyret de senaste åren har säkerligen upptäckt att alla roliga motiv, som finns i just denna klädkedja, upphör antingen vid storlek 116 eller 122/128. De är naturligtvis inte de enda som kör med denna trend. Lindex och KappAhl är likadana. Hennes & Mauritz/hm har ibland sträckt sig upp till 134/140 med barntryck. Men över lag så skall barn enligt klädkedjorna sluta att klä sig som barn när de börjar skolan. Då skall det var prostitutionskläder för flickor och killar skall se ut som rappare/gängmedlemmar från downtown Detroit. Man får inte som pojke ha på sig något starkare i färgen än möjligtvis vinrött.

Visst Polarn’ och Pyret tillåter pojkarna att ha lite färger, men där får absolut inte finnas något roligt tryckt på deras tröjor. I många år har jag shoppat åt min yngste son “Gubby”, i just denna klädkedja, eftersom han har autism och är väldigt petig när det gäller material och tryck. Han älskar traktorer, bilar, djur, tårtor, glassar… Och hans äldre bröder har sett på hans T-shirtar med avvund och undrat varför de inte fått något likadant. Och jag har fått svara “Affärer anser att ni inte får tycka om sådana saker längre!”. Hur länge skall svenska föräldrar tillåta att dessa kedjor styr vår smak och hur våra barn skall klä sig? Varför skall vi behöva gå på privata meandi visningar med kläder till oresonabelt pris, för att få riktiga barnkläder? Kläder som inte är bättre kvalitet än något du köper på hm. Vad du betalar för hos meandi, är just roliga tryck! Som ser urtvättade ut, efter enbart en eller två gånger i tvättmaskinen.

Varför löper Polarn’ och Pyret inte hela linan ut? De skryter om att vara miljövänliga, använda snälla material och ge bra arbetsvillkor för producenterna. Men varför vågar de inte gå emot strömmen? Göra barnkläder för barn! Jag har en autistisk son på 7 år som bara vill ha snälla tryck, mjuka material, byxor som inte fladdrar (som sitter tajt så ingen luft finns runt benen, som han säger). Han hade älskat att sätta på sig en lika olika T-shirt med dess starka färger! Men han har pga sin längd, storlek 134 cl. Långt över deras målgrupp med andra ord, fastän han går i förskoleklass.  Jag har en autistisk son på 9 år som pga längd drar 146 cl. Han hade älskat att ha lika olika T-shirten, för att han blir utsatt för smälek pga sitt handikapp. Han fick sluta på sin föregående skola pga mobbing och för att han inte fick något stöd alls på en skola full av outbildad personal som enbart vill undervisa normala barn. Inte heller han kan få en T-shirt som säger att han får lov att vara annorlunda i Sverige! Childhood Foundation, ni har misslyckats så stort att det är pinsamt!!!! Deras storebror på 12 år drar storlek 152 och han hade behövt ha en sådan T-shirt eftersom han inte vill vara annorlunda. “Att vara annorlunda” sa han till kuratorn på habiliteringen för ett par månader sedan “betyder att man inte passar in, och jag vill passa in”. Tyvärr kommer han aldrig göra det eftersom han har autism och ADHD.

Jag börjar bli aggressiv när jag ser dessa kampanjer som bara är ute efter pengar. Vem kommer de pengarna till nytta för? Mina pojkar tvingas gå i vanliga skolor där personalen inte kan ett “skit” om handikappen de har. Eller så införskaffar de sig kunskapen långsamt och mödosmat, genom trial and error-metoden. Men få skolor tar sig tid till detta! De kan inte gå på fritidsaktiviteter eftersom det betyder kaos, stora grupper och att allt socialt händer för fort. Våra söndagar i kyrkan är enda enda lång pinsam föreställning, med mer eller mindre intoleranta personer där också, eftersom de trots allt är svenskar! Att leva med autism och ADHD i dagens Sverige är pest och kolera. Det är då man som mamma vill peppa barnen lite, med roliga T-shirtar, som sägar att visst du är annorlunda, men det är helt okej. Men hur kan man säga det egentligen, när det är en stor lögn? Det är inte okej att vara annorlunda!

Att säga att Sverige är ett tolerant samhälle är ett stort hyckleri. Jo, vi tolerar tydligen ensamkommande barn och muslimer från Syrien som kräver speciella badtider, så att deras män inte skall våldta svenska flickor, och som kräver att få kasta sten på svenska syndiga kvinnor. Vi tolerarer att romerna sitter och skramlar med sina kaffemugggar utanför varenda affär eller att de sticker dem i ansiktet på oss. Men när det gäller våra funktionshindrade barn, så har vi ingen tolerans alls. Det vanligaste är att man anklagar BUP för att ha ställt för många diagnoser. Det anses alltså att det skulle vara helt okej att sopa problemen under mattan. Barnen finns där med sina problem, men de får inte synas för det är obekvämt för svenskarna och kostar en massa skattepengar, som behöver gå till migranterna och deras psykiska problem. Hur har det blivit så här? Varför skall barn behöva bära en T-shirt som säger att vi måste förstå att det är okej att vara annorlunda? Och varför är det bebisar som skall vara mina barns förespråkare, enligt klädkedjorna?

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I had a dream…

… which I had to give up two weeks ago!

Ever since I was 14, I have had a dream of owning a dollhouse. Not a Lundby house, like the one I grew up with, having modern furniture in it and no people to play with. No, when I was 14, I was utterly in to the Victorian era, loving everything from the literature, clothing to the morals of the day. (Not the morals of the future Edward VII that is!) Of course it helped that I had been running around to castles, palaces and bourgeoise homes converted to museums, seeing the style. Later on, I visited the Museum of Childhood in London and Windsor castle, seeing the gorgeous dollhouses there. I came as far as ordering a pattern to build a Victorian dollhouse, which was going to be my grandfather’s task, and buying a tiny porcelain doll, which I made clothing for.

But my grandfather went senile and passed away from a stroke. Life took over as I always say. Then, on a family outing to Egeskov (on Fyn in Denmark), one summer, visiting one of their castle gift shops, I was once again faced with a dollhouse. It was gorgeous and my heart so much wanted to go home with it and finally start creating a miniature home. It was way out of my budget at the time though, and it would have been an insane purchase, had I given in to the urge. These houses cost so much that you need to know what you are doing, when purchasing one. I went home with a Victorian stove, for a dollhouse. That was all! And a silly purchase at that, since it has a tendency to fall in to several pieces for some reason.

Years went by and then I visited the Imperial War Museum, the exhibition “Family at War” about the Allpress family, and saw the impressive replica house, one of the Allpress’ son-in-laws built, taking 30 years. Or was it 40? I was struck by awe. Took tons of photos. And decided that I must make a Blitz house in miniature!!! Because I love the time period, everything about WWII except the fact that people died and the battles. I left the Victorian era behind, ages ago. It’s lost its charm entirely.

From then on, during certain periods, I have been utterly obsessed with researching the time period and what is available out there. But you only get that far, without money and a dollhouse. Little by little, I have acquired small things for my future dollhouse, but eventually you lose interest, not having a house to put things in. So off and on, I have looked at houses and tried to persuade my husband to buy me a kit.

Very simple front, but a typical Victorian house from East End. Custom made by the seller's husband and was an exact copy of the house the seller grew up in.

The dream house was this one: A house sold on eBay, only for pick up in Britain. Broke my heart to not have this house, since it was no ordinary house from a kit. It was a one-off. The seller’s husband built it and it was an exact replica of the house the seller grew up in! What was fantastic about it, was not just that it was a replica, but the fact that it was untraditional and opened both in the front and on the side. (See an older post.)

When I realized that this house could not be mine, ever, I started looking at the houses built in the 1930s. And this dollhouse is a perfect example of those houses, that still stand out there today! The Doll House Emporium calls their rendition of this house style: imageThe Mountfield. I looked at all sorts of shops, to find the cheapest deal, I looked at how all owners have decorated their Mountfields on the outside, but… I just could not get myself to get this sort of house, even though it has openings on almost all sides of the house. Even though it is perfect in all aspects… EXCEPT TWO. It has an indoor loo, which only a very small minority had in those days. And to me,this house does not represent WWII. This is not how the majority of people lived! Certainly not the ones who had to live in an Anderson shelter every night. Not the Keep Calm and Carry On people. This is more safe suburb, to me. So, sadly I opted out of this second, almost perfect house.

I went to Miniatura in Birmingham’s NEC, to get ideas, 18 months ago. I talked to the experts. Barbara’s Mouldings, suggested that I get her Terraced imagehouse x two. That is, buy two of them, attach them to each other and pretend them to be a one-family house. I have a very vivid imagination, but it will not stretch that far, that a working class family would have two stair cases! The whole idea was just too bizarre. Why two houses? It only has two rooms and an attic room with sloping ceilings. Which rooms would one choose away from doing, in such a small house? A kitchen is a must but what would I have to sacrifice? That is why she suggested two houses.

image I had read on the home page of Margaretha’s Dockskåp, that the mistake all beginners make, is the one of buying a too small house the first time, so that they can not do what they want to do, with their dollhouses. THAT was not a mistake I could afford to make. Barbara also suggested something else, and that was getting a Georgian house. She showed the one she makes and I just could not get around it, not having a hallway nor stairs. Enough rooms yes, but I felt that hallways were essential, since I wanted a coat rack, like in “Foyle’s War”, an umbrella stand, because I love Phoenix Model Developments’ umbrella stand, and I wanted to place buckets, water pump and ARP helmet in the hallway, just like they did in the Imperial War Museum’s Allpress house! So, I said no to Barbara’s suggestion of dragging home a Georgian house kit on the airplane, as a carry on!

I felt that Miniatura was very enlightening, even if I did not come home with a clear view of what house to buy. I did have a clear view of what NOT to buy though. That must count for something, right?

I sat down and looked through all vendors from that fair, and stopped extra long at a place called Bromley Crafts, since I do want to get back to them, when it is time to cover my house in bricks. I did find two houses with them, which were interesting. First of all,image their own room-by-room kits. An excellent idea, since you add on as many levels on your house as you desire and buy the fronts for the boxes, that you wish for. It becomes a costly house if you add on say five floors, but you could buy and decorate one box at a time, and spread the cost over many years. Hoping that they keep the idea and the production going! But my problem was: No hallways and stairs! Barbara suggested that one put false doors on one wall of the house, and pretend that the hallway and stairs are outside the door, BUT that does not help when you want to decorate hallways does it?!

imageFinally, I settled on the Laurels. A Georgian house with all the rooms and the hallways and stairs that I wanted. Albeit a little bit too fancy looking for “my” WWII family, but I did find that kind of house in all parts of London, covered in either red or yellow bricks. Mostly red. And funny coloured doors like green, cornflower blue, red… I found the producer of the house, since I did object to the side windows. Windows steal decorating surfaces! The producer said that they would be happy to re-program their machine, to not cut out the windows on the sides, so I was very pleased and happy. All I needed now, was a lot of money, since the producers are the most expensive, all other shops selling the Laurels far cheaper.

I also had to get my husband on board, since he had promised to build it for me, having no skills for it what so ever, of course. But he got cold feet a year ago when I mentioned it would be a great Birthday present. He also backed out for Christmas and said we have no room for a dollhouse, even though I pointed out the perfect place for it.

Then I went to the miniature fair in Farum, Denmark on the 30th April, this year. And got to see a really cute little house put together by Gunnel at Minimani. She is not going to make any more houses and are getting rid of the ones she still has in her craft’s room. (See post on Farum’s Miniature Fair.) She sent me home with three sheets of paper, picturing the three kinds of houses she had at home. I showed them to my husband that evening and surprisingly he said “go for it”. He thought it was a “no brainer”. I was not as convinced as he was, but then I did not have cold feet about building a house from scratch, or kit scratch. We went there, two days  later, since the house I was mostly interested in, had a family interested in it, already. Friends of hers. I looked again at the two imagesmall French houses, with only three floors. T. was most impressed by them, since they were small and slightly cheaper than my favourite. Even though they had no back door, so everything inside would get dusty. But he is hopeless. I have spent hours on end researching. This is MY thing. MY dream. To just say to me “you don’t need more than three rooms, that is good enough”, was an insult and I wanted to throw him out the door. I just let him stand in a corner and rant on, making a fool of himself, when I got in to a more serious conversation with Gunnel.

I told her that, while the houses were not even close to my dream, maybe I would have to settle for less. What do you do, when postage and price is horrendous? And when your husband goes on strike as soon as you mention building something? She told me how long it takes to build a house, all the frustrations, and all the costs for decorating walls, roofs etc. I did agree with her that at this point, it is better with a dollhouse, than nothing at all. I have nowhere to put all the little items I have bought so far. When I go to fairs, I do not know what colour schemes to look at. I can’t see what I need as far as furniture go, how much will fit in to the rooms and so on. So what happened? I told her, that I would buy the house that she already had a possible buyer for. And she was happy to make a sale and get more room in her craft’s room. Saying that now it was going to a good home. We managed to get the house out to the car, she and I, while T. did his whining about me not settling for the little French house. And whining about my discussions on how to alter the floors etc. with Gunnel. She thought it was amusing that the house is going to be turned in to a WWII house, while T. just went on and on that it is fine the way it is. Even though the colours are all wrong.

I have had to leave my dream behind. Now it is up to my imagination to make this house in to something, which I will still enjoy and have fun with. It is not easy to re-think everything! To give up on the perfect set up. And it will cost to alter. BUT I have a dollhouse standing on my living room floor after all these years. It is physically there. “Gubby” was ecstatic when we got home with it and wanted us to put all furniture in to it. “Oh sweetheart! Mamma doesn’t have any furniture to put in to it yet!”. I showed him some of the small things I have and he said “you need to buy a table so we can put those things somewhere”. Cleverly put my son!!! That is ONE of the things needed.

imageAt the moment, all I am doing is trying to get used to not getting the hallway and stairs I so much wanted in my dollhouse. And to the fact that so many things need to be altered on and inside this house.

A yellow house from Denmark was not at all what I dreamed of. Something will have to be done about it. Some day. When I have figured out what to do with the white parts made out of plaster. They are fragile and can break. If I get to go to Miniatura again, I am walking straight to Bromley Craft’s stall and asking them if one still can use their templates and clay, to make the house covered in red brick. Usually this is done, before windows etc. are put in. Now everything is in place, and both door and windows are very fragile. I would have liked to have replaced all of them. One day, maybe I can?

The house was, should I say, cut out in Helsingör, Denmark, and was modelled on a Copenhagen house, from the year 1900. How on earth I am going to stretch my imagination, to see a British house here, is beyond me. But I am more and more telling myself, that it is the inside which counts, not what the stupid house looks like on the outside!

But the inside of this house has definite problems. Ever seen ready-made houses? Ever thought about how silly it looks when you
open the door to look inside, and you see all the curtains on the windows just hanging there, on the door that opens the dollhouse. Well, Gunnel hates that. So she has made the opening for the house in the back. I thought that was a great idea, till I got home and thought about it. Especially, since I want a corner copper to stand in the kitchen, this presents a problem. The copper will cover part of the window! Idiotic I know! But that is not the only problem. By opening up the dollhouse in the back, you only have two walls to decorate on, two walls to lean furniture against. So, I am not delighted by that aspect of the house anymore. But I will have to work around that problem as well…

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Like I said, my husband thought the house is just fine as it is. I do not agree. THIS does not look at all, the way a 1930s house looked in Wartime Britain. If we start with the kitchen:

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When I dreamed of my 1930s house, I envisioned black and white tiles on the floors. Like on the front of Jane Harrop’s book about the decade and the furniture one used, back then. But I actually always did like this kind of floor as well, so I had contemplated having the black and white tiles in the hallway, outside the kitchen, and this kind of tile in the kitchen itself. It is so well done, that I will actually not mess with it, but accept it as is. It does look lovely actually and it is not paper bricks, but real miniature ones, which I really do love. What I do not love is the ghastly wallpaper which will have to go. THAT I doubt existed even in 1900 Copenhagen kitchens! I will paint the walls creamy yellow, just like everybody did in the 1930s. I am going to have an authentic looking kitchen with everything in cream and green. Even though it turns out to be a nightmare, trying to find the right green colour paint, in Sweden. I was in town yesterday and my parking ran out, but Panduro, the Danish craft shop, might just have the answer. I need to go back with downloaded pictures on my mobile and compare them to their options.

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The living room is the one I detest the most. Had it been Lily’s room, I would have been delighted. But as it is, THIS does not work for a wartime living room! Completely the wrong colours. Blue wood floors and blue & white wallpapers is very much summer house Scandinavia 1900. This room will have to go through an entire transformation. I have ordered an Art Deco wallpaper from Jennifer of Walsall, but since the sheets were on sale and she only had four left, I have no idea if those four will be enough. Nor do I know if I will receive them, since after I ordered, the site still said she only has four left and I received no order confirmation. I guess I will just have to be surprised. Either they arrive or they do not, and then I will have to spend time finding something else. It is not easy to buy wallpaper over the internet, since you can’t really get a good feeling for what they will look like in real life. I just hope that I will love the ordered ones, IF they show up.

The dark wood flooring, which I am changing over to, has already showed up though, from jandasupplies.co.uk. Excellent company, very helpful, quick with delivery and I have seen several things I like in their shop. Best of all, they are going to start making a 1930s door! If I can’t change the outer door on the house, I might at least put in a false door here and there to get the right feeling.

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What can I say about the master bedroom? Depressing. The wallpaper is depressingly boring. Very modern really and not at all from decades past, in my view. And while the floor is lovely, it was a strange decision to make a master bedroom have a clearly livingroom-looking floor. But that could be helped with carpets, I guess. I do not think I will meddle with the floor, but the wallpaper will have to go. Since the sister staying in this room, is to be named Rose, I have been contemplating pink. But this room is far down on the priority list, not having anything for it at all, except a little book for a nightstand.

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This was supposed to be Rose’s sons’ room, but since there is just one more room, in the attic, it does not feel right to make another daughter of the house, sleep in the attic, when home on leave from the WAAF. It is a room which will probably go to the daughter Lily, whom I already own. I have imagined her room all in blue, so this is completely and utterly the wrong colour. Even if I take this room for Rose’s evacuated boys, I would not like to keep this wallpaper. It is not a wallpaper I am attracted to, and I feel that I must like how the house looks.

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The attic. Would it be right to make poor Lily live up in the attic? When bombs were dropping on London? The first place struck, would be the attic. A tougher place to get down from as well, when the air raid siren went off. I need to do a lot of thinking here. These rooms are very narrow so you can not do a lot with them. Besides, the attic was usually were children were placed, where they had their rooms. I am not even sure what I think about the wallpapers here. Lots of more research is needed!

So, was it right to give up my dream? Forego the dollhouse I had settled on? Just to be able to drive to town, buy the house and bring it straight home. To have a house finally, to do something with. I guess I just gave up, because I started to feel that my dreamhouse would never be mine. I no longer could see myself place the order and carry that box with an un-assembled dollhouse in it, in to our home. And I could NOT see my husband build the house at all! Sense had to rule over sensibility!

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A nice tiny fair in Farum

I won the fight over who was going to have our car on Walpurgis, Saturday 30 April 2016. But it was a long fight, lasting several weeks, where the family thought I could take the train to Farum and me insisting that it was easier for the family, to take the bus to Lomma, in order to celebrate Walpurgis, with church members. An event which takes place every year and is one I never take part in, since parties are not my thing.

I read about the Farum dollhouse festival, months ago, when I was studying Jane Harrop’s kits and realised SHE was coming to my neighbourhood. I missed her at Miniatura, in 2014 when she was at a wedding, and I was mighty disappointed. So this time I just had to go. The more I read about Farum’s fair, the more I wanted to go since it is quite a big one for Scandinavia, with 65 vendors. But I refused to sit on a train for 3 hours there and 3 hours back, not counting the ticket, which would have cost a fortune, while my husband and three of the five children travelled for free to the coastal community of Lomma.

09:20, I set out from home with the GPS, we have nick named Jane (Fairfax), since that is who she sounds like. Being nervous about everything. That the bridge would be  closed down because of too much wind. That Jane would have one of her moments, and lead me astray. Or that our unpredictable VW would break down in a foreign country.

Jane did have one of her moments on the motorway, when it split in two directions and she did not tell me where to go at all. Luckily I had snapped up from my husband that Farum is close to Hilleröd, so I followed those signs. And soon I was in Farum, Jane once again having a moment and not telling me where to go, but I kept my eyes open and parked the car by the bytorv, which houses a long shopping center. I had made it in an hour, which I thought was excellent and after finding a loo and a cash machine, I was ready to head to the Culture house. I had spotted the sign through a door, by a supermarket, so I headed out  that door and over to an entrance, where several other ladies entered.

Strange thing was that we entered straight in to the fair, without anyone selling tickets or 20160502_151813.jpgchecking us. I walked around a little and felt strange, since I had not paid entrance and I eventually walked up to a woman and asked her where she got her program from. She looked at me and answered in Swedish, “at the entrance”. I had to ask where that was and told her where I had got in. She told me that of course I could continue looking without paying, but I told her that if everyone did that, they would not be able to host these sort of events anymore. “Good thing I am Swedish, otherwise I would not have understood your reasoning”, she said and laughed and I walked out one door and joined a very long queue, to get my ticket and a stamp on my hand. Boy were there lots of people. I must say that I appreciated Miniatura better, with their limited tickets. It is not fun at an event like this, with too many people. The things you are to look at are tiny, and in order to see properly, you need to stand right by the table. And there were too many people to get to many of the tables. When I went back to the most crowded ones, the items I would have liked to have purchased, were sold out and most of the sellers do not have internet shops or updated such!

But my trip was by no  means wasted. I managed to spend almost every Danish krona I had taken out from the cash machine. My first stop had to be Jane Harrop of course. It was fun to talk to her and to see all her little things in real life, displayed on a shelf and thumb through all the 1:12th kits. It was funny because this elderly lady beside me, did not feel confident in speaking English to Jane, but she watched what I took and then took the same things. We had a tower of Babel moment when I had taken a WWII first aid kit and she did not understand what it was. She being Danish and me being Swedish, we had to overcome our natural shyness and I had to try to explain in as simple Swedish as possible,      so that she would understand: “The Second Big War. Bombs fell down. People got injured. They needed this to help them!”. She happily nodded and helped herself to that kit as well. So I guess I was standing beside a fellow WWII enthusiast making a Blitz house, or?

I was very, very excited about these three kits since I had not seen them before on Jane’s site. The revolving bookcase, is one I saw in the replica dollhouse, at the Imperial War Museum, so that one I am extra excited about. I have not taken it out of the bag yet, but I hope and pray that I will be able to see what I am doing and be able to put it together. Tweezers will be a must! While standing there, Jane told me that I would need sticky glue and that she had seen that in the big hall, so reluctantly I said farewell to her stall and walked over to the big hall, to see if I could find the necessary glue.

To enter, you had to show your stamped hand, so I avoided an embarrassing moment by having paid for my ticket! The big hall was a nasty place. A gym hall which was hotter than hot and too many people were in there, for comfort. I must mention Truus Kobes, the dutch seller, with his amazing assortment of yarns in the shades of all colours available on this planet. Unfortunately, he speaks no English and I could not understand his German. The only two sentences I understood was “Do you know how to knit?” and “It is good for your love life”. Doubt it. But I can only knit with Swedish patterns, so I had to forego all those lovely yarns that were to die for. Sometimes you see something tempting and lovely, but you really have to rain yourself in and ask yourself “What will I use it for?” I could not come up with an excuse for buying anything from him.

Stall 36, had wonderful suitcase kits, which open, BUT there were too  many people and when I later walked up to an empty stall, at the end of the day, they only had one left in peach. Why make a peach suitcase? Has such ever existed? Not in 1940, that I am dead certain of. The ladies thought I should buy the display case one in black, but I will not pay 175 DKK for a suitcase I could have put together myself for 100 DKK less! Sorry! Stella Que Passa from the Netherlands, did get my business though. She had all sorts of glues and kindly guided me to the right kind. Next to them stood Art of Mini, which was at Miniatura, and do not really have my kind of items. Nice shabby chic things and a well visited stall, but no.

But in a box, over by the Italian ladies selling gorgeous handbags etc., artofmini had put little fabric pieces and I got stuck there for quite a while and more women wanted to see what I had found of course. One of Jane Harrop’s kits, is an Edwardian arm-chair. She has a Utility chair as well, BUT do not make Utility furniture for a 1940 Blitz house. The only ones entitled to Utility furniture were newly weds and bombed out people and those furniture did not come on the market until the second end of the war. No such thing existed in 1940. So Edwardian it will have to be, since Art Deco is too fancy and too costly. Not that many people had Art Deco furniture either, since people were suspicious of this new style. If anything, they would get a lamp or a mirror or a clock. Nothing so costly as furniture, which they would be stuck with for years.

But Jane says on the kit, that fabric is not included. I have not dared to buy fabric since that is something which really has to be 1:12 size. You can’t have the wrong size patterns on the fabrics, but they must be true to scale. And looking at things on the internet is no big hit. But here I had the fabrics in front of me. But not owning a house yet, I was indecisive.  What colours should I buy? Which sort of pattern did exist 1940? I settled for three pieces of fabric from this stall and bought two more fabric pieces from Else Marie Foged, from a basket she had on the floor. Something of what I have bought, must be of some use. At least almost all of them are 1940 colours and patterns.

20160502_15164120160502_15165220160502_151608   As I walked out to get my ticket, I had walked by an amazing stall, which I now wanted to revisit properly. Victoria Fasken’s stall was well visited when I went to have a proper look at all her little metal items. One lady asked her if she ever makes the things in glass or porcelain and she said that she used to, but they broke too often so she went over to metal and I wanted to clap my hands, because I loooooove metal miniature things. Nothing feels so lasting and of good value. But of course everything is not suitable to be made in metal. The items I was most drawn to, were though. Alright, they look like they belong in a Jane Austen room or dollhouse, but on the other hand, now when I am back home and have been sitting looking in Jane Harrop’s book “Edwardian Era”, I have spotted exactly the same items I bought from Victoria. So Jane has placed them in an Edwardian setting and if those items were around in 1918, they could still have survived to sit in my 1940 house. In my WAAF girl Lily’s room, which I intend to decorate in blue. Are these items not the most exquisite?

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In the hall which normally is a cinema and theatre, I bought two cheap items from Lena Nobaek, Sweden. I don’t  really like cheap mass-produced things which look cheap, but these two items were  perfectly alright. Cutlery for my little family and a little trolley in the  Kockum look, used by the possibly evacuated  children of the family. Trolleys were used to walk around with and collect old paper and scrap metal, which was used to make spitfires and weapons. How could I resist such a detail?

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From Nestved Miniaturklub I bought a tiny little pillow to cross stitch this summer, for one of the arm chairs in the sitting room and from Daniela Nielsen, I bought the tiniest crochet needle and some  drole yarn that looked sooooo warlike. I could not even capture the colour properly on the photo I took, for this post, but it is a dark brown/olive-green with strands of black. I want to crochet a carpet from the yarn, since if there is something which is really expensive in the miniature world, it is bedding, quilts, carpets, pillows etc. Everything which has taken hours to make from yarn and fabric.

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I will never find exactly what I am looking for in a shop, so I hope I will be able to see and make these things myself. Maybe I will have to go and get new glasses after all, but I don’t  want to. Last time was such a fiasco, when after 6 months I finally had to return both the glasses I had purchased and this after having them back and forth to the shop more times, than I could count.

In the gallery, I did not buy a thing, even though there were plenty of pretty things. The most vexing thing was K.J. Design. They sell the gorgeous paints Vintage Paint Jeanne d’Arc. But of course the colours I need and wanted, had sold out right away. I took their information and I guess they are connected with a miniature museum, which would be fun to visit. But it is over on Fyn, which means two bridge fees! And I can’t order them on-line from them, since now I don’t remember the names of the colours. I have actually been sitting googling the paints all day, the paint and the colours, but I am none the wiser. It ended with me ordering the colour chart from an interior decorating shop here in Sweden, but they are sold out on it now, so it will not be shipped to me, until  they get it back in stock. No date for when that will happen though, so in a way I am back to square one. K.J. Design had some nice wood furniture as well, but to be honest, their entire stall was in such a mess that it was uninspiring looking at things. I think I would rather visit their real shop. To look at boxes where you can’t see what is inside and the quality of things, is not my thing.

Frustrated, I walked out of the gallery, only to discover that the cafeteria no longer had any sandwiches to sell nor anything else funny. I had  to leave the fair to go and buy myself an ice cream, since I was close to fainting from not having eaten anything. But I was soon back and ready to get my arm-chair kit from Jane Harrop’s stall, now when I had five different fabric pieces to use on them!

TWO-ARTS--CRAFTS-RECLINING-ARMCHAIRS-KIT This time I was served by the husband and he was very friendly and said he was convinced I would be able to put the chairs together, that they test the kits out on their students first. How does one become one of their students? That sounded fun! Well, here is hoping that I will do well. From there I walked in to the theatre again, to look at a doll house, which was on sale at Minimani’s stall. To my chock, Gunnel, was packing down everything. But we started to talk about that doll house, about doll houses in general, how difficult it is to put a kit together, how  much it cost to decorate one etc. She was taking the house home and not bringing anything for the Sunday fair, except what she could fit in a suit case, since she was going by train that day. I said that I could not buy the house without consulting my husband and she asked where I live. The world really is a small place! She lives in our council, in the town where my children go to school. Actually, just a throw away from where “Kitty” and “Cookie” go to school, but since the other two go to school out here in the countryside, in our neighbour villages, I don’t go in to town anymore except for meetings with habilitation (for autism), child psychiatric care (for ADHD) and the hospital (“Gubby’s” kidney).

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But she gave me a picture of the doll house to show T. and also of two others she has for sale at home. And I am welcome to go and look at them in her home! We stood and talked for 40 minutes and after that, I decided to go and use up my last coins, foolishly it turned out. I bought this pretty cauliflower and cabbage, instead of walking on to the last stall, which was now empty of people, so I could see all they had. I am so angry. I could not run and get more money, because the fair was closing. At the last stall, they had a beautiful little balloon whip with wood handle and a dish washing brush with wood handle. They said they have them in their internet shop but I looked and the latter is not there. So I have to be content with my vegetables:

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So some real nice finds, some frustration  over sold out items, and perhaps a foolish last buy! But they were so well made and the lady who had made them, was delighted to make a sale. Gunnel from Minimani was not so happy, when the organizer lady walked around collecting the stall fees, because she had not sold well at all.

When I got out, I headed for the three supermarkets that were all pathetic. But T. did not want me to go to Lomma and fetch them too  early. The Walpurgis thing started at 16:00 and I was done at 17:00. So I wasted 40 minutes in the supermarkets and then sat down in the car to drive back to Sweden, having nothing else to do. When I got over on the Swedish side, I phoned him and he ordered me to go to Macdonald’s to eat and kill time, so that is what I did and got upset of course, since I told the young man three times, that I don’t want cheese on my filet-o-fish and of course it came out with cheese on it! So tiresome! I hate orange cheese or whatever it is. It does not taste cheese, so I suspect that it is orange coloured glue!

At 19:10, I felt I had nothing else to do than to go and fetch the gaggle, and I guess they were pretty much ready to go when I arrived. “Gubby” had played “brännboll”, which is a game resembling I don’t know what? Baseball? Cricket? You take a bat, hit the ball and run around in a square to get a home run or you can stop and wait for the next batters’ shots, at one of the three out cones, and then run for it. The out team tries to catch your ball and burn everyone running, by throwing it to a “burner”, located by the batter. Poor “Gubby” was  allowed to hit with a tennis racket and then he just ran around flaxing in circles, since my autistic boy doesn’t really understand games like this. But I think he had fun anyway. People know he is autistic, so I hope they did not scream at him.

All in all, a good day for us all. I had a nice day, getting away from home but perhaps spending a little bit too much. And the family had fun celebrating Walpurgis and I guess they had a fun bus ride as well. “Gubby” just loves going on buses but rarely get to do so. And seeing him excited always make us all happy!

 

 

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