Den helige Stefanos dag

Boxing Day, or annandag jul (the second day of Christmas), in Sweden is a public holiday. This doesn’t stop the big shops opening or the buses from running. Which is fortunate because I had to go and buy milk this morning.

And so, while Mirinda took the girls for a snow riven walk in the forest, I headed for the shops.

Mirinda was a bit concerned that the roads would be a somewhat treacherous given the snow and sub-zero temperature over night. Given my experience of the Arctic north, I knew that the roads would be clear and safe. And they were.

In fact, the main road to Trollbäcken looked like there’d been no snow fall at all.

The photo seems to imply there was a lot of traffic. There wasn’t. Traditionally, Swedes generally stay home with the family on Boxing Day. I think the cars above were all off to get milk.

The only place open at Trollbäcken Centrum was the Hem Kop. There were quite a few people shopping with me. It was all quite normal. Well, apart from one man who reminded me of one of the 13 sons of Gryla and Leppaludi.

He was dressed in an old flouro jacket which had long ago run out of fluorescence. The hood was over his head and his wild white hair was trying to escape from it. He shopped like a demented thing, racing up and down aisles, filling his basket.

I finished before him but then spotted him at the bus stop, catching the same bus back as I did. He was carrying two big plastic bags full of stuff. He looked to be struggling a bit but his face was gripped with steely defiance.

He left the bus at Gudö, the same as me, and he took off across the road like a rabbit, belying his apparent age as he dodged the traffic.

At the car park he unlocked a bicycle which had two wire baskets either side of the rear wheel. Each basket perfectly fitted a full plastic bag of stuff. He then climbed aboard and pedalled off up the hill.

Apart from his resemblance to an Icelandic ogre, I wondered why on earth he hadn’t just ridden his bike to the shop rather than lock it up and catch a bus two stops. The bike path was as clear of snow and ice as the road, so it would have been perfectly safe.

Obviously, I will never know.

As for me, I took my trusty trolley and filled it with enough food for the next two days. And, of course, milk.

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