There was a light fall of snow this morning. Rather than blanketing everything, it was more like a fitted sheet. A sheet which not only served to make the world look clean and white but also made walking down to the bus stop a bit of a slip hazard. I know, I slipped over in the car park and had a wet butt for a while.
I noticed that the weather (it stayed below zero all day) didn’t deter the determined Swedes. I walked by many groups, just walking around the streets, taking in the air and generally enjoying the outdoors.
While I waited for the bus, I noticed two couples meeting in the car park. They were obviously meeting for a collective walk. They had all the gear, the men wearing black, the women in red jackets.
I heard faint shouts of welcome as they approached each other. Then the two women hugged themselves, shaking from side to side, stopping about two metres from each other. They were clearly giving each other a Plague hug. The men bumped elbows. The four of them then set off for their walk.
I went to Tyresö Centrum today for the shopping. The place was unusually quiet. I was somewhat surprised until I reached the System (for necessary aquavit and beer). Then I realised why the place was quiet. The shop was dark, the door was barred, it was closed. My mouth gaped, I sank down onto a handy bench.
Today is Epiphany, the 13th day since Christmas and, here in Sweden, a public holiday. And, on a public holiday in Sweden, you cannot buy alcohol. So, the System is shut up tight. Of course, I hadn’t realised and so the fridge remained dry.
The other thing that happens on Epiphany is the appearance of another type of bun – so many things in Sweden are celebrated with different types of bun. This one is the semla bun.
We had to try one. It is, after all, very important to fit in with the traditions of one’s adopted country. The two above were from Norrby’s.
The bottom and little top are of the usual bun mix, the cream is lightly sweetened and in the middle is a blob of something that resembled a particularly rich peanut butter. After eating mine, I had an epiphany of my own. The semla bun is the first Swedish bun I haven’t liked. It was far too rich for my delicate palate.
(I have since discovered that the filling is generally almond paste. The one we had at Norrby’s had peanuts in it and did not taste like any almond paste I’ve ever made.)
At first, Mirinda suggested that it was good the semla was only available once a year but, later, when we decided we didn’t need dinner, she said having had one once, we need never have one again. I would have drunk to that but the System had been closed.