I got to the airport far too early and let myself get funneled through beyond the decent shops. At least they have cheap internet, so I can give you a brief catch-up of the last week or so.
So, Screwy and P'tite Soeur and her bloke came to visit me on Wednesday evening. On Thursday, I took them to Skansen's Lucia celebration, which turned out to be rather a disappointment; instead of a procession, they had the choir just standing around on stage singing. And since the stage is outdoors, it was very very cold, not to mention too windy to light the candles on Lucia's head-dress. Oh, and having a random pop-star joining the choir to make it more "cool" really didn't work, because traditional choral polyphony doesn't match very well with 80s style screechy woman over a guitar. (Work Lucia was much better, but I wasn't in a position to bring the sibs to that.)
Friday we'd agreed to help run a Shabbat meal for the teenagers in the Progressive community. Various things meant we had a bit of a hard time making it to the venue for 4 pm (!), but once we got there the evening went very well. The sibs are of course excellent youth leaders, and had come up with a good combination of silly games with thinky stuff. Had about 10 kids, who seemed to be having a good time even though some of the older ones were a bit too cool.
Saturday we were supposed to be hanging out together, though again it was hard to get Screwy up and out of the house in reasonable time. It was still bitter cold, so we spent most of the day in a cafe in the old city drinking hot chocolate and chatting. Then I took everybody out for julbord, the traditional Christmas buffet, at a restaurant called Bysis. The place would have been a pub if it were in England: decorated to emphasize the age of the building, with the oak beams and so on left bare, and a little bit dark and poky, and with a bar. Unlike a traditional English pub, though, they didn't have a fire, so it was a little cold and drafty. But the food was great, a huge excess of protein with many different varieties of herring and many different varieties of cured and baked meats. Definitely something that was worth experiencing. It came to about £40 per head, including drinks, which is expensive but not outside the normal range of a meal out in a nice restaurant in Stockholm.
Saturday evening we sent Screwy off to visit a friend in Västerås, while P'tite Soeur and her bloke stayed around until early on Monday morning. After they left I got embroiled in a last-minute effort to finish my colleague's paper before Christmas. I think I left it in a plausible state by the time I left today, but we'll see if the boss decides to be picky. So yes, that's why I've not been posting much or catching up with email.
I should mention that EBH and P'tite Soeur's SO were heroes of the revolution. EBH booked a guest flat for us in her apartment block, so that the sibs could be independent and based close to the city centre. And she was amazingly helpful at doing things like picking us up at nearly 1 am when Screwy was delayed in arriving on Wednesday evening. She even drove me home, and was remarkably uncomplaining about getting lost in the back streets of Älvsjö in the thick fog. I feel we're on the way to becoming friends, not just colleagues who work together in the Progressive group. And the boyfriend's citation is because Screwy's carer had hurt her back and couldn't do any lifting at all, even pushing the wheelchair, but he stepped in and did lots of the physical work Screwy needed to be able to enjoy the trip.
Now I have used up the dead time between clearing security and boarding the plane. I'll probably add more links and explanations to this when I have more time. I am going to be in England until 3rd Jan, though most of that time I'll be pretty hard to contact as I'll be at Limmud or various Christmas parties. I am looking forward to seeing some of you, which should partially make up for being offline. UK mobile number is 07803 000865, though I shan't have my phone switched on all the time.