Saturday, May 11
We drove to Erika’s shop to find Gerda there, laughing and standing behind the counter as though we had arrived ten years ago. While there, we noticed that Erika had found another unusual product: artisanal stinging nettle lonkero.
How could we say no? We bought two small bottles of the most expensive lonkero on Earth.
Mika’s party took the form of an open house event. It started at 14:00 and we waited a decent interval before arriving. We watched all the family members arriving and greeting Mika formally. Eventually we went over and I made a short formal speech congratulating him on his fiftieth birthday, and hoping his next fifty years turn out as well.
Formalities over, we went indoors to marvel at the buffet table. I avoided meat and stuck to fish and salads. This proved no hardship at all, since the fish had come fresh from Jorre and Johanna that morning.
We sat talking, and eating, and drinking, for about six hours. I sat and talked with Lisa and Marina, and Miina, for a long time. We discussed the possibility of us finding a boat this summer. Miina told a long story about how she had had the same problem and ended up ordering one over the internet from Yugoslavia. It had arrived on the top of a van, and weighed about 50 kilos, so she dragged it onto a trailer herself.
People came and went all afternoon. Altogether at least 150 people passed through the house. By the end it had become easier to work out who had not come.
We go home shortly after 20:00 and sit in the kitchen to sample our two bottles of artisanal lonkero. We both wander into the other room to look out of the window at the farmhouse. The two canopies hardly got used because the weather had turned cold and wet. Camilla had worried that the house would prove too small but the whole thing had felt warm and friendly, and we both felt happy to have played our parts.
We will go to bed full of fish and cake. I had far too much of Ann-Sofie’s chocolate cakes which she confessed consisted almost entirely of double cream and Philadelphia cheese.
Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. Nothing at all.