Saturday, June 20, 2009
Well, what a joy to be able to talk in real time and see your children and friends and family as we have done this week. And if you are both on Skype it costs nothing. Quite amazing. I remember Dick Tracey in the old comic srips had a wristwatch that he could see people on while talking to them. Life imitates art. We never thought this sort of thing would actually happen.
But Phoebe and Dom reminded me that I forgot to tell everyone the story of coming through security leaving Heathrow. Mainly because I had told Dom but forgot to relate it to Phoebe (not my usual style with the kids), so maybe you will enjoy it too.
First of all at Heathrow it is the full-on exercise of everything including "belts and every fourth person's pair of shoes must go through the x-ray". Not happy, Jan, already as I hate taking my shoes off. Then I go through and I hear a tiny beep. Shit, what is it. I must have some coins in my pocket I said. Felt my pockets. No coins. Too late - have to have the full body search. Not pleasant having a stranger feel you all over. (NO rude comments from Tony and David please). Of course I still had my kneeguard on from walking around London. "What's this then?"
"It's just my kneeguard. I have a crook knee."
"I'm afraid we will have to do a strip search."
"Well, why don't I just drop my jeans here for you. "
"There are women and children."
"Really, I am wearing boxer shorts underneath. Nothing will show I can assure you" couldn't help the smirk)
"There are women and children" he repeats.
Enter officious young Pommy woman who starts to order me around at which stage the Professor (Craig) has entered the fray and for some strange reason known only to him, proceeded to ask what about my shoes and then threw them at the male secuirty guard who was giving me the feel all over.
Officious female shouts at him to desist and screams that wasn't very nice. Male security man trying to put a lid on things. Craig spluttering.
So, off they march me, he and she, to a room down the hall. At this stage I am remembering all those terrible documentaries where people are held for hours in British airports. I am expecting the camera crew to arrive any moment. (At this stage in the telling, Dom does British accent voiceover: "What Does Noel have hidden in his kneeguard) Meanhwile officious female is carrying on and on as only she could about how rude Craig was.
Don't ask me why this next bit happened either. I said to her: "Oh for Christ's sake will you shut up."
"I don't have to take that sort of behaviour." She retorts
I replied "No, you have it wrong there. I have a right not to listen to you whingeing. So, please shut up."
Security man shot her a look and she did shut up. I must have been right ......... or lucky ......... or else I am a marked man every time I go through Heathrow for the rest of my life. Not only did she shut up. She left, thank God and a much more personable bloke joined us for the strip search. He had the gift of breaking the stalemate and the search was fine and I was back with the Professor, who was still waving my shoes menacingly at anyone he could try to intimidate.
Those of you who know Craig will be amazed at this story. He is usually the epitome of calmness. But as I always say to Phoebe and Dom. It's all tribal. He was only protecting his turf ........ me. Maybe it is Craig who will be a marked man.
So that is the Heathrow story. I know I will dine out on that one for years to come. Much better than the time I grabbed an errant Japanese tourist by the coat collar and lifted her off the ground just before she walked over a penguin nest. Read on for more adventures of the Professor and the artist.
But first a candid shot of Craig working in the studio. Mostly, he is five minutes away at the University where he has an office and is getting lots of uninterrupted work done. He is snjoying it here and the studio is extremely quiet to work in. This looks very Swedish to me.
Incidentally, we have solved the sleeping situation by moving to a smaller darker room - quite cramped but you only need room for the beds.
We were very lucky people once again yesterday because our Swedish friends, Michael and Karena treated us to a typical Midsummer's Day outing and a traditional meal at night. And so, we were picked up at 11am and taken to a country estate on the edge of Gothenburg which was the home of a wealthy family for a couple of centuries. It was the summer house for the family:
Replete with topiary and a mansion looking as if it came out of the deep south. But it is very Swedish as well and it is being lovingly restored by a voluntary support group - buildings rebuilt, and gardens replanted according to old plans. There are beautiful vegetable gardens which you can see in the background of some of these photos. These are of particular interest to Michael and Karena as they have quite an amazing vegetable garden themsleves - of which they are justly proud. We have been the happy recipients of some of their fresh produce, especially the new potatoes and the rhubarb - one of my favourites from childhood when my father and my Mother's father both had vegetable gardens - although my mother probably did most of the work in Dad's garden. Men always were the boss of the outdoor things in those times. Craig's Dad Len and Craig himself both have grown huge vegetable gardens in the past, so that part was enjoyed by all.
Here is the first of three very amateur videos that you may enjoy. This first one has a long period fo inactivity in the middle. Sorry, I didn't realise how long until I played it back. But we don't have a program to edit video - that we know of - on our laptops, so you will have to sit through it if you want to see the dancing resume.
The second and third videos - following - are more enjoyable.
So, here is something from Gothenburg that I am sure you will enjoy whether to enjoy the dance or to have a giggle - as I am sure my Phoebe and Dominic will do. But, then they didn't grow up, as I did, going to dances at Eumamurrin Hall in the middle of the bush 30 kms north of Roma in Queensland, Australia. Once ver four to six weeks, the whole community would get together on Saturday nights to dance to a abnd provided by locals, Mrs Scefe on piano, Sax Haddock on saxophone and a variety of people on drums. Dancing was an all=ages community thing where we learned ot dance, taught by our parents. I hope you enjoy this video and the one in the following post - they certainly entertained me
So here is the sceond of the videos of dancing on Midsummers Day. They were great to watch, although Craig wouldn't let me dance along with them. Sometimes he is no fun at all.
I hope you enjoyed our unique experience in Sweden.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Well, here we are at Konstepidemin in Gothenburg. Great place as you can see. We have now been here five days and settled in fairly well, with the huge help of our friends Michael and Karena.
As you can see from the video it basic, nothing flashy but really comfortable. Great atmosphere. We are both loving it. There is a studio which we are also using for a bedroom, a kitchen and bathroom as well as a bedroom which is quite small. We are not using it (and I forgot to show it on the video.) You can see the door on the right of the front entrance. This is my first video so I promise I will get better at it - but I love the way it jiggles as I limp down the stairs with my wonky knee.
Konstepidemin (konst = art and epidemin = epidemic) is an old hospital from early last century where people were isolated with tuberculosis, scarlet fever, etc. It is a huge place with 105 artist studios housing 135 artists, musicians and writers. There are also 5 studio/apartments for visiting artists on residencies. You apply for residencies from one month upwards and pay only for the accommodation. (A word to my kids - Dom, there are quite a few musicians here and Phoebe, there are no fashion people yet - so what are you waiting for?) We are high on a hill in the centre of the city but sheltered from the sounds of the city by buildings and bush. It is just beautiful.
You can learn more about the place by googling Konstepidemin, Gothenburg.