We’re in Stockholm for a long weekend (Thursday – Sunday), mostly visiting Eric’s sprawling family (sisters Nina & Lisa, brother Anders, father Christer, and all their families).

Seeing Nina’s daughter Hedvig, now almost 6 years old, is always a joy, and she enjoys our visits as much as we do. We usually stay at their house when we’re in town. I haven’t been to Stockholm since last January, I think, so she has had time to grow a lot since then. Last time she was more into playing make-believe games (involving lots of princesses who needed to be rescued), counting things and making bead pictures; this time she is more interested in drawing pictures (of houses and gardens – for princesses of course).

Hedvig’s brother Ivar is just over a year old and getting more interesting to interact with – leaving the “cute warm bundle” stage and becoming a person.

We spent yesterday evening in the company of Anders & Karin and Karin’s parents. Her father Sam is a rather eccentric character, but he is a writer after all, and writers almost have an obligation to be eccentric. A pleasant evening, even though the conversation tended to be about things I don’t have much interest in – the oddities of the English royal family, the hilarity of old soap operas, etc.

During daytime I have just been walking around in central Stockholm and wandering around in the shops. Normally I don’t particularly enjoy shopping, but Stockholm’s streets and shops are so much less crowded, and so much cleaner and fresher, that it’s quite a pleasant way to spend half a day. Besides, most things on sale in Stockholm are better designed and more to my taste than what I find in London, so I took the opportunity to buy things that have been on my shopping list for quite some time.

The same is true of the public transport system, for that matter – cleaner, less crowded and more pleasant to look at. in London we always cycle when we want to get somewhere, but if/when we move back here, I think I might start using the metro again.