We’re in Stockholm right now, as Ingrid’s working on the tea and related foodstuffs that Jean-Pierre requested she procure. And yes, she’s got a lead on the botanical material you want.
I took a fortnight off from the Pub to go with her, so I’ve been out busking most afternoons when the weather’s decent. I take my English concertina, which is credited to Sir Charles Wheatstone, which means it’s nearly two centuries old. It’s small enough that it fits in my rucksack and different enough in appearance and sound from the mostly fiddle playing buskers that it gives me an edge at attracting listeners. And my language skills are helpful as I speak Swedish, Norwegian, German, and French, having spent a decade working in pubs in Europe when I was much younger.
(I keep my language skills intact largely because our Estate draws many conference attendees from Europe; it also helps that Iain’s Library apprentices, the Several Annies, often come from those polities.)
So I’m on Drottninggatan (Queen Street), which is a major pedestrian street. It’s warm, sunny and there’s a lot of people here, all out shopping, eating and drinking, and enjoying themselves. I’m dressed neatly in all green which offsets nicely my red hair and beard, so I stand out in this culture.
What did I play? I start off with ‘Sommarvals’ (The Summer Waltz) then I move onto ‘Waltz From Boda’ named after a town in the Dalarna region of Western Sweden, and next up is a set of tunes, ‘Da Day Dawn’ / ‘The Jos Mill Tune’ / ‘Da Aald Foula Reel’ / ‘Winyadepla’, that I picked up from Aly Bain & Ale Möller’s Fully Rigged recording.
(Jack’s hoping to book them for an Estate concert them the next time they play together in Scotland.)
So I went on for the next hour or so, which made for a nice time for me, and so it seemed, the listeners. Did I mention I put no place for money out? I noticed that several Polisen apparently appreciated that I wasn’t asking for money as I got hassled not ‘tall by them. And being older probably helped as well.
After thanking the listeners (in Swedish of course), I went off to the cafe where I’d arranged to meet my wife and ordered myself tea and pastries. I must admit I never even liked tea until Jean-Luc, our current Estate Steward, started offering classes in proper tea making some twenty years ago. Now I prefer it to coffee!
With regards, Reynard