Swedish Groundhog Day

In the brilliant film ‘Groundhog Day’, Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors, finds himself trapped in a small American town forced to live the same day over and over again until he becomes a better person. No matter what he does during the day, he still wakes each morning, in the same bed, at the start of the same day.

I am Phil Connors.

But our wait is the wait for the baby. You see the original arrival date was Wednesday but according the Midwife, it could be another week… or longer… or shorter.

Which means that each morning I awake to this,

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And it doesn’t matter what Alex and I do during the day, whatever efforts we make to hasten the event, we still have no idea if the baby will come that day or not. I’m not sure how long we’ve been trapped in this continuous cycle as I no longer have any concept of time, but I will do my best to share our experiences and hope that as the real Phil Connors found release through self-discovery, we shall find release via baby-birth.

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Our first attempt to move things along was to try some organic, natural food.

Now to prove just how rock and roll your life remains whilst one of you is 9 and a half months pregnant, we visited the new supermarket at the top of the road Paradiset (http://paradiset.com/) with genuine excitement … oh you have no idea how cool our life is over here dear reader!… Now admittedly it’s not much to look at from the outside, I suspect you are thinking town hall planning office, but Paradiset is actually one of the most upmarket supermarkets in Europe.

pic 2 a

As you can see below, Alex was ecstatic. I’m no foodie but even I have to admit there is something surreal about going into a shop that only stocks organic fruit and veg and top quality food (think of an upmarket Waitrose for comparison – if you dare!) And I even got in the spirit by giving the whole pregnancy thing a go for a few seconds,

pic 2 b

“It’s a green melon Mr. Hynes, congratulations!”

“Thanks doc, I’m going to call him Alan. Alan the Melon.”

I mean you know you are organic (and a little concerned) when you start seeing green and orange cauliflowers, the world’s largest collection of nuts this side of ‘Planet Squirrelwood’ and…  well, whatever the hell that things is,

pic 2 c

It’s fair to say that I was drifting outside my comfort zone – all far too healthy for my liking, “More chemicals! More chemicals! Let’s see just how big we can actually grow a tomato!”,  and as a result quickly suggested a retreat to the front door (I’m also convinced that crème thing in the picture above was looking at me strangely).

From there we wandered round Södermalm eventually stumbling across The Royal Swedish Ballet School. Perfect, the organic onslaught hadn’t worked so what about a bit of a physical workout? Well it’s with a sorry heart that I have to inform you they were less than enthusiastic about her impromptu performance of Pregnant Swan Lake. I wouldn’t say security were called, but they were definitely involved,

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So despite exotic vegetables and ballet try outs, still no sign of the baby. It was time to try something completely different.

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If exercise didn’t work, what about going the opposite way and doing as little as possible? A three stage plan was devised,

1. Making and freezing food

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Yes, we have become ‘those people’. Alex made a vat of soup big enough to swim in, a cottage pie you could play football on and chicken curry with more chicken in it than a branch of KFC. These were then labelled (!) and frozen for easy consumption after the baby has come. Practical? Yes. Good planning? Yes. Disturbingly well organised for me and Alex? Definitely.

2. Looking at clothes in shops and not buying them

pic 3 b

I really like this jacket. I did not buy it.

3. Watching a lot of Netflix

We’ve been watching a lot of Netflix recently after my brother rather stupidly logged in over here when he came to visit (silly boy). One thing I love with Netflix though is when you look at how they describe classic films.

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I get it! They have to work on the assumption that there are people who don’t know what these films are about and might come across them whilst browsing,

“The Godfather? Umm, I wonder what that’s about? At a guess I’d say it sounds like a comedy about a grumpy old man whose heart is melted when he takes in his Goddaughter after her parents are accidently killed in a freak camping accident… I’ll give it 10 minutes and see what it’s like…. Oh, this isn’t what I expected. This is really not at all what I expected… I think I’ll turn that off now…”

And whilst the description above is perfectly fine, I’d say there are slightly more layers to the film in the same way ‘Animal Farm’ isn’t just about animals ‘mucking about a bit on a farm’.

So then, the ‘nice-and-chilled-out-nothing-too-stressful-house-based’ approach? How did that work out?

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Exercise. No. Housebound. No.

What about nature’s secret weapon, fresh air?

We decided to head to Tyresö National Park (http://www.skargardsstugor.se/en/about-stockholm-archipelago/tyreso) which is about 20 minutes drive from our flat. As I’ve said before, we are very lucky living in Stockholm given there are a number of beautiful lakes near where we live. And despite the day being overcast, Tyresö is no exception.

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Still I felt very sad for disabled visitors when I saw this sign as I had no idea what to make of it.

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Thankfully Alex explained that ‘BAD’ is what Swedes call the ramp used to get wheelchairs into the water. Though I’d personally be very careful about pointing at people in wheelchairs, then in the general direction of the lake and shouting ‘BAD’! Not cool dear reader, not cool.

Of course it wasn’t long before all this tranquillity got far too much and we reverted to trying to move things along quicker. Firstly Alex hit the swings to give gravity a go.

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When that didn’t work she encouraged (bullied) me into playing imaginary volley ball against myself in an attempt to give uncontrollable laughter a go.

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 Still nothing.

Now aside from the lake and beautiful scenery, we were also told that the park had a castle. Perhaps a bit of stone stair climbing would do the trick? Well unfortunately it turns out the definition of the word ‘castle’ is a little looser over here than elsewhere in Europe,

pic 4 e pic 4 f

Now I don’t know what kind of game Sweden is trying to play, but they are fooling no one if they think that is a castle! As people from my home city like to say, ‘pull the other one son’. Now you might be able to convince some poorly travelled American tourist that that is a castles (no offence of course to the well-travelled Americans who I know read this blog!), but where I come from a castle has, you know, turrets and stuff like a drawbridge… a moat, that kind of thing. I mean the idea is fairly simple; when you are under attack from a horde of wild barbarians, offering them a cuppa tea and nice slice of cake ain’t going to get the job done! Have a word with yourself Sweden. Have a word.

Still despite the fine weather, beautiful scenery and, erm, ‘castle’ (umm). No movement on the bump front.

But what was left? How about a brush with Swedish stardom?

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Out for lunch we came within a coffee shop of Swedish TV superstardom (calm yourself Fraser) because in the coffee shop next to ours they were filming a Swedish TV drama.

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Now if ever there was an opportunity for a ‘special guest appearance’ surely this was the time to do it. But no, nothing. The baby was clearly unhappy with the production values or had some issues with the characterisation and decided to stay put. I fear we may have a prima donna on our hands.

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Today it rained.

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A lot.

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Exasperated, we finally gave up and decided to leave everything to nature… We’ve tried exercise, we’ve tried food, we’ve tried fresh air… And still no sign.

However, during today’s ‘Groundhog Day’, and as I write this, I have come into possession of a piece of information which I believe is the strongest indicator yet of when we can expect the arrival. I’m so confident about the strength of this information that I will explain all in what I believe will be the last instalment of ‘bump watch’….

Bump Watch

It’s Stockholm Pride this weekend with the main parade taking place on Saturday. The parade actually starts in our part of Södermalm, Mariatorget. So far, so good. There’s more. As part of the parade they are closing down the whole of Hornsgatan for most of Saturday and as you can see practically all the shops, bars and cafes along the road are supporting it.

bump pic

Again, “so what?” I hear you cry. Well there is a slight issue with them closing Hornsgatan as it also happens to be main road through Södermalm, which I shall now illustrate with this very simple map,

map pic

That’s right dear reader, we’re on the wrong side of the road! Needless to say in light of this new information Ladbrooks, Betfair and Paddy Power have all stopped taking bets on when the baby will be making an appearance – put your house on Saturday!

In the meantime both our parents are here and there has been a very serious discussion about turning our car into a parade float just in case we need to tag it on the end. The most popular suggested theme at the moment is ‘doctors and nurses’ with real, doctors and nurses!

Picture of week

pic of week

I have no idea what ‘Partners in Stories’ do, where they are based or if they even really exist… But who in their right mind wouldn’t want to work for a company with a name like that?

Track of the week

If you know the film you’ll know the significance of the song, ‘I Got You, Babe’, Sonny and Cher. If you don’t know the film, watch it now it’s brilliant and you’ll also get the signoff below.


Fraser ‘Phil, Phil Connors?!’ Hynes

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