Friday, April 30, 2010

The Bonfires of Valborg Eve

Kevin Hicks
Head Coach of Achei Crotone

Kevin is a former Rio Mesa H.S. quarterback who attended my seminar in February about coaching or playing American football in Europe. I had the pleasure of coaching his daughter, Randi, on the R.M.H.S. track team a few years ago.

Kevin was hired by Achei Crotone soon after the Seminar.

Crotone is an Ionian Seacoast town located in in the south of Italy near the arch of the "Italian boot". They are an Italian Division III team.

I got an e-mail from Kevin today stating that their six game season was finished and that he had re-signed to coach them again next season. Now it must be mentioned that Kevin took over the team after they had already lost their first two games.

They won two of the four games that he coached with an interesting asterisk.

Only in Italy . . .

On April 11th, Crotone had a home game vs. the Napoli 82ers. If they had won this game, they would have made the Division III playoffs.

Unfortunately, no ambulance was present at the game field as is required by Italian Football League regulations. The result was a forfeit 0-8 loss and no playoffs for Crotone.

More Swedish Mystery Writing

After finishing the Millennium Trilogy, I was still in the mood for more mystery reading with a Swedish twist. Uffe Palmbrink suggested that I start reading his favorite author in this genre, Henning Mankell.

Mankell has written a series of books with fictional Ystad police officer Kurt Wallander as their central character. What made this book even more fun is that it takes place in several towns around Ystad in our very own Skåne region, many of which I have already visited.

In America, I have read many mystery books by Patricia Cornwell and Jeffery Deaver. One of the problems I have had with them is reading their ongoing series books starring Kaye Scarpetta and Lincoln Rhyme in order. This is crucial to their work and the understanding of the development of their central re-occurring characters.

The Mankell series offers an easy solution, the book cover simply says "Kurt Wallander Mystery No. 1". What a concept!

Not as sensational or epic in length as the Stieg Larsson's Trilogy books, this book was a real page turner with interesting characters. As soon as I finished it I wanted to start reading "Kurt Wallander Mystery No. 2".

The book I was looking for was "The Dogs of Riga" but the library did not have any of Mankell's books in English. No problem, I went to Hässleholm's bookstore but they didn't have it either.

It was Jojo Card time! A quick train hop to Kristianstad which has TWO bookstores. The first one I entered had the book, LIFE IS GOOD!

Now lets make this clear in the Sicily vs. Sweden debate. Finding books in English in Catania was next to eeeeeempossible! Here in Skåne, each of these three bookstores I just mentioned were like the Library of Congress compared to Sicily.

Kristianstad's Spirit of Food Celebration

I am 100% in support of this great event.

The Bonfires of Valborg Eve

Today is a big day in the busy Swedish Social Calendar, Valborg Eve.

Valborg, which is pronounced something like "ball-boy", is a celebration of Spring's arrival on May 1st. According to the internet, this was originally a pagan feast that early Christians tried to turn into a special day of their own that they dubbed "Walpurgis Eve" after St. Walpurga who lived in the beginning of the 8th century.

Nobody I talked to here had ever heard of St. Walpurga, so Valborg Eve it is!

There are two traditions on the eve, the first is bonfires and the second is underage drinking.

I'll concentrate on the bonfires.

I was invited into the home of Rasmus, Ulrica and Noac Grip for dinner and a little arson.

Linna and Ludvig Palmbrink
were in the house

Noac and his friend Amanda

"Oh my God!"

Linna and Mira Palmbrink

After a very hearty and delicious meal, we put our shoes and jackets back on and took the five minute walk to a park to view the local bonfire.


There it was, a huge pile of branches and leaves just waiting for an arsonist.

Living all these years in Southern California, with our annual Fall brush fires, had me more than a little concerned. I was worried about the safety of the spectators, mostly me, as there was a good breeze blowing.

Five of Hässleholm's
best firemen were ready!

If anything did go wrong, I felt confident that these warriors could handle it. After all, they had already rolled out their . . .

. . . Fire Hose

It was unrolled and laying on the ground about 30 meters from where the conflagration would take place. I was very sure that our five firemen could handle this high pressure hose if the need arose.

Let the fun begin!

The fire grew quickly

Bright embers were indeed being carried by the wind.

The heat was getting intense but . . .

. . . I could take it!

Noac, Rasmus and Uffe

The Blaze was now Roaring

Carry me!

Kids all over the world love one of these rides after a big event like the Bonfires of Valborg Eve!

Noac, Rasmus and Ulrica



DPLassen said...

"I was invited into the home of Rasmus, Ulrica and Noac Grip for dinner and a little arson" may be the greatest single sentence in the history of this blog.

George said...

David P,

Tack så mycket for the praise!