It was timely that the romantic weekend of the Royal nuptials was followed by the holiday weekend the majority of Swedes love most. Midsummer.
During my last eight years in Sweden, midsummer and I have not had the best of relations.
I recall most spent in the wrong part of Sweden, sheltering from rainclouds, and an inexcusable 2008 celebration where I slept for the best part of the day after underestimating the strength of schnapps.
This year, the forecast was good. The sun was set to shine all over the country and my trick was to alternate the aquavit with a shot of water and hope the Swedes wouldn’t notice.
I was prematurely enthusiastic and picked seven sorts of flowers to lay under my pillow before bedtime, in line with the tradition that I would dream of my future husband that night.
Time was of the essence and I only had the dried up offerings from the window boxes of my Stockholm apartment to choose from but at least the effort was there.
Yet what I hoped would be a midsummer night’s dream turned nightmare after tossing and turning till four o’ clock in the morning – an allergic reaction, it seemed, to sharing my bed with both plant life and sambo.
Keeping him awake until the early hours didn’t do much to endear my potential husband to be. He hazily told me I laid them one night too early so I cast them aside, stocked up on anti-histamines and slumbered till dawn.
Despite previous misfortunes, as ex-pat in Sweden you soon learn to love midsummer; you memorize the words and actions of the folk songs even if you don’t quite understand them and acquire rather than squint at the taste of sill (pickled herring).
Just as most Swedes leave the city behind, my sambo and I were duly invited to the countryside home of some friends an hour north of Stockholm, plus two hours of traffic queues.
It was the perfect picturesque setting in which to celebrate, amid a sprinkling of red cottages by the calm water.
And we had all the right ingredients for a perfect day in the surroundings of Swedish nature at its very best. High time then for another failed floral attempt, this time in the creation of a customary midsummer headdress.
As my wonderful Swedish hostess carefully wove her wreath into a perfectly shaped blooming crown, my construction looked more like a weedy wig meets military camouflage. You can clearly see the evidence.