‘It’s a shame Adèle Geras moved away from Manchester,’ sighed Mrs Moomin. We had lunch together yesterday, despite it being Friday the 13th. I’m always a bit startled when conversations go in unexpected directions, and I forget that Mrs Moomin knew Adèle for ages, living near her. Considering my limited social life, I’m surprised I have managed to know two people who separately know Adèle.
Mrs Moomin and I were at a Swedish lunch, doing our best to avoid being 13 at the table, and managed something like 14 1/2. Borås Girl hosted, and we all brought some food. (To tell the truth, I didn’t do well. I ran out of time, so offered the bare minimum pilfered from my freezer.) These ladies are seriously good at cooking and baking. There was even Swede salad.
OK, if I can just tear my thoughts away from the cheesecake, I’ll get to Borås Girl’s Swedish speaking Estonian friend, Mrs Linguist, whom she met at her German class. I’ve been passing Swedish DVDs for BG to lend her friend, and felt I ‘knew’ her slightly, so it was good to chat when we met. As civilised people we swapped business cards, and that’s when she worked out we had already been in contact with each other.
I am very forgetful, but recalled sending a perfect stranger some pages from an Astrid Lindgren book a few years ago. (No, I didn’t tear them out. I copied.) Mrs Linguist was the perfect stranger, introduced by Professor Linguistics who reckoned I was the likeliest person she knew who would own a copy of the Bullerby book. Very astute.
So that was nice. More coincidences.
Mrs Linguist was accompanied by Baby Linguist (who, quite frankly, was not too keen on all those cackling women), and her visiting Estonian Mother. None of us could muster up any Estonian, but Mrs Moomin spoke to her in Finnish. And that’s something I didn’t know. That many Estonians understand Finnish, because for years that was their escape from ‘Russian only’ television.
The rest of the ladies concentrated on passing round a couple of battered Swedish crime paperbacks by Mari Jungstedt, and a Swedish DVD, before going gaga over Brian Cox, because he’s so cute… (He wasn’t there, btw. We happened to slip onto the subject of Astrophysics, after which there was no stopping them.)
We were temporarily saved by the aforementioned cheesecake. I’m going to need the recipe.