Tag Archives: Uppsala

Peter No-Tail

Or Pelle Svanslös, which is his original Swedish name. You most likely won’t know him.

The Grandmother does, which goes to show how frequently we must have watched the two videos when Offspring were younger. She doesn’t exactly live with us, so will only have caught Pelle on and off. What I’m getting at is that she still remembers, more than ten years on.

We exported Son to Uppsala this week. The hard old witch wasn’t even at home to see him off when he flew out a few days ago. But luckily, he didn’t fly Pelle Svanslös style class, which was travelling outside the plane.

Son is in Uppsala to study for a year, and the connection with Pelle is that he also lived in that illustrious university town. Pelle is a cat. Did I mention that? He has no tail, as the more advanced of you will have worked out. He is the main character in a series of books by Gösta Knutsson, written over half a century ago. The books may be about cats in Uppsala, but they are based on real people. As far as I can work out, there are no books available in translation, but you might be able to get hold of the videos, which are quite good. At least they entertained Offspring, and taught Grandmother the connection with Uppsala.

The Resident IT Consultant spent a few weeks working in Uppsala when Offspring were small, but the witch has only briefly travelled through once, far too many years ago. Might get to go now, though.

We have friends who once remarked as they were moving to a new town, that it was a little strange moving to a place where the only person they knew was the bishop. In Son’s case, the only person in Uppsala he has knowingly met is the archbishop, who happens to be the same person as the aforementioned bishop. So I expect he won’t be popping in to say hi.

Uppsala and Lund are sort of the Oxford and Cambridge of Sweden. When Son was two he made a new friend at the playgroup we went to. At our second meeting the witch very narrowly avoided asking the boy’s father if he was the granddad. A witchy premonition prevented this insult. I then got to have a long conversation with this elderly father, while the boys played. On hearing I’m Swedish, he asked ‘Uppsala or Lund?’ In a room full of mothers who had most likely never been to university at all, he not only assumed that I had, but took for granted it could only be one or the other. I slunk further down my chair as I whispered ‘Gothenburg’.

So, I’m hoping Son can even the score a little. But look out for ‘mean Måns’!