Visiting the Hefter family in literally the middle of the forest in South Sweden for Christmas was an exciting prospect. Images of deep snow, arctic foxes and male Scandinavian supermodels wearing nothing but a Santa hat walking around the woods filled my mind.
I was only half joking when I asked my family who had been living in the middle of the forest for the last eight years if they had running water and electricity. So when I turned up on Christmas eve to see they had toilet rather than a hole in the ground, and a tap to run a bath rather than a bucket and a well to collect water I was really relived and felt a tad stupid. But I was only HALF joking after all. My slight embarrassment quickly vanished when we took a trip to the cinema on Boxing Day. Walking in to what looked like a bingo hall, there sat a lad around 18 years old behind a table covered in a fresh white table cloth with what resembled a tin can to collect the money from bought tickets. No till, no card machine, no life of December 2014. We had been zapped back to 1955. I went off to buy some popcorn and a drink. There at the end of the table sat 5 bags of popcorn covered in a layer of dust with a pack of boxed orange juice you might buy as a child for 20p. I wasn't sure whether to find this amusing or be a little frightened.
When we sat down to watch the film, I half expected to find a man to come onto the stage wheeling on a TV. I was relieved that this wasn't the case. We watched the film with just two others sat behind us and I tried to accept that though there may be running water in the middle of nowhere, they were just fans of vintage payment methods and cold popcorn.
Christmas day itself was wonderful. Champagne for breakfast, duck, turkey and chicken for lunch and company I loved. I loved that they had a tradition of playing board games too (I assumed the Queens speech wasn't going to be on but I didn't bother to ask either). Playing Monopoly with me though is always a mistake. I'm a self-confessed sore loser and way too competitive. I've even been known to rip up a Monopoly board in the past. Dodgy bribes, blackmail and secret stashes of cash. I'm like the gangster of Monopoly as long as I win. If only I was like this is real life!
I won't lie; I did suffer a bit of cabin fever after a time in the forest, missing the big city and busy shops. But just being able to relax with nothing but films, games, drinks and family was a treat for me. Rejuvenating ready for the work and plans of writing and entertaining in 2015. Happy New Year readers!