Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Strange Goings-On In Aspen, Sweden




Like so many other of my fellow bloggers I am today writing to you from Aspen where I have come to attend Mr. Toast's first annual Christmas Tea. I arrived here a couple of hours ago and I must confess I am finding it a little strange for a number of reasons. In the first place it is rather an odd location for a Christmas Tea Party. I am sure that, to its inhabitants, it is a perfectly nice spot, the kind of spot that they are proud to call home. But with the best will in the world, it is nothing other than a rather bleak lake with a railway station, convenience store and filling station just off the main E20 road from Göteborg to Stockholm. As I traveled in a taxi from Landvetter Airport which is only about ten miles away, I did wonder whether I had been sent to the wrong destination by some mischievous blogging cabal, but when I spotted the signs proclaiming "Aspen" just outside the village I knew I was in the right place. I have now checked into the very reasonable - if somewhat underwhelming - Ibis Hotel and fully explored all the delights Aspen has to offer.

This did not take long as "all the delights Aspen has to offer" comprise of a walk by the lake, an exploration of the railway station, a trip to the convenience store and a tour of the filling station. When I eventually meet up with all my blogging friends I think I might suggest a trip into the nearby town of Lerum tonight because they have a Thai Take-Away Restaurant. And there's another thing, meeting up with all my blogging friends is proving harder than I imagined. Logic suggests that they must be staying here at the Ibis - they don't do rooms at either the convenience store or the filling station, I have already checked - but I am having real difficulty recognising them. Of course this is always the problem when you know people via their on-line personas : in the cold light of reality they do not always look like you imagined they would. Earlier, in the hotel bar, I spotted two delightful ladies chatting to each other and for some reason I assumed it was Willow and Betsy. I approached the first and said "You might be willow", only to be struck rather sharply across my face. "Perhaps you're betsy", I said to the second, and this led to a second blow about my person. Later, a gentleman entered the hotel dressed in a reindeer-skin coat and wearing what looked like a raccoon-skin cap. I immediately assumed that this was the famous Skip Simpson and I approached him and gave him a hug in a spirit of bonhomie and international friendship. I didn't catch all that he said, but from what words I did catch I can only say that in real life he is nothing like what he appears to be in his blog. And he has a thick Swedish accent. It makes you wonder why that Gretchen stays with him. And only a few minutes ago, I spotted a chap in the reception area making notes in a book so I immediate guessed that it must be Brian Miller. Well, I can let you into a little secret - English is obviously not his first language. Indeed he didn't seem to speak any English at all. How on earth can he manage to write those wonderful posts when he doesn't seem to understand the language? I suspect that he has a ghost writer.

And where is the host? Where is Mr Toast? When I asked at the Reception Desk they looked at me as though I was not quite all there and kept repeating "breakfast" in a very loud, heavily accented English. And where are e, Val, Dot-Com, Ronda and Poetikat? There doesn't seem to be that many people in the region, never mind in Aspen itself. And what about my band? I sent the Temperance Seven ahead and I haven't seen them once since I arrived. If that is them I can hear in the background, why are they playing the greatest hits of ABBA?

Ah well, I am sure things will work out for the best. I will go now because a fine looking lady has just walked into the bar swinging a tin and wearing a dainty little bonnet. That must be Baino, I must go and have a word with her.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE .......
MR TOAST'S FIRST ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TEA : The only place to be today.
SHIBDEN HALL : Between the rain storms we go for a walk in Shibden Park

52 comments:

  1. (Alan's cellphone beeps. Reads text message from Skip)

    AB. Where U??? E1 waiting.

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  2. Alan texts back :
    am in aspen, sweden, where should i b?

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  3. hey i am up for thai take out for lunch...lets hitch up the sleigh! smiles.

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  4. (Skip actually CALLS Alan's cellphone) ALAN!!! You're a few thousand miles AWAY!!! How much ale HAVE you had??? (thinks) Look... I have a few connections. If you want, I can make a call, and get a Concorde to pick you up, and bring you to Colorado. Would you like that?

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  5. I'm just reading blogs today because my schedule wouldn't permit me to attend the Christmas Tea.

    But... Aspen, Sweden? Oh, crap, Alan, I don't know how to tell you this...

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  6. Skip : Where the hell is Colorado?

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  7. Colorado is... never mind about that now. Do you want a lift, or don't you? The Concorde is the only plane that can bring you to the tea on time!

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  8. I'm not sure. I've met this rather nice Swedish lady who promises to make everything alright for me.

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  9. Alan... watch your wallet. Just in case. Just sayin'.

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  10. Bring her along if you'd like... If you need a lift, just let me know...

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  11. Not sure whether I am laughing harder at the blog or the comments!!!
    Thanks - I needed that!! (and good luck getting to Colorado - with or without the kind Swedish lady...)

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  12. Hi Alan! I'm sorry to see that you've been misdirected, but it sounds like you're having quite an adventure! I do hope you make it to the tea. Bring the Swedish lady along. I'm sure she'll be welcomed along with you :) But don't worry. I'm having a bit of an issue getting to the tea myself...

    Jen

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  13. But I'm not in Aspen!

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  14. A ghost blogger huh? I ought to get myself one of those, then I can have more time to spend being slapped round the face at the bar...

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  15. Aspen, Sweden? No wonder you could only find a gas station! hahaha. So glad Skip has found you and you will get to Colorado in time. Poor thing, you should nap on the flight so you are fresh when you arive. You've had quite the ordeal! ha!

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  16. Actually, Alan thus far, hasn't agreed to my offer!

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  17. Sorry, I have been involved in lengthy discussions with the Swedish Lady. For some reason she doesn't seem to have a passport and therefore is unable to join me in my flight to Colorado (wherever that may be). All I need to do now is a few administrative tasks like settle my bill (hotel bill) and repack my dinner suit. Skip, where is this Concord parked?

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  18. "All I need to do now is... settle my bill (hotel bill)..."

    So glad you decided to be specific there!

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  19. We got lucky! The Concorde in question was already in a flight from France to California. I was able to have it diverted to Aspen, Sweden where it will pick you up in 20 minutes. You'll know it when you see it. It'll be the ONLY plane like that at the terminal!

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  20. Hope someone will buy me a cup of tea when I get to Colorado (wherever that may be), for some reason I am very short of cash.

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  21. Oh my GOSH, this tis sooo funny--right up there with Skip's misadventures! No, no, no dear friend, not this Aspen! And why, I never, no way would sweet Betsy and Willow EVER strike such a blows! It's like you are in a twilight zone episode. I cant wait to read more! Loving it. too bad that lady can't hop over and chat with Gretchen. Maybe they can speak one of the same languages--it's certainly not English let me tell you!

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  22. I'd much rather be in Sweden with you, Alan! It sounds as if you're having so much fun. (I love Thai food, by the way.)
    I don't understand why they slapped you, I was given to understand most Swedes are hardly prudes (if those foreign films are anything to go by), so even if you were trying it on, I would have expected them to be up for it.
    LOL about Brian. You know, I think I have detected some Swedish words in his poetry. And I happen to know he gorges on Swedish meatballs when noone's looking. As a matter of fact, I think he's doing that at the moment.
    I think you'll find that Baino is over here with us in Colorado.
    How 'bout I send Branson's plane over for you and you can at least be here for supper.
    Can you bring some extra vodka? Bertie's hankering for a screwdriver.

    Luv,

    Kitty (Kat)

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  23. Alan... enjoy the flight on this "very special" Concorde! See you in 4 hours! Oh... and help yourself to the great food onboard, as YOU are the ONLY passenger!

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  24. Gosh what bad luck but I suppose it's okay coming to Colorado via Sweden. See a bit of extra country side!!!

    Did you do Geography at school???

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  25. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Avoid Aspen in CO for the time being... I'm sure most of us would rather be where you are.

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  26. Good Lord! That was definitely not us. Wrong Willow and Betsy! We would NEV-er slap you around in such a disgraceful manner.

    Hope to see you later in Aspen COLORADO!!

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  27. too much!

    you might need one of those specially outfitted deloreans like they had in back to the future to get you to the tea before everyone leaves!

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  28. Ahh good Alan, wonder if you can get online whilst flying through the air on that Concorde? hopefully you will touch down in the right Aspen this time. Willow, Betsy and gang are all eager to say hello. Yes, indeed I will have a very good cuppa ready for you. If you get here late, you can always catch us up in the morn here.

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  29. Alan, there's a problem! The pilot is pissed. Think he's downed at least a bottle of whiskey before we boarded the Concorde. Might that explain how you ended up in Sweden? And the co-pilot... nothing but a pretty face. Never attempted as much as a single flying lesson. So, it's gonna be up to us to figure out how to get the Corcorde on the groud in one piece. You any good at computer games?

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  30. Dot : I think I once played Railroad Tycoon, but I don't think that will be much use. How about you?

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  31. I've played Railroad Tycoon too, so suppose we'll just have to pretend the Corcorde is a train and give it a go? I've asked Mr. Toast to get someone to draw a line in the snow, so we'll have something to aim for :)

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  32. Dot : You drive the thing and I'll build the track (that's how it works isn't it?)

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  33. Hilarious!Aspen Sweden,ahh bravo!LOL

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  34. Oh, poor Alan ~ no, we would greet you with hugs...we were just saying the other day how much you remind us of our dear Uncle Steve.

    So I hear you parachuted into the snow. Glad you arrived...you can dry your feet by the fireplace while we wait to get started! hee!

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  35. Now... why did you jump out of a perfectly good airplane? If you had waited just a few more minutes, I could have told you how to switch on the autopilot, and it would have brought you in right up to the terminal, safe and sound! But no! You had to jump, and now you're head down, buried in the snow up to your waist!

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  36. Alas poor Alan.

    Someone needs to rush him a hot steaming pot of tea, perhaps via St. Bernard?

    Does anyone know what tea he drinks?

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  37. I love this. Surreal or what? Jane's new book is now available on Amazon, by the way.... so, folks, have a look (I once had to act in an American play the audience thought all us English people were Americans except the one guy actually was. People are SO funny!)

    Also once acted in a northern play requiring Yorkshire accents.. nobody realised I wasn't born and bred there. Took me ages with a tape recorder to get every word blessed Yorkshire twang. And one of the cast kept forgetting his lines so me and the others had to keep inventing lines so the import didn't get lost!

    Little Malcolm and his Struggle...title too long to quote in full...

    You can read the first story on Amazon. At the launch I loved somebody gasped at Jane's twist of words as she read it.. can anybody spot it?

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  38. Whew. Glad you made it here to the correct Aspen all in one piece. Kiss-kiss.

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  39. When you awaken in your room at "Bob's Pretty Good Inn," and wonder how you got there, you might want to thank your new "drinking buddy," Gretchen! She gathered you up, drove you back to the Inn, and tucked you in before she returned to the party.

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  40. You're such a dag and I mean that in the nicest possible way! Who'd have thought there was an Aspen outside the US. Then if they're like us, they borrow names from all over the world rather than think of their own. Grab a birch leaf and get nude dude!

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  41. @Baino: First there was Brian, and now you want Alan to get naked?

    What is Blogger coming to???

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  42. @Alan: I was just wondering about your Swedish lady friend. Isn't it true that one can't get a passport if he or she has a criminal record, like maybe for... Oh, never mind. Just a thought.

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  43. Glad you finally made it to the Aspen WITH the tea party, Alan! Anyone could have made that mistake! Hope you are having a better time in Colorado, than you did in Sweden. The party is better on the inside than outside buried in the snow, don't you think? You look none the worse for wear anyway!

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  44. Hello Alan,

    Thanks for following. I do hope you were able to get some much needed rest after you ordeal :)

    Happy Wednesday,
    Jen

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  45. You, Sir...were hilarious yesterday in your story lines and adventures getting to Mr. Toast's tea. Thanks for the laughs!

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  46. Great fun--I can see this Swedish hotel in my mind's eye!

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  47. hahaha...I'm just getting around to finish reading other tea party attendees blogs and comments. YOU, Mr. Alan, are quite the funny guy! So glad that you finally made it to Colorado, despite all that you had gone through. :)

    It was a pleasure meeting you.

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  49. Dear Alan, I hope you had a very soft landing this time in Huddlesfield...wherever THAT is!! LOL. Do check out my morning after Christmas Tea wrap-up.

    Take care. Cheers, my friend. a Toast to a most excellent guest!! You really were the LIFE of the Tea party! It DEFINITELY would not have been the same without you. you are creative beyond measure. I very much enjoyed it and thanks for fighting "Jet Lag" so incredibly well too!

    I have received a number of comments about just what a hoot you were/are. You simply must come to my next Tea, this time next year. Thank you.

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  50. I was in tears with laughter over this...

    I think you should have been a stand-up comedian, Alan! This is just too funny!

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  51. Wow, thank you all for your kind words. Thank you Willow, Betsy, Brian, Baino, Dot-Com, Skip, the Foxter, Kat and all the rest for putting up with me. And a big thank you to Mr Toast for hosting such a wonderful party. And finally, thank you Gretchen for looking after me so well.

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  52. So glad to know that you made it home without any detours. You certainly have a dinner party story with a difference!

    Having read your 'CV' I now feel totally ashamed of myself for asking even though it was tongue-in-cheek, if you studied geography at school. My sincere apologies sir!

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