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460>_2834962

The school is mine, where I worked for 28 years, getting better every year with more and more knowledge. We had working teams with teachers teaching the same subjects. The pupils had class rooms for their education. Everything was just great. The pupils got good notes. Till the municipality decided to reconstruct the school and this new school ought to have an upper secondary school under the same roof.
The municipality wanted something up to date, modern. The most modern was to have a consultant. And there came a consultant, with stuck-up look who seduced the representatives from the municipality. His concept was, to be brief, let´s give the class rooms to the upper secondary school and let the pupils in the compulsory school have their lessons in the old vestibules. Does it seem stupid? Yes, of course.
The consultant drew circles and figures of different kinds on the whiteboard. The teachers looked at each other and the terror was depicted in their faces. Where did this man come from? The consultant´s great idea was this:
Basic units! (It´s an invention of a lunatic and impossible to translate) The teachers wriggled of pedagogic pain, please, please…..
But, why are basic units so terrible? Let me exemplify with kingly words (yes, from the king who use to distribute the Nobel prices). When the king inaugurated the reconstructed school he went through the schools spaces. Suddenly he came to a very big space, with glass, glass, glass, with tables and chairs, very, very modern. The king asked: “What space is this?” Then one of the high representatives answered him: “It´s a basic unit, a space where different classes can have their education at the same time. And the king replied at once: “But don´t they disturb each other then?”
And imagine, nobody in the train of wise guys who followed the king were able to give him an answer on that question….
And of course it is so, crowd together three classes in the same “basic unit” makes it impossible to have good lessons. The teachers get disturbed and the pupils too.
I went to see this school so up to date, this night-mare of glass, with a teacher from Spain who visited me in my home. When we observed a basic unit where a group was having lessons three girls came in screaming and all in a mess. I said to my friend. Crowding together many classes in the same classroom letting them have education at the same time is a pedagogic invention I´ve never understood. Mikel didn´t understand it either, something that made me very happy. And a woman from Mexico with whom I had contact some years ago expressed it like this: It´s like serving the food in the bathroom.
Now you have an idea of what´s a basic unit. It´s the death of an effective education. It´s a “modern” idea without pedagogic reflection. And the terrifying is that this consultant and the architect are destroying schools over all Sweden with applauses from the self-appointed experts in the municipalities, what world is this?
Last year they published an investigation in the university of Queensland, the man´s name who carried through the work is Vinesh Oommen, and his conclusion was that to work in a landscaped office (which the “basic units” are kind of) is dangerous for your health. Between quotes I give you a brief translation of the results: “In 90 % of the investigation it was considered negative to work in landscaped offices because they caused a high level of stress, conflicts, high blood pressure and high staff turnover (the kids can´t finish, the school is obligatory, my amendment).

The high level of noise does that the employees loose their concentration which causes low productivity. There are problems because everybody can see what you write on your computer and hear everything you say when you make a call. It causes a feeling of insecurity. Moreover, virus and microbes have got more co-workers to infect and in this way more persons get the flu.
And here´s the conclusion between quotes: “Founded on these results, I think the employers in our country should reconsider the environment with landscaped offices”.
The highest authority for education in Sweden, Skolverket (The National Agency for Education) has criticized this way to organize the education on several matters. It´s unfair to the boys, because they get worse notes than the girls. (But in Sweden, totally infected of feminism maybe this is okay).
Instead of organizing the work teams around the subjects, which gives better teachers, they are grouped around a group of pupils. The result is that the teachers who teach the same subjects don´t have any opportunity to meet and discuss and improve their teaching skills.
The construction of the classrooms, or better, the lack of classrooms leads to a way to organize the work. Instead of teaching, the teachers let the pupils do “school works” (you write about a country instead of getting education about the country). This is a problem not only for this school, not at all, it´s a national problem, and Skolverket has warned that this may be the cause of the bad results for the Swedish kids (compared to pupils in other countries)
Here´s a link to a basic unit:
http://www.arkitekt.se/s11065?skip11064=-1
To organize a school like this, as you already have understood, have lots of negative consequences. For me personally, it caused high blood pressure, depression and caused my early retirement pension.

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460>_2834958

When I studied in the evening school I had no problems to find a work during the summer vacations.
Many summers I worked as a caretaker, moved the lawn and cut the hedges, raked the walks and filled the garbage and such things. But one summer I spent with another work.
The girl who was my fiancée this time liked the sea very much, her father had a marvelous summer house with view of the sea on the west coast en Hamburgsund and she even was preparing for the masters certificate. Yes, she liked the sea very much.
One day, reading the newspaper she found an announcement where they looked for workers on a small shipyard on the east coast. “Please”, she asked me, “apply for this work, in this way I can visit you in the weekends”. I did so and they offered me the employment.
To reach the work it was necessary to go by boat, (today there is a bridge) of course the work was on an island, Högmarsö. In Sweden we´ve got a special type of boats that frequent theese routes between the islands on the east coast, Waxholm boats (a photo here) and the boat I went with was called Hugin (the name comes from one of Odins ravens in the Swedish mythology).
And in this way began my carrier as a roast scraper in the company Hufvudstaden on the island Högmarsö.
We were four or five workmen on the shipyard named Furusund. Three of us were students, I in the evening school and the others in the university. The boss was called Adolf and he had two brothers, twins, who worked there. There was man, Kalle, too who worked there. After some time came an American deserter, Jon, who couldn´t speak Swedish and Adolf made him my protégé because I could speak English.
For me it was goldmine to be workmate with and almost teacher for an English speaking person and this founded my good knowledge of English. Of course, there was Sundman, who was 69 years and who run like a monkey among the boats in the shipyard (his last name means man from the bay, a typical name in the archipelago on the east coast).
We lived in old yellow houses from the time when the activity flourished on the shipyard, but when we lived there they were flaked off, lacking paint and with chimneys that smoked in.
I had a flat with one room and kitchen while Runo who was the tenants aristocrat had a flat with two rooms and a kitchen.
And the work, in what consisted the work? Most of the time we raked rost from barges and ferries that belonged to the company. First we brought them up on the slips and fixed them. After that we raked and cleaned the interior and in the barges and ferries we also painted the walls with a tint that smelled awfully and that probably wouldn´t have passed the directions for industrial welfare safety.
And sometimes we took a break. Then it was like this. If the boss came, he´d notice that we didn´t work, then, his brothers and Kalle began working. Runo, the deserter and I went on taking a break, quite simply because we were tired. Adolf didn´t like this because he was used to have a labour force that obeyed every hint from him. And his glass eye almost looked at us…
Every time when Runo and I had finished a job, we went to Adolf and asked him if he had another job for us. And of course there were jobs, but almost every time we asked him he said something in this way: “Well, you can always rake roast on Marina (a boat), there´ll be nothing done anyway I guess”. He was something of a boss, Adolf, because we worked more than the others. But we didn´t begin work only because Adolf appeared.
But the evenings…. The Swedish summer is very light and the twilight is late. We used to go fishing in the big boathouses round the shipyard, extended on the bridges with the fishing-line in the hand, without rod, staring in the green water, with a sight of four meters to the bottom, we saw giant perches. And they bit, yes the bit, with the worms we had picked with the mosquitos flying around our heads it was impossible not to bite.
We fried the perches in the old frying-pan that belonged to every flat. With potatoes and butter they gave very delicious meals.
Kalle had an old fishing boat that he had tied at a distance from the shipyard. The boat made water and every day after work Kalle, and sometimes together with us, had to empty the water in the boat. Kalle had great expectations for the future. In the English Channel there are many wrecked ships. With the trawler and some education how to dive, it wouldn´t be so difficult to take up the richness from the wrecks and if I helped him he´d share the richness half and half with me… For him this was completely true y he felt offended when Runo, who had a more sober view of life, teased him for it. When Runo and I meet now and then we use to speak a lot about Kalle and his dreams to be rich taking up wrecks of the English Channel.
Yes, I think this was the summer of my life. My wife says that from the way we speak about this period you may think it was about years of work. But it deals with a month and a half. There happened many things and everything was very intensive.
I live it over again when we take trips with the ferry to Åland. From it it´s possible to see the island Högmarsö.
At one occasion when we were travelling my wife said to me: “Why don´t we take a trip to the island, so I can know what you and Runo are talking about?” Yes, and so we did. We met a woman who could tell us interesting things. Her daughter for instance, who live in Canada, comes every year to open the shop there. The rest of the year there is no shop and people have to by their articles and food in other places. But today there is a bridge and it´s easier. She told us that Adolf, the boss, had died that spring, very, very old. She also told us that the houses where we lived were pulled down. In the shipyard we met Tomas, a man who made even me feel small (and I´m 189 tall). He told us that the shipyard is private own now and it´s a little company where people can hire a place and fix their boats.
He gave us some minutes to show the boats they had there. He liked very much Adolfs device “You can always….” and he liked to reintroduce it on the shipyard.
And we went home and the dreams from a time so distant fell back in the mind and everything was as it was before.
Here are some photos from the trip.


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460>_2834917

This happened when I studied in Uppsala. I lived in a little flat in a corridor for students. One morning, very early, the doorbell sounded and I went to open the door. Outside stood my friend Fred with a young Japanese. Fred said: This young Japanese went with me from Gävle in my car. Can you lodge him a night in the dayroom? This was the beginning of an episode with complications. The man´s name was Yama and was 18 and son of famous Japanese architect. He slept several nights in the bed in the dayroom. Then after this, he could have access to another students room, when the student lived a period in another place. Little by little he established in Sweden, he found a job and he married a Swedish girl. He lived with her in a flat in the town. We lost the contact and I didn´t think very much of him.
Then, one day, the doorbell sounded, and there was Yama. He asked me if he could stay in the dayroom once again. He was on his way to Japan. But, I asked him, aren´t you married? He explained to me that his wife didn´t want to live with him anymore, and things like that. Little by little I understood that he had problems with his mental health. He told me that he had begun Aikido, the sport with the Japanese sword. Evidently the teacher had put in his head that a Japanese man shouldn´t obey orders from a woman. And in this way, life had got complicated because a marriage in Sweden is not like that in Japan. Everything grew into a nightmare. He heard Zen music in the cars wheels and one night he took his sword and began running on the motorway towards Stockholm. He had done half the distance when the police took him (somebody had called and informed them that he had seen a Japanese running on the motorway with a sword in his hand…). The police delivered him to Ulleråker a mental hospital in Uppsala. He was there for a few days, but after that they considered him normal enough to be at home. One day he spoke with me about people in the corridor over us and that they had put radioactive points in him so they could steer and control him. Everything seemed totally stupid to me and I called Ulleråker to beg for help, because this was not normal. But the doctor there informed me that the limits for what was normal were wider for them than for a normal person. And he begged me to try to put up with the inconveniences till he went to Japan. He said that Yama had a syndrome typical for refugees with paranoia y such things, and that it could disappear in Japan, in his normal environment.
Well, the day came when he got his money for the ticket to Japan. He went to buy tickets, but returned after half an hour without tickets. I´ll stay here he said. Then I exploded and screamed: Go to the travel agency and buy tickets, because if not, I´ll throw you out on the street immediately! He disappeared and returned with the tickets making excuses that he couldn´t be among people in the town. The day he went to Japan he gave me his Minolta camera to pay me for the inconveniences. And when I met one of his friends some months later he told me that Yama was totally normal in Japan.

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460>_2834915

To chop wood and put it in the woodshed, is there anything healthier for a stressed man, with the birds singing among the birches and spruces. I´m inclined to think that there isn´t, at least not for me. We have taken down some spruces on our piece of land. My neighbor has sawn them in pieces sized 30 cm, and now it´s my work to do the rest, with the axe. I do it by easy stages to avoid problems with fibrillation.
It´s the wood from three trees, not too big. I´ve already chopped almost half of the pile with wood.
I think of my uncles who worked in the forest chopping very big trees. I´ve seen photos of them, where they were standing up to their knees in snow. They had a saw for two. They did everything by hands; there were no motor-saws and other novelties. But though they worked hard one of them lived till he was 93 years old.
I must tell you that where we live is the highest point of our summer house urbanization. In front of me is a rock and with a little bit of fantasy one can imagine the seal hunters who probably lived here in this time.
Sitting on the rocks, with pieces of raw seal liver in their hands and with the blood running along their arms. Then this area was surrounded by the sea.
A few kilometers from here there is a place that has been examined by the archeologists. Its name is Vrå. They have found rests of a settlement there. When there lived people, 6000 years ago, there was a better climate. They have found pips from grapes in the ceramics.
On the other side of the road a teacher and his classes have build houses of clay and twigs from this time.
Around our plot are tombs from different periods. They are only with piles of stones. There are two bigger ones with a diameter of 5-6 meters and nine smaller with a diameter of 2-3 meters. Yes, we live in an area rich of historical remains.

Here is a saw for two:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Corta_tueros_con_tronz%C3%B3n.jpg

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An asthmatic solution  (113)

In Stockholm there is a very popular youth hostel. It´s an old ship called “af Chapman” with masts and everything. It´s situated at Skeppsholmen (the islet of ships) one of the islands that make our fantastic capital, the Northern Venice, Stockholm.
We wanted our boy to have an adventure, to live one night in this ship, looking out through the round window imaging how the life of a sailor was in times gone by.
Mi wife called the youth hostel and booked a room for three. All went well, there were rooms for three and we enjoyed to be able to live one night on a boat.

When we came to the youth hostel we began to suspect that it wasn´t so easy to live one night on a boat….. Why? Because the hostel had two units. The ship and a building on land. And of course, we didn´t have a room on the ship… But problems are to be solved.
This happened the year before Stockholm was to become the European Capital of Culture and on all of Skeppsholmen they were preparing the buildings to have them fashionable. And the building where we lived was an historic building too and the windows had coverings hanging in front of them which made it impossible to look outside.
And the windows hadn´t been closed and because of that there where dust in the room. We saw that Martin didn´t like it and thought: What do we do?

My wife, who is not asthmatic, said: Go to the reception and tell them that I´ve got asthma and that it´s impossible to live in a room like this. I went to the reception with this message and they gave us another room, on another floor, but as dusty as the other one and with coverings in front of the windows. The situation was absurd…..
Then my wife went to the reception. She said it was impossible to live in this habitation because of her asthma. And she also added that if the last train hadn´t gone we had gone home. A discussion began and the girl in the reception looked among the keys and wrinkled her forehead. Finally she said: “We´ve got a room on af Chapman, the ship, but it´s the room number 13”.
Well, if we have to, of course room number 13.. We simulated, inside us yelling: Hurrah!
And by help of this little asthmatic white lie we went onboard on af Chapman. The room number 13 was a room with four beds (now the ship has been renovated and it has very luxurious beds). Martin immediately threw himself on the bed and began to study the capital through the round window. And all ended well.

 

 

 

 

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There is a place where we like to walk my wife and I. It´s called Himlinge. The landscape is fascinating, with slope hills with lots of big junipers and pines with heavy branches. The summertime the farmer has his cows there and You already know that we don´t like to walk among cows. Therefore we only take walks there in the spring and the autumn.

We can combine the walk with purchase of eggs. The farmer sells eggs in a shed on the side of the cowshed. Today we bought chicken eggs, small eggs that cost one euro for 30 eggs, that´s cheap, isn´t it?

In the springtime the moss is covered with brown grass, the branches crushes under the feet when you walk and there is a terrible noise in the air and the fields. There are; birds. There are cranes, they are the biggest ones, their sounds seem like trumpets and they are an impressing sight when they fly over my head. The cranes are the most brave birds, they wait a long time before they escape, you can come very close. How different are the geese. In a rather long distance they begin to cackle and if you come closer than 100 meters they run away.

And then they circulate in the sky watching a retired man who is too fat walking between the junipers and under the pines.
There is a lake, of course, very near. Now the ice covers it, but soon it will open so the birds can swim, eat and make their nests in the reeds. Some of the gees and the cranes stay at the lake. The others continue their journey to the north.
There are swans too, two kinds, mute swan and wooper.
Once when we were walking there we met moose. We were in a distance of three meters or something. The moose got scared and were afraid. It went away with a terrible hullabaloo and the silence returned.

 

But what´s happening now? Two men with dogs are coming in the field. They approach the geese a little bit further away. First the geese only look. After that they withdraw a bit to see what the two with the dogs are going. And thereafter they begin cackling and some of them prepare to leave. And finally an ocean of geese passes over us with an incredible noise.
The geese move to the lake. There they rest on the ice. One understands why they use geese to watch the whisky Ballantine, if there come thieves they cackle and the guards will come. One of our most famous writers is Selma Lagerlöf. She has written The Wonderful Travels of Nils Holgersson, a narrative for children and adults. It deals with Nils Holgersson, who travels on the back of a goose, Akka. He sees a lot on his journey through Sweden.
If you want to learn more about Selma there´s a link here:

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selma_Lagerl%C3%B6f

 

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In English/En inglés
Klampe, an evil teacher (114)
Ingmar Bergman, the famous Swedish director, wrote the manuscript for the movie Hets that deals with the sadistic teacher of latins, called Caligula. One of his pupils is Jan-Erik Widgren who´s going to pass his examination. There is a girl, Bertha, who works in a tobacco shop where Widgren and Caligula are clients.
Widgrens parents are very demanding and want him to pass his examination. When he gets involved in a drama around Bertha the pressure increases. On Youtube You can watch the movie here.
I never had a teacher that sadistic as Caligula, but when I think back on my time as a student is there one teacher who can make me feel stress even after 50 years. It´s teacher of math who causes these feelings. We called him “Klampe”. The verb “klampa” in Swedish means to tramp, walk with heavy steps, and a person who walks in this way can be called Klampe. Moreover I remember his pants, a little short, which gave him a somewhat silly impression, but, believe me, nobody in Samrealskolan inTierp  dared laugh at him. That could have bad consequenses, in the classroom.
Klampe liked very much to let pupils do exercises at the blackboard. For those who had nerves made of steel or had done their homework well it was peace of cake, but for the person that hadn´t done his homework, o dear…. One of those pupils was I. I wasn´t interested in math and with a teacher like Klampe I liked it even less. I don´t know whether Klampe had seen the movie Hets, but I realized after having seen it as a grownup, that Klampe had talent for acting as Caligula.
Hi used this method. He chose a pupil he knew hadn´t done his homework (me for instance) and asked him to solve some math problems on the blackboard. When the pupil showed his ignorance, Klampe made fun of him. Like the dictator he was he urged the other pupils to participate in the baiting and they had to laugh at the poor pupil at the blackboard.
With the pointer in his hand he pointed out every evil word with it, slovenly placed in the chair, enjoying the pupil´s misfortune. 
Yes, it could be really horrible to be young one in such classes.
I remember that sometimes I dreamed about him, I heard his heavy steps in the corridor before he opened the classroom door. I also think that he was the cause of that I had to end my studies there and go back to the elementary school where I came from.
I didn´t like that school. In this kind of school, samrealskola,  the pupils  where in the elementary school until year six and from year seven they went to samrealskolan four years to end with an education of ten years. The other ones who didn´t choose samrealskolan, studied eight years in the junior school and the elementary school. And I had to return to the elementary school to go there the last year, year eight.
I felt some comfort when I heard that Klampe had gone beyond the limits when he had an oral examen in history (he was a history teacher as well) and that he had called a girl imbecile so she got a break down and that the headmaster had given him a reprimand for not having behaved according to the rules.
Luckily enough I didn´t have more teachers as evil as Klampe and life and time make things disappear deeply in the mind. I don´t think I´ve been like this in my carrier (if it is a carrier) as a teacher in the Swedish school. But I wanted You to know a little about him and I think this will do.

 

Klampe, an evil teacher (114)

Ingmar Bergman, the famous Swedish director, wrote the manuscript for the movie Hets that deals with the sadistic teacher of latins, called Caligula. One of his pupils is Jan-Erik Widgren who´s going to pass his examination. There is a girl, Bertha, who works in a tobacco shop where Widgren and Caligula are clients.

Widgrens parents are very demanding and want him to pass his examination. When he gets involved in a drama around Bertha the pressure increases. On Youtube You can watch the movie here.

I never had a teacher that sadistic as Caligula, but when I think back on my time as a student is there one teacher who can make me feel stress even after 50 years. It´s teacher of math who causes these feelings. We called him “Klampe”. The verb “klampa” in Swedish means to tramp, walk with heavy steps, and a person who walks in this way can be called Klampe. Moreover I remember his pants, a little short, which gave him a somewhat silly impression, but, believe me, nobody in Samrealskolan inTierp  dared laugh at him. That could have bad consequenses, in the classroom.

Klampe liked very much to let pupils do exercises at the blackboard. For those who had nerves made of steel or had done their homework well it was peace of cake, but for the person that hadn´t done his homework, o dear…. One of those pupils was I. I wasn´t interested in math and with a teacher like Klampe I liked it even less. I don´t know whether Klampe had seen the movie Hets, but I realized after having seen it as a grownup, that Klampe had talent for acting as Caligula.

Hi used this method. He chose a pupil he knew hadn´t done his homework (me for instance) and asked him to solve some math problems on the blackboard. When the pupil showed his ignorance, Klampe made fun of him. Like the dictator he was he urged the other pupils to participate in the baiting and they had to laugh at the poor pupil at the blackboard.

With the pointer in his hand he pointed out every evil word with it, slovenly placed in the chair, enjoying the pupil´s misfortune. 

Yes, it could be really horrible to be young one in such classes.

I remember that sometimes I dreamed about him, I heard his heavy steps in the corridor before he opened the classroom door. I also think that he was the cause of that I had to end my studies there and go back to the elementary school where I came from.

I didn´t like that school. In this kind of school, samrealskola,  the pupils  where in the elementary school until year six and from year seven they went to samrealskolan four years to end with an education of ten years. The other ones who didn´t choose samrealskolan, studied eight years in the junior school and the elementary school. And I had to return to the elementary school to go there the last year, year eight.

I felt some comfort when I heard that Klampe had gone beyond the limits when he had an oral examen in history (he was a history teacher as well) and that he had called a girl imbecile so she got a break down and that the headmaster had given him a reprimand for not having behaved according to the rules.

Luckily enough I didn´t have more teachers as evil as Klampe and life and time make things disappear deeply in the mind. I don´t think I´ve been like this in my carrier (if it is a carrier) as a teacher in the Swedish school. But I wanted You to know a little about him and I think this will do.

 

 

 

 

 

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Yesterday we went to our summerhouse, the second time this winter. The cold and the snow have done it rather expensive and laborious too. But this time it was for visiting our neighbours who also are some of our best friends.
When we go to the summerhouse we can choose between two roads, the ugly road and the nice road. The “ugly” road is the county road with a distance of 25 km and the “nice” road winds between woods, meadows and lakes about 40 km. Normally we take the nice road, because we´ve got time and we like to enjoy the nature.
Sometimes you can see moose and deer. And this time my wife yelled: “Take it easy, there´s a deer to the right!” I braked immediately, the deer was on the road and ran about ten meters in front of the car and the it dived in the snow to the right and disappeared on the frozen crust and we could breathe freely.
When we came to the summer house two deer crossed the road. Our neighbours on both sides of the road feed the deer and the deer offer a scenery when they come to eat outside the window. They seem almost domesticated. Then I saw my neighbor lady and I told her that we had seen two deer. “Two”, she said, ”yesterday we had nine deer as boarders here. You´ll see when you come”.
When we were sitting in the living room at our neighbours place, came, first two and then four. And we could move without them getting scared. And of course I had prepared myself and brought my camera with video function. The result You can see above.
For those who don´t have deer in their coutries I´ve made an abbreviation of fact from Wikipedia: (It´s not a translation of the Spanish text) The Roe Deer is a relatively small deer, with a body length of 95–135 cm (3.12–4.43 ft), a shoulder height of 65–75 cm (2.13–2.46 ft), and a weight of 15–30 kg (33–66 lb). It has rather short, erect antlers and a reddish body with a grey face. Its hide is golden red in summer, darkening to brown or even black in winter, with lighter undersides and a white rump patch; the tail is very short (2–3 cm or 0.8–1.2 in), and barely visible. Only the males have antlers. The first and second set of antlers are unbranched and short (5–12 cm or 2.0–4.7 in), while older bucks in good conditions develop antlers up to 20–25 cm (8–10 in) long with two or three, rarely even four, points. When the male's antlers begin to regrow, they are covered in a thin layer of velvet-like fur which disappears later on after the hair's blood supply is lost. Males may speed up the process by rubbing their antlers on trees, so that their antlers are hard and stiff for the duels during the mating season. Unlike most cervids, roe deer begin regrowing antlers almost immediately after they are shed.

I can add that the deer is very popular among the hunters and gives a delicious meal.

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In Spain they give the christmas presents the 6:th of January, in England on the Christmas day. In Sweden the Christmas Eve is the day for the presents. Its “tomten” who gives the presents. From the beginning tomten was a little figure who guarded the house and the building site (=tomt) and the people who lived there. He liked rice porridge with a little butter very much. He didn´t distribute presents in that time, but it was the Christmas goat ( a person disguised as a he-goat with horns and beard). Our modern tomte is a mixture of influences, a little from tomten, a little from Santa and a little from the Christmas goat. Santa has got rein deer, but the tomten has not.
Tomten comes walking, knocks on the door asking: “Have we got any kind children here?” And of course there are..
The Christmas Eve people has got problems getting a tomte. Maybe there is a neighbor who can be it. If there isn´t, dad or mum goes “to buy the news paper”, a white lie, but that isn´t forbidden when you want to keep the Christmas peace.
In our family we have the Christmas buffet at one thirty in the afternoon. There is ham, herring, meat-balls, eggs, sausages and such dishes. In the evening, at eight o´clock we have rice porridge with milk and cinnamon. With this we eat a sandwich with ham and cheese. There is a special beverage for Christmas, julmust. It reminds a little of Coca-Cola in color but it´s got a somewhat different taste.
Many families looks upon the TV when it´s Mickey Mouse and his friends, an hour with different episodes with Snow white, Cinderella, Donald Duck and other Disney characters. The other program is very Swedish. Its name is Karl-Bertil Jonsons Christmas Eve and it´s about a youngster who works extra in a post office. He steals parcels from the rich and distributes them amongst the poor in the slum – like Robin Hood did.

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Yesterday I watched a program dealing with the “crisis” and its causes. Of course, I already knew a lot. But the program was very clarifying and showed how the greediness for wealth did that the banks gave credits to people without security that they could pay back.
The dubious method was as follows: Sell your claims to other banks and credit institutes. The buyer can “packet” the claims, sometimes with shares to financial instruments and sell these instruments to other banks. In that way it was almost impossible to know what was in these ”packets”. Some people talk about “toxic assets”. And the banks, even in Europe And Sweden, sold these assets between themselves like anything. Everything functioned till the borrowers couldn´t pay back their loans. And the interest changes, everybody knows that.
Yesterday I read in the news that next year they will lower the superannuation´s with five percent or something like this. This due to that the pension´s funds have declined too much, partly because the banks have invested in toxic assets.
All the newspapers have economic appendixes and there are I don´t know how many journalists, but nobody has warned of any immediate danger.
The Swedes get their pension from they are 65. Next year I´ll be 65, that is I´m beginning my career as retired with lower pension. And I hadn´t foreseen anything like that, of course, to have my pension lowered because of the banks in the US, that gave credits without security enough.
But things like these make you understand how it is to live in a globalized world. Yes, life is filled with hard proofs and surprises.

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