The Swedish pricks


When I was new in Sweden, I was walking down Katarinavägen on Södermalm with my Swedish mother-in-law. Katarinavägen has a fantastic view over the harbour and the city and far across the lake Mälaren. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the air was crisp.

My mother-in-law, who doesn’t speak very good English, was struggling to keep the conversation going. She was pointing out different features in the cityscape. Over there is the animal park, over there is the green fairground.

She pointed at the large building looming into the sky behind the old town. I knew this red-brick building to be the city hall. The city hall has a large tower and embellishing the top of the tower is the symbol of Sweden – three shining crowns.

My mother-in-law pointed at the tower and said proudly,

‘That is the town hall – the house with the pricks in.’

She was referring to the crowns as ‘the pricks’ and she meant to say ‘on’ the roof.

However, without knowing it, she couldn’t have been closer to the truth.

This year is election year. Let’s make sure that the pricks stay on the roof and not inside the building.

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