Lunch at the Castle by Henry Denander


Every summer when I was a young boy we stayed in our summer house in the countryside outside Eskilstuna, a wonderful place for children, with a nice, long sandy beach not far from our cottage. Near the beach there was also an old castle, an enormous building, a huge house all in white where once the Swedish prince Eugen had lived. It was now also a restaurant and a museum.

Only once did we visit the castle restaurant and, when we did, it was because some relatives came to visit, so my mother and I went there with my aunt and my cousin. The hallway coming into the castle was huge and impressive with a marble floor and stone walls. The restaurant was downstairs in the basement, with heavy dark walls and a very high ceiling. The old paintings on the walls were huge and almost as high as our cottage.

I was shy, as I was all through my childhood; I was maybe ten years old and not used to visiting restaurants, so the waiters and the large plates and the castle milieu made a strong impression on me.

So it was even more shocking and repulsive what happened after we had paid for the lunch, when my mother and aunt laughed and chuckled while they took the remains of the bread and the small packages of butter left on the table, and put it in their bag while the waiter was gone. Maybe it was the only thing I said during that lunch: “No, why are you doing this? You can’t do that!” I felt ashamed and embarrassed, like I was with poor people, taking the bread and the butter when the waiter wasn’t watching, to bring home in a napkin in my aunt’s bag.

Walking back home to the cottage after lunch, I wondered what it would be like to go to an ordinary restaurant with my relatives, if this was how they acted when they were eating at a castle.

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4 Responses to “Lunch at the Castle by Henry Denander”

  1. I enjoyed this story, as I have the art of Henry Denander for a long time. The taking of the bread gave me a smile of recognition.

  2. love this. When you eat at castles, you should probably not slurp your soup or steal bread. Once my mom made burritos and we ate them at the movies.

  3. Nice one, Henry.

  4. Ingegerd Denanader Says:

    Hej Henry!
    Slottet var verkligen en del av vår barndom liksom Carl Carlsson Gyllenhielm blev en del av vårt “arv”. Dessutom var vår morfar, Emil Hjelmberg, med och renoverade slottet på 30-talet?? Han ramlade ner och spräckte skallen, men överlevde och kunde ses cyklande i E-tuna med omgivningar långt in i sin ålderdom.
    Historia för oss: “Jo, det är Sundbyholms slott, det var där morfar spräckte skallen.” Sa jag när vi var på Waldemarsudde, varje gång jag tog med en klass dit. Likaså hade vi en utkiksplats mellan Barva och Strängnäs. “Där ligger Grådö, det var där farmor förstörde sina ben.”
    Det är inte konstigt att jag har historia som ett av mina stora intresseb. TAck Henry för att du väckte den här privathistorien till liv. Senast vi var där, var på brorsans bröllop med Monika. Mvh Ingegerd

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