In this month’s issue of Keeping Up With the Erikssons: I speak at another conference (even recording it), we go to our traditional Dickensian Christmas, two of my friends from Finland come for a visit and Lucien and I watch the new Star Wars film (spoiler-free).

Dramatic December, Issue 12/15

1212 words about life — 23:30 · 30th Dec 2015

I always wonder how useful the Keeping Up with the Erikssons entry is at the end of the year? Do I really write an entry about what has happened in the past month only to then also write about what has happened in the past year in the, by now, traditional yearly summary entry?

I then realise that these two entries fulfil two very different purposes; Whereas one recalls the events that have happened in the near past, i.e. the last month, the other paints a broader picture—often learning a lesson or two—of the year that has been without really lingering on any specific detail.

So yeah.

They both need to exist.

And instead of publishing both of them the same day I thought it best to spread them out a little which is why you’re getting one today and the other tomorrow.

Lucky you.

codeHarbour on Tour!

After my first talk at Web in the Woods and all the wonderful, both positive and constructive, feedback I had received, I was eager and excited to do another talk.

So when Wesley and Keith approached me—both of them having attended Web in the Woods—asking if I wanted to talk at their event codeHarbour on Tour! I was of course delighted.

In preparation for it also dawned on me that thanks to the new camera I could record my talk, partly to show to you and partly so I could observe myself and get better at talking.

So I did.

Sorry for the sound being mono. I’ll look into it and get it fixed.

My evolving slides are available online at

Dickensian Christmas

As long as we’ve lived in the UK , we’ve attended the Dickensian Christmas in Rochester.

It—quite simply—wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t go to Rochester so I could get disappointed that the snow, their cannon shoots out, is never real.

Overlooking the people at the Dickensian Christmas 2015.
The crowd is, as always, numerous and unsynchronised.

And whilst I might sound like I don’t enjoy it at all, the truth couldn’t be further away.

I’m just torn between my natural inclination to hate large gatherings of people and wanting to not become a hermit.

Now you might think I have Agoraphobic tendencies but the truth is that I’m just not used to large crowds. Finland’s population density is a meagre 16/km2 in comparison to the UK’s denser 255/km2.

But I’ve gotten a lot better at it since moving here, which is nice for both me and Rebecka—who thrives in large crowds.

Rebecka and Lucien riding the illuminated Ferris Wheel at the Dickensian Christmas 2015.
One year, I will face my fear of heights and go with Lucien. One year.

One fear at a time though. When it comes to heights, Rebecka still gets to be the one to take Lucien on the Ferris Wheel—I will face my fear of heights one year but for now I’m content staying on solid ground.

The Haunted House with its neon-green illuminated plastic skeletons.
The Haunted House always feels out of place at Christmas market. Or is just me?

Now without sounding too much like a grumpy old man, “Why back in my days…”

Isn’t a Haunted House a little out of place at a Christmas market? Wouldn’t it be better if it was Santa’s Haunted Grotto? I mean we’re already scaring the children with a obese hairy man.


Too much?

The leaning house on High Street 44a in Rochester.
The famous leaning house in Two Post Alley.

Idiot(s) abroad

After three and a half years of living abroad I finally managed to complain enough so that some friends of mine came over here to visit.

Going to meet them at the airport—for a day of sightseeing in London—meant I got to enjoy the morning commute with millions of other people for the second time that week—the first being work-related.

I’m now beginning to understand why everyone always wants to move to London but those who already live there would rather live anywhere else—though often outside of London.

It’s crowded and disorganised.

But at the same time amazing that it works at all, given the sheer volume of people it handles day in and day out.

To make the sightseeing fun for me I became, the Metatourist, taking photos of them taking photos of things.

After a day of sightseeing and drinking we made our way down to Maidstone, where we live.

And then there’s a whole series of embarrassing photos from a certain unnamed hotel hallway—The Hilton—where we’re basically drunkenly running back and forth making a lot of noise trying to re-enact scenes from Stephens King’s The Shining.

The Hotel Manager didn’t appreciate our adventures into making horror films as he came out from a room only seconds after we filmed this one.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Warning, here be spoilers.

Despite not growing up with Star Wars in the same way many people older than me—i.e. I didn’t go to see in the cinema when it first came out—I don’t deny its cultural impact and significance.

Some time ago I decided to introduce Lucien to the Star Wars universe, which thanks to Rod Hilton and his Machete order is a lot more enjoyable than I might have been otherwise.

Seriously I can’t recommend the Machete order enough. It’s brilliant and works beautifully. If you’re introducing the Star Wars universe to anyone, use it. You won’t regret it.

So, once Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was out in cinemas I knew we had to go and watch it together.

We can’t believe that Chewie’s friend is Kylo’s dad. That’s so epic! Lucien

I find it adorable that Harrison Ford’s character Han Solo has been reduced to Chewie’s friend.

And in a revolt against any numerical consistency and because he’s seven, Lucien gives Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens; ten out of five stars.

That’s it for this month.

You’ve just read Dramatic December, Issue 12/15.

In which, 8 years ago, I wrote 1212 words about life and I covered topics, such as: keeping up with the erikssons , conferences , christmas , codeharbour , father and son , finland , and rochester .