Monday, November 11, 2019

Votes for the under 10s

Conversation with Amaia:

Amaia: I think I should be allowed to vote in the general election! 

Me: Really, why? You're only 9! 

Amaia: Well, because of stupid adults voting for stupid Boris and his nasty friends, I now live in Denmark, so I think I know a bit more than most people what happens when you vote for the wrong people!

Well, you sure can't argue with that logic 😐

Friday, November 08, 2019

Checking it out at ground level

A few months ago on one of my many flights into Denmark, I came in to Billund over Blåvand.


I thought its shape, and obviously very long beach needed further investigation and given it is only 80 minutes drive we took a wander over last week to investigate. It is definitely going to be on our summer 2020 list of places to visit as it is really pretty up close.

   

Weird

I've been here for many many months now and a strange thing happened to me yesterday...

I had to use money! (Amaia had to take a 100Kr note to school for something). It is odd to be somewhere more than six months and not actually even know what the currency looks like. Apparently it looks like this - very fancy and pretty! Cash is so hard to come by, I actually had to google where the nearest ATM was (fully 5km away!)



One of the things I liked about the UK in comparison with many places I've lived is how little we use cash (I hate handbags and purses with a passion so it suits me well to live somewhere where having only a fiver on me at any given time usually sufficed) but Denmark takes it to a whole new level - even small kids use plastic here - Amaia (9) already has a Visa Debit card, they needed to be 11 in Scotland for those. In shops everything is contactless, like at home but for everything else, everyone uses mobile pay here. You owe money to a friend or want to donate to the school class kitty for something or other, you simply dial in the number - even if it's only 50p. It's great for splitting the cost of a meal out with some mates (or will be at least once I've met some!). That's what everyone uses at car boot sales and roadside stalls too - in rural areas most people have a wee stall at the end of their driveway to sell their surplus potatoes, eggs or apples and it's simply a table with a phone number on it. Some of the more rustic or smaller shops, like the local antique shop here, don't even have a till, they just take mobile pay.

I had to laugh a couple of months ago when Léon and Amaia's string orchestra was performing in a church and they passed round the church's collection plate for donations to the music school afterwards - it was simply a silver tray with a phone number stuck on it!😂 I know I'm not a church-goer but I always imagined a collection plate might actually have some coins or notes on it!

I guess it has its downsides - I expect it would be harder (or at least weirder) to pay someone cash in hand for some gardening or similar and if the country is ever invaded, running some kind of underground resistance might not be all that simple! But, for the handbag haters amongst us, it certainly hits the spot.


Monday, November 04, 2019

Strange alphabet


Cute conversation with Amaia:

I really like the new light you got me for my room, mum. Can we get a second one next time we're in Ikea, for the other side of my room?

Sure. Can you remember what it's called?

Yeah, I've still got the box. It's called a... a..., emmm, I don't know how you pronounce it. It's written in Swedish. It is spelt S, J, surprised face, P, E, N, N, A!

😂😂😂

Friday, November 01, 2019

Nowhere people

A couple of weeks ago I asked Thomas if Danes did Halloween. Remember, he hasn't lived here since 2001, and his answer was a definite no...

After a shopping trip to Odense last Saturday, I had a sneaking suspicion things had moved on in his home country since he last called it home.  Here are Anna and Amaia in the big supermarket, Bilka!


I guess Thomas has become one of those weird stateless people who are neither fully at home here nor in Scotland, and we will soon follow him down that path, of course.

I'm still not sure he was fully convinced, until the neighbour's lit pumpkin turned up on Monday night, followed by another two by the roadside the following day. Yesterday, Léon was invited to a mate's house for afternoon coffee, but he didn't show up home till three hours later, fully made-up with everything short of false eyelashes. He was less sure about the large bag of 50% liquorice sweeties he was clutching when I picked him up, but as I drove through the next village almost every house had pumpkin-lit paths and driveways. We, of course, gave in and stuck a neep at the end of our driveway, as well as one of those alien pumpkin things, which resulted in small children ringing our doorbell and threatening us with 'slik eller ballade' - (sweeties or trouble - I wonder what that could possibly mean!)

                               


Léon did make me laugh... He fully admitted to being a chancer - having gone into the local Co-op, figuring nowhere he knew had more sweets than a corner shop, and trying trick or treat on the check-out operator, who laughed, congratulated him for having balls but told him, sadly her hands were tied! I guess you get nowhere in life, if you don't try! 

It is nice to see him having fun though, back home he hasn't been out guising for a couple of years as it was no longer the cool thing to do - here, cool seems to matter a wee bit less than having fun.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Denmark's great for the teeth

Since nursery, birthdays have followed a specific pattern: your child goes off to a softplay, a party hall or their friend's house, they dance or play for a couple of hours and return with a party bag - a few sweets, a balloon, some bubbles, a little gift or similar. Here in Denmark, health and safety hasn't gone in to overdrive yet so on the kids' birthdays they actually (shock, horror) take a cake in to the class and share it with their friends at school and then give the party bags out in class, rather than at the party.

Back in Scotland, the kids used to bring their bag home and take it off to their room. Léon would devour his in seconds, Anna would squirrel hers away and you'd find numerous sweetie bags around her room for months. Amaia was somewhere in the middle. At the side of our new kitchen is a little table - big enough for a family of three or four to have breakfast, but we rarely use it as the dining room is close by and there are more of us. Often I find piles of party bags abandoned on it after school. They lie unopened and untouched for weeks before making their way across to the bin. As far as I can see, they look the same as party bags in Scotland, but there is one difference, I am told... the dreaded Danish obsession with liquorice. All the kids know that the chances are high that at least a couple of the sweets are made of that strong, salty liquorice that Scandies love, but they will be in the bag, lurking, disguised as normal sweets and the risk of accidentally biting into one, is so great that they have all given up even attempting to bite into any sweets at all this side of the north sea - it's been amazing for their teeth.😂

On a similar note, I was in Aldi last weekend and came across this - I can't wait to show them it, just to see the look of horror on their faces!