Friday, April 09, 2021

Prince Charming

So the UK has gone into meltdown... not because of a 68% drop in annual exports, not because of 127 000 Covid deaths, not because the troubles have predictably (to everyone other than the Tories) reignited in Northern Ireland, but because a 99 year old bloke who's looked dead for a decade has died...

I'm sure on a personal level and for his close family, this is an upsetting turn of events, but why they country as a whole has collapsed on its knees escapes me. Personally, I figure we should leave them to grieve in private. The man was known for his many offensive comments, and I suspect he was well-enough educated that they weren't accidental, so I guess you have to admire his no-fucks-given attitude...

I never met the man myself, but as a family we still dine out to this day on the one encounter with him, so let's just leave it here in celebration of the man's life.

The following took place just over a decade ago during a royal walkabout in Portree on the beautiful Scottish Island of Skye... Mum and dad had gone for a week long holiday with their good friends Joyce and Steve. It turned out that the queen was due on the island at the same time so mum's friend decided it would be fun to go down and catch a glimpse of her. When they stepped out of their car for a walk, a very small crowd had gathered, so they approached for a chat with the bystanders. The queen made her way over to where Joyce was standing while mum and dad drew the short straw. Philip turned to mum's section of the crowd and enquired: Are you a local? Amongst the many nods, my mother replied : No, I'm a tourist from Glasgow. Thinking he was ever so funny, as always, he quipped: Why would anyone want to come to such a god forsaken place on holiday? But he wasn't expecting my mother's sharp wit or quick tongue: Well, we like it here, if you don't, feel free to go back to where you came from! 

High five to my mum! 

A close call?

I went to Eastwood High school from 1979-1985. I was distinctly lacking in musical talent so didn't spend much time in that department, though it was a compulsory subject for the first two years. We were made to learn recorder. There were two teachers I remember, one male and one female. Older pupils warned us from day one that the male teacher had a bit of a reputation and should be avoided but we were 11 years old so we didn't really know what was meant by that. Once or twice a year we had a music exam which consisted of choosing a recorder piece to play. This of course necessitated you being alone with one of the two teachers. As head of department, the male teacher chose who he was examining and who got the other teacher. I always got him. I remember my music exams because, despite being a small man, he was fierce and frightening. I was academically in the top classes at school but chose the easier music pieces, firstly because I was crap at music and secondly because I knew I would not be continuing with it so did not need a specific grade. On the occasion of my final music exam at the age of 13, I walked into what was known as the 'music cupboard' and the teacher locked the door behind me. I remember feeling distinctly uncomfortable about that and looking worried. He caught my eye and without my asking, told me he didn't want anyone walking in on us and interrupting my playing. That seemed logical to me at the time, despite other departments simply attaching signs to the doors marked 'Silence: exam'. Next he asked which of the four pieces I had chosen to play. They increased in difficulty from 1-4. I said piece 2. He immediately looked angry and through gritted teeth, he hissed at me that I could surely have done better than that given my academic credentials. He was close enough that I could smell his breath. I nervously played the piece (badly!), he gave me the minimal pass mark and then unlocked the door and ushered me out.

It was obvious that I would not be visiting the music department after that day. Today, as I read this, I wonder now if my lack of musical talent changed his mind that day, or if he genuinely locked the door behind every pupil?

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Where to blog?

As I have now started blogging differences between Scotland/the UK and Denmark on my dedicated blog 'Contemplating Denmark', I am wondering whether I should copy all posts from there to here, duplicating them so they get picked up by the usual audience, or whether a casual reminder occasionally, like this is enough. 樂 Thoughts on a postcard, please?

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Vissenbjerg bageri


Like most people these days, we generally pick up the likes of cakes at the bakery counter in the supermarket, or did until we heard that the stand-alone bakery 7km from our house Vissenbjerg bageri had just won 2nd best bakery in all of Denmark - not bad for being over 90 minutes from the capital. We have also since discovered they do extremely good bread too. Win win. I'm now following them on Facebook just so I don't miss a treat! I can't wait till visitors can actually come and see us here so we have an excuse to pay them even more visits!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Velkommen tilbage!

I drove past Anna and Léon's school at the weekend. It's the first time I've passed it since they were allowed back in last Monday. Although the year 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9 (equivalent of p7-s4)  have been online-schooled till now, the year 0 though 4 (equivalent of p2-p6) have been back since Feb 8. To welcome the biggies back to their school on Monday, the younger kids from the village had designed and planted these at the school entrance. What a sweet thought...



Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Contemplating Denmark

I'm not sure why it has taken me 18 months to come up with this idea, but it suddenly occurred to me last week that rather than mixing my cultural observations on Denmark in with my normal blog, it would make for an interesting archive if I actually dedicated a separate blog to comparing life in Scotland and Denmark. To that effect, I thought I'd trawl trough my posts on Phylsblog since our move and move them over to the new site. Thereafter, I will try to keep my musings on the two very similar and yet very different countries to this site, so I end up with a real-time guide to becoming Danish. 😉

Over and above the comparisons, I'm sure you'll be treated to the odd anecdote about how we're all adapting to our new life and which particular embarrassing side streets this moving country business takes us down.

Let's see if that works!