Sunday, February 23, 2020

A walk through the history of our new home

A wonderful thing about Denmark, is that they seem to have photo-documented it from the sky in a significant amount of detail, as far back as the 1940s! That means that although I now simply live in a large white bungalow, I can see not only how my house looked when it was a working farm, but also what they did with the garden, field and outhouses. The amount you can zoom in is also quite amazing for the time. So here goes:

I've taken a current google satellite shot and drawn the boundary of our garden on it as a guide before uploading the older pics just as a starting point.


And here's a front shot from the schedule when we bought it in 2019.


So, the first aerial shot I found was from 1948, taken from the right hand side as you are looking at it on the photo above.


The house is a third smaller as the extension on the left hand side which houses our bedroom, Amaia's, the living room and the turret room had not yet been built. It had a sweet little thatched roof, a large outhouse and a small thatched garage where we now only have a little fenced-in bin area. The next door neighbour, which is simply a residential house now, seems to be the corner shop back then - now that would have been useful for a pint of milk! And across the road I can see a petrol pump too, which would also have been nice! Although the front lawn in our garden is grass, the majority of what we now have as a front lawn seems to be an orchard back then. What a pity that's gone, although we now have an orchard behind the house so maybe that was simply moved up.

The next shot I found was from 1949 and taken from behind the house.


To a certain extent this one is less interesting as you can only see the back of the outhouse, the thatched rood and chimney but it is interesting to see that the garage across the road also seemed to be a shop back then. And it's sweet to see the neighbours, complete with celebratory Danish flag, out looking up at the photographer. I wonder if the tree in the foreground is the one we park beside today?

Skipping forward next to 1953 and we have an almost identical shot to the 2020 satellite picture above. Here's the outline but I'll include a larger shot of the same below.


The barn are the very back of our current garden isn't yet there and the garage and tool room we have at the front of the field is missing too. The front lawn seems to be half fruit trees, half vegetables back then. And I wonder if the tree behind the outhouse in this is our wonderful old oak tree in an earlier iteration (see the big tree half covering our garage above).

1953 seems to have been quite a prolific year. The next shot from then seems to be annotated.


Key for non-Danish speakers

zink - zinc
straa - straw (cute that they've used the pre-1948 spelling here)
rĂžd - red
vand - water

So our house used to be red brick on the front! And by the looks of this there was a little girl living here back then - she looks around 10 so she'd be 77 now! I wonder who she is!

Moving forward, we're still on 1953.


It looks like the little girl has an even smaller sister. This is the first shot on which I can see a water pump in the garden and a little shed.

And here's the last one I found from 1953. It shows the neighbour's lake nicely and also our neighbour who lives up the lane - these days their house is only visible in winter when the trees are bare.


I found nothing from 1954, but they seem to have flown over again in 1955.


Now there's a baby in our house - isn't that a sweet pram going up our driveway?! This baby must be 65 now! A few more family members can be seen on the front lawn too. I swear the hedge is the same!😁

In 1956 they seem to have taken the first colour shots. Ironically the quality is slightly less sharp, but it is interesting all the same. This one seems to have been taken in winter which might account for the less bright colours.

1956 (1)

It seems the area all around the neighbour's lake was cultivated back then. You can see it better on the black and white one taken at the same time.

1956 (2)

Next up we have 1959

1959 (1)

I like this one a lot. It is the first time I get to see the back. There is a little thatched chunk jutting out where I now have the laundry and shower room, and LĂ©on's bedroom window is clearly visible and still looks the same. I presume when it was double glazed they made exact copies of the original windows, which is nice. The family make another appearance in the front garden too.. Who were they? I can also see some cages of some sort in the bottom right, where we now have the turret room. Are the chickens, rabbits or what? 

Further afield I can make out that the garage across the road also had an ice cream stand - how sweet is that? This must have been a much more exciting place to live before it simply became a commuter village of Odense. Having zoomed in, I can see the sign reads Hesselager flĂždeis and on googling that I found how it must have looked close up. See this link. Nice car at the Gulf garage too!

1959 (2)

This is the best view of the right hand side and the little thatched garage behind - how I wish we'd inherited that too, it's so cute!

We've almost got to the end of what I have managed to track down so far, but here's a very friendly one from the family who lived here in 1961.


The only other photo I have managed to track down was from the ground, not the air, and dates from around 1985. Little had changed with the main house even then - there's no extension yet and it's still thatched, although it has now been painted to its current white instead of the red of the previous shots but already the outhouses and thatched garage seem to be missing in this one so I guess the working farm was no more by then.


Thursday, February 06, 2020


It was my birthday on Tuesday. Today I am 52 years and 2 days old. It is Thomas's birthday on Saturday. Today he is 47 years, 363 days old. So I guess that means today, together we are turning 100. At least that explains how my body feels most mornings when I wake up these days! 😂

Friday, January 31, 2020


Don't even speak to me today! There are no words to explain how utterly bereft this whole pantomime is making me. Tonight at midnight (my time) my country, the one I love and call-ed home, ceases to exist. Tonight at midnight everything I have done with my adult life becomes undoable by my fellow UK citizens. Half my countrymen have decided that the way I lived my entire adult life is illegitimate and unacceptable. I have studied at university in Italy and Germany, I have worked in France, I have married a Frenchman (and divorced him) and I have married a Dane. Both my husbands also happened also to be half German, so I've had a French father-in-law, a German one, I've had a German mother-in-law and a Danish one. I have French nieces and Danish ones. I have lived and studied in Denmark too now. My German mother-in-law lived in France. My Danish in-laws live in Italy. My daughter is talking about possibly moving to Spain... Not acceptable, nope! Don't dare befriend those nasty foreigners and move abroad. That is no longer acceptable!

Today, I am more than sure that the single greatest gift I gave all my children was a foreign father and therefore a second passport. Their freedom to live, study, work and love all over Europe, as I have done, continues into tomorrow morning, while that light goes out for their friends, their cousins, their family, even their mother. I escaped in time to get an EU residence permit but the middle years of my 50s will no longer be a time for slowing down, relaxing and enjoying my growing family, they will now be filled with anxiety as I continually look behind me until the day comes in 2025 when I can again apply to be an EU citizen. And I am utterly distraught to think of my daughter's uni friends who are studying French and Spanish with no right to go there after uni and my younger kids' ex-classmates who are currently working their way through the education system with a much-curtailed future ahead of them.

I cannot imagine being on UK soil today... even here I can barely breathe. I can't actually imagine setting foot there again, though of course I love my family dearly. I want to teleport my old uni friends Linda and Gillian here today and spend the evening hugging them and crying together because I know what this means to them - we lived together all over Europe and those were the best of times. Gillian's kids will not have the opportunities mine still have, and yet they have done nothing different to mine. And for what? So the little Englanders can wave their union Jacks and taunt our nearest and dearest with their childish rhetoric. I am so embarrassed for them.

I even find myself casting my mind back to my dear friend Sheina, who died many years ago now, because I know she too would have been inconsolable tonight. Remember the Freiburg Bierfest, Sheina? I'm sure you do... Tonight, I will lift a glass and toast you too, wherever you are now.

I want to sit and drink with my 'breast friends' too. I know how awful this all is for my dear friend Karen too - as an academic, this is doing nothing for her university's future or for the research people like her want to be involved in. Nor is it great for her daughter who is just back from a year in France.

Today I sat in my adult education class with every nationality under the sun - there are nearly 25 in the class and almost no duplicate nationalities. And do you know what? It is fascinating and they are all lovely and there isn't one person in that room I wouldn't do anything I could to help. Some are young enough to be my kids, some grew up behind the iron curtain, some fled the bombings in Syria. We are all different and fascinated by our differences. By discussing them, we can become friends. The world is not a frightening place when you open your arms to others, it only becomes that way, when you close your door, and tonight I become homeless, as my country's door closes. Tonight and for the next five years, I will be a citizen of nowhere, until one day I become a citizen of Denmark, but in truth, my country has always been and will always be Europe. And that is why I could not have stayed behind for the shitshow.

Tonight I also want to bus over Marcel and Charlotte and hold them tight. They only exist because I was allowed to fall in love with a fellow EU citizen. None of my kids would be here without freedom of movement, so the future generations of kids like mine will simply cease to exist. I want to kiss and hug them because I know now how precarious their existence actually is. The Marcels, the Charlottes, the LĂ©ons, the Annas and the Amaias of the next generation will never be born. And that makes the UK a smaller and darker place.

So if you'll excuse me, I'll now go and hide under my duvet till some time after my birthday, by which time I expect I may need to come back out and eat, but please, just don't talk to me today.

In the meantime - here's a wee song I learnt when I was in France - that's what Europe means to me. I'd rather listen to that than today's news.

Here are the lyrics:

Bien sĂ»r, ce n'est pas la Seine 
Ce n'est pas le bois de Vincennes 
Mais c'est bien joli tout de mĂȘme 
A Göttingen, Ă  Göttingen 
Pas de quais et pas de rengaines 
Qui se lamentent et qui se traĂźnent 
Mais l'amour y fleurit quand mĂȘme 
A Göttingen, Ă  Göttingen 
Ils savent mieux que nous, je pense 
L'histoire de nos rois de France Hermann, Peter, Helga et Hans 
A Göttingen 
Et que personne ne s'offense 
Mais les contes de notre enfance "Il Ă©tait une fois" commence 
A Göttingen 
Bien sĂ»r nous, nous avons la Seine 
Et puis notre bois de Vincennes 
Mais Dieu que les roses sont belles 
A Göttingen, Ă  Göttingen 
Nous, nous avons nos matins blĂȘmes 
Et l'Ăąme grise de Verlaine 
Eux c'est la mĂ©lancolie mĂȘme 
A Göttingen, Ă  Göttingen 
Quand ils ne savent rien nous dire 
Ils restent lĂ  Ă  nous sourire 
Mais nous les comprenons quand mĂȘme 
Les enfants blonds de Göttingen 
Et tant pis pour ceux qui s'Ă©tonnent 
Et que les autres me pardonnent 
Mais les enfants ce sont les mĂȘmes 
A Paris ou Ă  Göttingen 
O faites que jamais ne revienne 
Le temps du sang et de la haine 
Car il y a des gens que j'aime 
A Göttingen, Ă  Göttingen 
Et lorsque sonnerait l'alarme 
S'il fallait reprendre les armes 
Mon cƓur verserait une larme 
Pour Göttingen, pour Göttingen 
Mais c'est bien joli tout de mĂȘme 
A Göttingen, Ă  Göttingen 
Et lorsque sonnerait l'alarme 
S'il fallait reprendre les armes 
Mon cƓur verserait une larme 
Pour Göttingen, pour Göttingen

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Aldi, Newton Mearns

Wee heads-up to my Newton Mearns mates: be careful if you're out shopping down in Greenlaw village. Someone opened my mum's handbag and removed her purse in Aldi on Tuesday without her noticing. They have CCTV footage of the theft but that's cold comfort. She now has the hassle of cancelling all her cards, driving licence, dealing with police and not having any way to pay for anything for the next week etc. Lowlifes.đŸ€Ź

The only good news is that she'd just given all her cash to my nephew for his birthday last week, so all that was in her purse (now she's cancelled the cards) was a ticket to a Cliff Richard concert this autumn. Hell bloody mend them - I suspect it won't be exactly what they will have been hoping for! 😂

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Shitty new passports

The girls's new passports just turned up. Ten days to go till the lunatics finally take over the asylum and still, they have decided to make the new ones a little sadder and more insular. I feel my wee multi-national girls have been cheated.

I'm so glad they still have another option to keep their ability to work, study, travel, live and love all over our beautiful continent, rather than being isolated on a nasty little inward-looking island. I hope, by the time their next renewal comes around, the government back home will have begun to come to its senses.