Sunday, July 28, 2019

Time to learn to crochet?

As a small child I spent my Friday nights at my granny's. Granny knitted all her own cardies so I learned to knit. I don't knit much these days, but occasionally it's my de-stress mechanism - between Brexit and emigrating, I might soon have a blanket for each of my kids!

My mum always crocheted blankets, but I never learned to crochet. I know these days with YouTube it is easy to pick up but I've never really got round to it. I checked it out at one point a couple of years ago but it seemed so much slower than knitting, I quickly lost interest.

Denmark is much more artsy and craftsy than home - in so much as wool is available in every high street and supermarkets. There's even a wool shop that specialises in crochet patterns on Bogense main street. I must admit these patterns for VW camper vans are so cute, I might find myself back on YouTube for a tutorial or two in the near future. (And dare I ask - is that maybe a Chuggy pattern top left?!?!?)

Fastfood phonetics

I was in McDonald's last week... well, there's a phrase you don't hear me say often (it was 1am and I was driving from Copenhagen to Funen so the options were few and far between). It's an occurrence so seldom, in fact, that my nearly-12-year-old daughter was shaking with excitement at the prospect of tasting her first 'big mac' ever - child cruelty, I know but I have standards to keep up!

Anyway - it turned out to be more educational than I had expected. They had various options on the menu that they felt the need to explain the pronunciation of, and as an English native (who has both French and Italian), I have to say their suggestions raised an eyebrow or two! If this is how I need to pronounce these words here in Denmark to be understood, I may have a difficult hill to climb ahead of me.

Friday, July 05, 2019


When Thomas and I bought our first house with a garden (12 years ago), the first thing he wanted to plant was hollyhocks. I'd had a garden before and knew the word hollyhock but to be honest I couldn't have picked one out at an identity parade had my life depended on it. I think I vaguely thought they were probably some berry-based plants that looked like holly bushes!

I first noticed them here in 2016 on a wander round Aarhus. They were in the more built up residential areas sticking out of pavements. Now I'm on Funen, I realise they are everywhere. Danes love these tall, straggly beasts standing guard over their city houses and farm courtyards.

I had better pick a lot of seeds from my garden in Scotland to take out on my final farewell when I empty the house there so I can plant them all round my future home.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Den fynske Landsby

Everything on Funen is Hans Christian Andersen. He was born in Odense, so he's everywhere. I use the statues of him to navigate my way home from Odense - I already know which one to turn right or left at...

So, yesterday I discovered they had preserved a whole village within the city boundary of Odense(!) from HCA's time! This isn't a small place - it is a full-sized village. I thought it might make a nice wee day out. There are farm houses, smokeries, a manse, a fully-working windmill, a watermill, and much more. Even the pigsty is thatched! OMG - it is the cutest place I have ever been in Denmark! After a few hours inside, I marched up to the reception and asked for an annual membership. I fully intend to take every single person who visits me here on a day trip there! 😁

How to make kids attend on the last day of term

For the seven years the kids were at primary school, getting them in on the last day of term was never an issue, though it did seem fairly pointless. They'd watch a Disney movie or play a board game, then return home early, cheering loudly as they left the building. The biggies attended a high school with over 1200 kids. As soon as they started there, it became clear that attending on the last day of term was not the cool thing to do, by any stretch of the imagination. Already by the last week you needed thumb screws to get them out of bed as they claimed they were doing nothing of any use and instead of the usual huge traffic jam up Waterfoot road, there would be fewer than 20 cars on the hill. The last day often took a serious amount of blackmail. I made them go in, much to their disgust, and they would be corralled into a class with the other four or five kids from their 250+ year with parents as evil as me, once again to watch the first 50 minutes of a movie in each class before the bell rang! I never fully worked out whether the teachers and council would prefer us just to throw in the towel and give up altogether, or persevere. I was also often amazed that if I did manage to get them in (as one of about 10% of the kids who showed up), the school office would phone angrily if they dared to leave just twenty minutes before the end of the day, even if it was during the lunch break. All in all, the last day of the high school term was a complete washout and best forgotten.

Last week was the last day of the summer term here. I fully expected at least Léon's school class to have no interest in attending but I was very wrong. The last few days of term were spent intently beavering away on some communal secret plans. It turned out they were coming up with a menu - last time I saw it, it listed bacon, chicken bacon, hamburgers, pancakes, digestives, fruit juice, freshly-baked rolls, jam, grapes, watermelon, chocolate milk, eggs, etc and a list of activities. They turned up at 8am as usual - the entire class(!), each with an item or two from the list and spent the entire morning having a banquet with their main class. At lunchtime, they weren't hungry any more so the kids and their teachers walked over to the outdoor swimming pool (5 minutes from school), with the swimming costumes they'd agreed to bring along and spent the afternoon in the pool, finally drying off, lying in the park listening to music on a large speaker one of the kids had borrowed from his older brother. Finally around 2pm, the summer holidays were ready to begin.

Now Léon can't wait for the last day of every term in Danish school - he's already imagining Gløgg, Xmas cakes and cookies in December.