Monday 29 November 2010

Silent Night...

I took this picture on our way home late on Saturday night. The snow absorbs so much sound if you stood still it was quite literally silent. It hasn't stopped falling for a few days, which makes me glad we are living in Scandinavia right now - the UK is also suffering, and will most likely grind to a halt sooner or later. Having said that, a snow day would be nice sometimes....

Thursday 25 November 2010

Dangerous Activities

Those of you who know me well may find it hilarious that I have recently discovered that I enjoy running & jogging. As a child I never took part in a single sports day due to my life-long loathing of all competitive sports and physical activities (apart from swimming which I have always loved, but I will save swimming in Denmark for another post possibly!), it has come as a surprise to me how much I enjoy it, and how far I can actually run without collapsing (nobody follow me though as you won't be as impressed as I am)! Today was the first day back at school for my son after a spell of sickness, so having been stuck in with him for most of it, I felt that I should really get out and blow away a few cobwebs. However, due to adverse weather conditions such as snow and freezing temperatures, I decided it would perhaps be unsafe to go running, so opted for a walk instead. Wrapped up in my thick down winter coat, it felt like it certainly felt like a more sensible idea than going for a run - until I slipped on the ice and ended up flat on my back in the middle of the road with a very sore head. The hood on this particular coat usually annoys the hell out of me if it's not actually up on top of my head, it's not detachable and feels like I have a small koala bear clinging to the back of my neck, which is especially annoying when I am driving etc. but in all likelihood(!), my hood saved me from getting concussion, as it acted as a buffer between my head and the road, which is a good thing I maybe it's earning its keep after all! I still managed to take a few pictures though, whether slightly concussed or not !

The lake is beginning to freeze, I wonder if they will be skating in on it again soon?...

Saturday 20 November 2010

Dead Drunk Danes & Other Day Trips...

We wanted to take my Sister and Fiance to a few places we haven't been before, so we went to Gilleleje last weekend, a tiny old fishing port on the North Coast. It's very picturesque, and I imagine it's even more so in the summer, but on this trip we didn't hang around outside for long - the wind chill factor meant we had to bid a hasty retreat into the closest restaurant, as it felt like our ears were going to drop off! We had a nice lunch at Far Til 4 and introduced my sister and her other half to some more traditional Danish fare...

On Sunday we went to the Vikinge Skib Museet in Roskilde. This place is definitely worth a visit, as is Roskilde; one of the oldest cities in Denmark. If you have time, you should not only visit the museum, but the huge Cathedral nearby (where the Kings and Queens of Denmark are buried) and the City itself. The day we visited was very atmospheric as a thick mist hung over the Fjord, serving as a fitting backdrop to the skeletons of these huge beautiful ships. It took 30 years to restore them back to this state and it gives you a real insight into Viking life.

During the week we also went to Louisiana , where this time I actually had time to look at some of the collections rather than going straight to the Children's wing... There's some great stuff here, I loved the fabulously named "Dead Drunk Danes" by Danish artist Asger Jorn. As an abstract painting it's hard to decipher whether it was a self-portrait or not, but the title won it for me! There's currently a great temporary exhibition (running until March 2011) by American Artist Walton Ford, (no pics allowed due to copyright issues, got very nicely told off for just having a camera around my neck!), but you can get the gist of his stuff here. There's also a collection of a series of paintings of female pilots from the Second World War. Information about the (pretty much unknown) role that each woman played is given underneath. As you walk through the hall, the noise of old aircraft plays in the background which is effective and strangely moving. After all this appreciation, it was time for lunch in the fantastic cafe that overlooks the sea. This Christianshavn Kager made me eat it, probably because it was quite possibly the nicest cake I have had here (so far)...! My grandparents visited Louisiana in the 1960's when they did a house-swap with a Danish family. It was funny to think they probably stood looking at the same Giacommetti's as I did. They were over when the moon-landing took place, which made it especially memorable to them as they didn't have a TV at home at the time - but the Danish family did! Poor Danish family, they had to knock on a neighbour's door in order to watch it. They were also asked to look after an undulator, which they agreed to, not having a clue what it was, and wondering whether it was a boiler or other machine that needed looking after, it turned out to be one of these....

Yesterday we woke up to our first snow of the winter which was nice for our guests - it was officially the first time my nephew has ever seen white stuff! It didn't settle in the centre of town, but we still have a covering in the garden. It does seem quite soon though!!

We said a sad goodbye to our guests this morning, it was so lovely to have them here. I miss being around the corner from both of my sisters, so any time we spend together is special at the moment. We managed to cram in a night out though - my sister's first night out alone since she had the baby. We went to Ruby to celebrate her engagement with a quick cocktail (the Carrot Cake Cocktail is highly recommended), then onto Mikkeller to meet some friends. The children loved having them here too and relished the time spent "looking after" their baby cousin (which included giving him his first unsolicited chip much to my sister's horror!). I am not sure they enjoyed the aborted landing at Gatwick due to another plane being on the runway, nor some of their luggage going missing, but all in all a great time was had by all. It seems so quiet here now! Time to regroup and get back into our "normal" routine before our next guests in three weeks time.

Thursday 11 November 2010

St.Mortens Aften

A homage to the traditional meal that is held here on the 10th of November every year, in honour of St Martin or St Morten as he is known in these parts. According to the story, he didn't wish to be ordained Bishop so hid in a goose shed, but their loud cackling gave him away. He then had to become Bishop and decided that that would be a good a day as any to slaughter the geese of the land in return for their betrayal, and it became an important medieval feast day. How he is the Patron Saint of animals with that track record I don't know! Most people nowadays cook a duck as they are smaller and cheaper (and easier to cook in my experience)! We had ours a day late in honour of my sister, fiancé and baby arriving for a visit. The duck was delicious stuffed with apples and prunes, but the Rødkål (red cabbage) is something I will never be a great fan of! No candied potatoes for us either, just the boiled variety served with brun sovs (gravy)! The duck fat will make great roast potatoes on another day though! Apparently if St Morten's Aften is mild (which it was), we will have a white Christmas - we shall see!

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Nearly Bare.....

This is the walnut tree in our garden. My parents once had a village pub called exactly that, and guess what? It had a walnut tree in front of it! It's still there I think, although it was the victim of many an accident, including a Robin Reliant exploding underneath it. The walnut tree in our garden is hanging on to its last few leaves for now, but the garden is covered so you can guess what we will be mostly doing this weekend! It hasn't produced many walnuts this year though. According to English folklore, you are supposed to whack the trunk with a stick to produce a good crop the following year... a good job for stick boy!

We have had a crazy couple of weeks what with half term and the like. Our first lot of guests arrived on the Thursday of half term, in time to visit Halloween Tivoli on the Friday. They loved it and couldn't get over how many pumpkins there were, it was also much warmer than Halloween Tivoli last year which was a good thing, but it was sooo much busier... I don't think Halloween was that big in Denmark until recently, but (like the UK) it gets bigger each year, and Tivoli's marketing is obviously working! Our three year old was given some candyfloss which was nearly as big as him. After a few minutes he began to look like one of the X-men with a bright orange, very sticky sugar crust over his entire face and hands. A woman pushed passed us on her way out and got rid of most of it for me when she walked off with half of it stuck to the side of her coat. She was in too much of a rush for me to be able to tell her, so I expect she was really pleased to discover that later on! But luckily the small boy was completely oblivious to the fact that half of it had disappeared. Horrendous stuff!

On the Saturday we went to the Frilands for their last day before closing for the winter. They had a great festival in the form of a 17th/18th century carnival which was fantastic! The kids loved the "circus" and the pretend strong man and performers. At the end of the show, they announced that a "beautiful lady" was about to perform, out came a girl with a large blouse with fake arms attached. Her real arms (or rather elbows) formed her "boobs" under the blouse which she then moved about in time to music. The children all stood saucer-eyed at this, their faces were a picture. I would have taken a picture of them, but it definitely would have had camera shake as I was laughing too much. At the end of her performance, she leaned forward and produced two material boobs out of the front of her blouse. After she had left the stage, we asked our three year old what she had done. He said "she showed us her cakes..."!!! Bless!

Sunday we went for a long walk through the forest. Our friends couldn't get over the amazing autumn display we are enjoying at the moment. I don't remember last year being like this, it is pretty breathtaking, although rapidly disappearing in the wind...I don't know whether the bitterly cold winter had something to do with the amazing colours perhaps, but I love it! I don't think I could ever live somewhere that didn't enjoy a good autumn!

That afternoon, I had a text message, it simply said, "see you Friday!" I immediately knew who it was from - my father, a Yorkshireman of limited text words! Hence the lack of blog, for which I apologise, but we have been too busy gallavanting to Sweden (and various other places) where we drove down towards Ystad again, this time stopping at a tiny fishing port called Abbekås. When we got there we were flagging as it was past lunchtime, so we took a chance (it was Sweden after all!) on a small place there called Abbekås Hamnkrog for lunch. What a find! The owners are so friendly and welcoming and the food was wonderful! I had plaice with roasted beetroot in lemon and a beurre blanc. It was huge and delicious and I didn't have room for the potatoes. The children had authentic swedish meatballs made to a family recipe (with the nicest mashed potato I have ever had) with lingonberry jam, and my Husband and Dad both had plates of herring and smoked eel. This place is also a hotel, it's peaceful, the food is excellent and the staff act like you are their very first (and best) customers - what more could you ask for?

A couple more days to enjoy my Dad's company before he goes back home. I will update again shortly - honest!

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