Read all about it! No more tomato, tomahto…

Several moons back, I told you that I have a tiny niggle about Danish libraries.  Now, to be honest, it was really only an incy wincy niggle – because, oh my word, how I love our Danish libraries!  You see, I thought it was reallyconfusing to have English language books split up into two different sections (British English or American English).  So you would often have to look in both sections before you could find the book you were looking for…    Danish Libraries (Part Three) – You say tomato, I say tomahto…

Anyway.  I was perusing the (beautiful) shelves of our local library on Thursday and it suddenly hit me…

Bam!  They’ve now put the whole lot together! “English and American” 🙂

Much better!  And a lot easier to browse…

And who did I need to thank for this marvelous – and no doubt very time consuming – reshuffle?  A librarian called Maria. “Tak, Maria!” 😀

On the other hand, I’m really pleased that they’ve still retained a sub-section of English and American novels…  My favourite genre, Crime!

There are shelves and shelves of English crime novels and it’s nice to be able peruse at leisure and find new authors to try.  Though I’m definitely the cosy crime type (like “Death under the Dryer” by Simon Brett, “August Heat” by Andrea Camilleri and “Bellfield Hall” by Anna Dean).  None of the heavy stuff, thank you very much.  Let’s keep it (u)hyggelig!

Have a marvelous (marvellous…) Monday!

Diane 🙂


Six sizzling sausages…

I’ll never forget my first visit to Denmark.  November 1992, I was working in Luxembourg at the time and my Danish friend, Lena, invited a group of us to go visit her parents in Lemvig (Jutland) for a long weekend.  So five girls jumped into a little car and off we drove…

As soon as we crossed the German border, Lena told us that we had to stop at the very first motorway services.  Not because we had to get petrol, but because she desperately needed a fix.  A “pølse” – a Danish hot dog.

So we duly stopped.  And we were duly hooked.  Can you believe we stopped at six different “pølsevogne” (sausage wagons) that weekend?!

 Twice on Friday, twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday… 😉

Now you may think that we only ate ‘fast food’ that dark, cold weekend in November. But no.  Lena’s parents were over-the-top-hospitable. And sweetie Mrs Jensen had prepared all of Lone’s favourite meals!  So we also tucked in to lunches of fantastic smørrebrød, dinner the first night was Forloren Hare (recipe is here – I heart Danish Comfort Food, Part Two), and the next a classic Danish Christmas dinner of roast duck followed by ris à l’amande…

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much in one weekend.  And my love for Danish food was born.  (By the way, Lena’s Mum even prepared “leverpostejsmadder” (liver pâté open sandwhiches) – complete with “rødbeder” (beetroot) on the top – as a snack for our return drive to Luxembourg.  A godsend because we – selvfølgelig – got caught up in 5 hours of “stau” in Deutschland.)

And those hotdogs?  Well, I still occasionally have one (usually at the airport, when we come back from a long trip).  But these days my favourite fastfood of choice (as you may have seen in Wednesday’s post) from our local pølsepusher is a roast pork sandwich – “en flæskestegssandwich”.  DDH drinks a Jolly cola with his, I prefer a Cocio (cold chocolate milk).  Just a regular Cocio,not a F**king Kakao, thanks!  But heavy on the pork crackling, please!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend – whatever’s on your plate!

Diane 🙂


What did you learn at school today? Hacking, Mindfulness or Bridge?

What did you learn at school today?  If you ask any 14 to 16 year old round these parts today, you might be surprised at their answer…

Today is the start of their 10 week long elective course.  They chose the subject themself.  From a catalogue that would make your mouth water…  How about “Masterbaker”, “Pastrychef”, “Cooking for Lads” or “Food from when Granny was a Kid”.  Or perhaps you’re the creative type?  “Songwriting”, “Animation” or “Architecture and Design”.  There is even “Hacker School”!  Useful if you want to go and work with the CIA or MI5, perhaps? 8) There are plenty sports to choose from, like “American Football” and “Basketball”.  Or perhaps you prefer the great outdoors and want to try “Parkour”, “Geocaching” or “Birdwatching”?  “Training for a Triathlon”?  “Learn to Sail”? Maybe “Mindfulness” or “Psychology” are more your cup of tea?  Yep, anything and everything is possible.  Even “Bridge for Beginners”…um, hold on, isn’t that only played in Agatha Christie novels?!

The top favourites (where they had to add extra classes) are “Baking and Pastry”, “Masterbaker”, “English, for those who want more”, “Spanish”, “Photography”, “Futsal” (a type of indoor football) and “Psychology”.  So what did my DS14 (Dear Son, aged 14) choose?  Chess.  He’s hoping to learn enough to finally beat his Dad! 😉  My DDH (Dear Danish Husband) was a chess champ (and Bent Larsen fan) when he was just a nipper…

And the most surprising thing of the lot?  The kids are mixed up regardless of age and the elective classes are not necessarily taught at your own school.  So most kids will be out cycling, on their own, to a different school in the local area.  Which could be anything from 1 to 7 kilometres.   Isn’t that great?  A real change of scene and air! 😛

My DS14 will have a bike ride of about 15 minutes.  Which just happens to pass by our favourite pølsevogn (sausage stand).  Hmmm, maybe I can meet my son for lunch next Wednesday? 🙂 

Diane 🙂

Jensen vs Jensen. No sh*t!

This weekend’s news headlines hit me right between the eyes.  Not to mention my pixie ears.  Kapow! 8)

But first – a bit of background!  Jensen’s Bøfhus (a Danish steakhouse chain with branches in Norway, Sweden and Germany, let’s call them The Giant) brought a case against Jensens Fiskerestaurant (a man, Jacob Jensen, who owns three fish restaurants, let’s call him The Little Man).  The Giant didn’t like The Little Man using the name Jensen for his chain of restaurants.  Even if Jensen is the most common surname in Denmark.  The Giant loses the case in Commercial Court, but goes on to win the case on appeal in High Court.  And, along with the right to use the name Jensen in the food business, is awarded damages of DKR 200.000.

No prizes for guessing what happens next.  “What? Goliath has beaten David?!”  A Facebook group, angry at The Giant treading on The Little Man, is born and thousands (and thousands and thousands… um, 110,000 when I checked this morning) of Danes sign up and swear that they’ll boycott The Giant’s restaurants.

I can appreciate both sides of the story.  Fair enough, go ahead and protect your corporate brand, bring a case.  But go after the principle, not the damages.  Will I be boycotting The Giant?  No need to – I’ve had ‘the pleasure’ of eating there a couple of times before and have absolutely no desire to return! 😛  But my kids remember the ‘eat all you can’ icecream with fondness…

But I digress!  It wasn’t the case that made me sit up and almost spill my morning coffee.  It was the English urban slang which had divebombed into Danish radio and newspaper headlines. (And we’re not talking taboloids here.)

—  Sh*tstorm —

—  Information: “Jensen’s Bøfhus: Vi sælger normalt under shitstormen”
—  DR “Ekspert: ‘Shitstorm’ kan blive alvorlig for Jensen’s Bøfhus
—  Politiken “Shitstormen rammer Jensen’s Bøfhus efter navnestrid”

Can’t the Danish media, please, pretty please, find another term?  Like “public outrage on social media”?  You all know how I feel about swearing!  (See my post “I swear I heart Denmark!“)

Sh*tstorm?”  For Pete’s sake – I’m trying to eat here! 😉

Have a marvelous Monday!

Diane 🙂


So you're Scottish?

Unless you’ve been hiding underneath a(n exceedingly) large rock for the last week, you won’t have escaped the worldwide media coverage of the Scottish referendum on Independence.  And if you’re a regular reader, it won’t have escaped your notice that I’m from Scotland 🙂

“Oh, you’re Scottish?!”, exclaim the Danes.  Before launching into, “I studied there!/We’ve toured around the highlands!”  Or, “It looks so beautiful!/We would so love to go there!”  (On a sidenote: when I worked in Luxembourg in the 1990s, the first comment I always got from Frenchmen was, “Oh là là – the film – Braveheart!”)

Males Danes will then often make a joke about kilts.

Then straight after that comes the classic, “Well, hey, you must drink a lot of whisky!”  To be honest with you, I can’t stand the stuff…  Give me a g+t!

And then there’s the really weird stuff.  Like when people start serenading me with that “classic” (and I used that in the loosest sense of the word…) Shubidua song “McArine” about the mean canny Scots who brews his own whisky…  Cover your ears and run for the hills! 😛

But back to the referendum.  Scotland said No (or “Naw”) to Independence.  Why? Well, you know, some things are just better together.  Like skinny dipping (vinterbadning) in the Danish sea.  Here’s a selfie from this morning with my two bffs – my tartan scarf kept us nice and cosy!  (Sea temperature was actually quite warm today, 16c/60f.)

And what did we have along with our cuppa (in addition to the usual cheeky banter) after our skinny dip?  Scottie dog shortbread biscuits.  Yep, got to love Scotland.  Land o’ (yummy) Cakes!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend.  Together!

Diane 🙂


You know you're in Denmark when… (Beds. Again!)

You know you’re in Denmark when…

Last month, I wrote about the strange Danish phenomenon of putting two single duvets on one double bed.

Today I was out shopping with my Danish BFF, who was looking for a new duvet for her daughter.  Now, Denmark has been my home for 16 years.  So I know – and have learned to accept – that the cost of living here is pretty high.  But can anyone tell me why, oh why, Danish feather duvets are so dang expensive?  Something to do with a special tax on duckdown?  Answers on a postcard, please! 😉

As we perused the racks in the shop, I could tell right off that this particular one was going to be pricey…  I mean, just look – it comes in a shiny gold bag!  One single duvet, Ma’am?  That’ll be DKR 2.500!  (Roughly £265 or USD $ 430.)

“The more you buy, the more you save!” What’s not to love?!  Two single duvets for [gulp] only kr. 4.499 (about £479 or USD $780).

But wait just a minute.  Here’s the bargain of the day.  One single duvet, normal price DKR 2.999 (roughly £319, USD $521), now a mere DKR 1.250 (roughly £133, USD $217).  Cheap at half the price!

And, no, before you even think it, we weren’t shopping in a fancy, schmancy top end department store.  We were in Jysk Sengetøjslager (“Jutlandish Bedlinen Stockist”) which – and let’s be frank here – is a pretty cheap n’ cheerful furniture and bedding store.

And my BFF?  Well, she wasn’t tempted by today’s bargains.  So back to (reasonably priced) IKEA it is, then!

Sleep tight!

Diane 🙂

Elephants or Danish kids in your house?

Do you know those ‘elephant’ jokes?  You know, like, how many elephants can you fit into a Mini?  Two in the front, two in the back!  How do you know there are elephants in your house?  There’s an empty Mini parked outside!  How do you know there are elephants in your fridge?  Footprints in the butter!  Boom, boom! 😛

Which got me thinking the other day.  How do you know when there are Danish kids in your house?  A pile of shoes or boots at the front door!

Or…  You can’t get into your garden for bikes, helmets and rucksacks!

My own two (half Danish/half Scottish) little ‘uns have had a tough day today.  I’m off to give them a cuddle.  And tell them a few (bad) jokes.

Diane 🙂


Living life dangerously! Danish hop on, hop off elevators…

Before we get started, I just realised that – hey – my very first post – “Mind your language!” – here on this particular blog also featured an elevator.  The one at “Hovedbanegården” (Copenhagen Central Station) with the sign that says “I fart”…  Yep, always a cheap laugh and never gets old! 😉 

But today I want to share another whimsical, curious, strange type of Danish lift.  I first came across this type of elevator when we moved here in 1998.  But forgot all about them until this week, when I started a new evening class (Swedish, in case you’re wondering) at the VUC building, Vognmagergade number 8.  That’s the street just across from Rosenborg Castle, the one with the giant clock…

In you walk and there it is, in all its old-fashioned glory.  A hop on, hop off, continuous loop elevator!  (Or paternoster, if you want the official term.)

Not for the faint of heart.  Pretty scary stuff – you need to time things right, take a deep breath and jump on!  Though the clanging, banging noises are strangely comforting and hypnotic.  (Apologies if the video is shaky – I was a tad nervous, the last time I used one was probably at Frederiksberg Town Hall in 1999!)

And what’s even scarier?  Um, when you have to jump off…  It might help to think of Doctor Who and shout “Geronimo”!  But what if you leave it too late?  And the worst happens, and you miss your last chance to disembark?  Well, keep calm, stand still and wait for the darkness.  Because the elevator continues down, down, down and then moves…sideways!  Sort of like the one in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 😛 After a pretty tense couple of seconds, you are back on your way up again.  Whew!

Aren’t they brilliant?  Three cheers for extreme elevators!  And three cheers for those crazy Danes, for preserving these beautiful machines and blowing a big raspberry at ‘health and safety’!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Diane 🙂



To be, or not to be (confirmed). That is the question! (Part two)

Okay, back to my DS14 (Dear Son, aged 14) and his forthcoming “confirmation” preparation classes.  Or, as they call it here, “at gå til præst” (“go to the priest”).  And no, it has nothing to do with the very smelly, rather rude looking mushroom I showed you in Monday’s post! ;P  “That smell? Must be the priest…

As I told you in Part one, confirmation preparation is scheduled into the school timetable.  Not having any previous experience (we don’t have the same tradition in the Church of Scotland) I hadn’t realised that – duh – we actually had to sign him up for the preparation classes. Oops!  Luckily, there wasn’t a problem with that.  Just a simple case of filling out a form (available online from the local church’s website) and hot-footing it over to the parish office…

So far so good!  Though, as we had feared, we didn’t really have any choice as to the actual date of the church service next spring (April/May 2015).  Out of the four or five possible days, there was only one date still available.  Take it or leave it!  The church has to limit the number of “konfirmander” (kids being confirmed) to 20 for each service to avoid the ceremony dragging on and on and on.  Not to mention the logistics of bums on seats bottoms on pews.  But, hey, at least we now have an actual date!  And can therefore tell family and our close friends to keep the date free. 🙂

So far so good!  Though now that we’ve started to tell people the date, they naturally ask where the celebratory lunch/party is going to be held…  At home?  A tent in the backgarden?  A local restaurant?  Time for DDH (dear Danish Husband) and I to sit down and start some serious planning!

So far so good!  Last weekend a letter came through the letterbox from the minister with lots of information and confirming the date of the church service.  He (the minister happens to be a ‘he’ but happily we have plenty of female ministers in Denmark too) went on to explain that he would actually be leading not one but two services that day, in order to accommodate everyone.  So would we prefer 10 am or 12 pm?  Not sure what the most popular choice is.  Perhaps 10am, so that you can sit down to an early lunch?  Well, given that most of our family will be making the journey by car+ferry from Jutland (the other side of Denmark), we’ve asked for the late slot.  Don’t want to run any risks and people singing, “Get me to the church on time!”

So far so good!  Phew!  And we can be thankful that it’s our boy being confirmed first. Have you seen the prices of confirmation dresses?  Extortionate, even at half the price!

Exciting times…stay tuned to find out more!

Diane 🙂

That smell? Must be the priest…

A word of warning about today’s post: genteel ladies should stop reading now.  Or at least go and fetch their smelling salts…

‘Tis currently the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness here in Denmark.  Misty – well, very damp and dewey – in the mornings, so remember to keep a cloth handy for wiping down your bike seat…

Fruitful because, whenever my back is turned, our two apple trees dump their booty on the lawn.

Danish kids are starting to collect chestnuts (Don’t know what to do with them? Here are some ideas!) and the world and his Danish wife are swapping the beach for walks in the forest. Several friends have posted pictures on facebook of their mushroom spoils, so I was delighted when I found several different types of toadstool on Saturday morning.  Don’t worry – we didn’t eat or pick them.  They all seemed to be hallucinogenic and/or highly deadly…  But beauties all the same!

But I digress!  (Ladies: smelling salts at the ready!)  Anyway, I suddenly got a whiff of what can only be described as sewage or rotting carcass.  And spied this, towering out of the ground…  What on earth?! 😯

“Ah ha!” exclaimed DDH (Dear Danish Husband).  “You’ve found Præstens Pik!” Which, excuse my French, translates as “the Priest’s Dick” or “the Priest’s Penis”.  I thought he was making it up but, no, that’s what those crazy Danes call it.  The latin name is phallus impudicus, and it’s a variety of “stinksvamp” (“smelly mushroom” or stinkhorn).  Now, I got the reference to the shape but asked hubby why on earth the poor priest had to be involved?  “Well, you see, it doesn’t get used and is in a state of decay…”  Ugh, wish I’d never asked!

And the end of the story?  Turns out it’s the only mushroom I found that isn’t poisonous.

And it’s edible.  Velbekommen! 😛


You know you're in Denmark when… (Crocodiles)

You know you’re in Denmark when…

It’s 10 am.  And there they are, a crocodile of Danish nursery kids.  You’ll usually see them in ‘troops’ of 20 kids and 3 teachers.

Yep, they’re out and about.  Whatever the season, whatever the weather (“You know when you’re in Denmark when…(No such thing as bad weather!)”)

Crocodiles of small Danish kids are a common sight.  What day is it?  It’s “tur dag” – ‘daytrip day’!

Most nurseries and kindergartens have set days for set activities, for example:

  • mandag, bagedag (Monday, baking)
  • tirsdag, rytmik (Tuesday, music and movement)
  • onsdag, legetøjsdag (Wednesday, bring a toy)

“Tur dag” is the day when the kids go on a trip.  Either to a museum, a nearby playground or even just a walk around the neighbourhood.  You know kids – a five minute walk soon turns into a thirty minute expedition when you stop to look with awe and wonder at every single snail, conker and (red Danish) squirrel that you meet along the way! 🙂

And what’s that at the back of the crocodile?  The ubiquitous Danish wooden wagon to hold the “turtasker” (“day trip rucksacks”)…

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend – wherever you end up!

Diane 🙂



We're off to bed, kids! Right here on your tv!

Can’t find anything decent to watch at 8pm?  Then you might want to tune in to one of the more bizarre sights on Danish children’s tv.  People in bed.  Sleeping. 😉

At the top of the screen there’s a live ticker, telling you how many hours it’ll be before they wake up again.  “Vi vågner om 7 timer og 53 minutter”. We’ll be awake in 7 hours and 53 minutes.  Highly addictive stuff!

The point of the programme?  Well, it’s not actually a programme as such.  At 8pm, the Ramasjang channelstops normal emissions and starts broadcasting footage of the kids’ tv presenters and characters sleeping because, well, you know, it’s that time of day when all tiny Danes really should be safely tucked up in bed.  So when little Frederik or Amalie start to protest, you can say, “Hey, get a move on!  Sigurd has his pjs on and is already fast asleep!” 😉

It’s a very soothing sight.  A clock ticks in the background.  Snores and contented sighs can be heard.  A guinea pig squeaks softly.  But, as you would expect from those crazy Danes, there’s also a bit of warped humour.  Um, what’s that strange noise?  Someone with a bad case of wind?! But then the camera zooms in and you can see that – selvfølgelig – it’s only someone playing an instrument in their sleep.

My personal favourite is Herr Skæg (“Mr Beard/Fun”).  In addition to his very, very, very long beard that goes down to his knees (yep, it’s real, I’ve seen him around town), he also has long legs that…

…stick right out the end of the bed.

As Mrs Meers from Thoroughly Modern Millie would say, “Everybody should be in bed by now!”  Goodnight!  And sov godt!

Diane 🙂

What a (Copenhagen) Mess!

No posts from me last week, as my family from Scotland were visiting.  And they seemed to have brought our typical (fickle!) Scottish weather with them in their suitcases… Yep, the start of the week was bright but chilly.  Then it warmed up and we had a few glorious days of heat and sunshine.

Then, come the weekend, it all went terribly wrong.  Thunder, lightning, torrential rain. And, to top it all off, flash flooding.  Which has left Copenhagen (and other parts of Denmark) with traffic chaos, water-logged buildings and a (very) sorry trail of destruction. Great summer weather? 😛  On our last night together (co-incidentally the very last day of summer, Sunday 31 August) I prepared a very traditional Danish dinner.  First up was Forloren Hare (Danish “Mock Hare”).  Which is the best meatloaf on the planet.  Honest!  Cross my heart and hope to die!  If you don’t believe me, see my recipe I ♥ Danish Comfort Food (Part Two).  Which I served with baby pots, carrots, lots of lovely sovs (“gravy”) and some freshly made Killer (Danish) Cucumber Salad.

But now for a (I admit, very tenuous) link to the mess after the flooding in Copenhagen! 😉  For dessert I made something my DDDMIL (Dearly-Departed-Danish-Mother-in-Law) often served.  There was never any official name for this summery pudding but, as it looks very like Eton Mess (or the Scottish “Cranachan”), I’m going to dub it “Copenhagen Mess”…

Take some fresh raspberries and strawberries (chopping them up into small chunks, if they’re on the big size).

Crush up some Danish makroner, and sprinkle them on top.

Don’t know what makroner (“macaroons”) are?  They’re small and very light.  And crunchy.  A cross between a biscuit and a meringue. With a strong taste of almonds. Nothing to do with dainty French macarons!

Whip up some cream and mix the whole lot together.  Not a pretty sight, but yummy!

If you really want to go the whole hog, then grate marcipan over the top.  Otherwise, just dig in.  (You can serve it with some vanilla icecream on the side.)

Velbekommen!  Bon appétit!  And here’s to the return of the warm, sunny weather – which returned yesterday morning in full force!

Diane 🙂