Danish, Danish (and only Danish) Music Day!

Tomorrow, 27 October 2016, is the last Thursday of the month of October which means that it is – selvfølgelig! – “Spil Dansk” (Play Danish Music) Day! 🙂

So don’t be suprised if the only music you hear on Danish state radio is by Danish groups (some of which also sing in English), Danish songwriters, Danish producers. Anything that has even remotely been touched by the red and white flag counts! But if you’re interested in Hit Lists and what you’d normally expect to hear around these parts – and what people actually buy and add to their collections – then take a look at Hitlisten.nu where you’ll find every official Danish list. There are the usual American artists, as you would expect, but also Danish artists like Lukas Graham, Volbeat and Rasmus Seebach are still in there. On a side note, Hitlisten’s info on the increasing number of vinyl records sold is rather interesting for an old, nostalgic lady like myself 😉

One of the more avant garde and original Danish artists right now is Bisse, who has taken the reviewers and the indie fans by storm. In Denmark, albums are given marks (or hearts) out of six. Here’s his own song, where he gives, “Seks hjerter til livet” – “Six hearts to Life”.  Check out his album “Højlandet” which got 5/6 stars across the board from Danish reviewers. Bisse sings in Danish and you can hear him on soundcloud here.

And what do I currently have on my turntable? Agnes Obel. I’ve never really been a huge fan of her, but I love, love, love her latest album, “Citizen of Glass”! Agnes sings in English – here’s the song “Familiar” from the new album. And, although she has been settled in Germany for a few years, it’s kind of cool that she was born around the corner from us and was a former pupil at my DD14’s school (dear daughter, aged 14)…

But while we’re at it…let’s not forget one of our old favourites from Marvelous Mosell (with a teeny bit of help from Chic and Sister Sledge…) which contains the immortal lyrics:

Der var både bajere og hash,

men jeg sagde: Stik mig bare en

kærnemælk i et snavset glas

med et sugerør i

og gør det i en fart, for jeg er sørme tørstig!”

“There was beer and hash

but I said: Give me some

buttermilk in a dirty glass

with a straw, and do it nifty

‘cos I’m really thirsty” 😉

What’s not to love?!

Happy ‘Spil Dansk‘ Day! Put on those dancing shoes and remember to turn it up to 11! But don’t forget to get out and hear music live… Like Johan, from my very favourite Danish band Magtens Korridorer, you’ll probably be swept off your feet! 😉

magtensvega

Diane 🙂


Easter is coming…send a secret letter!

Fastelavn has been and gone. The snow has been and gone (with the occasional flurry to keep us guessing). So what’s next on the Danish calendar? Easter beer and eggs!

eggs

The kids will be on Easter break from next Friday – woo hoo – no more pesky packed lunches until they restart on Tuesday 29 March 🙂

But you can’t have Easter in Denmark without – selvfølgelig –  a traditional Danish Easter craft. Today we’re making a gækkebrev – a secret snowdrop letter!  For which we’ll need a vintergæk (snowdrop). My garden is currently full of them. Splendid!

snowdrop

If you don’t have a snowdrop, you may need to improvise. Draw one?  Now, did you know that gækkebreve are a purely Danish tradition?  I thought it was a Scandinavian thing.  But no.  It’s a crazy Dane thing.  And right now, as I type, little kids all over Denmark are sitting at home (or nursery, school, the museum or local library) cutting holes in paper and drawing lots of dots.  All in the hope of getting a chocolate Easter egg!  More on the logistics of that later in the post…  First up, let’s get making one! :)

You’ll need:

  • white and coloured paper
  • glue or a gluestick
  • a pair of scissors
  • a snowdrop

Choose a coloured piece of paper for your paper ‘doily’. Fold it in half, then in half again.  Draw a rough shape and cut out.  If you’ve never done this kind of thing before, keep it simple!  The Danes are world-famous for their intricate papercutting.  Hans Christian Andersen(you know, the one who wrote “The Ugly Duckling”, “The Little Match Girl”, “The Princess and the Pea”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “Thumbelina” etc, etc, etc…) was also an expert at papercutting.  I’ve only lived here for 18 years, so I’m still learning…

Open up up the paper and you should have something that looks like this.

Stick it on to a plain white piece of paper. I used a gluestick.  And it’s fine if it isn’tperfectly stuck down all over – it just gives it an even better 3d effect ;)

Then you’re ready to write a little poem on it.

Henne bag ved havens hæk, fandt jeg denne vintergæk.

Hej, min hvide lille ven, nu er turen din igen.

Du skal gå til min ven, hviske så kan kan forstå,

han må gætte prikke små, for et påskeæg at få!

.

But if your family and friends aren’t Danish, you’ll probably want one in English, right? Try this one for size:

Snowdrop, snowdrop, snowdrop fine,

Omen true of hope divine,

From the heart of winter bring

Thy delightful hope of spring.

Guess my name I humbly beg.

Your reward: An Easter-Egg.

Let these puzzling dots proclaim

Every letter in my name

.

Now listen carefully.  [I shall say this only once…]  At the bottom of the gækkebrev,DON’T sign your name.  You draw a large dot for every letter of your name.  So my name, Diane, would be  . . . . .    If the person who receives the letter guesses who it comes from, you have to give them an Easter egg.  But if they can’t guess, they have to give you an Easter egg.  So disguise your handwriting and be creative!  I usually put in three dots for M.U.M.!  ;)

The final touch is to pick a snowdrop from your garden – just draw one if need be – add it to the letter and send to a friend or loved one.   And keep your fingers crossed that theydon’t guess who it’s from…

God Påske!  Happy ……!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 14 December (Et barn er født)

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Once again, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

14 DECEMBER

Today is Sunday, the third in Advent, so this morning the kids opened their third adventsgaver

…and we lit the third candle in our adventslysdekoration

How about a bit of Danish music today?  So far you’ve heard the ‘most played’ Danish Christmas song “Jul, det’ cool!”(a rap) and another about elves (and rats), “På loftet sidder nissen…”.  So let’s look at the archetypal Danish Christmas hymn, “Et Barn er født i Bethlehem” (A child is born in Bethlehem).  It’s one of the ones our family sings when walking around the Christmas tree after dinner on 24 December, just before the presents are handed out.  And a song you’ll hear in every single nursery, school and church.  If you are lucky enough to find an available seat in the church, that is.  The Danes are notchurchgoers – unless it’s Christmas!  Yep, most Danish churches have to bring in extra folding seats, to cope with the sudden demand… ;)

Anyway, seat or no seat, you can learn the psalm in a snap because it’s so simple – each verse contains just two lines (half of one of which is repeated) and then ”Halleluja, halleluja!”.  So even if you don’t speak Danish, can’t remember the words or your eyes can’t decipher the tiny letters on the hymn sheet, you can always join in with some hale and hearty hallelujas!

et barn

I can play it on the piano but, instead of torturing you with my own rendition, here it is, sung by Dario Campeotto….

If you want to have a go at singing it yourself, then go check out a nifty little site called the Online Danish Hymnbook – Den Danske Salmebog Online.  You can choose whether you want to be accompanied by a church organ or piano!

Okay, clear your throats and get ready to stand up and sing! Or do as the Danes do in church…and sit down and sing? ;) (Stand up, Sit down, Sing along!)

Et barn er født i Betlehem

Mel.: 15. årh. / Lossius 1553
Tysk visemelodi omkring 1600 / A.P. Berggreen 1849

1

Et barn er født i Betlehem,
thi glæde sig Jerusalem!
Halleluja, halleluja!

2

En fattig jomfru sad i løn
og fødte Himlens kongesøn.
Halleluja, halleluja!

3

Han lagdes i et krybberum,
Guds engle sang med fryd derom:
Halleluja, halleluja!

4

Og Østens vise ofred der
guld, røgelse og myrra skær.
Halleluja, halleluja!

5

Forvunden er nu al vor nød,
os er i dag en frelser fød.
Halleluja, halleluja!

6

Guds kære børn vi blev på ny,
skal holde jul i Himmel-by.
Halleluja, halleluja!

7

På stjernetæpper lyseblå
skal glade vi til kirke gå.
Halleluja, halleluja!

8

Guds engle der os lære brat
at synge, som de sang i nat:
Halleluja, halleluja!

9

Da vorde engle vi som de,
Guds milde ansigt skal vi se.
Halleluja, halleluja!

10

Ham være pris til evig tid
for frelser bold og broder blid!
Halleluja, halleluja!

Latin 14. årh. Tysk 1545. Dansk 1544. 1569.
N.F.S. Grundtvig 1820 og 1845.

* * * * * *

Amen!  And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


Halloween! And the Marsh Woman is brewing…

Woop, woop!  It’s Friday and – for the kids and the young at heart – also Halloween!  The weather in Copenhagen is perfect for a spooky night: our clocks went back on Sunday so it’s twilight by 5pm, there’s a real chill in the air and it’s not really raining but just damp. Yesterday morning we had hard frost but the most beautiful sunshine.  I went running in the park with a friend at 8am and – boom – we both exlaimed, “Mosekonen brygger!” 🙂

“Mosekonen” means “the Woman of the Marsh”.  And when there’s a ground mist like this, the Danes say that the Woman of the Marsh is brewing!  Poetic, non?

When I first moved to Copenhagen 16 years ago, Halloween wasn’t really a big deal. Very few people had lit, carved pumpkins outside their doors.  There were just two or three costumes you could choose from at Fætter BR (the Danish toyshop chain).  I always had a huge bowl of sweets ready…but no-one ever rang the bell! 😕

Nowadays it’s common for kids to go door to door asking “Gys eller Guf?” (Trick or Treat?).  And many will bake cakes or treats to take into school.  Here’s the batch my DD12 (dear daughter, aged 12) made for her Manga drawing class.

And it’s not just the kids who are getting into Halloween here.  Even the makeup ladies in our local MATAS (Danish chemist shop/drugstore chain) had ‘scary’ black and white Halloween painted faces this morning…  Hee hee, made a nice change from the ubiquitous ‘orange’ faces!  I’m being kept busy too…  My DS14 (dear son, aged 14) has his entire class (28 – count’ em – boys and girls!) coming here for a party tonight.  Yikes!  Or should that be Eeeeeek?

Let’s just hope we have enough crisps, cakes and sweets to stop them from turning into…right little monsters! 😈

Have a fabulous and frightful Friday!

Diane 🙂


Granny, your Mum's Mum and your uncle Bob!

Hello, hello  – yes, I’m still here!  I haven’t been away on holiday, honest.  I’ve actually been unable to post since the end of last week (the Denmark website was moved to a new server and some gremlins apparently went along for the ride).  But, hey ho, the editors here tell me that we’re all good, so finally I can write, write, write!

Tivoliis open for Halloween at the moment, so I took the kids in there on Sunday afternoon…

Pumpkins, spiders and limbs galore and lots of other spooky stuff.  Yes, yes, we even braved Hotel Scary.  And, yes, yes, I was the one who screamed loudest!

Anyway, after the shows and rollercoasters, we wandered around the gardens looking at the stalls.  DD12 (Dear Daughter, aged 12) spotted some personalised mugs – you know the type…

Maybe we should buy some as a Christmas present for Granny and Grandad in Scotland? Now, dear Reader, in Denmark you have a choice of three mugs for Granny. Listen up, I shall say this only once!

“Mormor” which is literally “Mum’s Mum”.  “Farmor” which is literally “Dad’s Mum”.  And “Bedstemor” which is Grandmother or Granny.

And another three for Grandad.  “Farfar” which is literally “Dad’s Dad”.   “Morfar” which is literally “Mum’s Dad”.  [On a sidenote: the Danish expression to “tage en morfar” means to take a nap! 😉 ]  And finally we have “Bedstefar” which is Grandfather or Grandad.  

So you just need to decide if the gift is for your Granny on your maternal or paternal side and…Bob’s your uncle! 😛

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Diane 🙂

 


Spunk?! Well, it doesn't mean vacuum cleaner…

Today’s post will make you think I have a childish sense of humour (if you’re British), or that I have an indepth knowledge of Danish sweets (rest of the world).  Here goes!  Have you seen Danish spunk?

It comes in small, cellophane wrapped packets.  Available as wine gums or [blech!] salty liquorice flavour.  You will remember that liquorice is my arch enemy! 😉  Lakrids.  The (Danish) root of all evil.

Now, to me, spunk is something other than wine gums [yes, yes, childish sense of humour]. But moving swiftly on…what does spunk mean to the Danes?  Well, spunk is a word invented by Pippi Longstocking – the Swedish girl with the red-stick-up-in-the-air-braided-hair who can lift a horse, has a pet monkey, etc.  One day she makes up a brand new word and, when her friends Tommy and Annika ask her what it means, she says “If only I knew!  But it doesn’t mean vacuum cleaner!” 😛  So off they go into town, asking the baker, ironmonger, doctor and even two genteel old ladies if they have a spunk or have seen a spunk…  In 1971 Galle & Jessen (Danish sweetie makers) needed a name for their new sweet, found inspiration in the old Pippi Longstocking book, and – lo and behold – Spunk sweets were born!  If you want to read the book for yourself, it’s “Pippi Langstrømpe i Sydhavet” (Pippi in the South Seas).

But, hey, if you open up the Spunk packets and take a closer look, there’s more.  Road safety instruction!

I love this one.  “Nr. 27 Er du sikker på, at du kan ses, er du mere sikker.”  (Number 27: If you’re certain that you can be seen, then you’ll certainly be seen.)

But back to the childish humour.  And a pub located behind Copenhagen’s central station.  “A pint of your best, please, landlord!”

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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! 😛

Diane


Donald Duck, a Swede and a blonde walk into a bar…

I’ve never quite understood the Danish mania for Anders And – Donald Duck.  But my DDH (dear Danish husband), DS14 (dear son, 14) and DD12 (dear daughter, 12) are real nerds and never tire of reading (and re-reading for the umpteenth time…) the comics.

I’ve lost count of the number of Jumbobøger (“Jumbo” books – comics in paperback format) we’ve acquired over the years.

And our weekly magazine subscription is slowly taking over DD’s bedroom and oozing down into the basement…

I never read the comics myself.  Though I always, always check out the “Helt til Grin” (jokes) section! 😀

The jokes are pretty straightforward.  And often fall into the same categories.  For example, teacher/pupil jokes…

“Læreren til Ole: Hvis jeg havde en hund, og den fik 6 hvalpe, og jeg gav dig to af dem, hvor mange hunde ville du så have?

Ole: Tre

Læreren: Hvad? Hvorfor det?

Ole: Jeg havde en i forvejen…”

“Teacher to Ole: If I had a dog and it had 6 puppies, and I gave you two of them, how many dogs would you then have?

Ole: Three

Teacher: What? Why?

Ole: I already had a dog to begin with…”

The obligatory blonde jokes…

“To blondiner mødes. Den ene har en stor sportstaske med!

– Hvad har du i tasken, spørger den ene!

– Kyllinger!

– Okay, hvis jeg kan gætte, hvor mange du har, må jeg så få en?

– Hvis du gætter det, får du dem begge…

– Okay, så gætter jeg på tre!”

“Two blondes meet. One of them has a large sportsbag!

– What have you got in your back, asks one!

– Chickens!

– Okay, if I can guess how many there are, will you give me one?

– If you guess right, you can have them both…

– Okay, I think there are three!”

And – selvfølgelig – jokes about our lovely neighbours across the water, the Swedes…

“Ved du, hvordan man holder en svensker beskæftiget i timevis?

Man giver ham et stykke papir og skriver “vend” på begge sider!”

“How do you keep a Swede occupied for hours on end?

Give him a piece of paper with “turn over” written on it!”

Not forgetting our fellow Scandinavians, the Norwegians!

“Gud havde egentligt tænkt, at Jesus skulle fødes i Norge. Der var bare et problem, som gjorde, at han måtte flytte det hele til Mellemøsten. Han kunne ikke find tre vise mænd…”

“God had actually planned for Jesus to be born in Norway.  But there was a problem which meant that he had to move the whole thing to the Middle East. He couldn’t find three wise men…”¨

Or my personal favourite from this week’s magazine:

“Hvor mange nordmænd, skal der til for at vaske en bil? Tó! Én til at holde svampen, mens den anden kører bilen frem og tilbage!

“How many Norwegians does it take to wash a car?  Two! One to hold the sponge while the other one drives the car forwards and backwards!”

Hope you ha-ha-have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Diane 🙂


Gæk, gæk, gæk? Guess your way to an Easter egg!

My kids will be on Easter break from Friday.  Woo hoo – no more pesky packed lunches for the next week!  (For them, school restarts Tuesday 22 April.)

And that – selvfølgelig – means it’s time for a traditional Danish Easter craft: making a gækkebrev – a secret snowdrop letter!  For which we’ll need a vintergæk (snowdrop).  Though – as we’re well into April – Danish snowdrops have basically gone into hiding again, so we may need to improvise.  Now, did you know that gækkebreve are a purely Danish tradition?  I thought it was a Scandinavian thing.  But no.  It’s a crazy Dane thing.  And right now, as I type, little kids all over Denmark are sitting at home (or nursery, school, the museum or local library) cutting holes in paper and drawing lots of dots.  All in the hope of getting a chocolate Easter egg!  More on the logistics of that later in the post…  First up, let’s get making one! :)

You’ll need:

  • white and coloured paper
  • glue or a gluestick
  • a pair of scissors
  • a snowdrop 

Choose a coloured piece of paper for your paper ‘doily’. Fold it in half, then in half again.  Draw a rough shape and cut out.  If you’ve never done this kind of thing before, keep it simple!  The Danes are world-famous for their intricate papercutting.  Hans Christian Andersen(you know, the one who wrote “The Ugly Duckling”, “The Little Match Girl”, “The Princess and the Pea”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “Thumbelina” etc, etc, etc…) was also an expert at papercutting.  I’ve only lived here for 16 years, so I’m still learning…

Open up up the paper and you should have something that looks like this.

Stick it on to a plain white piece of paper. I used a gluestick.  And it’s fine if it isn’t perfectly stuck down all over – it just gives it an even better 3d effect ;)

Then you’re ready to write a little poem on it.

Henne bag ved havens hæk, fandt jeg denne vintergæk.

Hej, min hvide lille ven, nu er turen din igen.

Du skal gå til min ven, hviske så kan kan forstå,

han må gætte prikke små, for et påskeæg at få!

 

But if your family and friends aren’t Danish, you’ll probably want one in English, right? Try this one for size:

 

Snowdrop, snowdrop, snowdrop fine,

Omen true of hope divine,

From the heart of winter bring

Thy delightful hope of spring.

Guess my name I humbly beg.

Your reward: An Easter-Egg.

Let these puzzling dots proclaim

Every letter in my name

 

Now listen carefully.  [I shall say this only once…]  At the bottom of the gækkebrev, DON’T sign your name.  You draw a large dot for every letter of your name.  So my name, Diane, would be  . . . . .    If the person who receives the letter guesses who it comes from, you have to give them an Easter egg.  But if they can’t guess, they have to give you an Easter egg.  So disguise your handwriting and be creative!  I usually put in three dots for M.U.M.!  ;)

The final touch is to pick a snowdrop from your garden – just draw one if need be – add it to the letter and send to a friend or loved one.   And keep your fingers crossed that they don’t guess who it’s from…

 

 

God Påske!  Happy ……!

Diane :)


I swear I heart Denmark!

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that my blog (hey, make that my general outlook on life) is a “No Whining!” zone.  Positive!  Upbeat!  Optimistic!  Sunny!  As the Flylady says, “Enjoy what you do.  And do what you enjoy!”  Which, in my case, selvfølgelig involves the words “skinny dipping” and “cold water”…🙂

I mean, come on, really…  Who wants to end up as one of those twisted and sad “my-life-revolves-around-leaving-negative-comments-on-social-media” kind of people?  Or, as is very common in the blogging world, the disgruntled expat, whose greatest joy is telling you what they (love to…) hate (about Denmark) and listing all the things that were oh so much better “back home”?  Yikes!

But…  [Ha!  Yes, you knew there was a “but” coming!]  But, okay, if you put a gun to my head and I had to name one – just one – little, itty, bitty thing that I dislike about Denmark, it would have to be the F-word.  Call me old fashioned.  I hate swearing.  Just ask my kids.  “Yes, Mum, we hear you!  Swearing shows a lack of vocabulary!”  In fact, the only time when you will ever (ever) hear me swear is down at the beach on the days when take-my-breath-away sea temperatures gang up with hold-on-to-your-hats storm force winds.  So it’s not really skinny dipping but more like being pummelled with rolling pins and stabbed by a thousand knives…  😉

But I digress!  Yep, the F-word is rife here.  You see and hear it in the Danish media.   All.  The.  Time.  I remember seeing “F**k” in a newspaper headline, lit up in giant neon lights at Rådhuspladsen (the town council square).  You’ll hear it in the playground at børnehave (nursery).  And not just from the kids, but also their parents.  Ouch!   What about that Danish theatre play with the oh-so-catchy title, “Jeg, mig, f**k dig!“?  (I, me, f*ck you!)  Oh, and will you be watching Eurovision, live from Copenhagen, next month?  Don’t worry, you can relax when you hear the Danish entry, Basim, “Cliché Love Song”.   Luckily for us, they’ve changed the original chorus of “a f**cking cliché love song”… 

…to the more demure “another cliché love song”. Phew! 

So with all those F-words flying around, I suppose I really shouldn’t have been toooooo surprised when this advert appeared on TV2 Zulu the other night.  What is it for?  Chocolate milk from Cult.  But not chocolate milk as we know it, Jim.  A high caffeine, energy type one.  With the oh-so-catchy name “Jeg er ik’ bare en f**king kakao“.  (I’m not just a f**cking chocolate milk.)  Um, really?  Who’s behind the advertising campaign – a bunch of 5th graders? 😛

Not enough F-words for you?  Then try their dedicated Facebook page – click here – though don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

I’d like one bottle of chocolate milk.  And could you put it in a brown paper bag for me, please?

Diane 🙂

 


The Danish Prime Minister (almost) got a nose. A small one!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Update to my original post from Thursday
23 January:

Helle didn’t get “a nose” in the end.
Today, 24 January, it was announced that, yes, the opposition parties
wanted to give her “a nose”. But that they couldn’t agree on the size of it.
;)

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
*

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, our
current (first ever female) Prime Minister
, was the top story in the Danish
news on Friday. Again. Yep, you’ll remember (or should I say, how can you
forget?!) that last month ”the flirty Dane” or “leggy blonde” got more than her
15 minutes of fame for her infamous “selfie” with Obama! ;)
Now, personally, I thought the incident was overdramatised. After all, the
Memorial was a joyous celebration of Mandela’s life, complete with music and
dancing. For pete’s sake, she didn’t take it at Mandela’s funeral…

But, as usual, I digress! Yes, on Friday Helle appeared before
Folketingets Restudvalg (the parliamentary council) to answer questions
about a sticky case, a real hot potato. I won’t bore you with the details here
but, if you are interested, you can see the background in English here.

Helle is often in the tv magazines…

At the end of the four and a half hour session, she was given en
næse
– or “a nose” – by the Committee. A small one. Don’t worry – her
face looks just the same. Though the look on her face may
selvfølgelig be a little different… Helle’s “næse” didn’t
involve any surgery. It’s just the Danish expression for giving a Minister of
Parliament a reprimand or a telling off. A political clip behind the ear. But
I have to say that it always sounds very strange to hear the tv and
radio pundits discussing it at length. “Hey, Jesper, just how big a nose is she likely to get?”
“Well, at this stage, Casper, it looks like a pretty big nose.” :P

This is Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s first ‘nose’. The record holder is Uffe
Ellemann-Jensen (the former Minister for Foreign Affairs). With no less than
80! A pretty pompous chap, he certainly likes to hit the headlines himself.
How about his one liner from 1992 – when Denmark had just voted ‘No’ to the
Maastricht Treaty and won the European Championship in football? “If you can’t
join them, beat them!”

Happy Thursday! Let’s keep our noses clean!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 4 December

Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!

4 DECEMBER

Brag alert!!!  I have all my Christmas shopping done and dusted!!!  Yep, I got most of it done last month, so that this month I can concentrate on enjoying the Christmas spirit.  As opposed to stressing out over the queues in the shops, temperatures dropping every day and the first snowflakes in sight!  Latest news from the Danish weather people is that we will have stormy weather tomorrow followed by snowflurries on Friday… 🙂

Christmas (w)rapping!

But I digress!  Here’s one of my favourite Danish Christmas songs which – ho, ho, ho – mentions the stress of Christmas shopping in Magasin– one of Denmark’s oldest department stores (now, sadly, owned by the British chainstore Debenhams).

MC Einar‘s rap song “Jul, det’ cool!” (‘Yule, it’s cool’) is not only catchy but absolutely spot on with its lyrics! ;)

“….It’s Christmas, it’s cool, have a look around,
15,000 people in Magasin.
They have wet leather shoes, they have scarves on,
and they have coats, gift packs, lots they have to do;
but they’re enjoying themselves – of course they are!
plastic stars, plastic fir trees and plastic snow…”

Turns out that those crazy Danes love the song too…because it’s the third ’most played’ Christmas song in Denmark (after Chris Rea and Wham!).  (You can see what other songs are top of Julemanden‘s hitlist here.)  And now for our singalong…

.

“JUL, DET’ COOL” – MC EINAR

Det skete i de dage i november engang,
at de første kataloger satte hyggen i gang.

Det jul, det cool, det nu man hygger sig bedst.
Det er julebal i Nisseland, familiernes fest.
Med fornøjet glimt i øjet, trækker folk i vintertøjet,
til den årlige folkevandring op og ned af Strøjet.
Der bli’r handlet pakket ind, og der bli’r købt og solgt,
tøsne snot i næsen det er pissekoldt.
Det er vinter, man forventer vel lidt kulde og sne;
men det’ er da klart at så’n en sag kommer bag på DSB.
Intet vrøvl har de forsvoret, det de helt sikker på;
men ved den første rim på sporet går møllen i stå.
Folk de tripper, skælder ud, ser på deres ure,
og sparker efter invalide, ynkelige duer.
Der er intet man kan gøre og de sure buschauffører,
gør det svært at praktisere julehumøret.
“Gå så tilbage, for helvede,” råber stodderen hæst.
Men det jul, det cool, det nu man hygger sig bedst.

Det jul, det cool, graner lirekasser,
der er mænd, der sælger juletræer på alle åbne pladser.
12 bevægelige nisser og en sort mekanisk kat
i et vindue ud mod Strøjet trækker flere tusind watt.
Kulørte julegave pakker i kulørte juleposer,
selv i Bilka, Irma og alle landets Brugser,
er der ægte julestemning og gratis brunekager,
der er hylder fyldt med hygge, der er hygge på lager,
og hos damerne i Illum kan man få det som man vil,
“Kontant eller på konto, hr.? Skal prisen dækkes til?”
De smiler og er flinke, mest til fruerne i minker
og gi’r gode råd om alt fra sexet undertøj til sminker,
og vi andre fattig røve, vi kan gå i Dalle Valle,
der er damerne så flinke, at de smiler pænt til alle.
Der er masser tøj i kasser, der helt sikker passer.
Det jul, det cool, graner lirekasser.

Det jul, det cool, kig dig lidt omkring,
15.000 mennesker i Magasin.
De har våde lædersko, de har halstørklæder på,
og de har overfrakker, gave, pakker, masser de skal nå;
men de hygger sig selvfølgelig gør de det,
plastikstjerner, plastikgran og plastiksne.
Sætter stemning i systemer, det så nemt og nul problem,
og kød blot julestuens julesæt med fire fine cremer,
eller sukkerkrukker, pyntedukker, pænt mondænt og ganske smukt
og søde sæt proptrækker, glas og øloplukker.
Fra en skjult højtaler installation
“Et barn er født i Betlehem” i Hammodorgelversion,
vi traditionsbundne folk i traditionernes land,
så vi hygger os li’ så fint vi kan,
og særlig uundværlig det er Magasin.
Det jul, det cool, kig dig lidt omkring.

(Højtaler lyde, som slutter med “Jamen du godeste er det allerede”)
jul, det cool sikke tiden den går,
der er intet lavet om siden sidste år,
det de samme ting vi spiser ,det de samme ting vi laver,
det de samme ting i TV, det de samme julegaver,
samme penge problemer det dyrt og hårdt,
udelukkende overtrukne kontokort.
Overflod og fråds med familie og med venner,
samvittigheden klares med en Ulandskalender.
Det er julefrokost tid traditionsspilleri,
spritkørsel, utroskab og madsvineri,
vi har prøvet det før vi ved præcis hvad der sker,
slankekur i januar og alt det der,
det et slid; men der er lang tid til næste år.
Det jul, det cool sikke tiden den går.

Okay, it’s a (w)rap.  Hurry up and get your Christmas shopping done.  But don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


You know you're in Denmark when… (Slut!)

You know you’re in Denmark when your daughter finishes off every single story she writes with the word…”Slut”!

Before you go calling in the child psychologists, you should know that “slut” is Danish for “The End”.  And in Denmark you’ll see the word emblazoned on everything from power-point presentations to TV screens… 

Have a terrific Tuesday!  The End!

Diane 😉

PS:  A reader reminded me of another “slut” picture – from our family trip to Møn (the White Cliffs of Denmark) in October 2010.  Here it is, in case you missed it first time…  End of Sale!  “Slutspurt”!

Okay.  I promise.  This is definitely The End! 😉

 

 


God sommer!

My kids had their last day of school today which – selvfølgelig – means that this is also my last blogpost until the start of the new term in mid-August…

Summer is here in Copenhagen!  More and more koldskål!  (Don’t know what that is?  Read http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2013/04/17/forarskriller/)

 Take a trip to the beach…Baywatch, go home! 😉

Don’t forget your sunscreen!

I’m planning to take it easy and will be enjoying the sights, smells and sounds that make me love Denmark and those crazy Danes.  Especially the signs!  Yes, yes, it’s childish, I know, but even after living here for 15 years, all those fart signs still make me laugh!  (For more of these silly signs, see my very first post on denmark.dk – Mind Your Language! and also Danish Anger Management , You Are What You Eat and Æ, Ø Å…oh, oh!)

Tee hee, I never tire of these signs!

Tee hee, I never tire of these signs!

See you on the other side!  God sommer!

Diane 🙂

 


What did you just call me?

The Danes are a pretty reserved bunch – they don’t raise their voices in
public or wave their hands about when they’re speaking. A very well-mannered
bunch. The exception to the rule being certain gymnasieelever (high
school kids) who love to binge drink, fight amongst themselves and smash hotels
whether they are on winter break in Prague, the Czech Republic or
summer hols in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria…
;)

But, as usual, I digress! Have you ever thrown a party/had guests over
to dinner? Bam! Before you can open your eyes the next morning or take your
first swig of coffee, text messages and mails will be ticking in saying “Tak
for sidst
!”

So although the Danes don’t gush in public, they’re quite happy gushing via
emails and on social media platforms from the relative safety of their
tablets/telephones/computers. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work in my time
– committees at børnehave (nursery) and teaching English at school –
here’s a little taster of the kind of messages I’ve received…

  • Mange tak for indsatsen!” (Thanks for your hard work!)
  • Godt initiativ!” (What a great initiative!)
  • Du er fantastisk!” (You’re fantastic!)
  • Du er en gave!” (You’re a gift!)
  • Du er en skat!” (You’re a dear!)
  • Du er som altid et hit!” (You’re always a hit!)

I’ve also been called things that I had to go look up in the dictionary!
;)
Or have my husband explain Like when someone told me ”Du er en
knag
!” Which I thought had something to do with a hook… (But, hooray,
hooray, I was getting en knag mixed up with en knage.) Anyway, hubby said it was a
real compliment. According to Politikens Store Nye Nu Dansk
dictionary, en knag is “a person you appreciate because they are
helpful, energetic or skilful”. Ha! Do we have an equivalent in English?
Hmm, I can only come up with a “jolly good fellow”!

And on that positive note, I wish you all – my merry readers – a
god weekend
. And – if it’s anything like it was down at the beach
this morning (air temp -1c/30f , water temp 0c/30f) – i solens tegn (in
the sign of the sun)!

Lovely morning for a swim!

Lovely morning for a swim!

Diane :)