New in Denmark

X marks the spot!

On Friday my DS14 (Dear Son, aged 14) went to a birthday party/sleepover at a classmate’s house.  All the boys from his class – that would be twelve of them – were invited, as is the general rule here for birthdays.  You invite the entire class (boys plus girls).  Or all the boys.  Or all the girls.  No picking and choosing individuals, no leaving people out.  Which is a great idea!  But can be quite the logistical conundrum with around 25 kids in a class…  So often two or three kids will hold a joint party – holding it in the biggest home – and the parents split the costs. Hats off to those brave Danish parents in DS14′s class who open their hearts and their home and invite all sixteen (count ‘em!) girls for an overnighter! :P

But I digress!

DS14 packed the gift for the Birthday Boy (a ‘goodie basket’ he made himself containing sweets, soda and crisps).  Oh, yes, forgot to mention that there’s also a general rule of how much to spend on birthday presents – absolutely essential with those 25 birthdays a year.  Or make that 50, or more, if you have two or three kids.  Eek!  We, the parents, decide the amount at the beginning of term and it’s currently DKR 30-50 per gift (UK £3.10-5.25, US $5-8.50).

But back to Friday and DS14 who was champing at the bit, ready with the gift, his sleeping bag/mattress and toothbrush (ha ha, as if he was actually intending to use it!). So off we tootled in the car.

We checked the address before we left (DS14 hadn’t been to this particular house before, as it’s a completely new class), got to the street and slowed down, peering out the car window for the right house number.  But – hey ho – there was no need to worry…  Because X marks the spot!

Yep, when you see the Danish flag stuck in the ground, you know a party is never far away :)

Just don’t confuse the large party flags (above) with those itty, bitty, cocktail-stick-size ones (below).   Those teeny red and white pennants are – as I hope you will remember – a warning to pedestrians of upcoming dog poop!  (Join the protest…stick a (Danish) flag in it!)

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Diane :)

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!” :D

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! :P

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 :)

Danes and Ultra Toilet Humour

One of the other denmark.dk bloggers, Diane, recently wrote a post a regarding “Udsendelsesophør” on the DR channel Ramasjang – http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2014/09/03/ramasjang/. Udsendelsesophør translates to broadcast termination and is shown when there are no more programs to be aired that day. Even though Udsendelsesophør is on to indicate that there are no more shows on the channel, it is a show in of itself. For those that may have missed Diane’s post, she told us that Udsendelsesophør on Ramasjang consists in characters from the channel sleeping with a clock counting down until everybody wakes up. Ramasjang shows this when little Danes are getting tucked up in bed themselves, I imagine in a bid to show the little Danes that they really should be going to bed and not still playing.

DR Ultra is the newest of channels launched by the Danish television broadcaster DR. The channel was launched in March 2013 and is aimed children between the ages of 7-12. Usually, Ultra is not one of the channels that I would pay attention to when flicking through the channels. However, I saw that Udsendelsesophør appears at the end of their day of airing and I wondered if it differed from what is shown on Ramasjang. Without watching the show, a difference to note is that on Ultra the broadcast termination doesn’t begin until 22:00. Already a sign that this is for bigger little Danes, compared to the 20:00 start for Ramasjang.

Turning on Ultra’s night time show, I was left scratching my head in confusion as all was on the screen were security camera views of empty corridors. I guessed that the aimed was to bore the bigger little Danes to sleep. Yet, without knowing that is a broadcast termination, you would be forgiven for thinking that you had switched on a sort of horror movie. The corridors are dimly lit with flickering lights. The girl from the exorcist would feel right at home on this set.  It seems that Ultra’s Udsendelsesophør is set in the school in first season of Forbrydelsen.

 On the verge of turning over and thinking nothing more of it, a man dressed as though ready for the jungle with a net comes running down a corridor. He is attempting to catch a butterfly, which keeps him busy for the whole show. At one point, the man seems to have killed the butterfly and proceeds to resuscitate the insect, until it flies off and the chase begins again.

Ladies watch out, as the next character on the show may be one for keeps. The screen switches to inside a public bathroom where a man walks into a toilet cubicle. This is followed by what can only be described as the sound of the world dropping out of his bottom. Talk about bad guts! He then strolls over to a sink to check himself out in the mirror and pop a puss-filled spot on his nose onto the mirror. He then walks off, leaving his remnants dripping down the mirror. To be fair to this character, it is not just him that must have eaten a dodgy meal that day. Every character, male or female, that goes into the toilet to do their business is as loud as an orchestra, at least the ‘wind section’ anyway.

The public bathrooms are where a lot of the different scene with the characters take place, like someone helping a guy who has given himself an electric shock due plugging in a dodgy electric shaver….

.It seems that Ultra have taken the concept of ‘toilet humour’ to another level. It makes me wonder what the intention of the broadcast termination is. It is interesting to think that there may have been a boardroom where business people met to discuss what should be shown from 22:00-06:00 on a channel aimed at bigger little Danes. “There are characters passing wind whilst sleeping on Ramasjang, so we could ramp that up.” “What about a guy popping his spots to the camera” “A guy cannot get into a VIP toilet so he just urinates in the corridor and walks off” (Yes, this also happens). This isn’t a complaint by any stretch. I am just curious as to what the thought processes were when deciding what is shown. My understanding of what is going on is harboured due to not speaking a lot of Danish yet. However, I doubt that they are discussing existentialism and Sartrean angst of choice whist gathering in the bathrooms :P

Ending the post with what I think are my favourite characters in the broadcast termination. Two pranksters place what looks like dynamite or fire crackers inside a toilet for an unsuspecting victim.

A guy jogging down the corridor, faux Rocky Balboa-esque, runs into the toilet (another with bad guts) and gets what I imagine is the fright of his life. The scene ends with cocky Rocky running off down the corridor whist being on fire.

 

The pranksters also rig one of the taps in the bathroom with green goo so that when a tap is turned the goo shoots out at the surprised recipient. To add to this he also gets feathers blown at home to add to his misery.

Ultra’s Udsendelsesophør gives us an insight into a whacky sense of humour that the Danes have. I just feel sorry for Danish doctors, as there is obviously something in the bacon that gives Danes explosive bowl movements.

Dan.