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Me And My Girls


So… Last week I accepted a job near the Flâneur Garden, so basically I’ll now be a complete country bumpkin living in the sticks… Well, I celebrated the new job by buying three hens!

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Above is Nora. She’s my favourite… For one thing she’s the one who comes closest to being sociable so far – though they arrived here 48 hours ago, so I’m assuming they’ll get used to living here soon enough. But also she’s in a bit of a state, having been bullied rather badly by the cockerels at the farm, so she has some bald patches on her back and on her chest. New feathers are growing out, though, so she’ll be pretty and healthy-looking within a month or so.

And “Nora”? Well, read Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” about a woman who ends up running away from an abusive marriage and I’m sure you’ll understand why that had to be her name…

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This is Nora (to the right) and her sister. They’re both white Sussex – a breed I actually reared in our back garden when I was a kid and teenager – but the third one has a tendency to hide, and her black colour with a brown collar makes her rather more adept at hiding, hence the lack of photo-documentation for her. The third one is called Magda; she’s a Jersey giant, so I wanted to give her a name that reflected her body shape… Something with a certain level of gravitas! (Because damn, she’s heavy – and likely to reach 11-12 pounds in time…)

I wish I had a photo of Magda to share, but I’m trying not to be too intrusive while they get used to their new surroundings. Fortunately they seem to have understood that the hen house is their home, so they go there themselves around sunset and all I have to do is close the door.

(And the reason Nora’s sister hasn’t been named is that I simply haven’t thought of a name that suits her – and also that I just don’t know her personality enough.)

So there. I have chickens… More life in the Flâneur Garden! I’m rather in love with them – there’s something very comfortable about hearing the occasional clucking of the hens out in the garden.


No, it’s not another kitten, don’t worry. I have my hands full with just the one, thank you very much!

Rather, it’s a little bit of my family history I’m buying into.

I’ve bought a small (12 litres) fruit press!

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The largest juice producer in Denmark, Rynkeby, was founded in the village of Rynkeby in the 1920’s. It had started a few years previously when a widow and her daughter started a little cottage industry in juicemaking and it became such a hit that they turned it into a real, industrial production. In the early 1930’s my great-grandfather bought the first set of industrial machinery (partly hand-powered, partly electric) from the factory, and ever since then my family has been meeting up during the autumn school break to make apple juice.

Funnily enough, when my great-grandfather’s farm was expropriated to make way for a huge housing estate of concrete blocks (Vollsmose), my grandfather ended up buying a farm in Rynkeby, and this is where we now meet up at my aunt and uncle’s place and make some 1,200 litres of apple juice every year. We still use that machinery to this day.

Well, I have a glut of apples in my garden – more than I could possibly eat – so I need to find uses for them. And why not make juice? I mean, I’ve done it since I was barely able to walk, so…

I have a while before the apples are ripe enough – which is great, since I need to work out how to preserve it. Back on the farm we bottle the juice, cap the bottles and pasteurise the juice so it literally keeps for years, so I’ve just ordered a small bottle-capper gadget (nothing like the sturdy ones we use to the larger-scale family operation, but it should do the trick) and a load of caps. I can do pasteurisation in the ovens (I have three) and recycle various bottles, so while it will take absolutely ages to get it done on my own, at least it’s feasible.

I’ll test it tomorrow with grapes (I have a glut of those, too), just because… I mean, a man and his newest toy =/= patience! Though the grape juice can only be frozen since the bottle-capper won’t arrive until next week… (And no… I’ve tasted enough attempts at making wine that turned out really bad! Not going down that road… But I know how to make juice!)

A New Companion


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Internet, meet Loke! Loke, meet the internet!

Last Monday I caved and went to a cat shelter, just to have a look and get a feel for whether I wanted to get a successor to poor little Punto. Well, it felt right… So I put down a deposit for this little black kitten – 3 months – and arranged to pick him up yesterday because he needed to get his shots and be neutered before leaving the shelter.

Yesterday afternoon I brought him home to the Flâneur Garden.

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He quickly found one of Punto’s champagne corks and was playing around merrily within 15 minutes of being let out of the carrier box… He seems quite content and friendly – a very worthy heir to the legacy of Punto!

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Naming him for the Norse God of Mischief, Loke, seems to have been the right choice, as last night he twice turned off my laptop by walking across the keyboard, three times turned off my WiFi, sent one Facebook message to one of my friends and turned on the Firefox de-bugger twice… This little kitten has some MAD tech skills!

(And very little understanding that we’ll both have a much nicer time if he sits in the window next to my desk where I can pet him with my left hand, rather than when he walks across my keyboard while I try to shoo him away…)

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He’s dreadfully sweet, though… His personality is just as I hoped it would be – and once he grows up a bit I think he’ll be very good company. (I knew getting a kitten would be a bit of a handful – and he is, but in a fun way.)

To round it up: I think we’ll make a good team. Søren & Loke…

Punto The Cat


The Flâneur Garden is in mourning these days. The little cat that car-jacked me two months ago had an accident on Monday evening while they were mowing hay down in the meadow by the lake, and around midnight he came limping into my sitting room.

One of his paws was badly injured, so I took him to the nearest 24-hour vet for an X-ray that confirmed that… Well… My little hunter was to go no more a-hunting.

He would never be as happy as a three-legged cat, so I asked the vet for a hug and then told her to go ahead. He was already sedated because of the X-ray, so he didn’t even feel the needle.

I brought Punto home with me. Around 2am we were home again, and I pulled a spare mattress into the sitting room and slept on the floor next to his little carrier box.

On Tuesday morning I took Punto for our last walk into the garden and buried him in the corner with the best view of the fields and meadows where he used to roam. Yes, I know… I’m terribly sentimental by nature.

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He came into my life by accident – but he came to matter a great deal to me. A very great deal. He was such a friendly, adorable little creature, and he completely stole my heart.

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We had two great months together. Sometimes you have to take the happiness you get and accept the grief when it is lost.

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A friend planted this white lavender in a pot in her back garden in London as a memorial to Punto. That’s really silly. Really silly, like falling for a strange cat that stows away in your car at a service station. I like it a lot. I like that my little guy managed to make ripples across the North Sea; that’s pretty well done for such a little cat.

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Orlando…


Have you ever been beaten up for leaving a specific bar? Have you ever been beaten up for holding another person’s hand in public? If not, then maybe that’s why you don’t understand how deeply this has affected me. I – and lots of my friends from all corners of the world – am still coming to terms with the Orlando shootings.

I’ve taken my beatings. I’ve goddamn earned the right to be deeply impacted by such a hate crime as this. I’ve held my arms in front of my face so they could only hit my body. I’ve taken my bruises and I have grown to accept this as normal. Yes, accepted it as “normal” that if I hold someone’s hand or go as far as kissing them, the consequences might be very concrete and unpleasant.

And so I continue to feel the impact of the Orlando shootings. I continue to mourn, grieve, rage… And yes, I will continue to be wary of holding someone’s hand unless I have scanned the area and feel sure there are no threatening people around. And yes, I will still check myself when out in public to make sure I don’t come off as “too gay”. And no, I will probably never grow out of that fear.


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There was a weird thumping noise coming from the attic, so I went up to investigate and found nothing. Then when I went outside to check I saw the above sight.

No, that’s not an owl on my roof.

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Yes, that was the cat on my roof this morning. No worries; the cat is just on the roof. Nothing to stress about or anything. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen. Oh… Hrm… Here, kitty-kitty! Come down, please?

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Eventually he did come down, though. Or, well; he made it down to the gutter and then sat there confused as I tried to lure him over to the garage roof so he could jump down onto the old pig pen and down to the ground. After that adventure he wisely took refuge in the greenhouse – one of his favourite hang-outs on chilly mornings.

It was 7C / 45F when I woke up this morning, and though it is now (6pm) only just under 20c / 70F the sun is out in full force, so it has been hot enough for me to bask on the lawn in my underwear while the cat has been wise enough to hide in the shade of a shrub. And yes, I did fall asleep, but fortunately not for long enough to get burnt – and I have now retreated into the shade.

This summer living? I can get used to it… Fresh strawberries with breakfast, lunch and dinner, days where “mowing the lawn” is the only item on the to-do list…

Okay, So Cat…


The cat wasn’t chipped, doesn’t have an ear tattoo, and none of the major animal societies in Denmark have a report of a similar cat missing in that region, so…

I’ve gotten the motorway service station where he jumped in my car to put up a poster with his picture, and I’ve posted him on the major Danish “lost animals” websites, so I’ll give it a fortnight before I close the deal and take him to the vet to get him chipped and registered.

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I promise, he doesn’t normally look as evil as in this photo, but whenever I kneel down to take a photo of him he runs to me and starts rubbing his head against my hands, so it’s very hard to get a decent shot of him…

If nothing else, this picture proves that not all Scandinavian homes are furnished entirely by IKEA.