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Archive for March, 2016

Too Posh?


I just commissioned an areal drawing of my house…

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Okay, so what I did was to ask a friend to make a fantasy drawing based on this 1973 photo of my house. All I’ve asked is that he produces something that can hang next to this 16″ by 20″ photo, but there is no need for it to actually resemble the house. He’s allowed to imagine it any way he wants to – also the shed – and I’ll just have to wait and see when it comes to the result…

When I say “fantasy drawing” I actually mean it… he has free reigns to add towers, domes, whatever on his drawing.

My only limitation is that it needs to be large enough to hang next to the original photo, so it needs to be A3 at least.

(He’s very good both at sketching real environments – I have a framed drawing of his from Venice that I really like – and imaginary scenes. I want him to draw my house as it has never been and never will be, yet recognisable…)

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Lots of Everything


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Lots of geese… The wild geese are still hanging out in the fields around my garden in their hundreds. It is an impressive sight when they all take flight at the same time, though in this picture it’s just a small part of the flock. My guess is the entire flock is close to a thousand when they are all together, but really; counting that many birds is a) impossible and b) beyond my patience threshold. Suffice to say there are LOTS!

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My garden has snowdrops by the thousands. This is just one of the patches where they’ve naturalised in the lawn, and on top of that there are more regular clumps of them in the beds and borders. When the flowers begin to go over – but before the leaves die down – I’ll be digging up a few of the clumps to divide, and replant some and pot others up for a few friends who would like some. They can get a few hundred each, I suppose, and nobody will be able to tell the difference next spring.

The dog is not mine; he’s just vacationing with me while his owners are getting some sun in Maspalomas. Tomorrow I have to return him – I think that’s probably the best way to ensure they let me borrow him again in the future… So far I’ve been dog-sitting him three times in 2016 already, so even though he’s a bit of a bratty, 2½ years old springer spaniel, he’s definitely growing on me. And I’d like to think he enjoys my company as well, not to mention vacationing in a garden with loads of wild geese to chase in the fields around!

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“Lots” means something different when it comes to my hellebores; they aren’t present in their thousands or even hundreds, but there are 6 good, large plants throughout the garden and they’re all blooming now. I tried growing hellebores (helleborus niger) in the old garden, but they died each time I tried, perhaps because of the damp clay soil. Here, though, they seem to thrive – though of course this is a different variety and a completely different soil type.

I really feel blessed to have taken over a garden that offers up so much for me to enjoy so soon in the season; it is an easy garden to fall in love with, both in terms of what is inside my fence and what lies beyond. I can’t imagine ever tiring of the fact that I have a lake view when I stand in the shower in the morning… I mean, how many people have a shower with a view?

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More Tea, Vicar?


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The local vicar called me the other day and asked if she could stop by for a visit. I guess that’s a sign that her parish isn’t terribly large when she does something like that – and can keep track of when new people move to the parish.

She had an agenda, which was why she wanted to meet me… She had heard from the couple down the road that I had dinner with last week that I was a bit of a leftie, so she thought I might be interested in helping her with a collection that the Church of Denmark is making Sunday after next to help disadvantaged women in developing countries.

When she arrived, though, she was very apologetic – it seems the parish border is some 200 yards west of my house, so I’m not even in her parish, though my postcode is named for the village… I pointed out that technically I belong to the parish by my Copenhagen apartment anyway, and besides I doubted if women in Burkina Faso and elsewhere really cared much about Danish parish borders…

So 9 days from now I’ll spend a Sunday morning going door to door, collecting money to give women access to healthcare and education. Surely there are worse ways to spend a Sunday, right?

I love this aspect of country life; that you are assumed to be part of a community, even as a part-time resident. (And even if you happen to live 200 yards over the parish border…) I’ve never in my life tried having a vicar invite herself over, nor been directly asked to take part in this sort of thing – though I’ve previously volunteered to collect for the Red Cross and the Danish Refugee Council, so she couldn’t have found an easier person to talk into this.

It certainly didn’t do any harm that she’s a charming and interesting person; she was ordained in the late 1960’s, some 20 years after the first female priest was ordained in the Church of Denmark, so she’s a bit of an old, feminist hippie in some ways – as am I, only a bit younger… I could definitely imagine myself dropping in for coffee at the vicarage in the future, though sadly she’s retiring this summer when she turns 70 as per church policy.

Funnily, though, she will move from the vicarage to an apartment some 500 yards from my apartment in Copenhagen! I would say “it’s a small world”, but of course the truth is that Denmark is a small country… (I mean, my local electrician used to date the daughter of the man I bought the house from, so he came here frequently in the 60’s – though he never saw the upstairs bedrooms before I bought the house!)

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