Tuesday, November 30, 2010


At the risk of harping on about the weather, it is pretty darned cold here at the moment. There is ice appearing in the sea over the road from the office and we are told to expect some serious weather on Thursday and Friday with temperatures down to -15C (5F).

I am certainlky hoping that the winter will not be like last year otherwise that lawn won't be seeing the light of day again for another 5 months. If it does appear to be the case that we are in for a long freeze, I think I will have to invest in some studded snow tyres for my bike.

I am fianlly starting to feel as though I want to ride my bike so it is typical that the weather is conspiring against me and whilst I would like to ride outside, I am not yet sufficiently motivated to want to sit on the trainer in the basement.

Guitar practice is progressing nicely but I am struggling with Lars' old guitar. The search for a used one continues...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Snow snow snow

We have 12-15 inches of snow here now. Many of the counties have announced that they are not clearing snow until January because they used their snow budget up last winter. As a result I turned around and came home again this morning before I got to the motorway.

We had a great Christmas party day on Friday. We went to a dirt race track in the snow and ice and spent the day racing around in a colection of old Astras. I've never raced a car on ice before and it was acutally much easier than I expected, I suspect because the surface under the ice was not completely flat.

Anyway I drove in 2 races and won both of them despite the fact that I managed to stall twise trying to get off the line in the first race.

The sun shone all day (well as long as it does here in the winter - not that long) and that made the -7C just about bearable. I was happy to have brought a LOT of clothing with me along with a hat and gloves.

The evening do was the usual marathon of drinking and eating which I tried hard not to get  lost in too deeeply. Thankfully I wasn't too bad on Saturday morning and a brisk, hour long march around the lake in Viborg helped to clear my head and gave me a chance to chat with some people I don't get to see too often.

Sunday was spent putting the winter tyres on the Mazda and making a chicken pie for dinner to go with my invention of the year so far - a bread and butter pudding made with a bag of day old danish pastries I got cheap in the supermarket.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snow snow snow

It is obviously my fault that it is snowing so much here. There are a few centimetres lying on the floor and it is still falling.

Why is it my fault?

Well I didn't get around to putting the winter tyres on the Mazda at the weekend so MK is sliding around with the summer tyres on in the snow whilst I am waiting to go to the Toyota garage thir morning to get the it's wheels changed. I guess it will be the usual job of either changing them lying in the snow or finding a clear piece of car-park where I can do it myeself.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Feeling coming back

The feeling is coming back to my fingers at least when I type so maybe I'll manage more than 10 minutes on the guitar tonight before my finger tips tell me to stop.

We bought a new bed for DK at the weekend becuase he can't really fit in his cot with his brace on any more. He will be moving into a full sized single bed at the weekend with a rail to stop him going over the edge. He seemed very excited in the shop trying them all out. Let's hope that he like sleeping in it as well as bouncing on it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

D, E and A chords

K delivered L's old guitar on Sunday morning and after taking the kiddies to the swimming pool (I mean going swimming, not taking a dump), I spent a bit of time starting to learn some chords.

I got through the first lesson and can now make some reasonably competent D, E and A chords. I really enjoyed it and am already looking forward to moving onto some minor chords this evening. The only real problem is that I have completely numb finger tips on my left hand as a result of pushing the strings down. I guess my fingers will get accustomed to the strings much as my backside became accustomed to sitting on a bicycle seat but in the meantime, I guess I'll just have to man up.

Next up I am told that I need some new strings for this guitar and I could do with a plectrum or two.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just in time

My new boots arrived in the post yesterday which was perfect timing because it has been snowing here all morning and despite the fact that the temperature is a little above freezing, the snow has settled and we have an inch or so covering the garden. The kids are very excited about it, but I can just see that I am going to have the usual fun of putting the winter tyres on the car after it has started snowing for the second year running. Will I ever learn?

The Timberland Earthkeeper boots are apparently environmentally friendly and contain 1½ plastic bottles in the soles. Not being able to get my size in any of the shops in the UK meant that I had to buy them on eBay. Despite the shipping costs from the UK, they were £30 cheaper than in the shops in the UK.

Now that K&L have told me that there is an unused guitar in their basement, I can have a go at trying to play without shelling out for an instument. I guess that will avoid me finding myself in the same situation as the guy I was trying to buy a sused one from. He claims to have owned it for 1 week and played it for only 2 hours.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Before we went to England, I had become somewhat interested in the ukelele having heard someone playing one on a podcast that I enjoy. I didn't think much more about it, but I did think to ask Ben about his guitar(s) and how he got on with them. I was rather impressed with his playing - his teacher "couldn't teach him any more" - and gradually began to think about playing myself.

I have investigated lessons and found what appears to be a good resource for learning online with lessons for free that some nice guy has put onto youtube as an entire course (justinguitar.com), failing that, our next door neighbour is a music teacher and I have seen him with a guitar case on his back before now when heading out on his bike.

However, there is a problem, I don't have a guitar. I have looked around the web and the general advice is that you have to try before you buy so blind mail order seems to be out and the used ones I have found are very expensive (mostly several hundred pounds) or just junk so I think I may end up going to the guitar shop in CPH and getting some advice on a new one. I suspect I may end up with one the same as Ben has.

Anyway, it seems like a perfect thing to do this winter and I hope that all the hours I spent learning to play the piano may come in handy when I get around to picking up a plectrum.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Back to the Denglish

I had my first Danish lesson in 4 years yesterday and it was both pleasant and depressing at the same time. Karina, my teacher, also taught me 4 years ago and she was happy that I have progressed quite a lot since I last spoke to her. I have had some other lessons in the meantime, but not many and I appear to have forgotten most of the grammar that I ever learned.
She was amazed that I am able to speak so well, given that I more or less never practice and when pushed to do some grammatical exercises, it seems that I don't know the past tenses of many of the most basic verbs. There is a lot of work to do.
I am having a couple of lessons a week for a couple of months with the deal being that when my boss comes back from his extended vacation in February, that we will only speak Danish. In the meantime, I've got some homework to be getting on with.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back at it

We had a great week in England visiting family and friends, thanks to everyone who put up with us and put us up. DK had a check up on his feet and they are fine. His right foot appeared a little tight, but in general they were great. He has to keep waering the brace in bed for as long as we can make him but it will be at least until he is 4.

J's english was really good and he had a lot of fun playing with his cousins. DK had fun too and seems to understand a lot even if he doesn't say much yet, other than asking for ice cream which he does a lot.

I also ate far too much English junk whilst at home - biscuits, cakes fish and chips and more cake and more biscuits. I knew that I would and I enjoyed it, but now I am dieting properly to make sure that I can still get into my clothes at Christmas. The aim is to keep going through to next summer for the Marmotte so that I can finally get my gold award.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Normal service will resume in a few days

I'll probably be taking a break from blogging for the next week, but hope to return with plenty of interesting stuff on 15th November.

Have fun out there!

Thursday, November 04, 2010


I went to the physio yesterday afternoon to find out if my Pilates has been helping or hindering the recovery of my back. He seemed fairly impressed that I could do all these fancy Pilates moves, but in the end it seems that the repetitive folding myself in half isn't really the right thing to do with my specific problem. Then what? We set about creating a new routine for me to do a few times a week to get more of a workout for my core than just the static and stretching exercises that I have been doing until now.

So I am now supposed to spend 5 minutes each day crawling around on the floor and then do some rather difficult exercises on a Swiss Ball. I had never really used one before and I was a little apprehensive about simply rolling off it onto the floor, but it was fine. I think it will be fun doing these exercises and maybe getting a few new ones to do as time goes by.
Less fun where the squats and lifts that he wants me to do. I need to learn to bend and crouch better so I have to do these exercises. I was a bit wobbly walking by the time I left the place yesterday and my legs are aching this morning. I think there is a lot of work to be done on that, but it is good to know that I can move on with some new challenges.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

That's 2 hours I won't get back

I have decided that I should complete my Danish language education if I am going to be here for a few more years and develop my career so after a chat with my boss last week I set off to my old language school for a test yesterday.

Of course, when you can't book a time at the office, you have to turn up and hope to get a test and yesterday I couldn't. Today I waited a couple of hours for the test to be completed, only to be told that they don't really have anything suitable for me. I know I can understand most of what is said and apparently I can speak OK, but I can't write Danish any more. The advice from the miserable middle aged woman was to try another language school.
The next step is to speak to one of my former private teachers and see what she suggests as a way of making progress. I suspect that answer is that I simply need to start speaking more Danish to practice, but I want to have a few lessons to get into the swing of it because at the moment, I don't feel like I can express myself at all.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Drying out

We had margaritas on Friday night and rather enjoyed them. Unfortunately we ran out of lime and tequila by the end of the evening so I tried a sidecar on Saturday evening and that was rather good too (Brandy, grand marnier and lemon juice in a sugar frosted glass).

That sat quite nicely on top of the beer  that we had with lunch and the wine that we have been drinking nearly every evening for the last few weeks. As you may be able to imagine, if we drink a bottle of wine in an evening, then MK has 1 or 1½ glasses and I drink the rest.
The result is that I have been drinking rather too much and I suspect that I am beginning to look forward to my evening tipple more than is healthy.

When I add this to the fact that I am quite sure I have gained a few pounds over the last couple of weeks from eating too much in general and cake in particular, I am left with a rather tough choice. Carry on and get fatter, more out of shape and gradually pickled or do something about it.

I have chosen the second option. So I haven't drunk anything since Saturday evening and I won't until at least Christmas (I may have a  drink at the Christmas party). I am strangely conscious of not drinking anything in a way that I was not at all conscious that I had been drinking a lot. The next step is to get working on the training to be in good shape on my bike next year, but that is another post.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Birthday Weekend

Saturday was the family birthday with T,B,H,K,L and A attending, we had a house viewing in the morning so it was a quick round of pancakes, then tidy up at get out by 10 to pick up some bread and things to go with lunch. We ate too much, had a short walk and then had more cake and coffee. J wasn't too well durting the day and seems to have some sort of flu, but he was OK again on Sunday morning for the kids party. We had the usual stuff, J and I made sausage rolls (with bread instead of pastry as is normal here) and fairy cakes whilst MK took DK to gymnastics then  seven 4 to 5 year olds arrived for a 4 hour marathon which included lunch:

Pass the parcel which was completely new to (and wasted on) Danish kids

A treasure hunt which was supposed to take them at least 30 minutes but MK couldn't help telling then where the clues were hidden.

Finally there was cake. This being Denmark, we had to have the 24 fairy cakes that J and I had made in the morning and this cake man which was the same size as Daniel. It is basically the biggest (and tastiest) Danish pastry you have ever had so I had to try and give away as much as I could to the parents when they came to fetch their little darlings.

That was a hard weekend, I really feel like I need a rest now.