Friday, September 30, 2011

Beautiful day

We are having an Indian Summer at the moment, I rode my bike in shorts with short sleeves last night and I am wearing shorts right now (working at home this afternoon after a meeting in the centre of Copenhagen this morning).

This afternoon I am going to get a haircut to sort out the mess I made myself and then get ready for a barbecue this evening and my birthday tomorrow.

I need to figure out how I can watch or hear the world cup rugby match tomorrow morning between England and Scotland. Any recommendations welcome (live streaming maybe?)

Thursday, September 29, 2011


The new cooker was delivered on Monday but the plug didn't match the socket so we just called our tame electrician to come and sort it out as apparently that is a legal requirement.

He was a little confused that the cable (and plug fitted) only had 3 wires in it when the standard in Denmark is to have 5 so he had to change the cable on the cooker.

Then he went downstairs to the fuse cupboard and returned to tell us that one of the phases (is that the right name?) had tripped the circuit breaker. None of this really matters because he had the cooker going in a few minutes, but it does, however, appear that there may well be nothing wrong with the old cooker and the only thing we have achieved by buying a new one is that we no longer need to clean the old one.

That was really embarrassing!

Does anyone want to buy and working, but rather dirty Smeg cooker?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Birthday plans

As some of you will remember, it is my birthday this coming Saturday which apparently calls for some celebration. When I sent out the invitations to the Danish based family members, the sun was shining and I had dreams of walking in the forest and a barbecue in the late summer sun.

Despite the very encouraging weather forecast, the reality is that I don't want to try and feed 9 people out in the middle of nowhere with a wood fire and nowhere to prepare food or wash anything so I have decided to cook at home and then have a stroll afterwards.

So far I have decided that I would like to do braised lamb shanks for a main course, but I still have to decide on a starter (or nibbles depending on what I can come up with) and a dessert.

Being on a diet and having one day a week in which you are allowed to eat sweet things makes for a great deal of indecision. During the week you think of so many things you'd quite like to have that my the weekend, it is almost impossible to decide between them and you end up trying to eat them all. This is a recipe for belly ache and doesn't appear to help weight loss too much either although things are going well again this week.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

World Champioships

The whole family went to Copenhagen on Sunday to watch the World Championship road race. The weather was fantastic and everyone behaved so we had a great day. We got a good spot on a corner so we could see the riders coming into the corner and disappearing up the road.

There were too many people for us to go and see the finish or the awards ceremony, but we heard the commentary over the loudspeakers, and it was fantastic that Mark Cavendish won. The boys really enjoyed it so I am hopeful that they will develop some sort of interest in cycling in the future.

I am super busy at the moment, hence the short or missing posts. Soz

Friday, September 23, 2011

Self-Indulgent Bonus Post

So the weight loss has slowed quite a bit recently, but I am still on the diet and I think my body composition is still shifting, it more slowly.

I have had some odd realisations about life as less chubby person, some of which have been quite a surprise to me:

  1. I feel the cold more. This is not a surprise as I have experienced this before and it's not such a big change, I just sweat a bit less and wear a sweater more often
  2. The sensation of washing myself is different in that my shoulders and back feel harder and more bony. I don't really like it to be honest, but I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise
  3. I have bones in my back and bum that make it quite uncomfortable sitting on hard chairs
  4. It hurts more knocking against things like door frames and the floor when I fell off my bike
  5. I have very long bony hands with stupidly thin looking wrists
  6. The varicose veins on my legs stick out more which is not all that attractive
And finally, yes I am self obsessed!

Late night in Burger King

It's a very long time since I last found myself sitting eating in Burger King at 11:00 at night. The last time I did it was probably over 10 years ago and I was almost certainly one of the loud and annoying drunk people on that occasion.

Last night Bert and I worked until 10:30 at the office and then went to the hotel to check in before trying to find something to eat. The options were Burger King or 7-eleven - so no choice at all then. I only went with Bert to get some fresh air, but in the end I had a chicken salad without any dressing that was almost edible!

The hotel was fine and I enjoyed plenty of scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast to make up for last night and I am looking forward to a decent meal at home this evening

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Heating and the Worlds

We now have heating! It was a joy getting up at 05:30 this morning to have a shower in a warm bathroom. The 2½ hours drive afterwards was less fun, but that is life.

J and I went to Copenhagen yesterday to watch the cycling world championships. It was the time trial so the riders go one at a time against the clock meaning there is a steady stream of fast moving riders to watch. We also stood close to a big screen so that we could watch the action on that as well.

J sat on my shoulders throughout the afternoon which got to be pretty uncomfortable after a while but he saw a lot and enjoyed it so much that I may take him to watch the road race on Sunday as well.
It was great to see Bradley Wiggins getting a silver medal for GB

J's favourite - Fabian Cancellara could only manage 3rd after winning the last 4 years

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nearly Done

Apparently the plumbers should finish their work today which is great news because it if too cold in the house without any heating on and the cleaner is coming tomorrow and can get rid of the mess they have made in the house. To be honest there is remarkably little mess but it appears to be causing MK some serious trauma anyway.

 Heating as it was going in.
 New kitchen radiator
 Dining room decorating to be done ( possibly the most boring picture ever seen)
 More or less completed heating system (tall thing on the left is the hot water tank)
 The mess piled in the basement room to make space for the plumbers to work
J doing his homework (facepaint is from supporting at a school football match)
This afternoon (provided that the weather holds up) J and I are going to Copenhagen to watch the cycling world championship time trial.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Radiators and Cookers

The plumbers removed most of the radiators yesterday and started putting the news ones up. The disappointing news is that they are not the same size or shape as the old ones which means that every room in the house will require some sort of redecoration. The is not such a big problem in most of the cases because we can paint the walls in the recessed radiator spots under the windows white. However, in the dining room and hall, there are big bare patches of wall which will need lining paper on them and painting the appropriate colour (none of which we have). Bugger.

A couple of weeks ago, our cooker started falling apart. Firstly the fan over stopped working (it lit up and pretended to work but never got hot) and now the only big ring on the hob works intermittently so we have had to bite the bullet and get a new one. Bugger.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Football and rain

I was happy to be able to join J and his team for their little football tournament yesterday in Sorø. They played 4 matches and didn't lose any of them, drawing the first 3-3 and then winning 3-1, 4-0 and 3-1 again. They play 5 a side and 7 minutes each way with a more or less constant swapping of players so that they all 7 of them get a go in each half of each match.
There are a couple of boys on the team who are obviously seriously coached by their fathers. As you can imagine, J is not one of them, but when he remember that he is supposed to be joining in, he does quite well. It seems that his main problem is remembering to join in and not just spectate. I took quite a lot of pictures which I will post at some point.
The weather was dreadful with more or less continual heavy rain so we were all soaked and rather cold by the time we got back into the changing rooms, but they enjoyed themselves and it seemed that they were happy to win after the last tournament where they didn't manage to win a game as far as I recall.

The funniest episode was just after half time when J's team appeared to have been confused the the change of ends. Despite both teams trying to score in the same goals for 2 or 3 minutes, neither of them managed to get the ball in the net and as soon as Ringsted found out that they were playing in the wrong direction, they promptly took the ball up the other end and scored a goal.

Friday, September 16, 2011

That Friday Feeling

This has been a busy week and next week will be much the same, but in between we have the weekend.

The bike race I was entered for has been cancelled so now I don't even need the excuse that I wheeled out yesterday for not riding it!

The plumbers have been hard at work connecting the hot water system and preparing the heating to be done next week. It's pleasantly reassuring to see people working who clearly know what they are doing with tangible results. I work with lots of competent people, but there is rarely anything different in the room at the end of a busy day's work than there was at the start.

Yesterday was the general election in Denmark. I don't have the right to vote as I am not a Danish citizen (I don't understand why I can't vote as a permanent resident, EU member and tax payer, but that's another post). The "Red Block", led by Niel Kinnock's daughter in law Helle Thorning-Schmidt won meaning that we are in for a slightly more socialist government than the last one although it remains to be seen what that will actually mean.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Light my fire

We had a roaring fire last night to keep us warm and challenge our eyelids to remain open. We managed to watch "Love and other drugs" on Bluray which was a reasonable film and made MK cry quite a lot at the end (it's a romantic drama thing and the girl has Parkinsons disease so it was never going to have a cheerful ending).

I was supposed to be doing a bike race at the weekend, I am now pretty sure that I won't be taking part because I haven't been able to train this week and I didn't really train properly last week either. The cause? well, I have been very busy, but I also seem to have developed piles last weekend and the prospect of sitting on a very hard bicycle seat doesn't seem at all appealing. (Don't worry - I won't post any photographs!) Thankfully things are getting better so I expect to be back on the bike soon enough, but not in any condition to do a 90km ish long race - which in effect means that my 2011 road racing season is over.

Thankfully, the registration for the 2011/2012 Slush Cup mountain bike race series opened last night and I have signed up for 7 mountain bike races over the long, dark, cold and miserable winter in an effort to stay in shape for 2012s road campaign.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Water Powered Heating

When I got home from Sweden yesterday I was told that we had finally run out of heating oil. This was bad  timing as the drive is completely dug up making access to the oil tank difficult and our new heating system is now being connected at the end of the week so buying more oil seemed both wasteful and difficult.

Then I had a brainwave.

Our boiler stops working when the measuring stick says that there is still 150 litres left in the tank.
Oil floats on water.

Having nothing to lose and a hot shower this morning to gain, I put 20 litres of water into the oil tank. After a few minutes for the water to settle, I managed to get the boiler going again and MK and I could have hot showers this morning.

I felt very smug and clever.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New heating coming in

The workmen made something of a mess of our drive and the road yesterday putting in our new district heating supply. We are hoping that it will be completed today so that we can get back into the driveway...

Monday, September 12, 2011


I make a point of not advertising on here when we are going away overnight or on vacation which sometimes seems to cause some confusion for some of my few readers.

This weekend MK and I were in Berlin for a kid free break. I must admit to being fairly ambivalent about Berlin so far. We saw the usual sites: The Brandenburg gate (not that impressive), Checkpoint Charlie (which doesn't exist, there are just lots of tourists standing in the road where there used to be something) and tried to see the Norman Foster additions to the parliament building (couldn't get in because you had to book on-line 2-3 days in advance)

We saw a lot and must have walked 25km as we walked more or less non-stop for about 8 hours.

The weather was good and we had a really nice weekend in a nice hotel and a great meal out on Saturday night. We also managed to stock up a bit on kids clothes as they both needed new trousers and (a little impulsively) bought a new compact camera as it was heavily reduced in the Sony centre.
(These photos are from my phone before we got the camera, I'll have to find time to upload those at a later date)

On Sunday we went to Charlottenborg castle in glorious sunshine before having a big lunch of sauerkraut and pork and driving home again.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Crikey I'm busy

I'll tell you all about it on Monday

Have a good weekend everyone

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Windows 2.0

The window guys came around this morning to sort out the details - what sort of frosted glass it should be and the like. Apparently there is a 6 week lead time on them so I don't expect that they will be in place before November anyway.

I have decided that missing meals or intermittent fasting isn't for me, I can't quite seem to turn down a meal when I am hungry, knowing how long it will be until the next opportunity to eat will arise.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

New heating

We found out yesterday that we are having the connection put in to the district heating on Monday morning.That means that the room where the heat exchange thingy will be must be cleared out ready for the men to do their bit. The room is currently full of pain, wine, crockery, a microwave, Christmas decorations and ski boots (well it was until MK stared clearing it out last night whilst I was at my guitar lesson).

We can move the stuff out without too much trouble, but the task of taking out the built in shelves will require a bit more mess and manual work. Ideal for a weekend, if we weren't going to be fully booked this weekend. Doh!

So tonight - finish clearing the room out and bike training
Tomorrow - parents meeting and some shelf removal
Friday - bike training and finish taking the shelves out.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


I worked from home yesterday as I often do on a Monday and took the opportunity to make roast pork for dinner. I had bought a piece of belly pork at the weekend and after a little research, decided to cook it slowly rather than the more normal Danish faster cooking. In practice that meant that it had 2½ hours compared with 1½ recommended on the packaging.

The results were great, plenty of very crackly crackling and moist fatty meat - perfect for anyone on a diet!

Unfortunately, during the summer, I have had to admit to myself that I can't really eat fatty pork any more, I love ribs boiled and cooked on the barbecue, but they may me feel quite ill and it seems that the same has to be said of fatty belly pork. In the long run, I don't suppose it will do me any harm to limit how much of the stuff that I eat, but it really is a shame to have to give up on something so tastey.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Intermittent Fasting

I have spent quite a lot of time researching healthy diets over the last half year. It seems that the advice of the last 20 years to eat a low fat diet and concentrate on calorie counting is not really getting the full picture and the subject is much more complicated than I realized. Calories are not all equal and simply matching calories you consume to the calories you burn doesn't completely explain what's going on.

As an experiment this week (and maybe next week too), I am going to try some intermittent fasting. The idea is that you eat the same amount of food that you would normally eat, but within a restricted time periods, basically you miss a meal or two every couple of days. That can be 18 hour fasts where you miss breakfast and eat between noon and 6pm or 24 hour fasts where you skip breakfast and lunch on day and then dinner the next. The 24 hour option seems a bit hardcore for me at the moment, but I plan on missing some breakfasts this week to see how it goes (starting today). If I feel OK, I may try the 24 hour version next week.

When I do get rid of the last 4 or 5 kilos that I want to shed in the next couple of months, I suppose that I will have to find some sort of happy middle road in terms of eating. I am told that my current diet will not allow me to get below 12% body fat anyway because my body will simply hold on to more of the calories I consume at that point, but it may be nice to compromise from time to time with my regular daily eating and not save up all of the treats for 1 day per week.

Friday, September 02, 2011


Building J's new bed last weekend


Being used for homework. Neither MK nor I can see up into the bed when he is up there but he seems happy with it. Maybe that is why he is so happy up there...

Thursday, September 01, 2011


A couple of weeks ago we had to clear our stuff out of a cupboard in J's room to give him some more space for his own things. Whilst we were in there, I had a quick look at my suit collection  so MK and I decided to sort them out.

I used to wear a suit every day at some point before I moved to DK and then after I moved here I have worn them from time to time, but not regularly in the last 5 or 6 years. This had 2 results on the suits. Firstly, they are between 7 and 14 years old which means that they looked rather dated and in some cases rather worn. The second issue was that I have changed shape quite a lot in that time as a result of firstly no longer swimming and secondly, losing weight.

I tried them all on and oddly enough the one that fitted the best was the dinner jacket followed by the beige corduroy and that was about it. The others all looked much too big and completely out of date. I kept the least bad looking of the work suits for emergencies along with the aforementioned 2 and the rest went to the Red Cross.

Next time I need to wear a suit I'll have to go out and buy one, but given how rare that is these days, I think I'll wait until the need arises otherwise I may find myself in the same position again next time I actually need a suit.

When I do get one, I think it may have to be a Mr Toad...