Lost and found

Where did you get it? I won it. I picked it up. I came across it. Answers that might denote its less-than-conventional origin. Personally I avoid any event resembling a flea market but millions of people love ’em. It’s the thrill of the chase and the improbable but tempting idea that treasure might be there for the picking.

So perhaps I shouldn’t be shocked to read that someone found an elegantly packaged glass bottle, presumed it was perfume, presented it to his lady-love……….and poisoned her with a deadly nerve-agent. But I am. Yes, it’s the antidote to serendipity. Someone will probably calculate the odds against the man’s ill-fortune. But I doubt it will spell the end of garage sales or expeditions with metal-detectors – or the temptation simply to snag things lying around the town.

There is nothing like a Dane

I came across a Grauniad leader this morning – and had to read it twice. Is this about Denmark, with the happiest people in the world?

I suppose the biggest difference a non-Dane notices over there is that most of the folk in the shopping centres (except perhaps in the few cities) are discernibly descended from Scandinavian stock. Compare that to most British towns. But there is another major difference. Since WWII we have grown used to seeing and living cheek-by-jowl with incomers of all races and persuasions; they are part of our landscape. I hate the word ‘integration’ but I would say they play a part in our society which most of us recognise and no longer resist, as we did at first. But the Danes are still where we stood after WWII! Hence the existence across that small country of 56 ‘ghettoes’, as described in the article, linked below.

After my second reading, I have had visions of PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen playing our favourite Viking, King Canute (never mind the spelling), as portrayed in fake news as a megalomaniac resisting the waves. I hope I’m wrong.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/08/the-guardian-view-on-forcible-integration-in-denmark-this-cannot-end-well

 

Is diversity a priority?

Oxbridge (wherever that may be) is accused of many sins: elitism, positive discrimination and prejudice of every shade to name but a few. And now a distinguished alumnus has voiced his view that Oxford is still getting it all wrong, admissionswise, ‘staggeringly’.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/06/05/oxbridges-lack-black-students-staggering-failure-says-universities/ Continue reading “Is diversity a priority?”

Effortless surrender

Your mates, the House of Windsor, have shown the world that the game is up. The centuries of polite condescension practised at arm’s length from popular culture came to an abrupt end amid uncomfortable glances and nervous grimaces. The gates were flung wide. No Trojan horse was required. Come on in, no contest. Canterbury had no reply to Chicago. Gospel trumped the choir boys. Oscars outnumbered Garters. Not an MP or General or billionaire in sight. Just our daily tweeters: George, Idris, David and Victoria. If Diana was the people’s princess, Harry is the champion of the chavs. Bring on the clowns? They are already here.

Rip it up and start again

A blank page. White. Snow? Snow in May? Hay, hay, hay..

I trudge through the emptiness, the whiteness, the ice. Ice! Ha ha!  The only water or concentrated fruit juice is in the title.

Trudge. Snow. Ice. Not a Frost-Giant’s daughter in sight. Just my luck. Or is it? I’m not a Cimmerian. Good chance I’d be Frost-Giant steak.

Then I see it. A block. Not a writer’s block or a mitre block, just a block. Like me..

In this Godforsaken world, there’s just the two of us.

 

Proving who you are

Getting organised back here in Blighty has been hampered by the wholly admirable tendency of authorities to doubt my claims to be me. They have had plenty of practice dealing with incomers of all shades and I applaud their even-handedness. Of course it would have been easier if I had kept a record of all my British identifiers – like my NHS number and the first name of my doctor almost 20 years ago – but I didn’t.

Back in the land of the Vikings, the bureaucratic logic is easier to follow. Every resident is given a ‘health card’ displaying a number. (No difference there then, unless the GB resident doesn’t register with a doctor.) This number is then used for all official registrations and services: tax, utilities, banks, insurance, local gubmint. There are supporting security systems too to avoid identity theft.

I never felt my official ID threatened my independence or limited my freedom as a citizen but it avoided the circuitous routes one has to follow here to be recognised. Generally speaking it’s in my own interest to sign up for things without complications.

But the two societies are different! Over there it is uncommon to see a post box without the occupant’s name. How very un-British that is!

The hygge season is starting again

One of the things that will remain with me when I leave Vikingland for pastures old and loved is the memory of compulsory outdoor lunches and preprandial drinks sessions dictated by the first marginally optimistic weather forecasts of Spring. ”16 grad. Dejligt. Det er hyggeligt!”’ They’ll happen throughout the country next week – after I leave. Perhaps, in some cases, because I have left! The participants will be pale, cold and prevented by tradition from escaping inside to a warm fire.

Ever since the world’s media started to report hygge a few years ago, the natives here have allowed their inbred hygge to acquire disproportionate importance in their lives. And now they want UNESCO to recognise it as an ‘intangible’ treasure alongside the Mediterranean Diet and Turkish Coffee.

Back home I shall  retaliate post haste with Afternoon Tea and the Village Cricket Match experience. Now that’s what I call hygge.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/denmark/articles/hygge-unesco-intangible-cultural-heritage-list/