Five years ago in the Scandinavian backwoods, I planted the stock of a vine in a pergola and enjoyed watching it grow strongly, up and over the framework each summer; duly flowering and offering up a few bunches of green grapes every year.
Just before the Beast from the East passed through, I pruned it back and transplanted it into a biggish pot for its move to Blighty, hoping it could survive its man-handling. And here it is! Three weeks into its life here, it is just starting to come into leaf (almost a month later than ‘normal’), encouraged by a spell of weather better suited to its Mediterranean origins.
As you can see, I have planted a few strawberry plants for company, and it has a commanding view of my neighbour’s manicured English garden. And a little Greek pot provides nostalgic comfort for greyer days.
Later this year, I’ll post another picture – which I hope will show how it has thrived in sunny Sussex.
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!
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 så 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.
The Danes have a reputation for putting up iconic buildings. But around the coasts there are countless ugly silios in grey, decaying concrete. Just 15 miles from here they have just tried to get rid of one with unexpected and costly results.
The Corona float delivered pop door-to-door. We paid a deposit on the bottles and were reimbursed when we returned them to the pop-man a week later. Then shops and plastics and cans took over the pop trade, deposits were forgotten and the rest, as they say, is detritus. Continue reading “When I were a lad……”
He has a strange name. He should be a diarist* with a name like that. He is? Oh, sorry, Q. Anyway, he rang a few of my bells with his thoughts in today’s DM.
I’d add a common pleonasm people employ,as follows: ‘They both attended the same school.’ Just one will do, dear.
I bet my reader seethes over a few common malapropisms too.
* Didn’t you have a Letts diary as a youngster?
My picture, courtesy of today’s Times, illustrates the error of cantabrigian ways. They encourage tourists to believe they can have fun there, and the steersman stands on the wrong end of his craft. ‘Twas ever thus.
The thing is I’m dragging my Backside back to Blighty – to reside in sunny Sussex. So I’m busy with the rather complicated process of de-Viking(ing)* us and preparing for a Spring return to our green and pleasant land.
I mention it because it’s about time there was some real news hereabouts and I know my patient reader will be mildly intrigued and might occasionally be inclined to follow the new exploits of the Janus/Backside combo.
ETA late April. Meanwhile Jack Frost and the Snow Drifters are promising to visit the wild woods very soon.
* © Janus 2018
After the ‘aitch-wars, High Society’s own magazine has advice for us on the words we should avoid using at any cost, don’t you know. So I trust all charioteers (the coolest of the cool) will heed their words. (Pity really, I’ve only just caught up with some of them and now they are verboten.) Continue reading “Oh I say!”
Yes, it’s Boris the Bridge Builder. Hello Theresa, hello Emmanuel, hello Donald! He’s loved you all along – you just couldn’t see it, could you? I suppose it’s better than building walls – unless it’s Churchillian and just for fun.