Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I wish you many mistakes

I wish you the manifestation of your uniqueness

I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

marvelous are your works, and my soul knows very well.

In the original Hebrew text, the word 'fearfully' means:

with great reverence and heart-felt interest and respect.

The word 'wonderfully' means:

unique, set apart, uniquely marvelous. 

- King David. Psalm 139: 14

I wish you the characteristics of an edge-walker

Edgewalkers are the architects of the future.

They are the visionaries, the connectors of people,

ideas and actions,

the ones who trust their intuition

and commit to live according to their values.

Edgewalkers are guided by a spirit of freedom and respect.

New beginnings: space and time 

Intuition and synchronicity 

Forgiveness, appreciation & joy 

Courage & faith 

Passion, creativity & design 

Vitality & well-being 

Authenticity & value-alignment 


Living in the now-presence 


I wish that in this year to come, you make mistakes

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, 
trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. 
You're doing things you've never done before, 
and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. 
Make New Mistakes. 
Make glorious, amazing mistakes. 
Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. 
Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, 
or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: 
art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
- Neil Gaiman

Monday, December 30, 2013

Regretful discovery: Havreflager.

Danish Oatmeal Cookies

Ready in 50 mins. Consumed in 10 mins. Done and dusted in 60 mins.

Makes 60. 1860 kJ/100g

1 cup cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened (not margarine)

1 cup icing sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat an oven to 165 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with paper.

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate large bowl, mix the butter, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in the flour mixture; gently stir in the oatmeal and pecans and lightly mix until combined.

With a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before sprinkling cookies with little icing sugar.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Rumour has it that Hans Christian Andersen was a real grump. And a real prince!

The principal contributors to Danish literature are undoubtedly 
fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875),
philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855),
storyteller Karen Blixen (1885–1962),
playwright Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754).

Theories that Andersen (better known in Scandinavia as H. C. Andersen) may have been an illegitimate son of King Christian VII persist. 

Nevertheless, King Frederick VI took a personal interest in him 
and paid for a part of his education.

King Christian VII

Hans Christian Anderson
Andersen's father, who had received an elementary education, introduced Andersen to literature, reading him Arabian Nights. Andersen's mother, Anne Marie Andersdatter, was uneducated and worked as a washerwoman.

It was during 1835 that Andersen published the first instalment of his immortal Fairy Tales (Danish: Eventyr; lit. "fantastic tales"). More stories, completing the first volume, were published in 1836 and 1837. The collection consists of nine tales that includes The Tinderbox, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid, and The Emperor's New Clothes. The quality of these stories was not immediately recognized, and they sold poorly at first. 

However, soon the fairy tales have been translated into more than 125 languages, have become culturally embedded in the West's collective consciousness, inspired plays, ballets, and both live-action and animated films.

A reading of the Emperor's new clothes


EU declared war . . . against Danish koeksister

You'd think the the European Union had enough problems to tackle these days with a half-dozen countries teetering at the verge of insolvency.

But no, they had to go and mess with the Danes - quite possibly the most responsible members of the 28-member group.

Danes - well, Danish bakers - are angry over a possible ban of the country favorite baked good: kanelsnegler, a cinnamon roll/twist with a difficult name.

The reason? Too much cinnamon, say European bureaucrats.

The Danish food safety agency will soon adopt EU regulations on the use of coumarin - a naturally occurring toxic chemical found in cinnamon that can be harmful to the liver in some people.

In 2008, the European Union limited the amount of coumarin foods can contain at 15 milligrams per kilogram of food.

The limit prompted the Danish food agency to test its fine baked goods. 
What they found is that most things Danes loved contained way too much of the substance, including the beloved cinnamon goodies, which could be prohibited if the law is implemented.

"Cinnamon bakes are of course a traditional Danish product. 
We've been making bread and cakes with cinnamon for 200 years," Hardy Christensen, chief of the Danish Baker's Association said in a press release.

A final decision will be made in February. 

In the meantime, eat as many cinnamon rolls/twists in Denmark as you can.

27 December 2013


Deep fry - just like the South African koeksister. 
Place on a rack to drain just for a minute. 
Then quickly place in the sugar & cinnamon mixture (sorry, no syrup). 
Roll & coat.

They are absolutely at their - warm-sweet-doughy- best 
served right away with a hot cup of coffee or cocoa for dunking!
My kilo-joule factory

Saturday, December 28, 2013

'n Duim is 'n duim, but is an inch a thumb?

Hans Christian Andersen as photographed by Thora Hallager (1869)
In the library in Emdrupborg, I discovered 
The Complete Fairy Tales & Stories.

A treasure of 156 freshly re-translated fairy tales
from the original Danish manuscripts into English
 by Erik Christian Haugaard. 

"Thumbelina" (Danish: Tommelise) was first published by C. A. Reitzel on 16 December 1835 in Copenhagen. "Thumbelina" is about a tiny girl and her adventures with appearance.

The earliest English translation of Thumbelina dates back to 1846.
Haugaard made changes to bring the text closer to the original.

Thumbelina became Inchelina.
The Danish Tommelise was derivated from tomme meaning inch,
and not tommeltot meaning thumb:
. . . an inch long, therefor she was called Incelina.
. . . entomme lang, og defor Kaldtes hun Tommelise.

In Afrikaans is hierdie vertaalfout maklik verstaanbaar:

'n duim is 'n mate (2,54 com),
maar 'n duim is ook die eerste vinger van 'n hand.

Tommelise (1835)
llustration by Vilhelm Pedersen, 

Andersen's first illustrator

Friday, December 27, 2013

Coffee in Christianshavn

I had coffee in Baresso - one of a Danish chain of coffee and espresso bars - in the part of Copenhagen with the most nautical atmosphere: Christianshavn. R90 a cuppa. Without a crumb of Danish pastry. 

This neighbourhood of Copenhagen was founded in the early 17th century by Christian IV as part of his extension of the fortifications of Copenhagen. 

Originally, it was laid out as an independent privileged merchant's town, but it was soon incorporated into Copenhagen proper. 

For much of the 20th century a working-class neighbourhood, dominated by canals, developed a bohemian reputation in the 1970s. It is now a fashionable, diverse and lively part of the city with its own distinctive personality, and a feel of Venice. Residents tending to see themselves first as Christianshavners and then as Copenhageners.

Businessmen, students, artists, hippies and traditional families with children live side-by-side.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Living in Hellerup

There are about 406 islands in Denmark, not including the Faroe Islands or Greenland. About 70 of them are populated. Some of the uninhabited islands have only become uninhabited in recent decades, for economic reasons. Copenhagen is located on Zealand Island.

For the month of December, I stay in the town of Hellerup, located in the Gentofte Municipality. This suburb is bordered by the Metropolitian Copenhagen.

Counselor Johan David Heller
bought the farm Lokkerup in 1748 and rechristened it Hellerup Farm.

Hellerup is a fairly recent construction from the latter half of the 1800s. Prior to that time it was largely composed of farms and grazing land, similar to other towns on Zealand.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

BORDFOLK little characters that call to the child in us all.

I was invited to dinner on Christmas Eve at the Engbirk-family.

The main course is roast duck with sour-sweet red cabbage and caramelised potatoes. The other important item was the Christmas rice pudding, with cherry sauce as a dessert. Simon, was the lucky one who got the whole almond in the warm pudding, and thereby won the so-called almond present, which traditionally was a marzipan sweet. Last night it was a basket with various chocolates and a bottle of sparkling wine.

With the dinner, we had South African red wine.
Simon and Emily, both students at the University of Copenhagen, had the sweet light beer, called Jul brew.

With Lize, the cook and hostess of the evening.

The second highlight of the evening started when Morten lighted the Christmas tree candles. We held hands while singing Christmas hymns and songs. Underneath the Christmas tree were the Christmas presents. 

There were quite a few gifts for everyone, however I had my favourites:

Grandma received an antique pink lipstick from her two grandchildren. A very thoughtful gift to a woman who hardly ever wears make-up; and what a joy that was when she immediately try it on . . . and loved it!

Simon hinted for some t-shirts. He got at least eight! As well as replacements for the wallet and jersey he recently lost.

Lise got, among other treasures, a cashmere cardigan in a yellow-green pastel colour.

Emily got a few vouchers at a beauty salon from Dad.

Morten, a 59 year-old booklover, got a book about a 59 year-old man.

And I got a collection of BORDFOLK (table people). Adorable egg holders designed by well-known Danish design company Lucie Kaas. 


Monday, December 23, 2013

A band that plays traditional military marches. Daily.

At noon, while exploring the Royal Garden or Kongens Haver, 
I heard the Royal Band coming! 

These professional musicians might not be a famous as the Danish
Michael Learns to Rock
but their music has a special charisma that invites participation.

The Royal Guard marches from Rosenborg Castle through the city to Amalienborg Palace, ready to take up their post at Queen Margrethe’s door. 

Den Kongelige Livgarde is an infantry regiment of the Danish Army, 
founded in 1658 by King Frederik III.

I followed the returning group through my Nikon's lens
 back to the Royal Guards quarters in the Royal Garden
next to Rosenborg Castle.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Little Royal Café

There’s cosy and there’s petit 
and then there's Café Kafferiet. 

This space on the corner of Kronprinsessegade and Gothersgade must have been previously a gate post of the Royal Garden. 

The restaurant, kitchen, counter, gift/sweet-shop and small-figure collection are all fitted into the nothing more than 12 sqm! 

An amazing chandelier of almost 1,5 meters in diameter fills up the ceiling. 

The food is great value for money! The gluh (gluhwein) or glogg is made in old Scandinavian style: 
with raisins and almond-flakes.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Festivals of the Light

Winter Solstice is an Astronomical phenomenon. 
It is the day when the number of hours of daylight is at its annual minimum; 
almost 7 hours in Denmark. 
Although the days become longer and longer, lighter and lighter, 
the temperature still drops until the 2nd of February 
when the temperature starts to rise again.

Winter Solstice is also a winter festival: The return of the light.
 A day of joy, because it is the symbol of light return in our lives. 
The day is celebrated with joy at homes, cafes, restaurants and pubs, 
with candles or open fires. 

Although Winter Solstice is a tied to the solar (sun) cycle, and the Jewish festival of Hanukkah (Festival of Light) is tied to the lunar (moon) cycle, some similarities are obvious: the time (month) of the festivals and the names of the festivals. The same is true for the Afrikaans’ Kersfees during which the birth of the “Light of the World” is celebrated.

The sun is supposed to be 10.5 degrees above the horizon at noon, 
but today it was nowhere to be seen.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Jeg er Københavner nu!

The city of Copenhagen blessed me with citizenship! 
Officially and registered: I am a Copenhagener now! 

Copenhagen or København is the capital and most populous city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,2 mil and a metropolitan population of 1,9 mil. 

Originally a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in the early 15th century. 

The coat of arms of Copenhagen was granted 24 June 1661 by king Frederick III of Denmark in appraisal of its citizens' efforts in repelling the Swedish siege and attack on Copenhagen in 1658-1659. An accompanying royal letter of privilege granted the citizens of Copenhagen the same rights to own fixed property as applied to the Danish nobility. 

The use of the lesser coat of arms is more popular now.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

An angel named Angelika

This morning, in the freezing rain and as the buss approached, 
I realised that I forgot my buss ticket in my other denim’s pocket! 

An angel named Angelika (what else?!) blessed me with her spare ticket! 

Angelika is from Krakaw. This 1300 year old Polish city is close to the German extermination camp of Auschwitz. Poles and Jews were classified as subhumans by the WWII occupiers and were targeted for eventual extermination. The Jewish population of the city was moved into a walled zone known as the Kraków Ghetto, from which they were sent to German extermination camps.

. . . and its not only Helle Thorning-Schmidt,  

who can take a selfie, 
Emmie Smit can do so as well!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pippi Longstocking

Of all the people, I ran into Pippi today; there on the corner of Emdrupvej and Lyngbyvej.

She introduced herself as Pillilotta Delicatessa Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking, but I know Pippi from that book of Astrid Lindgren that I read to shreds.

Of course she was as cheeky as only Pippi could be, but I just took out some Krone and bought her.

She's now staring me in the eyes, with a wide smile, saying nothing . . .

Fiskeri og badning forbudt

You can never understand one language 
until you understand at least two
Geoffrey Willans

Fishing and bathing forbidden

Visvang en baai verbode

The world famous sign language interpreter might be able to translate the graffiti . . .

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cup of tea, myself?

It is 22 years ago, 
in our century-old home
in Milner Street, Kimberley, South Africa
and as I prepare supper,
I hear my girls' voices from the living-room:

I'm a little tea pot short and stout 
Here is my handle here is my spout 
When I get all steamed up hear me shout! 
Tip me over and pour me out!

Certainly not my experience in Denmark!
I've seen an teapot in antik shops, but not in use.

Filling my own teabag became a ritual . . .

This knot in the last picture is my intervention,
just to save my teabag for a second cup,

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Even the dishes are done!
Green soap from South Africa


Shopping for DKK 94 (including some great specials)
Sharon fruit, ciabatta, butter, full cream milk, red wine 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Antik in Norre Voldgade

In a is popular shopping area known for its convenient locale to a variety of stores, completely pedestrian streets created in 1962 (year of my birth), offers direct contact with many fashion shops, sidewalk cafés, and department stores. 

A daddy and his four girls cycling for fun!

Not antique, but my catch of the day! Viking Plate. E. P. Copper (Made in Canada)