Serendipity

I just love that word, don’t you? Always looking for a chance to use it and tonight, while the boys were watching football, it presented itself. We’d just been watching episode five (on the wonderful BBC IPlayer) of a marvellous TV-series called Victorian Farm. Once the football started I looked around on my Iphone to find BBC’s page for the programme with some info about the three people who “star” in the programme. And huge was my disappointment when I couldn’t find any such page. What I did find – hence the serendipity – was a blog. As previously mentioned I’ve been looking for British blogs of interest, but have only found very few. This one, however, looks SO promising. The woman has a sense of humour, she can write and she has something to write about. AND – she’s a geek! And why did I find it – well of course because she’s written a lovely post, describing the Victorian Farm programme in detail. I’m thankful, because then I don’t have to – it’s a bit cold and I’d much rather be in bed! If you haven’t seen this programme – hurry up and do so. It’s SO good. It can still be seen for a short while on the Iplayer. And there are many other great programmes to be watched there – if you’re Danish or another kind of non-Brit, you can watch it on your computer or even on your Iphone, in astonishingly good quality. Public Service at its best! Victorian Farm has also been made into a book. It looks good.

About serendipity – my friend Gabs sent me a great link the other day, to a Wiki-type dictionary. One of the more unusual features in this dictionary is “The 100 most beautiful words in English” and Serendipity is on it. check it out – I’ll try to memorise some of the words in the list I didn’t already know. Quite a few – English is a rich, rich language!

As a non-Brit I often meet words that I’d really like to start using myself, but then hesitate because I don’t have a clue how to pronounce it. But there’s help, did you know? On Dictionary.com (and other online dictionaries) you can click the little speaker-icon and have a nice man or lady say the word out loud for you. As many times as you like. That’s nice.

Finally, we’ve been to the British Museum today. Dane has a thing a bout Egypt, pyramids and mummies, so we journeyed through the Egyptian section of the museum. I haven’t been there for a very long time, but have visited their absolutely fabulous website a number of times. Have a look and see what a museum website should REALLY look like. Here’s about the Egyptians. Read about the visionary director Neil MacGregor and his plans for the museum here.

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Culture clash

Looking out of our living room window Monday morning.
Looking out of our living room window Monday morning.

OK, so it was a lot of snow. It really was. And I was fully sympathetic with the schools for closing on the Monday – many children couldn’t have come anyway or would have spent endless hours in their fretting parents’ cars before finally getting there. Tuesday – when it hadn’t snowed in our area for 18 hours, I thought OK – it’s still a bit of a hassle to get out and about and for us personally, it wasn’t a problem since we work from home. But when I read on the school website Tuesday evening that the school was STILL closed on the Wednesday I just couldn’t believe my own eyes! True, most smaller roads and parking lots and driveways are still icy and slippery, but it’s not like we don’t know that by now! And salt and/or gravel could be spread to ease the situation. But no. A lot of the parents who are not as fortunate as we are must have been desperate! I do realise that a school is not there to mind our children, but most of us depend on our jobs and we should be able to rely on the school to be open and to school our children, when it’s supposed to.

A tired Dane with his snowman.
A tired Dane with his snowman.

I’m told that this has to do with the extremely rigid Health & Safety Regulations in this country. It’s getting to me – I’ve written about this before, the ubiquitous worry-sickness. Children can’t walk to school, they can’t use a computer un-monitored, they can’t climb a tree. And adults have to be told that hot food is hot (!!), that roads are slippery after 15 cm of snow…. It’s like we just can’t handle any disruptions to our ordered little lives anymore. AAARRRRRGGGGHHHH! Can I PLEASE have the responsibility for my own life back! Anne Applebaum writes about it in the Washington Post. And there are loads of opinions on the Alpha Mummy blog.

Igloo lamps - Swedish style.
Igloo lamps - Swedish style.
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Money for nothing

is a song I hate. It’s so playing up to the little man’s envy or whatever you call it. But that was what I thought of when I read this article in the Washington Post.

18 billion $ have been paid out to Wall Street financiers over the last few months. In Merrill Lynch, the article tells us, where bonuses are usually paid out in January, they hurried to pay out 3-4 mill. $ in bonuses in December, before they were taken over with billions in debts. That’s 9 zeros. 000000000. Or 000.000.000. In sterling that’s around 5.6 billion. Let’s split that up in brand new cars. Brand new envy-inspiring cars.

Audi Q7
Audi Q7

Are you ready? App. 307,000 of these lovely cars. I don’t even think Audi produces that many Q7s! (They are around 41,000£ each). Hm. That’s still too big a number to really sink in! Let’s try with houses.

5 bedroom house in Richmond - a very attractive neighbourhood just outside London
5 bedroom house in Richmond - a very attractive neighbourhood just outside London

OK. The above house sells at £2,1 million. Let’s say we get it at the bargain price of £2 million. So the Wall Street guys – don’t know exactly how many people split the 18 billion, but a safe bet is that it’s definitely more than one Audi per head – can get 6,300 houses like this.

I’m actually not at all against bonuses and rewards for high performances. What I’m deadset against though is when bonuses are paid for doing an appallingly bad job or for serving the share-holders’ short term interests (which are sometimes not at all beneficial to the company) rather than the company’s AND the shareholders’ long term interests.

Added 4/2: Capac alerted me to a wrong link to the above mentioned Washington Post article. It is now mended. The wrong link was actually to a pretty funny article – it’s here and it’s not about money but about Iphone apps…

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So so sad and so so frightening

I used to grow these in my garden (echinacea) and they attracted scores of bees and butterflies.
I used to grow these in my garden (echinacea) and they attracted scores of bees and butterflies.

Just read in yesterday’s Times about the plight of the (bumble)bee. I’ve read about the trouble of the bee population diminishing rapidly before, but this article, in such a conservative paper, really spells it out so there’s no misunderstanding it: If nothing is done – and maybe even if something IS done – the bee and the bumble bee will be extinct in Britain 8 years from now. Eight years! In evolutionary terms that in the blink of an eye!

If there was ever a really good and totally tangible reason to buy organic products, this is one. For more reasons than one: To reduce pollution with fertilizers etc. To encourage the exchange of crops from one year to the next. To encourage the re-entry of clover, which is apparently the most important crop to attract honey bees.

So come on now, all you out there. Buy organic! Not just baby food, but everything you can lay your hands on.  It’s not always easy and I myself could do much better. I also realise that for some people it’s not an option for economic reasons. But I know that a lot of my readers could easily afford it if they so chose! Quite a lot of the foodstuffs that we can’t get in the organic versions in the supermarkets, we could buy online if we could be bothered. And here in England we can buy lots of lovely organic stuff at the farmers’ markets. But if we at least start by buying the food basics organically, it’s a start. So organic fruit, veg, bread and flour. And organic chickens, veal, beef and lamb.

And you garden lovers out there! You’ll be first to suffer, because a certain species of bees, specialising in fertilization of so-called deep-throated flowers like foxgloves, irises, red clover etc. are almost already extinct and their southern European brothers, which are being imported to take their place, don’t have long tongues and thus can’t fertilize the above mentioned flowers. So throw your fertilizers in the bin and get out there and do your bit for the bee!

Take out the time and read the article if you think I’m exaggerating!

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Protectionism shows its ugly face

I hate protectionism! It never seems to do any good to anyone, but the unions love it and the voters seem to love it too. I find it incredibly short-sighted to “buy British” to keep British workers going in industries that are clearly not competitive. Why not teach these people new skills instead or revamp the businesses so they can get on by themselves in the world. In Denmark protectionism has always been favoured to help the farmers and the ship yards. In the end they had to give up protecting the ship yards because it became ridiculous to keep pouring money into it when ships were built much cheaper in other parts of the world and giving people there jobs, who did not have access to any kinds of benefits or to learning new skills. Unfortunately the same thing cannot be said about the farmers, who are still being massively subsidised by EU.

I Buy British when it’s fruit, meat and vegetables of good quality, because I believe that the shorter distance these foodstuffs have covered on their way from the good earth and onto my dinner table, the better for the planet. It’s certainly not to protect British farmers. If they can’t produce something of quality at a fair price I’m not going to buy it, not if he’s my neighbour!

Anyway, that’s what all the talk has been about in Davos today – read this summary of the protectionism discussions in Washington Post.

From the homepage Buy British
From the homepage Buy British

On an entirely different and quite silly (but cute) note, here’s something a friend sent me today. Be patient while the page loads, it takes a little while. And then move your mouse around. And, not least, try holding it still. I’m glad that yet another mystery of “how things work” has now revealed itself!

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If it looks like a bank and quacks like a bank…

we’ve got to capitalize it as a bank,” Lord Turner said.

This is MY money...
This is MY money...

It’s a quote from this article on CNBC, which briefly explains the ideas behind the bank rescue packages both here in the UK and in the US. The heart of the matter is the so-called Bad Bank (just Google it if you want to have it explained). I kind’a like that term ;-)

Here’s a few video-clips from Davos, the World Economic Forum. One of them is with Rupert Murdoch, who not surprisingly is against the rescue package. I don’t know if he explains the alternatives later on in his speech (apart from a quick little war (another one?) to get the wheels spinning), but I’m still looking through blog-posts, news articles, video clips etc. to find a viable alternative.

Here’s a syndication of comments to the package, divided into YES, it will work & NO, it won’t work. I’ve read through the first four of the Nos, but apart from BIGGER TAX CUTS, there are no alternative solutions in sight. Am I looking in the wrong places? Please direct me to somewhere, where I can read in clear an understandable language, what would be a good and viable alternative to the stimulus packages, which are now under way on both sides of the Atlantic.

Here’s the British Conservative Party’s idea of an economic rescue package. Tax breaks seem to be the answer here as well!

Here, in the Financial Times, Martin Wolf explains why the packages should be bigger and how a lot of other measures must also be taken into use, if the US is to overcome its financial woes. The article is quite a mouthful – i stumbled over the word deleverage several times…

If you hear speeches from Davos, you’ll also hear “the Swedish model” mentioned. It is explained here and here, where Tyler Cowen raises doubts as to whether it could work in the US and also whether it’s as good as they say.

Here’s cable news directly from Davos, if you want to delve into the speeches. And as you could expect, the New York Times Davos blog is excellent. That’s also where I found a reference to this clip. I think it more or less speaks for itself…

(It’s Michael Dell who asks the question)

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Living history

The Eton shield. Floreat Etona - may Eton flourish.
The Eton shield. Floreat Etona - may Eton flourish.

Our Sunday outing took us a little bit further away than usual, namely to the most famous school/college on the planet, Eton. It is a thoroughly astonishing place – even if I’d recently read a very interesting article about Eton in Vanity Fair and thus knew how subsumed in tradition the whole place is, it’s still completely amazing to see it with your own eyes, even on a Sunday where the boys are out of uniform. Wikipedia has an excellent article about Eton. It’s very long and thorough, I’ve only read down to where it starts going through the various houses and societies.

The college church.
The college church.
The oldest classroom still in use!
The oldest classroom still in use!
Eton college centre court yard
Eton college centre courtyard.
They wear this outfit to school EVERY DAY!
They wear this outfit to school EVERY DAY!
This is where their parents buy it.

Of the fourhundredsomething boys (no no no, no girls!!!) only 70 of them are there by merit. Meaning that the original idea – the school was founded in 1440 by Henry VI as a charity school for poor boys – has long been abandoned. Even among the 70 “King’s Scholars” (boys who are there because of outstanding exam results at 12 years) most parents are paying up to 90% of the school fees. On top of that comes uniform, books and all sorts of things that boys who live away from their parents might need. Yearly fee: £ 26.490. Many families don’t even make that much money before tax!

So egalitarian? No.

Super elitist? Yes.

Do I like it? No.

Am I fascinated by it? Yes.

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What will Obama do? (and something about parenting)

Andrew Sullivan does some deliberation and a bit of wishful thinking in The Sunday Times. It hasn’t been published online, but probably will be tomorrow or some time next week. Here’s a couple of quotes to wet your appetite:

On Israel, perhaps, we will see the biggest shift. Obama has so far been preternaturally silent on the Gaza bombardment, in deference to the “one president at a time” mantra and because he knows full well that if he were not about to become president, the Israelis would not have launched their attack.

(…)

Obama almost certainly believes, for example, that no one is enjoying the Gaza disaster more than Iran’s government, and that Tehran’s more radical mullahs fear nothing more than fighting an election at home while Obama appeals to the Iranian people over their heads. It is perfectly reasonable to be confident that Obama threatens President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in ways that Bush never managed. I hope at least.

I hope that too!!!

Make a search for this article on The Times webiste some time tomorrow (try “Andrew Sullivan Obama”) or enjoy his sharp and immensely popular blog on The Atlantic.

On an entirely different subject I enjoyed and agreed with (would I have enjoyed it if I didn’t agree?) another article, this one by Rachel Johnson. Actually, she quite often annoys me, but in a way that makes me read her columns anyway. She blogs too. The article is about a certain kind of British middle class parents, of whom I’ve already met quite a few. They are a bit scary!!! She writes:

We’ve all become grimly used by now to the excesses of hyper-parenting – it’s been richly documented over the past decade as more and more university-educated parents, often former career girls turned full-time mothers, have diverted energy and ambition from the boardroom to the playroom. Even so, this now constant, almost compulsory, blurring of boundaries between parent and child takes the horror to the next level.

(…)

Moreover, according to the clinical psychologist Oliver James, parents who bathe in the glory of a child’s performance can be hugely damaging. “It’s disastrous if children’s achievements are used as vehicles for the parents’ prestige,” he says. “Then the withdrawal of love is only a tiny mistake away.”

(…)

If you subsume your identity into that of your child, you are, according to the psychologists, enmeshed. That’s shrink-speak for “disturbed” and it means you can’t get your kicks in your own right but only through your offspring and their achievements, and are flagging up a desperate form of displaced narcissism. And yes, you probably need urgent help.

I’m sure my Danish readers are all going: “You must be kidding!” But no, I’m not – this is British reality. I’m hoping that my Danish voice of reason will always be there to kick me in the behind should I start acting like this. But I believe that I could never live my life through my children. I have ambitions for my own life, which are not yet fulfilled!

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British telly & music

In between seemingly endless news sessions about the US election (which will not be mentioned any more today…), I’ve also watched other stuff. I accidentally stumbled over a show that has had me in stitches several times and had Dane asking me what’s so funny. The show’s called “The Most Annoying Pop Song We Love to Hate” and it’s just hilarious. As anybody who can remember the eighties will testify to, there’s plenty of really horrible songs from that period to “re-discover”, but also wonderful “period pieces” to reminisce over. In between the actual songs there are comments from a mixture of people including critics, (former) popstars, music bizz pros etc. Yesterday I was reminded of Whigfield, the Danish One-Hit-Wonder who laid Ibiza bare and then went on to conquer the world. And the horrible Billy Joel song “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. And, and, and… In these wonderful www-times, you can still watch some of the episodes on the BBC I-Player even in Denmark or wherever you are. Highly recommended – the older you are the better, up to a point.

Gemma Arterton as Tess
Gemma Arterton as Tess

I’ve also watched two typical BBC drama series, both with beautiful young actresses. One’s just finished, it was Tess of the D’urbervilles. I remember this book particularly well, since it was the very first book I read in English. There are loads and loads of tears flowing in every episode – the last one has the most tears of course – but I remember crying over the book too. I’m guessing that many modern people (men?) will find Thomas Hardy a bit too touchy-feely, but I love it. And on a bit of a serious note, there really are people out there who, like Tess, don’t seem to have any luck at all in their lives. I even know or knew some of them. My heart goes out to you!

The other series is still on, it’s DickensLittle Dorrit. I’ve never read this

Claire Foy as Little Dorrit
Claire Foy as Little Dorrit

one, so the story is new, although with Dickens, you sort of know the story-line if you’ve read another one of his. The protagonist, Little Dorrit, is played by a lovely actress by the name of Claire Foy.

Back to music before I move on to the chores of the day: A month ago or so you could, if you bought the Times every day for a week, get some fantastic memory-evoking CD’s for free. So I collected the tokens and sent them in. A few days ago I received The Jesus & Mary Chain: PsychoCandy, Echo & the Bunnymen: Ocean Rain, New Order: Power, Corruption & Lies and Joy Division: Closer in the post. I’ve never gotten around to buying these albums on CD and thus haven’t heard them for a long, long time. I maintain that these four records are and will remain classics. It’s just fantastic to hear them again!

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Dutiful parents…

… as we are, we tried to do something meaningful with Dane over the holidays. Possibly the best bit was finally getting up in the London Eye, which we’ve been talking about and meaning to do ever since we came over here. It was David’s birthday, so we wanted to combine something enjoyable for him with something enjoyable for Dane. They have a pretty good queuing system for the London Eye – first you queue for less than 1/2 hour to get your tickets. Then it says on the tickets, when you have to report back to another queue. After that it’s only another 1/2 hour. For us it was perfect – there was just time for a nice lunch a bit further down the river. Here are a couple of pictures – luckily it was sunny, but with ominous clouds, which lend quite some drama to the pictures.

London skyline with some bad weather coming
While we were still waiting
While we were still waiting

Later on we wondered around London for a few hours. I wonder if I’m quite normal. The two shops in London, which I feel I soon know inside out are the Apple Store and Hamley’s. Shouldn’t it be Harrods and Selfridges? Or Waterstone’s?

But since inside photographs from those two shops would probably be rather dull, here’s a picture from an encounter Dane had with two nice, elderly gentlemen in New Bond Street.

Its Roosevelt and Churchill in case you were wondering...
It's Roosevelt and Churchill in case you were wondering...

More pictures, also from Halloween and bonfire night here.

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Close to home

Ripley bonfire 2008
Ripley bonfire 2008

Yesterday was Ripley Bonfire Night – one of the year’s biggest events in our neighbouring village where Dane goes to school. The entertainment starts with a procession of floats through the town. It’s not a very big town, so this year’s five floats were a record, I heard. Dane’s class at school were in charge of the school float. The chosen theme this year was to celebrate that the school has become a Primary School, so it was something with launch and rockets… The parents – some more than others (find me in the latter category) – worked hard on creating a spectacular float. Unfortunately we didn’t win the float competition. The girl scouts (called Brownies in this country) won with a float on the theme of the Narnia Chronicles.

The floats just finished - five hours before the procession.
The float's just finished - five hours before the procession.

There were around 10.000 people in Ripley, so there were a lot of spectators along the way. After the procession the bonfire was lit and then there was an impressive fireworks display. After that we were tired and went home for some tea and cheese sandwiches – with sore feat after hours of standing.

Dane with sweet teacher Mrs. G.

Today the weather has been really, really awful – although it’s cleared now and there’s the most spectacular sunset – so we’ve stayed in all day. First it was the usual – a couple of hours of Sunday Times. Dane has worked out the Catch up TV, so he spent the morning catching up on his favourite programmes on CBBC. Then we played Star Wars monopoly for I don’t know how many hours. Dane won – without cheating on anybody’s part. Now it’s time for me to get out of my chair and into my kitchen. The menu says Vietnamese prawn and cauliflower coconut curry. Hope it’ll turn out as nice as it sounds. Then it’ll be time for some serious TV watching – all the programmes we’ve recorded in the past week. First and foremost Merlin, a wonderful series for the whole family on BBC. We enjoy every minute of it!

The central cast in the tv series Merlin
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Ministry of Food

Last night, before I settled down to watch the vice-presidential debate, I watched the first of a new series of programmes with Jamie Oliver. I don’t know if it’s become less trendy to like Jamie Oliver, but I actually like him more and more. His life could be easy – very easy. But he’s chosen to rant (his own expression) and thus to make enemies, because lots of people hate ranting. (I do a bit of ranting myself, so know what he’s talking about). He rants about food obviously. But his concern is a country where people have forgotten how to cook. They don’t know what real food tastes like and they certainly don’t know how to shop for it, prepare it, even eat it!

He visited a couple of single mums on welfare. One of them had her children eating out of Styrofoam boxes on the kitchen floor – who needs a dining table, when there are no real meals? – her 4-year old daughter had never tasted a home cooked meal in her life. Jamie took a look in her fridge. The vegetable drawers were filled to the brim with – chocolate bars! And there was not a trace of any vegetables, any fruit, any kind of real food in the house.

That’s what he’s determined to change. He wants all of us who can cook to take it upon us to teach other people to cook. He’s even put it into a system. Read about it on his Ministry of Food homepage.

I want to teach some people to cook. I want to take part in this. I’m often surprised at what people have – and maybe even more at what they have not – in their fridges and kitchen cupboards. And at what’s considered “a meal”. When Dane tells me what some of the other children have in their lunch boxes, I’m genuinely shocked. It’s cheese dippers, white sandwich bread with square slices of “ham”, so-called yoghurt (15-25% sugar), rarely fruit and certainly no veg.

I know it’s quite unlikely that any of my readers 1) can’t cook 2) want to learn 3) live near here. But – if that were the case, please drop me a line and we’ll set up a date for a cookery class with a nice meal at the tail end.

If you live far away or just can’t be bothered to have me as a teacher, but still want to improve your cooking skills, I can only once more recommend the excellent Videojug, where you can learn to cook a wide variety of lovely meals. Bring you laptop into the kitchen – and cook!

Btw. what kind of food do you think Sarah Palin cooks for her family?

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American television

 I’m often a bit behind in reading The Sunday Times. It is not always that you can devote an entire Sunday to the devouring of The Times. So this morning while I was having breakfast, I read the Culture section. After an interesting article about Baz Luhrmann‘s new film Australia (see trailer here), I got to the previously mentioned AA Gill commenting on British and American television. If you’re interested, you can read the bit about British television yourself here, but I’ll quote his bit about American television. I really wish I could have written it that way myself – we often thought and discussed along those lines while we were there:

 

I have spent the past fortnight in America, immersed, or submerged, in rolling news. There is something numbly comforting about the repetitious lapping of CNN. They say that, after the initial gagging and panic, drowning is quite a pleasant way to go, and that’s rather like watching Fox News — as you drift into unconsciousness, other people’s lives flash before your eyes. The rolling news channels give you the impression of being constantly informed while actually telling you very little. The world sidles past like a great river, and you never have to get wet. Disasters and basketball matches, comic animals and those strangely misshapen commentators all float away with equal inconsequence.

I was reminded again of two strange truths about American broadcasting. One is the astonishing number and variety of snake-oil medicinal commercials, not just advertising patent medicines but whole new diseases. Medical care is one of the main broken bones of contention in the coming American election, but nobody has actually pointed out that getting the halt, the flatulent, the palsied, the breathless and the hypochondriacs to pay for television is a very weird way of financing the entertainment and gaiety of a nation.

 

Brilliant powers of observation!

In a couple of hours I fly with boring Sterling to Copenhagen. Btw. if you’re NOT in Denmark, but want to fly there, Lastminute.com is always, ALWAYS, cheaper with the Sterling tickets than Sterling themselves. This particular ticket (out Thursday and back Sunday) I got for £100, whereas Sterling wanted £300. Don’t even mention SAS

Am going to participate in a 90th birthday celebration in the family. It really is something, isn’t it, to reach 90 and still have all your faculties?

So, see you on Monday…

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There’s still hope!

Here’s a very happy story from the real world:

When we were on our holiday on the south coast we spent a day in Portsmouth at the Historic Dock Yard. Unfortunately Dane forgot his purse with (too much) money in it, in one of the museum shops there. As we were deliberating our options at home, the phone rang. It was a nice lady from the Surrey Wildlife Trust. She had had a call from a police station in Portsmouth that a purse had been found with a membership card to the Surrey Wildlife Trust in it. On it was Dane’s name, so the lady went on to the membership register, found us and called. She had a name and a number for the PC at the police station. I called the number several times but couldn’t get through. In the meantime we were back home, so I sent an e-mail to the main police station in Portsmouth. I got a reply from another nice lady with the name and phone number for an other PC at the local police station. It turned out that this particular police station is under the MOD (ministry of defence) and thus can’t be found on the Internet or in the phone book. There I spoke to another lady who could confirm that the purse had been found with all contents still in it, but alas, there was no way she could send it by post – not even using some of the money in it. It would have to be picked up by us in person. Portsmouth is quite a distance from here, so I asked if it would still be there around Christmas time, when we were planning to be back. She confirmed that and I resigned myself to being happy that the purse was found at all. It means a lot to Dane – it was bought in the Blue Mountains in Australia and it had a picture of himself and his best friend from Denmark in it.

A few days later the nice lady from the Portsmouth central police station sent me another e-mail to ask if the problem had been solved. I told her yes, but that we’d have to go there and pick it up in person. She thought that was rather annoying and asked if I would mind if she went down there and picked it up herself and then sent it off to me? If I’d mind??? You gotta be kiddin’, I could not believe anybody would be that kind. As it turned out, she could not pick it up, because she wasn’t a PC. So what did this lovely woman do? She got one of the police officers at her station to go and pick it up for her! And then she sent it – registered mail – to us.

Dane was thrilled to bits! And so was I. Isn’t it lovely that there are still people who will go out of their way to do a little something for others?

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Music

When I was a child and a teenager I was seriously teased at school. It was a pain to go there and I can still recall the sense of relief every afternoon when I got off the bus and was finally away from my tormentors. Music was my relief. Since I was around 10-11 I played (first the violin, later the viola) in a youth symphony orchestra every week and often in the weekends as well. We also went on tours in Europe. Nobody teased me there and the fantastic feeling of creating the music together gave me a feeling I cannot put into words. But I’m certain that “music saved my life”.

Picture of Julian Lloyd Webber as a child – from DLWP.com

I was reminded of that when I read about a new initiative taken by Julian Lloyd Webber, the cellist (not the musical composer, that’s his brother). Read about it here. More here. It’s about taking music to deprived children in a project named In Harmony. It has been done with incredible success in Venezuela and other places in a project called El Sistema.

I wish the project best of luck – I’m sure it will help in getting some children off the streets and give them joy and maybe even a purpose in life.

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