Ok, so Saturday’s are generally Jack’s day off and due to the distance between us and where he’s kept, I tend not to see him. (Fear not welfare people, he’s on full livery!). Its a chance for myself and my fiance to spend some time together as he works all week and has a pretty long commute time.

Last night, I had a light bulb moment where I decided I NEEDED to buy modelling clay. I have these moments quite frequently and once something is in my head, it needs to happen there and then. This has, in the past, been responsible for such incidents as having my hair coloured red and black. Patience is a virtue?? Pffft, no, it’s not for me; things have to happen there and then.

So yes, back to last night, my fiance (quite stupidly on his part) sent me a link to some pictures of models that an Asian girl has been making. These are models of fantasy characters in an online game Ive played for a while (I try not to mention this often, its a sad and tragic waste of much of my time). The minute I saw them, I was hit with flashbacks of childhood summers spent modelling things out of “Fimo” – you know, the plastacine stuff you bake in the oven so it goes hard?

So yes, 10 o clock last night I was overcome with a strong desire for modelling clay. Now, there’s something you need to understand about Denmark. This country is technologically advanced – much more so than the UK. People here had super fast broadband lines when the UK populace were still excited about ISDN. They recycle everything, wireless connections are everywhere. In other respects, it feels like the UK rolled back to 30 years ago. So, this leads me to today’s rant; shop opening hours. Once again, I have to stress, Im from the UK. We can shop at just about anytime! I lived within 30 minutes of Meadowhall Shopping Centre (or Meadowhell as it’s affectionatly known). From 10 am in a morning til 10pm at night, I could shop and let me stress, I love to shop. Have a craving for pizza at 3am in the morning? No problem, Tescos and Asda were both 24/7 and I should add, we have in the past, done our food shopping at around that time.

Back to Denmark – remembering again that I mentioned my fiance works all week and due to my lack of driving skills in this country, I don’t like going into town on my own (not to mention he’s the bank anyway). This leaves us two days, Saturday and Sunday, to shop. Mmmmmhmmm, “plenty!” I hear you yell. Not quite. Firstly, Sundays are out. No shops are open on Sundays except the odd small food store which will possibly stay open until 4pm. All the stores in town are closed. All the stores in the nearest large city are closed. Once again, “no problem!” I hear you saying, “you have all Saturday afterall.” Think again. The shops in Denmark open at 10am on a Saturday and, get this, they close at 1pm. Thats right, you have a massive 3 hours in which to accomplish your entire week of shopping before the shops throw you out. The reasoning behind this is that people working weekends has a detrimental effect on peoples’ family lives.

Now, this is a good time to inform people that the stereotypes of the Danes and their beer are completly accurate. These people are drinkers. Television is not a big thing in Denmark at all. People rarely bother with it and certainly not to the extent that the Brits do. They have fewer channels and much of what is shown are old US shows. Like the UK, Fridays and Saturday evenings are prime socialising nights and the younger people hit the town bars to drink. Drinking over here usually involves drinking games. Indeed, bars in Denmark are quite a daunting place when you aren’t used to them. There are many games involving dice throwing, yelling and glass banging on tables. The Danes also seem to have a strange compulsion to say “Cheers!” (or as it is here “Skol!”) at least once every two minutes, usually accompanied by more yelling and glass banging. (Incidently, this phenomenom is the same when eating a meal at a home, much to my annoyance as I seem to spend a good 60% of my meal times, refilling my glass to ensure I can partake in the regular round of “cheers!” – equally annoying is the fact that I spend the rest of my time needing to wee because I end up drinking so damn much). Moving on…

Consequently, Saturdays are frequently heavy hangover days. Alas, remember that if you need to buy *anything*, you have to get up early.

So yes, at 10pm last night, I had a burning desire for modelling clay. My tortured fiance tends to just go along with these phases I have. Theres no point in fighting because I have a tantrum and sulk to rival any 3 year old. We spent the evening watching some new DvDs and by the time we got to bed, it was 3am. Stupidly, I never thought to set my alarm.

Fast forward a few hours and I woke up and nudged my fiance asking what time it was.

“5 past 12”
“Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?! I wanted to go to toooown! I need clay!”
*Mumble*
“Reckon we can make it?!”
“Haha – no”
“God damnit!”

After a good 5 minutes of complaining, I insisted he got up anyway as I wanted to go buy lunch and thankfully at least, the food stores manage to stay open til 4.

So yea, its nearly 3 pm now and Im grumpy. I mean, im REALLY grumpy. I wanted my modelling clay and now I have to wait til next Saturday; assuming of course we manage to wake up early enough to get into town, find parking and reach the shops. Did I mention how bad the parking is here? In all honesty, I think its another “family time” stunt. It’s pretty logical really – if you can’t park, you have to go home right? I have never seen a town with so few parking spaces. What’s worse (and this REALLY annoys me), the ones that are usually free are the 15 minute parking spots. 15 minutes! What in God’s name are you meant to do in 15 minutes. Of course, my fiance realises the advantages of this for him and frequently claims that there will be no other free spaces and we’ll have to just be fast.

As it happens, I’m lucky this week…. He’s working from home on Monday so I will have to wait until then for my modelling clay. I’ll spend all weekend being extremely prickly over this though.

I was about to bring this to a close when I was flooded with another wave of rage that annoyed me today. I mentioned that I kicked my boyfriend out of the bed so we could go and buy lunch, right?

Ok – food here.

The Danes eat a lot of bread. Breakfast is usually bread with *something* on it… pâté, soft cheeses, hard cheeses whatever – its bread with stuff on it. Lunch; thats usually bread with, you guessed it, something on it. Again, pâtés, cheeses, eggs, fish.. various other things (note, never butter).

Now, this annoys me. It’s not that I dislike bread (although Im not a lover of the “black” bread they eat here), but for me, theres only so much bread you can eat. In addition to this, I hate their soft cheeses which usually have lumps of shrimp in them. In the UK, lunch for me was often soup, some form of tinned rubbish on toast or noodles perhaps. Oh yes, Im the Queen of junk food.

Denmark is void of junk food. The most advanced you might manage would be a frozen pizza. Baked beans are treated as the food of the devil. Imagine then, how elated I was to discover large tins of spaghetti and small sausages at our local shop last week. Elated to the point that I think we bought 12 of these tins. Part of my UK life had returned; rejoice! I had tinned spaghetti on toast!

Off we went this morning; myself already incredibly grumpy from being robbed of my modelling clay (I’m not letting this drop. Someone will pay for this). We arrived at the store and I proceeded to throw biscuits and chocolate into the basket. I wandered over to the shelves that hold my newly discovered tins of loveliness….. empty. Whats going on?! What is this?!

“They’ve sold out” muttered the boyfriend
“OH YOU THINK?! FOR GOD SAKE WHATS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTY?!”
“Cant you have soup”

I looked with disappointment at the ONE variety of Heinz soup (tomato) sat on the shelves. I didn’t feel like soup but its the closest thing I was going to find to remind me of home today.

“FINE!”

So yea, its 3 pm and after being denied both my modelling clay (I was going to model the most exquisite dragon!), and my tinned spaghetti, Im feeling pretty foul. I settled for noodles for my lunch – a different type! They still fall short of anything I could find in the UK.. I’d sell my grandmother for a pot noodle right now. The only vaguely good thing about today is that it’s only 1 degrees outside so Im hoping that perhaps the automatic drinkers at the stables have thawed out and the national bucket crisis may pass. Incidently, I realised something last night. On Thursday when the drinkers first froze, the little coloured mare next door to Jack had a drinking bucket in her stable. Yesterday, said bucket was missing and the grooms were left attempting to plug the hole in her food bucket with their fingers in order to let her drink.

Where had her bucket gone?! More images of liveries tip-toeing around the yard looking for water buckets crept into my head. Perhaps Jack’s water bucket is in imminent danger. Perhaps I SHOULD go and see him today and make sure no one has stolen his bucket! The words of Chris the groom are still ringing through my ears..

“Sparrow bucket – sparrow allowed water!”

What if he no longer has a bucket?! This national shortage can drive people to the strangest behaviour afterall and horse owners are already unstable at the best of times.

So, now I have to battle with my own dilemma about whether I should go and check the where abouts of Jack’s bucket and ensure he has water should the drinkers have not thawed…. and it’s cold… and I dont have my clay and I dont have my spaghetti.

Life out here is tough.

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