Høstfest! Harvest time in Denmark

foto

on guard

Time for some more foraging, aka going into your garden and picking stuff. We’re over-run with apples, although the beags do their best, endlessly playing in the evening sun with windfalls, and there are herbs to freeze or dry – rosemary and thyme are supposedly perennial, but not in our garden they ain’t. The rhubarb has survived being moved twice this summer, hopefully we’ve finally found its perfect spot, the gooseberries were as disappointing as usual and the raspberries should have been pruned earlier. Our grønkål/kale is coming along OK, despite the best efforts of slugs and snails. Can you tell I’m not much of a gardener? Partner is lined up to divide and conquer our løvstikke/lovage and kvan/angelica, so they can come into their own next year, and in the case of the latter, hopefully flower in a dramatic fashion.

Other things we can avail ourselves of:

  • damsons/kræge – or probably not, although maybe could substitute mirabeller, more prevalent here – Delia’s chutney | Telegraph
  • hasselnødder/hazelnuts – preferably cobnuts, sighted last year on Roskilde Torv
  • havtorn/sea buckthorn – good with apples in compote; chutney, infused as a tea
  • hyldebær/elderberries – soup with potato starch? ellers tak
  • kvæde/quince – after the first frosts
  • rosehips/hyben – infused as a tea; chutney
  • røn/rowan – aka mountain ash; apparently it is a tradition in both Scotland and Denmark to have a rowan tree by the front door to ward off witches and evil spirits, and we have one handily placed; jelly seems to be a thing, also wine; TBH thought the berries were poisonous
  • sandtorn/tjørn/hawthorn – jam?
  • slåen/sloes – Daily Mail | BBC | Gdn gin

A Facebook friend, who is doing the full Hugh FW, has been mushrooming and after several attempts located some kantereller/chanterelles, but I think we’ll have to stick to Irma for those. Theirs come from Belarus, how exciting is that.

But what to do with all this stuff? The answer tends to be jam, involving massive amounts of sugar, or snaps. Planning to use some rowan berries in the last of our Faroese snaps, plus some sloe gin, which I have mixed memories of as a student.

Latest entry from backlash corner: from Jay Rayner’s Just because you can go foraging doesn’t mean you should:

5,000 years of agriculture and now we’re all foraging. I bet the Mesopotamians wonder why they bothered…the biggest argument against it is the lacklustre and uninspiring food that so often results from all that clomping about down in the woods.

As someone yet to empty their one jar of kryddesalt I can only agree, but the Danes seem well up for it, in particular as part of an event.

Last week a Høst-havemarked (harvest and garden festival; coverage) in nextdoor suburb Rødovre closed Vestegnens Kulturuge (also part of Golden Days). The garden of the Heerup Museum, which incidentally offers the least value for money of any museum I’ve ever been to, was transformed with mini-gardens, an apple press was on duty, honey from some local urban bees was on sale, you could roast your own coffee, grind your own flour, drink local wine…the gullaschkanon (field kitchen) got an outing, there was a WW1 exhibition including a row of tents, 200 flea market stalls and local radio supplying the sounds. Festivities continued with music from established names and local acts until midnight, moving to Damhuskroen until 5 in the morning. Blimey. Just a shame about the weather.

Sunday was Naturens Dag, with Byhøst doing an autumn forage in Valbyparken. Also involved was haymaking with scythes from Vild Med Vilje – read their report from the Vild Festival in August, when it also rained, and lots of stuff for children. Elsewhere there was some sort of fishing cum picnic thing at Sct Jørgens Sø, which is nice, as I’ve been pondering for a while why more doesn’t go on at the Lakes. Next Sunday sees a picnic at Tippen, with grapepicking at our local vinyard pencilled in for 11-12 October.

Meanwhile, the Eat your city conference (Facebook) promoted urban farming, particularly as a social movement, looking very serious minded, but it did culminate in KBHs Høstfest (Facebook | review), a harvest festival with a 2500 seater 800m longboard down Sønder Boulevard – it was hipster heaven. All part of the Sharing Copenhagen effort.

For a more realistic view of the eating habits of the average Dane see Michael Booth in The Local, or visit any ‘budget’ supermarket.

A final check-in with the local trees me and the beags have been monitoring (February | June):

2014-09-23 11.44.17

one lousy branch – better luck next year?

Update, May 2015: sad to relate, the three trees above have now been felled.

Landscape, memory, walking, writing

Some recent discoveries on landscape, memory, walking and writing. For more see the writers tag.

The latest Talking walking featured Linda Cracknell, currently on R4’s Book of the week with Doubling back: ten paths trodden in memory (publisher| review):

The walks trace the contours of history, following writers, relations and retreading ways across mountains, valleys and coasts formerly trodden by drovers, saints and adventurers. Each walk is about the reaffirming of memories, beliefs and emotions, and especially of the connection that one can have with the past through particular places.

The podcast:

Our interview explores how she sets out to write a narrative of a journey on foot, what she leaves out and how she draws in the reader to the journey or story she tells.  Now living in Scotland, her surroundings offer her plenty of variety for walks, short or long, in the surrounding countryside, much of which is devoid of people since the Highland Clearances. Nature and isolation are both important elements in her writing, as are memories conjured or animated by other walks, some personal, some collective, some political.

My notes:

  • Linda takes notes in small handmade notebooks as she walks – this helps her to observe
  • there’s a relationship between notetaking qv and memory – once something is written down it is somewhere in your brain
  • she writes her notes into a journal in the evening – this is not a compelling narrative, ie it is data
  • this gradually takes on shape and structure through an iterative process of rewriting – it may become an essay, or a piece of fiction
  • it is a joy to rewrite a journey, selecting material and pulling a narrative together to make it compelling for the reader
  • Linda walks to get to know an area, setting off in every direction
  • it’s a process of discovery – go back years later and to see if you react in the same way, reacquaint yourself with a place by going back (digitally?), what’s still there; rediscovering the place and your self
  • if other people are routinely walking in an area it becomes a social act – her example: Kenya; cf dog walking
  • defamiliarise to observe afresh, eg walk slowly, at night, at a different level (eg beagle level)
  • novel: Call of the undertow about a cartographer
  • places that have echoes of other walks/routes from the past, eg drovers, pilgrims…this can be sad in areas which are now depopulated, wilderness; find traces of human remains, eg paths, buildings

Book of the week episodes:

  • Dancing, kicking up her legs – visits a hillside above Loch Ness following in the footsteps of Jessie Kesson
  • Baring our soles – walking barefoot through Kenya discovering the connection between feet and politics
  • Outlasting our tracks: in his footsteps – retraces the Alpine ascent made by her father in 1952 plus some truths about the past and her relationship with her father
  • The heaven above and the road below – a walk from her front door to the Isle of Skye uncovering memories of the past and finding inspiration for the future
  • Walking home – looks to the future walking the pilgrimage route of St Cuthbert’s Way between Scotland and England and following her own footsteps around her home town of Aberfeldy

More Linda (@LindaJCracknell):

In a similar vein, through the wonder of Guardian tags I discovered a series of three podcasts and related articles on landscape and literature from 2012:

Simon Armitage walks home

photo credit: Guardian

In 2010 Simon Armitage took a walk down the Pennine Way and wrote a book about it, Walking home. Like his earlier book, All points north (1999), it’s laugh out loud funny in a very British way – self deprecation to the max.

Reviews: Amazon (with both sides of the argument) | Goodreads | Google Books (long excerpt) | Guardian 1 & 2 (extract) | LibraryThing

The walk is described as a ‘troubadour journey’ – Simon walked without a penny in his pocket, stopping along the way to give poetry readings in village halls, churches, pubs and living rooms for bed and board. So, yet another walking challenge or project. Entertainingly, at one point he is in danger of bumping into Seamus Heaney, also undertaking a walking project at the same time. And. as I discovered when looking at his website, in 2013 he’s writing the follow-up – Walking away, a journey from Minehead in Somerset along the north coast of the South West Coast Path to Land’s End and beyond…which rather spoils it for me. There are sateliite events, two articles in the Guardian (1 & 2) and everything. It’s not quite Ed and Will’s Walk around Britain.

For a taste of Simon’s deadpan style listen to his #rambings episode, part of the Stuart Maconie season on city skylines. The lads take a ramble on Marsden Moor near Saddleworth, aka Posh Oldham.

Saddleworth is a bit schizophrenic, having been part of Yorkshire until 1974. The moors are the lungs of the north. Simon talks about how the logic of a walk keeps you going, you are in competition with it and have to win. It’s mentally hard work, a different sort of challenge from other stresses such as deadlines. Walking pace mimics a heartbeat, and also the iambic pentameter, say some…walking is a process not a product. The Pennines are the spine of England, with a drop on one side to the North Sea and on the other to the Irish Sea, with views on this walk of Jodrell Bank and Beetham Tower at the end of Deansgate, the fourth tallest residential building in Europe. Fab.

Refshaleøen: CPH’s industrial heritage

Yesterday we visited Refshaleøen, a wilderness area just over the water from the Little Mermaid. An artificial island dominated by an abandoned shipyard, the area is being shined up in the name of the experience economy. As part of Kulturhavn, a harbour festival and the latest of a seemingly endless parade of same in CPH over the summer, there were guided walks and free waterbuses on offer.

Kulturhavn as a whole was nicely done, with events over the weekend at six harbour/dock locations:

After collecting the route map we went for the self guided walk option. Or rather beagle guided – drifting with beagles is often on their terms, and on a hot day compromises have to be made so they don’t completely exhaust themselves. One of our beagles is a horror in the car but a deep thinker at heart, and after some initial pulling paces himself to take it all in. The other one seems to do his thinking in the car, where he is happy looking out of the back window, but once he gets out it’s all systems go until exhaustion hits, when he lies down and won’t budge.

We pretty much followed the designated Shipyard Route – see Værftsruten for details of the 15 locations – but will have to come back on a cooler day to take in the details. As a whole the ‘island’ has a bit of everything – views across the water to Copenhagen ‘proper’, industrial chic, a trendy beach bar (Halvandet), windmills/fishing, although access is an issue. Copehagen’s heritage as an industrial harbour city is an interesting one, rather different from the fairytale image.

A summer stroll: Gurrevej and Grenhusene

Another short walk close to hand and perfect for the Danish heatwave is along Gurrevej to Grenhusene and back. Maximises shade, green areas and sniffs.

Gurrevej, a long curving street of two blocks, lies just behind Bredalsparken. From the local paper we discovered that there are nyttehaver (allotments) behind – I thought there was just parking and bins, my under-developed spatial sense didn’t realise how big the area was. So through what may be a new path we wandered in, not getting to close to people’s private gardens – space issues here! I’m never sure whether what the etiquette is in these semi-private areas – if we lived there, OK, but we didn’t see a soul, canine or other…all the same, we won’t go too often.

The area behind the first block is mainly grass, while the second, on a hot 25C day, was an oasis of flowers, fruit and vegetables, carefully tended by invisible gardeners. Next time I’ll take the camera.

the lawns of Gurrevej

the lawns of Gurrevej, the Royal Crescent of Hvidovre (photo: Forstadsmuseet)

Grenhusene is an interesting construction, built in 1957-58, again by Svenn Eske Kristensen. Untraditional in design, it  was inspired by a combination of a north African kasbah and twigs on a branch. Each little house has its own garden, although there’s a bit of a wilderness feel with plenty of overgrown areas crying out to be tidied into allotments. I’d love to get my nose into one of them – it’s a bit difficult to work out how much space there is out back.

Part of the same housing association as Bredalsparken, made up of 149 houses, 325 tenants, 50% over 50, 85 over 65, 51 children, plus lots of dogs, generally of the small and non-threatening type. While “no dogs” signs have been put up by the play areas we feel welcome due to the poo bag dispensers, the only ones in Hvidovre.

Grenhusene seen from the road

the kasbah

Photos: Forstadsmuseet.

When you come to the Biblioteksvej end you can go on to the graveyard or just walk back through an open area and Bredalsparken to collapse back onto the cushions in the garden at home.

Updates: March 2014: Grenhusene has made it to Scotland! Poul Sverrild, director of Forstadmuseet, is to give a presentation on Danish listing practices and the heritage of the welfare state at Edinburgh College of Art on 13 March, with Grenhusene cited as Denmark’s first tæt/lav byggeri (dense/low build)…proposal for listing (August 2013)

Clare Balding’s Ramblings

Update: ultimate Ramblings: Geoff Nicholson, 20 Oct 2016

Ramblings is an R4 programme hosted by national treasure Clare Balding, broadcast since 1999.

It’s quintessential R4 and prone to well, rambling, as Clare gets into conversation with her fellow walkers. I’m not entirely sure how much specialised clothing is involved – probably varies.

I’ve hurled the programme into my feedreader and bookmarked the archive to see where it takes us – see the #ramblings tag. I’ve also stuck #R4Ramblings into Hootsuite, although also need to keep an eye on the rather more random #ramblings. Update, Dec 2013: I’ve now listened to the entire archive of 100+ podcasts. I’m still no wiser as to the definition of a #ramble, but it was fun!

Each series has a theme – a possible taxonomy? In the current series (24) Clare is walking in search of new places, new people and new experiences – how apt!

27 June: Tara Bariana recalls his long walk home to India. Last one of the series – back in the autumn.

Clare walks on Cannock Chase with Tara, who recalls his 19 month walk home to the Punjab in 1995.

20 June: West Highland Way from Balmaha

Clare walks a section of the West Highland Way with twin sister ultra runners.

13 June: In search of the old ways

A ‘linear walk’ with Robert Macfarlane in Cambridgeshire’s Himalayas. Walking became a leisure activity rather than a necessity in the late 1800s, however pedestrian was still a bit declasse compared to chivalry/horseback. Wayfaring and walking clubs became popular (see Penguin comp), with anthologies of poetry and prose, although there was also a darker side with the Old English Brigade in search of Englishness. Does UKIP walk?

Walking as a special way of seeing, connecting with the landscape both familiar and unknown/challenging. The Cambridgeshire landscape can be considered uncharismatic if typical of contemporary England, and it has taken a long time for Robert to learn to read it and love it – you need to learn to love your place.

The walk explores the old ways, a network of footpaths, long, beckoning lines forming gates and portals into the landscape, the stage for eg a couple with a black spaniel walking between their legs. Wide paths created before the 18th century parcelling up of the land by enclosures (qv, also Connemara) and hedgerows, creating a partitioned version of the landscape (something about DK?).

Creates the mapping of our lives – interior landscapes and landscapes we travelled through, personal landscapes, as individual as we are, in our mind as well as in front of us. We all have our heartlands.

6 June: George Monbiot in search of the wild

George has a new book out, Feral: searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding – here’s the short version. Obviously endorsed by me, but rather earnest.

30 May: In search of love

Waterproof trousers alert! another group walk “like a map of a relationship”, rather too Home Counties for me, plus rather too much about leaders and being in charge; OTOH might have to research GPS machines; the walk in question was 8.5 miles.

23 May: Chilterns American Women’s Club hiking group

This was fun, being an expat myself; the particular type of international women here were almost exclusively Anglo Saxon professional wives; a jarring note where one mentioned British reserve as a barrier to friendship – just try DK!; note to self to look for DK expat walking groups to not join…