Friday, 28 July 2006

Roe Deer in the Garden

This evening as I looked through my parents' kitchen window I spotted a couple of roe deer roaming about in the garden. I quickly grabbed a camera and ran out and secretly took a picture of them from behind a hedge.

These are usually very shy animals, so I was lucky to get such a good shot. It was a mother deer with her very cute kid. For more detail click the picture to enlarge it.

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

Thorsbjerg Mose - main attraction of Sønder Brarup

I have decided to write a little bit about Sønder Brarup, the small German town, where my parents live and where I have spent many months by now. The town is a small local commercial centre which is not too exciting at first sight. The one site in the town holding the most attraction value is probably significant historical sacrifical site of Thorsbjerg Mose (roughly "Mount Thor's Moor")

Thorsbjerg Mose is an old forest moor/swamp, which makes a charming but also somewhat eerie place for a walk. My mother has told me that she doesn't like the place due to it's somewhat gloomy feel, but I really like the dark, shallow waters covered by all sorts of water plants as you can see in the above idyllic scene.

Here Asbjørn and Ole are sitting at the only main bank of the lake in the centre of the moor. I do not know for sure, but one can easily imagine that this could have been the spot where people used to come to throw sacrifices to the Norse Gods (the place takes it's name after the Norse Thunder God Thor) into the muddy, overgrown waters. For an extended period roughly 1500-2000 years ago this was the most significant sacrificial site on the entire peninsula of Angel (from which England takes it's name due to the later emmigration of many locals to the British Isles). In these waters archeologists have found clay pots, tools, clothes, parts from old carts, farming equipment and most of all huge amoutns of weapons and other war material. A couple of times around 400 A.D. armies have sacrificed what appears to be their entire collection of weapons and equipment in what must have been gigantic victory celebrations.

Another beautiful scene from the lush moor.

And just to do Sønder Brarup a little justice: It is possible to find some neighbourhoods with a certain charm. Here a row of well kept houses on Bahnhofstrasse with flowers in front of them, make the town look a bit nicer on this picture than it actually is.

On a final note I would like to point out that the names of "Sønder Brarup" and "Thorsbjerg Mose" are both Danish not Germany names for these two places. My reason for using these names is that this entire area used to be Danish (Untill 1864) and still holds a sizable Danish minority to which my parents belong. So Danish location names are part of an effort to keep Danish culture alive in Northern Germany. If you want to look up these places the German names are "Süderbrarup" and "Thorsberger Moor".

Summer visit by Asbjørn

My 7 year old nephew Asbjørn needed a little holiday from his parents and his little sister, so he went down to Sønder Brarup to visit his Grandfather, Oma (German for grannie) and his two uncles (because I took the opportunity to visit also). Here are a few pictures of Asbjørn and the rest of the family enjoying the wonderful Danish summer:

The entire family enjoying an outside barbeque dinner. The starter is corn on the cob.

My brother Ole has gotten quite good at playing with his nephew. Asbjørn loved being driven around like a little king.

And he also enjoyed watching his big uncle play his portable Nintendo.

Asbjørn is an energetic boy who loves gardening. So he gladly volunteers (or rather demands) to remove the wheeds from Oma's flower beds.

Asbjørn also enjoys the fruits of the garden. Here he is enjoying a cherry fresh from the tree.

Friday, 14 July 2006

Skt. Hans - a Danish Midsummer Celebration

On June 23 I went with a friend to the ancient Danish midsummer celebration of Skt. Hans. In the old times this was an occasion to burn witches and we still do it today, although the witches are now made of paper machee and similar materials.

On this night, which is one of the longest of the year, houndreds of people get together to see the witch go up into flames and sing old, traditional midsummer songs. Here the bonfire has just been lit...

...and a few minutes later the witch has finally caught fire much to the celebration of the crowd. Perhaps this is not far off from how real witch burnings took place some 450 years ago.

My friend Morten poses in front of the bonfire after the witch had been burned to ashes.

There was also time to enjoy a quiet beer in the nearby field. It is amazing to be able to sit out in full daylight untill well after 22:00 (10 pm).

And finally the midsummer night's sun was setting behind the bonfire which was just beginning to catch on.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Visiting an Older Generation

As I wrote in my previous post I will now introduce my mother's aunt Søs - who painted the two last pictures you see in my previous post. Earlier this summer my mother took me to the northern island of Mors to visit her for the first time in 20 years - since I was 6 years old.

Aunt Søs is 91 years old but still very energetic and active both physically and mentally. She is very curious about the world and asked me a number of questions about my stay in India. She was herself a bit of a traveller in her youth. Just after World War II when she was a young girl, she spent a year in England, which was an adventurous and bold thing to do at that time. The world was not as small then as it is today, and even the language barrier must have seemed incredible at the time.

Here my mother is sitting in Aunt Søs' living room. I like this picture very much because it shows a living room that seems to be a forgotten remnant of a time long since disappeared. Certainly the decor is very different from the contemporary, minimalstic Scandinavian style, which is so common in Denmark these days. Here, by contrast, the room is full of furniture and filled with decorative paintings and fanciware. This is a reminder of a time when room was tight and there was no tv or computers. So if you wanted something to look at during those long winter nights you had to hang it on your walls or put it on your shelves.

Sunday, 2 July 2006

My (Passive) Artistic Genes

I admit it - I am not the most artistic person in the world. But there must be some creativity hidden somewhere in my genes (which perhaps explains my recently found interst in photography), which I will demonstrate in this posting by showing a couple of photos I took of some paintings done by my family. The first two were made by my great great grandfather Hans Agersnap and the last two by my mother's aunt Søs.

The first picture my Hans Agersnap, showing a sunset scene. Hans Agersnap (1857-1925) became quite a famous painter and I have previously written about a review the famous Danish author Jeppe Aakjær wrote about one of his exhibitions. Check it out here (in Danish).

And here a winter landscape, also by Hans Agersnap. I apologize for the reflections in the paint making the upper left corner a bit hard to see.

And now a painting my my great aunt Søs, who is an amateur painter who is still alive and well today at the age of 91 years, which I will show you in my next post.

And the last picture showing a girl preparing a meal in a simple kitchen.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

A Summer of Hindi and Football

There are few things more beautiful than a Scandinavian summer, when the sun sets after 23:00 (11 PM) and the landscapes look like an explosion of greenery. So far I have spent almost the entire summer doing only two things: Studying hindi and watching football. Of course the latter has mainly been about the World Cup, where I am currently celebrating Germany's victory over Argentina just a few hours ago. But I also had time to visit a game at the local stadium, which turned out to be a dramatic affair - not so much the game itself but what happened just after it was over:

The game was set between the nearby town of Randers hoping to achieve promotion to the Super League and local team Brabrand hoping to avoid relegation to 2nd division. Randers won the game 2-0 and could thus celebrate their promotion with the many away team supporters. In this picture you see the players spraying their fans with champagne.

I was, however, more interested in the fate of local team Brabrand. At the final whistle their closest rivals LFA (Lolland Falster Alliancen) were one goal up in their match in the other end of the country. LFA only needed a draw to pass the buck of relegation to Brabrand, so everyone assumed that Brabrand had been relegated and the players disappointedly walked into their locker room to digest their fate...

...when suddenly the word came through that LFA miracously had conceded not one but the required TWO goals in overtime in their match and thus that Brabrand had been saved from relegation. So in this picture you see the Brabrand players who came back out to celebrate - after most of them had changed to civilian clothes. Quite a drama but a happy end for all those involved - at least at this stadium.

Computer breakdown!

If anyone is wondering why I haven't updated this weblog for a while, it has a very simple explanation. My computer has crashed completely and has been sent to Copenhagen for repairs. I don't know exactly when - if ever - it will be back in action, but hopefully some time next next week. I'm currently visiting my parents which finally gives me the opportunity to update again. So I will try to post a couple of new articles over the next days.