Sirens in the Garden

22 May

790987_300_1000_50_0_330_496Image from Fyens Stiftstidende

Every year on the first Wednesday in May, at 12pm across Denmark the piercing sound of wailing sirens crashes in on daily life. This is the annual test of the sirens which warn the citizens of Denmark to get inside, close all windows and doors and switch on the radio in the case of a serious incident or disaster. Even with advance warning the sound is chilling, to say the least. Check it out here!

DSC00142HedgeDenmark is a safe country, uneventful some might say to the point of perhaps being boring, and the sirens are a jarring, adrenalin-inducing reminder of the potential evils of the outside world. A world which I feel far-removed from as I go about my daily life, cycling along woodland paths and countryside roads lined with syrene (lilacs). The blossoming of the prolific syrene hedges, which both grow wild and are cultivated in every self-respecting Danish garden, are synonymous with the arrival of spring and for me are a vanguard of the summer ahead.

Syrene4BarnThe island of Funen where I live is sometimes referred to as Denmark’s garden. It puts me in mind of a romanticised English landscape captured in orchestral lushness by Ralph Vaughan Williams, or described in loving detail by Thomas Hardy in his classic works. Of course the Danes are also nostalgic for their own land, and one need look no further than the novels of Morten Korch, immortalised on the silver screen, to find a correspondingly innocent and idealized version of life in the country. The landscape is gentle, subtle, and at this time of year verdant and lush, and always accompanied by the singing of larks.

Purløg GrassAs mentioned in previous posts, I love to spend as much time as possible in my garden during the months of good weather, and with this in mind I decided to take my family on holiday to Scotland over the Easter period so as not to miss out on the summer sun.

DamIt’s kind of an upside-down feeling going back to my native land – my home has become my holiday destination and vice versa – but I relish the opportunity to play tour guide and have insider knowledge on exactly where we should go. On this trip I decided to take my family to the north-west of Scotland to show them how dramatic and varied the scenery is in my favourite part of the country. It’s about as far-removed from the gentle, well-kept landscape of Funen as you can get!

Loch HopeStrath NaverBeachNevertheless, by the end of our holiday I was very much looking forward to getting home to my garden, and more importantly to the kitties! It was the first time we’ve put them into a cattery, and I was constantly worrying about how they were getting on. When we went to pick them up, the lady described them as having been frække (naughty) and listed their activities as including breaking into the food store (Knud has the determination of a hungry Labrador when it comes to obtaining food), knocking over pot plants and throwing the cat litter all over the place. Well, at least they hadn’t been bored!

Knud jump TippiNow, a few weeks on, life is back to normal, peace has been restored and our pot plants have been relocated to the garden, where the kitties are more interested in chasing butterfiles.

Knud butterfly

Sirener i haven

Hvert år på den første onsdag i maj kl. 12 lyder Danmarks sirener over hele landet. De testes årligt og advarer befolkningen om at komme indenfor, lukke vinduerne og dørene, og at tænde for radioen for at høre om, hvad der er sket. Skønt man i forvejen ved, at sirenene bliver testet, er lyden stadigvæk frygtelig. Se det her!

signs Danmark er et meget trygt land, så trygt at det næsten kan betragtes som kedeligt. Sirenene er derfor en chokerende påmindelse om verdens tænkelige ondskab, som jeg slipper for, når jeg kommer cyklende på skovstier og landeveje, hvor syrenerne vokser frit. Syrenerne springer ud om foråret og findes både på landet og i byen. Jeg betragter syrenernes blomster som et signal om, at sommeren er på vej.

Syrene1DSC00142Fyn kaldes for Danmarks have og minder mig om det engelske landskab, som komponisten Ralph Vaughan Williams gav udtryk for i musik, og forfatteren Thomas Hardy skrev med kærlighed om i sine værker. Selvfølgelig er danskerne også forelskede i deres eget land, og man kan læse i Morten Korchs romaner (og se i film inspireret deraf) en blåøjet fortælling om livet på landet. Danmarks landskab er blidt, underdrevet og på denne årstid grønt og frodigt med lærkernes sang i baggrunden dagen lang.

CarSom nævnt i tidligere posts elsker jeg at tilbringe så megen tid som muligt i min have i de varme måneder. Med det i tankerne besluttede jeg at tage til Skotland med familien ved påsketid, så at jeg ikke gik glip af sommersolen.

Ben HopeDet er en lidt omvendt følelse at tage tilbage til mit hjemland – mit tidligere hjem er blevet til et feriemål, og mit tidligere feriemål er blevet til mit hjem. Ikke desto mindre nyder jeg muligheden for at være rejselederen og ved lige præcis, hvor vi skal tage hen. Denne gang besluttede jeg at vise familien Skotlands nordvestlige del. Det er den del af landet, jeg bedst kan lide, der har dramatiske udsigter og bjergrige horisonter. Det er så langt fra Fyns rolige landskab, som det kan være!

Quinag Road to Ullapool WavesVed afslutningen af ferien glædede jeg mig alligevel til at komme tilbage til mit hus og min have og, vigtigst af alt, til killingerne. Det var første gang, de havde været i en kattepension, og jeg kunne ikke lade være med at bekymre mig over, hvordan det gik med dem, mens vi var væk. Da vi hentede dem, beskrev pensionsejeren dem som ‘frække’. Deres aktiviteter havde inkluderet et indbrud til fødevarekassen (Knud er målrettet som en sulten labrador, når det drejer sig om at få mad), de havde væltet potteplanterne og havde smidt grus over det hele… De havde i hvert fald ikke kedet sig!

Knud butterflyNogle få uger senere er livet nu tilbage til det normale. Freden er genoprettet, og vores potteplanter er blevet flyttet ud i haven, hvor misserne er mere interesseret i at jage sommerfuglene.

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