I Need a Hygge

I Need a Hygge

The view I won’t be seeing. Not yet anyway…

Hygge. Pronounced ‘hue-gah.’ Unless you’re in our house, in which case it’s ‘hug.’ Or ‘higgy.’

It’s the Danish concept of living well, living simply and being good to yourself – and no ‘wellness’ guide can exist without it.

As far as I can tell I’ve been good to myself for several years. Too many, according to the waistband on my grey trousers…

But I’ve always been good at home. I’ve never set foot in Denmark. It’s on my bucket list: one of the countries I really want to visit. Copenhagen, and then a jaunt up the road to Aarhus (see above: pronounced ‘our house,’ obviously…)

And last week, for thirty glorious seconds, I was on the plane. [Read more…]

Boots on the Ground

"Come on, Dad..."

“Come on, Dad…”

I’ve gone through my whole life without being remotely interested in footwear with brand names like ‘Mountain Goat’ or ‘Crag Climber.’  

But this walking lark has changed everything.

With the Pennine Way now just an ominous seven weeks away my thoughts have turned to my feet. And the simple fact that I’ll need something more than my trainers to march up Pen-y-Ghent and pals.

The same goes for Ben. He finished his Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition with his feet inside plastic bags. His boots took a week to dry out. So they’ll shortly be on first name terms with a skip.

He needs new boots. I need new boots. But ‘this walking lark’ is not cheap… [Read more…]

Scouting for Dads

"Stay alive," I said to my wife. "I will find you..."

“Stay alive,” I said to my wife. “I will find you…”

One part holiday: one part scouting mission for the Pennine Way expedition. My beloved and I were in the Dales for two days, the house – and the continued survival of the pets – left confidently with Jessica and Ben.

Everything’s fine. Stop worrying, they texted.

Sadly, the scouting wasn’t going as well.

“Where’s the OS map?” Jane asked as we said a damp goodbye to Hardraw Force  and headed further into the wilds.

Oh. That’s why I’d had a nagging, something-left-behind feeling all morning…

“In the bedroom.”

“You’ve left it behind?”

“As it’s not currently hanging round my neck, yes.” [Read more…]

Underwater Shakespeare

TimonWhen shall we three meet again?

In thunder, lightning or in rain?

When the hurly-burly’s done

When the battle’s lost and won.

In truth, there wasn’t a lot of hurly-burly. Only 13 people in the audience: not quite your Hollywood crowd scene.

Because it wasn’t Hollywood. It was Cambridge. Our annual trip to the Shakespeare Festival. University gardens, an improvised stage – and rain. Lots of it. Definitely not Hollywood.

Fortunately my wife was prepared. [Read more…]

En Francais…

Yep, one was enough...

Yep, one was enough…

We’re in the departure lounge at Manchester airport. 90 minutes and we’ll be in the air. Next stop Nantes. Jane and Ben are looking forward to a really pleasant flight. They’re in 14A and 14B. Owing to a disagreement with the online check-in (thanks, flybe) I’m in 21B. “But you can still pay for our drinks, Dad.”

Who are we meeting in Nantes? Our beloved daughter. And there she is. [Read more…]

The Accidental Terrorist

All things considered, the holiday didn’t get off to the best start – and inevitably, it was my fault. When we had to cancel our summer holiday the very nice insurance company gave us our money back. Then we discovered that a cottage in Derbyshire in July translates to a villa in Greece at half term. Or it would do, if your seven year old son wasn’t arrested as a terrorist. [Read more…]