The Gap Year: June’s adventure

Oh my goodness, I can hardly believe how long it is since I posted.  There is SUCH a lot to catch up with.   Which I shall do gradually, over time.

First of all, I need to talk about our June Gap Year adventure.

We went to Denmark.  And what a  wonderful time we had.  Can I call it an adventure?  well, I’m not sure, but in a way it was – we’re still trying on this ‘retirement’ malarkey for size, and seeing how it feels, so in some ways everything feels like an adventure.  I knew I was returning home to just two more working days, and that gave an extra excitement to everything, because now anything (or almost anything) is possible.

Most of the photos below were taken by Malcolm.  But I suspect you won’t need me to tell you that, they’re several cuts above my standard.


Lupins, bed outside kitchen window

It was a trip of two halves.


The new ‘indoor-outdoor’ sitting and growing space

We spent the first few days with our friends at their house, enjoying just being there with them – but also enjoying our usual round of visits, local trips, and time with our Danish ‘family’, with the usual (high!) standard of Danish hospitality and hygge.



Malcolm and I spent a day together exploring Aarhus, and fell in love with the place (again).  We mooted the idea of me maybe going there to study and live for a term, an idea that had to be put on hold some years ago when parents needed us to be around.  We’ve been gently exploring and poking and prodding this idea since our recent visit, and I think a core of a germ of a plan might just be forming.  I’ll let you know where it ends up, if it sticks.


Aros, in Aarhus


Aarhus streetscene, weekday afternoon in the Old Town


Of course there was a yarn shop to visit. Strik in Aarhus

For the second half of the trip, we went to a house they had rented on a small island off the west coast of Jutland.  Fanoe.


We thought it would be impossible to beat the beauty of of the places they’d already taken us in years gone by, but we were wrong.  This island was just perfect: very peaceful, very gentle, very quiet, very beautiful.  Even the weather was (mostly) spectacularly good, and very different from the wet weather forecasted.




It was a celebration of her 60th birthday, and included the Danish side of their (our) extended family.  The week they had booked the house for was one of comings and goings – the four of us to start with, later joined by his two brothers and their partners, who each left one or two nights later, leaving just the four of us again.  Then the ‘girls’ and their husbands and children arrived.  And then we left them all there for the last few days, as we needed to be home for some work commitments.



So lovely to spend time with our ‘not nieces’ and their growing families.  One of the benefits of having known each other for so very long (she and I since we met at secondary school) is that we have grown up together, we’ve known each other’s partners for as long as we’ve been together, our children have grown up together.  We’ve known the brothers and their families almost as long.  They feel like family to us (but without the baggage most families accumulate and carry around).

On the island we mostly took it in turns to cook the evening meal, aided by the fish van that came every day outside the local shop – run by a Dane who knew the English name of every fish and gave us good advice on how to cook it.  And we had fresh home-baked rolls every morning.  Baked by me! – the ‘fruits’ of a master[mistress?]-class I demanded from her – she had been baking all our breakfast rolls while we were at her house, and despite baking all our bread at home for decades, I’ve never managed to back rolls as light and delicious as hers.

And now I can authentically produce delicious Danish-style home-baked rolls for breakfast, and know it to be true when she says “oh it’s really easy, they take no time at all”.

2016-07-24 09.08.16

Sunday morning breakfast

So this week, when I had an early morning ‘business meeting’ at home, I promised the person I was meeting with fresh rolls to go with our coffee.  He was a bit surprised – we’ve never met before and he said that he’d never been offered rolls before.  So maybe this will be the start of a new trend. (They were, by the way, delicious.  Though I say it myself….)

About deborah @ the magic jug

Now I've passed 60 I'm still doing all sorts of things I haven't done before, as well as carrying on with the things I already love. I live a happy life with my long term love Malcolm. In my blog I explore local and low tech ideas, food, growing, making, reading, thinking, walking, and lots of other words ending in 'ing'.
This entry was posted in Community, Family, Gap year, Inspirations, Local food, Reflections on life (and death), Retirement, Travels, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Gap Year: June’s adventure

  1. Marian says:

    Oh, this is just lovely, Deborah … and gorgeous photos! So glad to hear you’re enjoying retirement and all its possibilities 🙂 . Any chance you would do a dedicated post about baking those Danish rolls? It looks like they might be whole grain, and (as a fellow bread baker) I would LOVE to see the recipe!


    • Thanks Marian, and I’ve passed on your comment about the photos to Malcolm. I will definitely get around to writing up the recipe for the rolls, although as I guess you’ll not be surprised to hear, it’s one of those ‘put in till it looks right’ kind of recipes – my friend is even more that way inclined than I am! Lovely to hear that you’re another domestic baker, we’re (almost) as rare as hen’s teeth around here, though not in Scandinavia or Germany.


  2. Liz says:

    Brilliant blog, it was a great time on the magic island of Fanø! It’s difficult to write a bread recipe- throw whatever you have in until it looks right( a small amount of yeast)leave on the kitchen table overnight , spoon mixture onto baking tray( don’t mess it around!), bake in hot oven where there is a little pot of boiling water in the bottom of the oven.


    • It was brilliant there wasn’t it!

      I had to try the rolls with dried yeast last time, which came out ok though not as good as with the fresh yeast I think. Have also found a good size spoon to use. Will write it up soon. Not easy to find fresh yeast over here – but have found a small craft baker where they give it to me ‘free’ when I buy something else there – no great hardship as they bake lovely stuff!


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