Settling in Denmark

April 2014.

I arrived with our seven kitties to start our new life in Denmark with my husband Peter, who had already been living there since September 2013.  It was a big step to take as we had only just returned to the UK in June 2013 from Saudi Arabia and had spent time doing up our home in Devon.  Here is our hired van (with the kitties) crossing the Storebælt toll bridge connecting Funen with Sealand (£25 one way, ouch!!!).

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Isis (Mum), Horus, Fluff, Pepper, Hobbs (Bobs), Sid and Buttons (Toots), all flew to Denmark using their Pet Passports.  Due to “regulations” they had to fly on two separate flights – the boys on BA with Peter and the girls on SAS with me.  At least they all travelled on the same day and all the various people involved in this were wonderful.  Although it was distressing, I need not have worried as all seven cats arrived safe and well and settled into the new house at once, asking to go out the very next day.

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When I arrived, I found that Peter had already done a lot of work on the house and garden, but there was still a lot to be done.  Peter had set up a lovely shower room, had got the central heating working, put a new floor in our master bedroom, taken out some silly partitions, put up the walls of our new bathroom, taken out the old bath and trimmed our apple trees and our encroaching forest.  Plus a few other DIY projects, so he had clearly been busy for the few months since we bought the place.

Still a lot of work to do.

There was still lots of work to be done, though, and we’re slowly getting through the list of jobs.  Our main problem is finding a builder, though.  It seems that the system in Denmark is very much like it was in the UK 60 years ago, with each trade doing only one thing – like the old Flanders and Swann music hall song “The Gasman Cometh”.

‘Twas on a Monday morning the gas man came to call.
The gas tap wouldn’t turn – I wasn’t getting gas at all.
He tore out all the skirting boards to try and find the main
And I had to call a carpenter to put them back again.
Oh, it all makes work for the working man to do.
 
‘Twas on a Tuesday morning the carpenter came round.
He hammered and he chiselled and he said:
“Look what I’ve found: your joists are full of dry rot
But I’ll put them all to rights”.
Then he nailed right through a cable and out went all the lights!
Oh, it all makes work for the working man to do.
 
‘Twas on a Wednesday morning the electrician came.
He called me Mr. Sanderson, which isn’t quite my name.
He couldn’t reach the fuse box without standing on the bin
And his foot went through a window so I called the glazier in.
Oh, it all makes work for the working man to do.
 
‘Twas on a Thursday morning the glazier came round
With his blow torch and his putty and his merry glazier’s song.
He put another pane in – it took no time at all
But I had to get a painter in to come and paint the wall.
Oh, it all makes work for the working man to do.
 
‘Twas on a Friday morning the painter made a start.
With undercoats and overcoats he painted every part:
Every nook and every cranny – but I found when he was gone
He’d painted over the gas tap and I couldn’t turn it on!
Oh, it all makes work for the working man to do.
 
On Saturday and Sunday they do no work at all;
So ’twas on a Monday morning that the gasman came to call…

The wee loo before and after.

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We just can’t find a builder who can do the full job like we did in the UK: it seems that general builders don’t exist here and each trade will only do one thing, so they come for 30 minutes, do their job and disappear – we then have to ask nicely to get the next trade to come, so that a three week job is taking forever to complete!

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