Well, it’s taken a while, but the Elverys are finally connected to this thing you people call “the internet”. Simon and I moved to Bayswater on the 28^th March, so it’s only taken the efforts of two very small, not-for-profit companies called Virgin and British Telecom to get us up and running. Eighty-one days: longer than it takes to go around the world, but less time than it took to build the Pyramids. We already think Jiselle and Tony's baby is both clever and thoughtful. We are sure he or she waited until mum and dad were back from Cairns and for us to get the internet so we can skype the be-jesus out of it. So heads up, baby. Come on and be born!
The best part of the last two weeks was going to Denmark on the weekend. Last month I had found what I thought were tuppence flights to Aarhus, the country’s second largest city. Hmmm, I thought, tuppence. I hesitated, but then came the payments screen where they appeared, not as tuppence, but as GPB 0.00 plus taxes. That’s free plus taxes! So that was a good start. It was a perfect weekend with a flight that wasn’t too early on Saturday and a late Sunday trip home. On the train to the airport, of course we were sitting next to Aussies, and of course they were from Brisbane. They were following their son around the UK as he played for the under 20s Wallabies. I certainly didn’t dazzle them with my knowledge of the rugby union back-catalogue, but the lovely mum did stop me from leaving my phone on the train seat.
I would just love to go back to see more of Denmark. The countryside that we saw was just gorgeous, with dense forests growing right up to the edge of the highways. Aarhus itself is set on canals and is very pretty. It is a university town with forty thousand students and has a lovely, relaxed feel to it. Everywhere there are very stylish people on bikes. Every Dane we met spoke at least some English and they were very friendly and helpful, especially our concierge who rang around trying to get us tickets to “something, anything!” The city is known as the culture capital of Denmark, and I managed to see two dance performances on the Saturday night that were part of the Aarhus International Choreography Competition. That was awesome.
On the Sunday we headed to Den Gamle By (The Old Town.) This is the world’s first open-air urban and history museum and was brilliant. A range of real buildings (homes, businesses, mills, etc) from all over Denmark (the earliest I saw was mid-1600s) have been dismantled, transported and reconstructed in the old town. It was very impressive. I fell in love with the poster art featured in an exhibition there by Bjorn Wiinblad. He created amazingly bright, bold posters for things like theatres, charities and Olympic Games. After shamrock-coated Ireland and Eiffel Tower-dripping Paris, I had expected Lego, Hamlet and Hans Christian Anderson everywhere. I was really surprised to see none of the first two, and only half a dozen fairy tale books. No Princess Mary sightings either.
In Aros, the city’s art gallery and museum, we stumbled upon a great three-piece band playing in the café. We had no idea what they were saying in between songs (except for buy our CD now) but we smiled and pretended we did. The museum was holding a special exhibition on movie directors who have created famous film clips in recent years. But the best thing about the Aros was the sculpture Boy, by the Aussie Ron Mueck. He creates extremely life-like sculptures of ordinary people that do your head in because of their size. Boy is five metres tall in cotton shorts that have belt loops the size of birthday cards. The detail in his hair and skin and feet is amazing. He squats at the bottom of the staircase and took my breath away.
The weather has continued being very kind. The walk to work each day is still lovely through the parks. I’m no longer shocked to see large numbers of horses (and their riders – I’d be surprised if the horses were able to organise it themselves) trotting the perimeter of Hyde Park. The other day there were sixty of them, three horses-wide, trotting down Piccadilly in peak hour. Londoners are usually all over their horns, but they’re strangely polite and there’s never a peep out of them when it comes to horses. We spent a brilliantly lethargic seven and a half hours in Hyde Park one Sunday, reading, eating ice-cream and exclaiming, “It’s actually hot!”
State of Origin second time around was far more satisfying. There were fewer Blues supporters than last time and it was just such a decent thumping. Also, our friends over here are having a baby in October, so they had a Twelve Week Scan party, and we celebrated by going to a great club that let us in for free because we said Kelly had made us late by waddling. I was positively vilified last email for choosing Sex and the City over Mozart (Uncle Alan was particularly horrified.) But we’ve arranged a few future performances at St Martin-in-the-Fields, including some when the Elverys arrive in mere weeks now. I am also especially excited to be seeing King Lear at the Globe on Saturday.
Lovely to hear from a lot of you again last time – thank you for making the effort! I always look forward to reading every one. Hope you're all well. Lots of love, Laura and Simon.