Alex James: Great Danes can be proud of hot dogs

Rural Notebook
Click to follow
The Independent Online

What a delightful thing it is to go for a walk. I'd come from Lyon, where the band had been entertained by the city council in imperial style: a candlelit, post-show soiree in an ancient amphitheatre on a hilltop above the city. So many old friends from 10, 20 years ago from the French record company showed up, some of them now leading completely different lives since I last saw them. That was seven years ago, before I became a father of four myself.

Olivier, our suave former label boss and a debonair feline with the keys to tout Paris, had moved to a farmhouse in the Camargue and become fascinated, to my delight, by bees. We talked until sunrise, when my wife and I took the early flight to Copenhagen for a couple of days off.

Now Copenhagen is a city of great delights: perhaps the world's most beautiful women, the Danes. Then there are the hot dogs. These are among the great wonders of the modern world. Something akin to pizza in New York, Guinness in Dublin, steak in Buenos Aires or soba noodles in Tokyo – impossible to reproduce out of situ, but cheap, prolific and indescribably delicious at the place of origin. Go there and have one, please. You must. (And get both kinds of onion on it.)

So much to do: Noma, one of the world's best restaurants, and the Tivoli gardens. There's the cheese, which is strong, and the beer, which is exquisite: there is a lot to keep a man happy. So much that it seemed perfectly acceptable to do very little. The sun was shining and drew us – my wife, my best man, his wife and her sister and husband – into the evening. All those wonders of the modern world and the brash thrill of playing very loud music paling beside the subtle warmth of an idle amble through the woods. The most content I've been for a long time.

Game for the Highlands

Out for a few drinks in Edinburgh on Saturday night, topped off with deep-fried Mars bars in the city's "chip shop triangle". Then a perfect evening at T in the Park the following day – there's nowhere as beautiful as Scotland when the sun shines. Unfortunately, it doesn't very much. Still, I would move there tomorrow if my wife were willing.

Ready for the big dig

In my absence, Paddy had a meeting at the farm with the planners regarding cheese caves. I think I've mentioned before that six feet underground maintains constant cheese temperature, so it was worth investigating the practicalities of digging a royal cheese batcave. They're up for it. "In principle," they said, it was "a justifiable farm business diversification", and something they felt they could support. Hooray! All systems go.

Comments