SUPPORTING THE SPCA

I think we can all agree that the SPCA is a very worthy cause. So it was with a sense of praiseworthy virtue that I trotted off to the big book sale in support of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA. Cape winters are wet and cold, so it’s no fun for those living outdoors, whether on two legs or four. At least shelters for the two legged homeless exist, whereas the animals don’t do so well.
I craftily timed my visit for the first morning of the four day sale, so on arrival, the tables were piled high. However, despite diligent delving, I only found two books to my taste, both non-fiction:

I rashly bought Chernobyl Strawberries by Vesna Goldsworthy on the strength of the title . I’m fascinated by the aftermath of Chernobyl, and have long planned to write a dystopian novella on the topic. I’ve seen TV doccies about the gradual revival of the flora and fauna, showing vine clad derelict buildings, bold deer and foxes wandering the crumbling roads, all of which has an eerie charm for me. So imagine my chagrin when I sat down to my fish & chip lunch, and read the blurb properly, to discover the book is in fact a memoir. The sub-title on the cover, “A Memoir” , was in very small print and I missed it. Apparently the writer is a Yugoslavian. Hopefully Chernobyl will enter the picture later? Watch this space.

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I’m currently reading A Year of Living Danishly , subtitled Discovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country, by Helen Russell and am absolutely enchanted. Russell’s husband was offered a job by the manufacturers of the world’s best selling child’s game: Lego. Did you know that Lego originated in Denmark and is still made there? I didn’t. So off they went to live in Billund, a town situated in rural Jutland. The contrast between their previous buzzy big city London ifestyle, and countryside Billund could not be more extreme. I’m reading the chapter about the much vaunted concept of Danish hygge at the moment, which sounds appealing in our winter, but if you live in Africa as I do … only for a few short months .
Life in Denmark sounds like pure bliss, compared to South Africa. Literally polar opposites. What I want to know is: are there any Danish Sugar Daddies who’d like to adopt a little old Sugar Granny? Please ? Pretty please? I’ll even learn how to pronounce hygge, I promise!

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5 thoughts on “SUPPORTING THE SPCA

  1. Thanks Alison, I’ve reserved a copy of The Year of Living Danishly. I’ve long been fascinated by the modern Danish (and general Scandinavian) culture and psyche. The ‘happiest country’ produces the most terrifying Nordic Noir films on the circuit, which begs the question, – do they have the healthiest balance with their collective shadow side, or what?

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    1. You are so right – those bleak, dark Scandi crime novels – and yet ‘the happiest Danes’ – which the book amply illustrates. An odd contradiction.

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  2. That Danish paradise comes at a price – everything is eye wateringly expensive apparently because there is no such thing as income tax.So all the tax the government needs to run schools, etc comes from sales taxes which means high prices for food and drink.

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  3. I, too, am fascinated by the long-term after-effects at Chernobyl. I almost bought Chernobyl Strawberries but held off, mostly because I found it difficult to find many comments written by readers of the memoir.
    I just want to mention that my highlighted name, which accompanies comments, links to an experimental blog I tried and didn’t continue. My book blog is https://readerinthewilderness.blogspot.com

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