The Sisters Grene

I wandered in to Cheltenham today to buy some jeans as my trousers are falling apart; on the way I decided to pop in to a new shop at The Brewery, just five minutes gentle stroll from my home. I did not buy anything as they were taking cash only but I was excited by the fact the name was in Danish: Søstrene Grene (or ‘The Sisters Grinna”). 

I quite like Tiger, the other Danish shop in Cheltenham: partly for the fun of speaking Danish at the assistants in their “Spørg mig!” t-shirts and watching their confusion: well if you wear a t-shirt that’s says “ask me!” in another language you can’t really blame me if I do.

Mainly I like Tiger though because the labels are in Danish, and it is nostalgic, and I can practice my Danish and learn new words. I occasionally bought dad some Danish sweets or similar but nowadays there are much better places to get Danish imports on the Web and dad is dead. I miss the old boy.

Dad at 92, with his axe. He was probably healthier than I am now!

Now of course Danish shops are fashionable because what could be sexier than us Scandinavian men? And our lifestyle is known as healthy (look at me!), we are always happy (like me!) and our houses are noted for their aesthetic of simplicity, beauty and clean bold design (like mine!). My home is of course very much and always a la mode, if you want to see the latest fashions in elegant Scandinavian living *. 😉

* assuming the fashion is Dark Age peasant or troll lair after an explosion under a layer of books, boardgames, cat hair and miscellaneous squalor.

So I can see why the English would want to be fabulous like me. Now dad was very cynical about “hygge” something he said was entirely unknown in the Denmark of his youth – to be fair that Denmark featured a lot of invading  and occupying Nazis and I’m not sure bold floral designs and chunky knits went with the Gestapo?

Dad thinks hygge was mainly an old word that advertising people jumped on in the 1970s but he once described it as “wearing your grandparents cardigan sitting by candlelight with the family eating cabbage soup because you can’t afford to put the lights on or to go out get drunk.” This he said is hygelig – making do and being happy (presumably because you have not died of dysentry today).

And this is how I think of Danes: loving to argue, grouch, moan and be cantankerous. 😉 So I went to Sisters Grene in search of some authentic reasons to be indignant. The silhouette of the two old sisters adorns various displays with happy statements about their happy and virtuous days that I mentally revised for accuracy as I went.

So instead of “The sisters get up early and rush down to these exciting breakfast things; they dine on the patio listening to the gentle lapping of waves” my version involves them “squabbling over whose turn it is to make the coffee, debating if that fishing trawler on the strait has stirred up the Nazi WW2 poison gas the British dumped there; being rude about Grete’s fat arse as she cycles by because 70 years ago Arne took her to the dance not either sister and they still resent it, and nearly expiring of heart failure on opening the mail and reading their income tax bill. They then stuff their faces with a huge selection of cream cakes and go for a walk to cheerfully wave at the tourists who are unknowingly walking on the uncleared minefield down on the beach. ” Ah! Dear Denmark, how I miss thee!

The Sisters enjoying a stroll.

Oh yes the shop. It is actually cheaper than Tiger, with better stuff, and a good range of crafts, homewear and the odd bamser or pingvin. And here is its major failing: unlike Tiger almost everything is labelled in English, which makes it completely pointless when the whole reason for going in is to practice your Danish. I was puzzled by “orange marmelade” – that is like calling strawberry jam “red jam”; the Danish word for oranges the fruit is appelsiner. Maybe that was considered too confusing: but to me orange is a colour.

So as a shop it has some garish acrylic paints and paintbrushes, a fair amount of licorice and a selection of pots and plates in hideous earthtones that presumably are the contemporary equivalent of the blue and white china of my childhood. No trolls though — unless you count me. Give it a go, you might like it!

CJ x


About Chris Jensen Romer

I am a profoundly dull, tedious and irritable individual. I have no friends apart from two equally ill mannered cats, and a lunatic kitten. I am a ghosthunter by profession, and professional cat herder. I write stuff and do TV things and play games. It's better than being real I find.
This entry was posted in Reviews and Past Events, Uninteresting to others whitterings about my life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Sisters Grene

  1. Olena says:

    Yeah, we are definitely different, but so close via sounding language: in Danish: Søstrene – in Russian Сестра/сёстры, сёстрин;
    in Danish appelsiner – in Russian апельсин. Just wonderful!
    And cabbage soup sounds like protoborscht 😂
    Though I don’t like very emotional environment, but it sounds like a lot of life in it, it’s quintessence of nature itself 🌞
    Did you watch drama TV series ‘Badehotellet’ (2013)? I did (in Russian translation), and it was so… illuminating about the historic events and psychotypes of the people. For me it was very refreshing 🤗

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