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Memories of Copenhagen 1999

by David Stevenson


Each year the Frederiksberg Alle Invitation Tournament is held in Jens Toft's flat in Frederiksberg, an enclave in Copenhagen. Liz and I enjoyed it immensely, although we could not repeat the previous year's win. However, this year all the Directors won prizes!

Jens Brix Christiansen and Bodil Schroder were our hosts for the weekend. Jens is a very knowledgeable person on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from Danish history and Scottish place-names through baseball and mobile phone messaging to all forms of transport. I was pleased to catch him out twice. First was on the meaning of boulevard (a wide street often with trees: basically another name for avenue). However I was most pleased to find he did not know about Great Britain's Union flag (incorrectly called the Union Jack). How can you tell if it is upside down? Jens thought the Irish flag should always be above the Scottish flag, but that is wrong: does anyone know the answer? Note1

Air travel has the supposed advantage that it is quicker. We got to the airport two hours before departure as instructed. After a considerable wait, we were forty-five minutes late so I went to the Passenger information point, where a group of three girls painting their fingernails and chatting said they could not deal with me, and sent me to the next booth. Two people were ahead of me. After ten minutes the one person on duty was still helping the first person and the other one gave up. Soon the query was dealt with, so the man then dealt with some other woman who pushed in front of me because "her query is a quick one". After another ten minutes my flight was called so I gave up, leaving a queue of fifteen people behind me. Then we sat in the plane for an hour before the plane was allowed to taxi out!

At least this is the age of the mobile phone. After landing at Amsterdam for a connection that had left over an hour earlier I immediately rang Jens from my mobile to his, so he turned round from where he was speeding to Copenhagen airport and went home. Why is air travel so dreadfully slow?

I did enjoy the maze in Frederiksberg: it has high hedges so I had to phone Jens when I reached the centre to ask him where he was!

We spent the Sunday seeing trains and ferries in Sweden. After we asked for one rail ticket, the clerk said (in Swedish) "That's an unusual route." Anyone who has dealt with Jim Proctor, one of England's best directors with an excellent eye for detail, knows exactly what this means. It is a very polite way of saying "That is a crazy way to go"!

As always the hospitality was superb and the bridge was played in a very friendly spirit making it our favourite tournament.


Note1 Great Britain's Union flag (incorrectly called the Union Jack) is the correct way up if the Scottish flag is above the Irish flag on the hoist side, but below it on the fly side.

UK In English, this means that on the side next to the flagpole, [the hoist side], the thick white band is above the red band on both diagonals, the white band being part of the cross of St Andrew, the Scottish flag, a white diagonal cross on a blue background, and the red band being part of the cross of St Patrick, the Irish flag, a red diagonal cross on a white background. On the side that flutters free, the fly side, this is reversed, with the Irish flag being above the Scottish flag. The English flag, the cross of St George, is a horizontal and vertical red cross on a white background.


Editor's note:

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