Old Danish

Back in the 80s, I visited the Danish Telecom Company at their massive offices in Aarhus, along with a couple of Canadian troubleshooters. We were solving a software problem on a system in not so nearby town Aalborg Kommune, the Council offices. It was very close to Christmas and the switchboard operators were very jovial, introducing me to Gammel Dansk, an extremely potent spirit that they had with their elevenses. (The technicians reciprocated by bringing in a large case of Carlsberg Christmas beer on free issue in the equipment room).

Back at the headquarters building, I was taken to their Cafeteria for a snack as I had a late flight home and I noticed these rather unusual plants on every table. Each plant was green but with fiery red upper leaves and they were presented in a very attractive pot. My host explained that these were a very strong Danish Christmas tradition and this was my first noticable encounter with a Euphorbia pulcherrima, otherwise known as a  Poinsettia. He explained that they had to be grown in the dark to “force” the upper leaves to go that stunning shade of red.

Over the last decade or two, the humble Poinsettia has become very popular in Britain as well. Our 2007 one long lost its red leaves but it has survived more-or-less unscathed during the year, although Karen has had to resoak it a couple of times when it looked rather folorn.

I have been mithering her to get a new one from ASDA and today we finally succombed. I had to put the old one out of its misery, as we only had one plant pot stand! Here you can see our new one, with the old one in the background, just before I binned it. (You can’t plant them outside, they just die anyway and it was far too scraggy to make a decent house plant).

By the way, here is David enjoying his McDonalds happy meal after the tests. His toy was a ring tailed lemur who liked to move it, move it…