Hygge

Today I had lunch in a beautiful riverside London pub.

The Thames undulating gently in front of me, some late August sun warm on my face.

Across the water I could see David Bowie’s plush apartment. River police boats cruised up and down at leisure, on show almost.

It was the first time I had gone out socially with my colleagues.

The conversation turned to the Bank Holiday Weekend – a big thing for us Brits. We get to let our hair down and have a hangover on Monday without our bosses knowing!

One girl said she would be working at her friend’s shop this Saturday and Sunday.

I asked what it was called and she said ‘Hygge’. And she pronounced it right as well.

I asked if her friend was Danish and she told me the story of the shop – a little outpost of Denmark in Islington by the sounds of things.

A minor coincidence but a significant one for me.

Hygge was a word I only learnt recently and I was instantly intrigued.

I’m still not completely sure what it is but, in a nutshell, it’s staying in and talking with friends or family, candles lit and an all-round tranquil ambience.

What words do we have to describe that feeling of togetherness, warmth, amicable conversation and camaraderie all in one?

We’d say cosy but it doesn’t do justice to the concept.

But, for all that, it was a ‘hygge’ lunch with new acquaintances in pleasant surroundings.

I’m missing Denmark but, today at least, England was a good substitute. 

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