Postcard from Brumleby

The last few weeks having been a bit chaotic, it’s probably a good idea to mention that I’m currently in the fine city of Copenhagen. This may come as a bit of a surprise to some of you, and it’s a long story how I ended up here at this time. I won’t bore you with the details, except to say I needed to get away for a while and with the help of friends and colleagues here I’m convalescing and trying to get back to doing some research at the Niels Bohr Institute, where I’ve been a visitor on many occasions.

As a matter of fact I’m staying in a very nice part of Copenhagen, called Brumleby, “an enclave of terraced houses” in many ways not dissimilar to Pontcanna, the part of Cardiff where I usually live. Incidentally the -by ending (pronounced “be” in English) which also can be found in many English place names, especially along the East coast, is pronounced more like “bue” in Danish. Footballer Jan Mølby’s name was constantly mispronounced by English commentators…

Brumleby has an interesting history. It was one of a number of social housing developments constructed in the mid-19th century in Copenhagen in response to a cholera outbreak caused by chronic overcrowding and insanitary conditions in the old city. The original name for Brumleby was Lægeforeningens Boliger, which means the “Medical Association’s Buildings” for it was set up by the Danish Medical Association, Den Almindelige Danske Lægeforening. Most of the other similar developments have now been demolished, but Brumleby is now listed and preserved as a conservation area. The apartments are small, but very cosy, and as an added convenience for me only about 5 minutes walk from the Niels Bohr Institute.

Thanks once again for all the kind and concerned emails and other messages I’ve received over the past few days and weeks. I’m definitely on the mend and will start on a `permanent’ programme when I return to Wales. I also apologize yet again to my work colleagues, visitors, students, etc, for being so erratic recently. One day, perhaps, you’ll understand and maybe even forgive.

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8 Responses to “Postcard from Brumleby”

  1. The -by ending (with the noun “by” meaning town or city, as indeed introduced in the UK by the vikings) is not pronounced -bu in English I’d say. The u sound in Danish may not have an equivalent in English; it’s like German ü, or French u

  2. telescoper Says:

    Yes, it’s probably more like -bue than -bu, but English vowel sounds vary so much around the country, even in the Midlands, that it’s hard to get it right phonetically.

  3. Steve Jones Says:

    I’m sure you’ve been before, but when in Copenhagen one should of course take one’s compass needle, Voltaic pile and circuit and go on a physics pilgrimage to Oerstedparken and the statue of Hans Christian Oersted. Due south from Brumleby (use compass needle for directions).

    • telescoper Says:

      Tomorrow, weather permitting, I shall be visiting the famous Assistens Kirkegård to pay my respects to two favourite musicians buried there, tenor Lauritz Melchior and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster. That’s also just a short walk from NBI.

  4. Juliana Venning M.A. (Hons) Canterbury, NZ Says:

    Enjoy the environs and don’t study too hard! Glad you are on the improve! Kia kaha
    Jules

  5. My favourite part of my favourite movie starts with an overworked and overstressed mathematician checking in to his alma mater to get back to equilibrium. Hope the cure works and your excellent work continues…I did my postdoc in Denmark, fantastic country

  6. Another ending meaning village from Scandinavian which made it to English is “thorpe”, modern Swedish “torp” (though it was mainly Danes and Norwegians in England, not Swedes), cognate with German “Dorf”.

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