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How to Live in Denmark by Kay Xander Mellish, a Review

22/09/2014 12:41 BST | Updated 21/11/2014 10:59 GMT

2014-09-21-HowtoLiveinDenmarkcover.jpg Photograph by Kay Xander Mellish

It was a podcast which made orange-shaped-headed idiot savant Karl Pilkington famous. And although she hasn't achieved household-name status like Pilkington, Kay Xander Mellish's How to Live in Denmark has won her a legion of followers. Fans, no doubt, attracted by Mellish's wry observations.

This is the book of Mellish's podcasts dating back to last summer when she started doing them. Although, she admits to some "judicious editing involved to eliminate repetition" as she discovered, for instance, that she "had produced three podcasts about the long Danish winter." You imagine she wrinkles her nose a lot whilst reading her witty insights out loud.

Yet Pilkington's not the only scribe, what do you mean you haven't enjoyed the delights of his delicious diaries yet?, which springs to mind when tucking into moreish Mellish. There's one who's altogether closer into home. Yes, little old me.

2014-09-22-KayMellish.jpg Photograph by Sisse Langfeldt

The similarities? Well, we've both lived away from our native land for 10+ years. I documented my experiences in Going Local in Gran Canaria: How to Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home. Which I dedicated to my youngest, then a toddler: "For Tom, looking forward to helping you discover your very own treasure island."

Ms Kay also thanks family at the beginning of How to Live in Denmark. She starts with: ""To my parents, who never questioned my decision to move to Denmark, and to Georgia, who was born here." And the comparisons don't end there.

2014-09-22-Pork.jpg Photograph by Kay Xander Mellish

Denmark and Gran Canaria are both pretty insular. On Gran Canaria, the gene pool's more of a dipping pond. Mellish refers to the blue-eyed boys and girls of monoculture Denmark where between 5 and 10 percent of the population aren't derived from Danish stock.

And then there's the food. Mellish reveals that: "Mostly, Danes still cook their own food, which is the only way you will survive here if you have special dietary needs or are vegetarian or vegan." Which reminds me of my own particular challenges as a vegetarian on Gran Canaria.

2014-09-22-Biketrafficjam.jpg Photograph by Kay Xander Mellish

Denmark is also reminiscent of neighbouring Fuerteventura. There, goats outnumber people and the original name of the capital Puerto del Rosario was Puerto de Cabras. In Denmark, as Mellish discloses, there "are about twenty million pigs to five million humans", "the highest pig-to-person ratio in the world." The Danes breed to feed, of course, with a number of pork-related products that extend far beyond bacon.

And where we have gofio, the cornmeal which is believed to be behind your average Canarian's height superiority over their compatriots on the Spanish mainland, Denmark has rugbrød. According to Mellish, "It is not just a bread: it is a moral imperative." "Packed with healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals, and almost no sugar or fat, it is considered a form of perfect food."

But there are differences between Gran Canaria and Denmark. Recently, I went along with my middle son Alex to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria's Día de la Bicicleta. The Danish don't have a day for bikes as their love of two wheels is an all-year-round thing with Mellish explaining that "in Copenhagen, the bike lanes get plowed before the streets do."

As there are contrasts between Going Local and How to Live. My book's geared as much to tourists wishing to see beyond the resorts whilst Mellish's focuses more on the relocation aspect. Covering everything from getting a job to getting laid. The latter was very much a case of supply and demand as Mellish discloses that "a lot of the mail I get is from men wanting to know how they can get some action in Denmark."

In order to write this review, I received a complimentary copy. As well as being able to buy it on Amazon, you can purchase How to Live in Denmark on iBooks and Saxo.