8 march. the book boat.
look at the west coast of norway on the map and you will quickly see that it resembles one of my mum's apple crumbles. it is broken into thousands nei millions of waterways, fjords, bays etc. so it makes sense to have the library on a boat. infact its a "book boat".
the poor little book boat has to cover such a large area, that it only calls in at eidsbotn (near the local shop, for local people) every six months. books are loaned for six months or they can be taken to the local shop before hand and swapped for books that others have returned.
i couldnt pass up on a chance to visit the boat, and when i arrived i was greated by lots of little nords running around having a great time. one little nord kept saying to me "hello mr english man!" another touched me and ran away giggling. later she told velaug "i touched an english man!!!". others talked to me in kiddy nord while i just nodded and said "ya" at seemingly appropriate intervals.
the boat also hosted a drama piece. it was performed by an energetic lady, who jumped and ran around the confined space with gusto. one little girl was propelled into her mothers arms in a shower of tears and a toddler headed for the exit at great speed. the story seemed to be about a troll, a bag and two or three other characters, which was quite ambitious considering there was only one actor. at the conclusion of the play, the actor asked the children if they thought the play was scary, opon which one child yelled out "no! and it wasnt funny either!". something about norwegian brutal honesty...
it was a very interesting visit and i managed to pick up a couple of arthur c. clarke books, in english too!!!!...
time to pick up some yummy norwegian chocolate, at yes, the local shop and then back home.
see!, i do get out sometimes...
27 jan. a day in the life of claire eline.
time is lost as we look into each others eyes,
she studies my face and looks beyond my eyes like two souls dancing
i feel her excitment building
we love to have our time together but it makes me so tired dad
25 jan. my little girl.
how many people remember what it is like to be brest fed by their mother?
this picture takes me about as close as i can posibly get.
i hope claire eline can spend the rest of her life surounded by these words.
she adds so much more than she takes
18 jan. stoned again.
norway has an abundance of three things, water, beautiful women, and stone.
as a result, norway is littered with beautiful dry stone walls that criss cross the countryside, to mark out farm boundries and to divide farms into separate padocks.
these walls would have been hand built hundreds of years ago and i doubt that any are being built today.
my point is, that there are so many of these old walls that i dont think people notice them or place much value on them. you can imagine how much effort it would be to build a wall that ran through your farm, without any help from modern mechanical machines, just you and a horse maybe and some basic hand tools.
i suspect that many of these walls were started with one generation and finished with another.
you can see a dry stone wall running diagonally through these pix, taken at the stone quarry where i am working. the bottom pic shows a bulldozed section of this old wall, to make way for a service road to dump quarry waste.
it makes me wince just a little when i drive through that section. i feel a sense of disrespect for the builders even though they are long gone.
in other breaking dry stone wall news.
velaugs family farm has a beautiful wall running through it. it was built in the eighteen hundreds by a gang of swedish land workers, who came across to norway to escape a major famin. they built it in exchange for food to keep them alive.
its good to hear stories like that. makes me think how easy life is.
12 jan. whos at the door?.
these are some of the 10 or so kids that arrived on our door step on new years eve.
they sang "we wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year" in english! for me and another song in norwegian for velaug. after which we gave them all of our left over christmas snop (lollies/candy).
i dont know if it was right but i just couldnt stop giggling as they sang. i thought i was in a movie.
happy new year to you all
ps. there are some links added to the dougspage.com site. if you have a link that you would like to add, write me.
11 jan. purple funk.
a year in halsvik, complete with a little northern drama! and one northern drama that all the locals are well aware of, are the dangers of very cold temperatures.
ok, so i was aware of the basic problems associated with very cold weather (-12 degrees the other day). like icy roads, falling asleep drunk on the side of the road and turning into an ozisickle, snow on the satellite dish blocking the tv reception (god dammit!, right in the middle of "the ozbournes"), icy windows on the car, broken limbs from slipping over etc etc.
the one thing that i didnt concider, came at me at a million miles an hour one morning while i was preparing an LCT. its pretty simple really, wake up bleary eyed, head for the kitchen gasping for some tea. take the kettle fill with some water.... WHAT!!!!..... NO WATER!!!!.....
that slow feeling of dread came over me as i realizied that the water pipes had frozen and it could take till the spring thaw, to return. omg!.
after a bit of detective work, i dicovered the pump house, a short walk up the hill.
inside this insulated hut is, the bore hole, pump, pressure tank and a heater to keep the whole works from freezing up. so it turns out that the heater had stopped working and on that -12 degree night, everything froze.
as a stopgap measure, i wired up 3 light globes and connected them to the thermostat. the heat from them seem to be doing just the trick in keeping us in running water.
it has been a while since my last post. i have had a bout of flu and colds. my immune system is slowly catching up with a whole range of new nordic bugs. and on top of that claire has won the norwegian colic baby of the year award. for the last month she has screemed/cried till 4 in the morning. enough time for me to get 1 hour sleep then get up and go to work.
there are no other words to decribe it, its torture!
the last 5 nights she has slept really well and at times i wondered if she was still with us. so now i am gradually climbing out of this purple funk just as norway climbs out of the depths of winter.
there is hope after all.
21 dec. looks like we missed the band.
omg, what a day friday was!!!
do you know what the coefficient of friction is between car tyres and melting ice? im thinking it is close to nothing.
i might as well have unbolted the steering wheel and thrown it out the window.
my usual 5 minute journey to work took about 40 minutes as i torval and deaned my way there. at one stage some passing motorists has to push me out of a ditch. and every hill needed a good run up to make it to the top. a few times i made it halfway then started to slide backwards. thats a lot of fun, and good for the heart!!.
most nordsicals speek good english but are too embarrassed or shy to use it. as a consequence, at work they tend to tell me very little about what is going on. the shift leader said briefly "there is a jule lunsj today" (christmas lunch). come lunch time everyone got into their cars and drove off. so i climbed into the mighty vw transporter and followed the last car. i had no idea what to expect or what was going on.
eventually i arrived at the lunch room of an associated business and was the last to get there. as i entered the room i stood there looking at about 60 or 70 seated people and they looking at me. it seemed like an etterinty untill someone got up and showed me where the food and utensils were etc. everybody was eating creamed rice with raisins, sugar, cinnamon and dried meats, interesting combination. i made my way to an empty seat as a lady stood up and started to make a speach, which went on for quite some time. at the end i turned to the guy next to me and asked about what she had said, he said simply "presents". then i said "all that for presents?" the other guys at the table laughed.
just then the lady started to call out names and hand out christmas gifts. almost as soon as the people got their gifts they left the room. i recieved a very nice spray jacket with the companys logo embroided on it. and decided to wait and see what happens at the end. it was just me and some ladies at a near table and i started to feel awkward about being there, so i left.
this all happened in a short period of time. a very different experience.
that night the local school at dalsøyra hosted a "juletrefest" (christmas tree party) for the pupils and the community. the party was held in the school hall and in the middle of the hall was a big decorated and lit christmas tree. we entered late as usual, just as the school band finished and was packing up. i said to velaug "looks like we missed the band" she said "oh good!". we did get to see the other entertainment, including that christmas nativity play thing and lots of singing with some in english.
one curious thing i have noticed, is that when people applaud here in norway, it ends up with everyone clapping in unison, chant like. mmm...
the entertainment over, we all moved to an ajoining room for food. on the way velaug, claire and i were transformed into minor celebrities, an irrisistable combination of our new baby and velaug being partnered by a strange foreigner. it was funny the contrast, people greeting me with a short sharp "hei" and my long slow musical "hi" in reply.
the food was mainly open sandwiches including assortments of dryed meats, eggs and pickled herring also there was lots of "julebrus" (christmas fizzy drink) which is a bit like creaming soda. very nice.
the most amazing event of the night, was when everybody moved back into the hall to hold hands around the christmas tree. they sang as they walked around it in three concentric rings. i was in the thick of all of this but i had to bow out when they started to clap hands and spin around and all sorts of other intersting moves. it made me conspicuous just standing there and looking around. it was great to sit down and watch from the outside. i cant think of anything similar that we have in australia, where the community come together to hold hands and sing.
a day of new experiences.
lots of jule e goodness to ya. (i like the sound of jule. it sounds pagan and rhymes with mule).
18 dec. take me away.
i saw this great painting the other day and i thought id share it with you. i like it for many reasons one of which is that it reminds me of ross carroll.
christmas will be here soon and we have just had a big fall of snow.
18 dec. delux dream a tron 3000.
Maybe we could think more about signs and bans and razor wire when people start showing up and demanding to be let in.
can we have a gun tower?
A dream shared by many, Doug. You can count me in on building and becoming a member of this eco-community as it has been an idea that has flourished in me from doing permaculture. Didnt you already have these ideas several years ago when you and others were looking into buying land in Belingen? Have you read much on Permaculture. The principals are simple.
yes, belingen is a beautiful place, with its gentle green rolling hills, valleys and river. although it is probably all brown and dried up now, if not burned????
the only problem with living there is, how do you make a living there? it could be a place that i could live when i am retired and financialy independant.
and yes i have read bill molisons permaculture beginers book and it all makes perfect sense to me. in fact many of his principals were included in the garden at cooks hill.
one idea that has inspired me for some time, was an inner city community in melbourne that started with two neighbours pulling down their shared fence and creating a big shared space. this started a domino effect and eventually the whole block had pulled down there fences and had created a wonderfull park with food gardens, play areas for the kids and areas to gather and eat etc.
imagine a community like that in cooks hill...
And besides the dead bear in front of the burning old growth forest maybe some singing horses........
shaun, have you been taking some combustible refreshment?
18 dec. brit isms.
louise from england, now in cooks hill says,
hey mr doodie head (four year oldism)meaning hello dad,
will be sending list of britbirdisms when I have given it some thought. In the meantime, here's an old but much loved one..
Fork and Spoon Harry - meaning blimey 'insert name of offender here' whachewdothafor? you plank... useful when the sayer is too shocked to say much else to the sayee.
thanks lou, i still dont understand, but they sound good.
some others i remember,
"steak and kidney" = sydney
i need more kids more more more!!!!
16 dec. its another fish!
its a fish!
i have the shortest snail mail address on the planet.
thanx to les and vicki for the lovely letter.
16 dec. dream a tron 3000.
well, i can see our first major problemo...
who the hell can join us??? who the hell do we bar??? do we bar anyone???
we need to think about this issue, because i can see some non-utopian feelings surfacing (ross now thinks i'm a fascist - ew! - and i certainly don't want to offend).
i guess the way i see it is that we want to be surrounded by people that make us feel good, that teach us things we don't know, that assist us in our emotional, spiritual and material happiness. if those people of the ilk listed can be part of that, then they're welcome. i realise their views will ensure heated intellectual and emotive debate, and debate can be a great thing, because it's often part of a learning experience. of course, we need people with differing views around us.
but the trouble with having said people in our community (and i assume it would be relatively smallish), and, this was what i was thinking at the time i suggested banning, is that THEY would not like the way we live (apart from the fact that we would probably say no if lawsy wanted a 50 car garage and a staff of 10 just to keep the rolls's shiny). and if they won't like the way we live, why should they be there, and why would we want them to be there? we may as well just keep living the way we do. (besides that, i'm not sure i want to see doug's testicle-hanging when pauline hanson wishes to take part in a 10 person chamomile bath.) seriously, though, i know this will stir up debate, but it'll be a good one.
my suggestion is to erect a sign that tells people if they disagree with the fundamentals of our community life, then we would prefer they didn't join us. we need to decide and agree upon what the fundamentals are, though.
anj: i guess i mean awful highly processed food with heaps of additives and stuff. i'm sure we can find a way to make sour gummy worms and other things that emulate "grotesquely artificial, preserved, coloured and generally toxic snacky-foods". i must admit to not living up to the standard of only eating things not in non-biodegradable plastic and not containing artificial things. it's a standard i would like to impose upon myself in a perfect world.
thankyou, charnelle, i like you too.
i would also like a lawn sports arena, a drive-in and trivia nights (i just keep wanting more and more and more ... i'm sorry)
it occurs to me, that we spend our lives filtering people, so that we are surounded socially by the ones that bring out the best in us and vice versa. a caring community of like minded people, can that be a bad thing?
debate is a good and healthy function of a community, as long as it doesnt degenerate into personal bitch fights.
establishing the fundamentals of the community, that is well debated and well published is great. the only fundamentals of our wider community that i can think of is "obey the law", which feels a bit uninspiring. im sure we can do better than that.
15 dec. its a fish!
oh yeah, its a fish! (its official).
there is content in the "isms" link at www.dougspage.com
from the home page, click on the "stuff" button. when you get to the "stuff" page click on the "isms" button and take a look.
this mail is also an urgent call for more isms.
lol, from an isms hungry junky.
btw the "sound" and "rants" links are not yet working.
14 dec. totaly new dreams.
Is this a general wish thing (ultimate utopia)or one for just a little community thing (Like a Kibutz?)
At the risk of appreciating the obvious - my idea of a perfect or close to it society is a multicultural democracy with a government elected by the people for the people (one person = one vote). A free market economy with government regulations for equity and non monopolisation of corporate entities. I don't think I'd like to put any limitation on people as to how they live their lives, they would do as they wish within the confines of the laws created by the lawmakers who are elected by the people (who are on the whole politically aware but if they're not then thats their business too). It's far from perfect but it's inclusive and moves along at such a pace that pretty much everyone in the population can participate and keep up with any changes. It would be tolerent,have a sense of humour,fun loving,hard working and hard not working,creative,open minded and loving of all of it's citizens.
On a personal note: I don't think I'd like to live in Min's world,it sounds very facist to me. I think it's good that we have people like Lawsy and the Parrot about,you may not agree with them or their politics, but what a stagnent politically correct hell it would be without them and yes that even includes Pauline Hanson and John Howard. I like Sonia's idea of a public podium which is what they used to have in Sydney in the park opposite from the NSW Art Gallery for about a hundred years up until the early eighties when it all just faded away. I remember seeing them when I lived there. Wonderfully loud ratbags standing on milk crates rambling on about whatever they were going on about and arguing with the crowd around them.
ross also says,
Nudity! Everywhere - true egalatarianism...of course it'll make perving no fun but there will be much more healthy people both mentally and physically. That's my theory at least.
as much as i hate wankers like lawsy and pauline hanson, ross you have a good point. i think you need extreme people in the wider society to give contrast and balance. however, i would rather hang by my left testicle tied with a piano wire, than to live anywhere near the likes of them. as for the nude bit. im worried that people would see my puffy white bum bum chops. still, that could be fun.
(re mini) Yet to discover anything that lives in a pantry but is without nutritional value, or does this mean no grotesquely artificial, preserved, coloured and generally toxic snacky-foos? In my castle on a cloud I occasionally like to have sour gummi worms and MSG - also I sometimes like foods that regrettably come in non-degradable plastic bags. Hey, joo know, consumption of plastic bags dropped by 90% in Sweden when they started charging for 'em. Did I mention the fire bath? With a mirror-bath option, with one of those crazy curved mirror things to direct sunlight to heat the water. It should seat ten at least.
charging for shopping bags is a brill idea! they do it in some stores here in norway also. one other thing that is good here, is the plastic bottle return. each bottle has a deposit and people do take them back to the shops. i remember as a child that system in australia at corner stores. but i think it stopped because the supermakets didnt want to deal with it. good old corporate reponsibility, not! love the 10 person bath..
I like mini.
i do too.
14 dec. check out the pix pages.
there are lots of pix now posted, so take a look.
13 dec. dougspage.com starts today!.
thats right kids!
i am still learning html, so constructive critisism is welcome. please mail me and tell me what you think.
there is lots of content to be added, its just a matter of time to format it all and stick it in the right holes, so that you can see it. drop-in often, as i will be adding new stuff every day.
this site is conspicuous for its lack of flash amimations. one step at a time i say...
i will get back to some good old story telling soon. i have got some great ones tucked up my sleeve. i just need a bit of time to sort this web page out.
11.dec. another slow news day.
as doug downloads software to build his web site.
9.dec. its hotting up.
all the ice and snow has gone and its december!
the temperature is stuck on 5 degrees and has been for the last week.
och me gord! the sun has been shining and the grass is a shade of green.
will i get a white christmas?
my guess is no, no and any day now!
norway finally gets that green house it ordered?
"winter sun on halsvik"
this pic was taken at the window while i wrote this mail. you can see the reflection on the glass.
be fur noo
8th dec. shared or private
i have kept every mail that i have recieved, private to me. except some pictures earlier and the dialog re dream a thon. could i sugest that if there is any correspondence that you would like to share or remain private, could you please put "shared" or "private" at the head of the mail. just about all of the time i consider mail to me private but i did throw the dream a thon "open forum". i guess i shoud have been more obvious about it. anyhow musnt grumble...
btw. people have been asking about the two headers that i have been using "chicken lips" and "snapa head". they are simply generic headers, so i can send copies to all of you. infact they are just spare mail addresses of mine and return back to me but i include a bcc (blind carbon copy) (mark sampson told me about, ta mark) that makes sure you all get a copy. happy happy joy joy...
7th dec. tonights the night.
hi di hi, yes kids, its yule bord tonight! yule bord means christmas party, the direct translation is christmas table. my work has organized it and it is at a swanky hotel on the sogne fiorden (biggest fiord in norway). we are staying overnight, so its time to be as silly as a shopping trolly wheel. i mentioned to a workmate today that i was going to "run a muck" tonight. he looked at me confussed, then said "mac?" i said "yeah, mac". this is the usual style of conversation i have lately. anyhow, i plan to be somewhat to extreamly silly tonight and i might even take some snaps for yooz. stay tuned.
"velaug looking at me looking at me"
velaug took this pic while i was editing a previous mail. its not just a bit spooky.
remember im allways watching.
5th dec. across the crowded room, their eyes met...
i have noticed that most nordsicles spin out if you give them to much direct eye contact. sometimes they feel very uncomfortable and there eyes start darting all over to try and disrupt the intensity of the situation. this just makes me stare all the more.
i wonder what they are thinking...
maybe i am a little too intense for them?
i just dont know.
its one of lifes misteries
"hi im doug, will you be my friend? we can hang out and do fondoo together"
4th dec. sleep deprivation
"these eyes are on autopilot"
29th nov. gone for a walk.
some pix taken during a nice little walk in the country side.
"old and new"
"lonely summer house"
"halsvik starting to ice over"
28th nov. grandparents.
the time has come at last.
the children grow up so quickly these days, it seems like only weeks ago that she was born.
"daddy, i..... im going to have a baby"
it came as a bit of a shock at first. it was the last thing on our minds.... believe me.
claire nervously told us over dinner last night. she knows that velaug and i dont approve of sex before marrage.
its hardly surprising though. she has been staying up late, recently.
im so proud, i think im going to cry...
26th nov. magic pudding.
it pays to read the lable, even if it is in norsk...
now that winter has set in, i have cravings for some good hearty food.
BING! idea "irish stew" yum yum.
lots of poatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, cabbage, parsley (which has still survived in the garden despite the snow and frost), and of course the key ingredient lamb.
all pretty simple, or so i thought...
chop up the lamb, prepare the vegies add lots of cracked pepper some extra garlic for the hell of it and a pinch or two of salt.
it had been cooking for about an hour and smelling divine. time for a taste test.
spoon to mouth and my head launches off my shoulders, spins around and lands back with one eye closed and tounge sticking out.
"warning will robinson"
"or mi gord" i said in shock "what the hell happened there"
how could it taist so salty with just a couple of pinches of salt?
just at that moment velaug walked in and said, "did you use that salt lamb"
what the..... who the hell salts lamb???
in my frustration i said "how was i supposed to know it was salt lamb, i cant read norwegian!" velaug casually retrieves the discarded package and points it out to me. it read in big black letters SALT LAMB.
i managed to salvage a very nice stew by adding more, then more and then finally more vegies to thin out the salt.
what started out as a nice meal for 2 ended up as a banquet for an army.
velaug said "i cant eat that, its got cabbage in it, and cabage will make claire fart" i said that claire farts allready...
in the end it was up to me to eat it. it took a week.
monday night - irish stew
i have no plans to make irish stew in the near future.
here are a couple of pix for ya.
this is our neighbour, bente's (pronounced benta) house and chickens. she supplies us with the most delicious fresh eggs.
bente plays music to her chickens, which i thought was wonderfully new age of her, but then i found out that it was only to keep the foxes away.
have fun now
25th nov. go dag! go go go!
good morning all,
"breakfast cerial for the socially inept"
i know i can face another day after a big bowl of "Go Dag".
it gives me the confidence to blurt out stupid things to strangers. and to trip over, into a dirty puddle of water in front of all my work mates.
go dag go! youve changed my life!
ps. in other news, i saw 2 minx, hopping across icy halsvik water the other day. wont be long before i can walk on it and do my jesus trick.
25th nov. nippy on the pippy.
hey, do you want to know what i do each morning before i head off for work?
thats right, i scrape the bloody ice off the windshield!.
it takes the entire trip to work for the heater to get slightly warm. so it helps to sing my little nippy song.
"nippy nippy nippy on the f....ing pippy etc etc".
i sing this at the top of my voice, which doesnt make me any warmer but at least i can laugh at myself.
i sing lots of interesting songs when im alone at work driving those huge dumpers. you would love to hear them, i use lots of bizare trilly bits and a bit of warbling. it helps to know that no one is listening. although it would be funny if one of the nords caught me doing it. i could imagine them saying "ohh, those australians are a bit strange". ill let you know when it happens.
something deep down inside is going to surface sooner or later. i can feel it!
its about time to unleash a bit of sillyness. im not sure what it is just now, but i think it will be something like wearing a top hat all day at work instead of my hard hat????
as the good dr wendy says, its important to have some play in your life. and for me, especially if it is a bit cheeky.
24th nov. what camera?
this mail was originally a reply to a question from ric woods. you might be interested... who knows... its a bit techy.
great little camera. just cant help the yellow light without colour correction in photoshop.
the guys from out of the square got it for me as a going away present.
it has a memory card, which you can remove and replace. the original card was 8megs which is about 15 1600 x 1200 images.
just the other day, i picked up an extra card 128megs from ebay. 64 us dollars. and now it will take well over 300 images.
it also does some other cool things like,
i will pick up some extra memory cards as they come up at ebay (cheaply). also extra batteries, of which i am waiting on delivery of 2 that i bought the other night. the same batteries are used for a number of digital cameras. the trick is to not buy the original ones. but to simply buy the cheapest equivalent on ebay. have i mentioned ebay yet? i love ebay. i think its the small remaining scotish blood still in my viens.
i have also been using the nikon fg-20 slr, with the great lenes, that dan gave me. but it is harder to show those images, not having a scanner.
that was a bit long winded, i might send it on to all the others. they might find it mildly interesting?
anyhow, i hope that answers your question
23rd nov. bonding time.
23rd nov. stepin out.
i love to step on frozen puddles and listen to them smash like glass.
22nd nov. doug just loves bog.
its getting close to that time of year again.
and this christmas, why not stock up on "BOG!" and at just 19.50kr (4.75 dollars), you can afford to fill your pantry with "BOG!"
its allways a sticky situation when guests arrive unexpectidly. no problem!!!
norway is full of little oddities like this. i learned the other day that a dinner plate is called a "FART".
"could you put some "BOG!" on my "FART" dear?"
yes yes i know.... its another slow news day
21st nov. yes, she sleeps sometimes.
here she sleeps where her great grandfather slept in a rocking cradle made by the family.
so much history, there is talk in the family about a special steine crown that the steine girls wore on their wedding day, that was lost from the family way back???. it is said that the crown came from one of the steine boys who inturn got it from a girl troll, who he had fallen in love with. apparently he didnt know she was a troll when he fell in love. then one day he happened to catch a glimps of her tail (a big troll giveaway) and like all good norwegian boys, he turned around and did a runner.
now, it seems that the crown has turned up in a museum just north from here.
i cant wait for the 17th of may (norwegian national day) where most of the girls wear their regional dress and they are just fabulous. more on that another time.
18th nov. caffeine kids and cameras.
i didnt get much sleep last night as little claire experienced her first major caffeine hit. poor little darlin, crying like bob hawke at a child poverty convention.
velaug was quite a brave and resilient trooper. it was bliss to eventually see them sleeping out of sheer exhaustion.
on another note.
its fun to give kids a camera and see what they come up with. the following pic was taken by halvor (age eight) of linn (age 11), both siblings of velaug.
17th nov. sunday drive.
our first family "sunday drive". we saw mountains, fjords, craggy rivers, and snow.
it makes for nice moving wall paper.
when we got to sognefjorden (the biggest fjord in norway) we felt a bit peckish, so we stopped at the fjord hotel, of course (note the grass on the roof), for "middag" (midday or main daily meal. curious, because nobody ever eats it at midday). i had biff (beef) velaug had fisk (fish) and claire had boob juice.
we had a lovely day out and on the way back we travelled over the mountain range and got a nice flurry of snow. then to the local shop (for local people) for milk and bread, and finally home. i noticed at the shop, that the beer was covered over (not for sale, being sunday. good christian nordsicles). so i included a pic of that as well.
ps. sorry that this mail is a bit big in size because of all the pix. i need some consensus on appropriate size for sending. one alternative is to send out a pix free version, for those with space problems. but i think it would make for boring mails. write me.
16th nov. drink anyone?
you have to be well organized to buy a bottle of wine in norway. there is a retail outlet call "wine monopolly" it is totaly owned by the government and they are only in large populated centres. the wine monopolly is just about the only place you can buy wine and hard liquer. but if you live on the country side, like most norwegians, you must order it in advance and have it mailled to your home.
you can of course go to a pub or hotel and drink there. but ordering a few quite ones will put a big hole in your pay cheque.
the other option is beer. it is easy to get, most local shops (for local people) sell it. although you must buy it before about 8pm or you wil find that that section is covered over and not for sale. imagine the mad rush at 7.58pm.
it is also not for sale on sundays.
if all else fails, you can make your own spirits. it is illegal but i believe a lot of nords do it.
unfortunatly nobody has offered me any yet... god damm it!... dont they know im an australian and i have my needs?.
one option that is not recomended is illegal 98% proof alcohol, sold in white plastic drums, on the black market. about 9 norwegians have died from poisoning in the last few weeks.
a couple of german friends that i have met here, rolf and andreas, engaged me in this topic. they claim that when norwegians drink (which i assume isnt that often) they tend not to just have a couple but to make an occasion of it and get roaring drunk. this seemed funny to me, germans having the reputaion as one of the biggest drinking nations on the planet.
well, i think its time for a L C T.
until the next installment... "no... no... don go yet, weev got awl thizz summawine to jrink... hik!".
15th nov. wake up doug.
wake up doug its psf sholalk sssmmmm...
these are the words i woke up to this morning.
a mad panic set in as i leaped out of bed and hopped around with one leg in a pair of trousers. my mind racing... what will i take for lunch... oh shit i wont have time... ahh ill just grab some biscuits... ahhh, oh god im not going to make it!...
velaug looking at me strangely said "msftw lm mail outside kmpth". i havent got time for that!!!. im going to be... these bloody buttons!...
"no" she said "the mail man is waiting out side with a parcel for us".
i looked back at my watch to discover it was really just a few minutes past 10.00am, i had read my watch incorrectly.
my cool calm responce was "yes of course, you cant keep the mail man waiting you know".
when i got to the door the mail man had left the parcel on the step. a beautiful lambs wool underlay. thanks mum.
it was a bit naive of me to think that i could sleep that many hours.
14th nov. no words.
13th nov. master of none.
everyday at work has brought a new and different challenge. i have driven all sorts of heavy machinery and last night i was welding, hacksawing, grinding etc, just fixing broken things really.
i guess today they will ask me to audit their accounts???
13th nov. sleeping beauties.
so odd, that i should be awake for a lot of time when velaug and claire are asleep and they should be awake for a lot of time when im asleep.
12th nov. come in and take off your shoes...
as you may know, norway is a big "take your shoes off while inside" nation.
a lot of people wear these funny backless shoes so they can slip them on and off quickly. it is a pain to put on and take off your boots 5 or 6 times a day, so i think i should buy a pair.
i woke up this morning to a fresh fall of snow... its very exciting, everything looks like a christmas card. i thought it was very cute the way snow forms ontop of the fence posts.
very often when i am driving home from work at about 10pm, i come across a (pack, gaggle, flock ????) of dear, grazing in the fields just metres from home. i have been taking the camera to try to get a quick snap. no luck so far. stay tuned.
more to come soon...
11th nov. some pics i have recieved.
here are some pics that i have recieved, i thought you might like to see. 3 compleatly different styles, but all very talented and amusing artists. i think newcastle, australia is lucky to have these people.
10th nov. funny language.
this was the lively conversation in the lunch room at work today. blah blah gobbldegoop hub hub ja ja etc etc. and then in unison they all burst out laughing. i just sat there expressionless looking around the room at them.
it is the most bizarre experience, to be in a room full of banter and not knowing what is being said. its almost like i am not there and im watching it on tv. being removed in this way, opens my eyes to other things like body language, gesturing, the way a cigarette is waved about the air like a wond to illustrate the story being told.
so beautiful to watch... im such a voyeur.
i recall a moment just after i arrived here. i was in the steine kitchen talking to velaug, i guess i said something like "what shall we do tomorrow? walk in the mountains or take a boat trip or maybe just sleep-in and snuggle".
velaugs grandma bergit, hearing all this and not understanding a word of it, muttered in norwegian "oh, what a funny language!" and walked off.
i never thought about that before, but i guess she is right...
10th nov. boiled in oil.
this is a massive oil refinery, situated on the other side of the fjord from us. its amazing to look at. it really looks like a city on a harbour, at night. the only giveaway is the burning beacon in the middle.
norway is an oil rich country with a population of only about 4 million people. which technicly makes every man, woman, child and dog a millionare. you see, there is this huge bucket of money in oslo, its called the "oil fund". its about 50 feet tall is made of gold and has a giggling trol sitting on the top.
norway has a history of squirelling away for hard times, i think it is the old idea of preserving food for the long cold winter.
the fund is constantly growing and now contains about 3.8 quad squwillion kroners, which is roughly about infinity australian dollars.
im surprissed norway hasnt used this money to invade sweden.
think about it... abba, volvo, ikea etc. they had it coming... sorry hanna and anji.
i suppose that by the time claire bear is of child making age, every norwegian child will own their own third world country.
imagine the school yard... "ill swap you botswana for new zealand and argentina"
and yet the funnest thing of all... petrol here is about twice the price compared to australia.
9th nov. a plane full of chickens.
my flight from australia, was one of the best flying experiences yet.
the plane was just about empty from sydney. it meant that i could lift all the arm rests in the middle 4 seats and make a nice bed to fully stretch out on. i was instantly off to sleep.
in what felt like moments, we landed in tokyo for refueling. sudenly the cabin was chock a block full of smiling, camera wearing, japanese tourists. you could hardly move. the funniest sight was watching all of these people, all in close proximity, bumping into each other and bowing incesently. they looked like feeding chickens.
i still laugh when i recall that.
till next time, your nippy friend
ps. if you feel that my mails are cloging your server or you simply dont want to recieve them, let me know and i will delete you from the list. also there are many friends that i have no email address for. if you know anybody who would like to recieve my letters, please send me their address, and i will add them to the list.
8th nov. LCT 4 2.
after a busy day chasing polar bears off the front lawn, its nice to come in and settle down to an "L C T" (lovely cup of tea). norway is a black coffee drinking country. people have those percolator machines on everyday, the coffee is emptied into a fancy looking thermos with a dial on the top, to be left on the table for consumtion throughout the day.
me... i like an L C T with lots of sugar and milk. the nords think its disgusting...
7th nov. doug fights paparazzi.
slow news day...
i have been scouring the opp shops and flee markets for clothes, partly out of financial necessity but also because of all the funky 70s shirts out there. i went to one flee market where i filled a shopping bag full of groovy big colared shirts for 20 kroners, about 5 dollars.
some nords throw away their most "out of sight" clothes in favour of generic ones like nike and addidas...
some think, i look like a dag, but i just love em...
6th nov. whats in a name?
we are thinking about "claire" for the name. what do you think?
6th nov. home at halsvik.
some pix of the "home coming day"
6th nov. doug gets dumped...
yes guys, its true, i am now a dumper driver.
i just scored this mad job driving these huge dumper trucks about. the top of the tires are about 30cm above my head and there is a ladder on the front in order to get into the cabin.
so weird, since arriving in norway i have been milking cows, cleaning tanks on ships and now im a trucker. all jobs that i would never dream of doing, but i must say that i am having the time of my life.
i had the most intense experience at work the other day.
it was time for training on a new dumper machine.
the job was to dump this dirty, sandy waste on to this famers padock. my trainer made 2 trips with me and then said that i was good enough to make more trips on my own.
on the third trip all by my self, i made the journey to the top of the sand heep without incident, then i had to reverse the machine to the edge of the heep and raise the back to dump more dirty sand. when i had reached the edge i applied the brakes but the machine didnt stop!!!!
with all the rain that norway gets, the heap had turned into a slippery and muddy mess. so the machine slid over the edge by about 2 metres, (it seemed like slow motion, a sickening feeling that i was going to end up smashed on the bottom) then the back of the trailer just rolled over on its side and stopped the truck from falling any further. i jumped out and stood there looking in disbelief, scratching my head and wondering how i was going to get out of this fine mess.
eventually a large rescue machine turned up to pull the truck out, this was followed by the owner of the whole opperation. i had not met him before this day and now, here he was, right there to inspect the situation.
as i shook his hand i couldnt help but laugh inside, thinking "oh yeh, hi im doug from australia, your newest employee, oh look, i have just rolled one of your very expensive machines over a cliff, ah, is there anything else i can do for you?".
as it turned out, there was no damage. the truck had a soft landing in the sand. apparently this does happen from time to time and it is not considered dangerous????
all was ok and that night velaugs water broke. you could say it was a big day.
5th nov. doug & velaug get "L N B G" (lovely new baby girl).
i have just joined the "dad" club.
a beautiful little girl arrived on saturday night at 6.58pm in bergen, norway.
she was 3330g in weight and 49cm long and i noticed that she squeeks a bit.
oh yes, and she makes me smile a lot...
this is the mail that i was going to send you, until the "L N B G" arrived.
cottage by the sea
and so it was time for nest building for mother bird and father bird. you see, the stork was due to arrive at any moment and there was nowhere for baby bird to sleep.
house hunting in norway started even before i arrived. velaug had found a lovely little cottage by the sea. it was perfect, it has 3 bedrooms, open plan kitchen dining and lounge area, a wonderfull view of the sea and the mountains, a southern aspect, it caught all the sunlight from morning til sunset and it was very cosy and warm. price 5000 kroners/month (1250 dollars). well that was ok but we thought we would look around and see what else was available, that might be a bit cheeper.
we saw a couple of houses that were affordable but were depresing in comparison. after a couple of weeks had passed, velaugs mum ran into the owners of the lovely little seaside cottage at the local shop (for local people). they said that if we agreed to take it straight away we could have it for 3500 kroners/month. of course we snaped it up and are now very happilly installed in it, especially now i have got work and have some of those lovelly norwegian kroners to stick in my pockets.
so now all we need to do is sit and wait for the stork to arrive.
1st nov. doug's LNC (lovely new computer).
no mail then lots all at once... you see, i just got to get it out of my system.
i got me a new "data machine" as the nords call it.
it has been cobbled together out of bits given to me, also bits from a dead computer and some new parts. and now i am online!!!. any time i choose... ah yes, true freedom. i feel naked without a computer near me.
for those tech heads, here are the specs. cel 1.7ghz cpu, 256 ddr legs of lamb, 30gig hard disk, and she goes hard and fast. i can play solitare at lightening speed now!
it is a natural progresion i think. i always ran my computers with the case cover off, it was convenient to access the parts for a quick tweek or tinker. so now my latest machine has no case at all. it appeals to the minimalist in me and it falls somewhere between being technical and art (the mother board hanging on the wall like a picture). what can i say... i like the mechano look of it, with its fans, colour coded wires, boards, chips and switches.
30th oct. ullo doug, got a new motor?
my new car is an 86 model, diesel, 7 seat vw transporter. and yes... , shes a little beauty!. i couldnt help but fall in love with this boxy looking van, after all the hours i spent bringing her back to life. the poor little transporter had been lying around the family farm at steine, it had a dead engine and a body that was rusting quite badly. everyday i would walk past it on the way to milk the cows, and wonder if it was posible to repair it.
jørgen (velaugs dad) had another dead engine for it in the barn, which on closer inspection, hapened to be dead for a compleatly different reason to the engine sitting in the van. so i decided to build one good engine out of two dead ones.
after so many hours of tinkering and adjusting and fiddling about. it was time to install the new engine.
here we were, jørgen at the engine bay and me at the stering wheel, ready to start her up. "lets give her a berl earl" i said to jørgen as he looked at me blankly. after what seemed like an eternity of cranking the engine over, and just before the battery would give out, she spluttered and fired into life, covering jørgen in a thick cloud of black smoke. when the smoke eventually cleared he said simply, "yes, it is good".
the following week was spent grinding out the rust and replacing it with a bucket of plastic body filler. when the filler had set hard it was time to paint it with a brush and some house paint. rough, but good enough to register and drive around in, and in the end it cost me about 1000 kroners (about 250 dollars). perfect for someone who had little money, and a good distraction while waiting for the official papers to come through to allow me to live and work in norway.
30th oct. dougs new life part 2.
the baby is due today btw, but not here yet.
some pix and more blurb for ya,
the first pic is the first snow taken from our lounge room looking out to sea, the second pic is velaugs tum tum taken by velaug.
tank cleaning... my first job.
cleaning big steel tanks with high pressure water, on board ships that service the north sea oil rigs. this work is very dirty, but kind fun. im working with both girls and guys of all ages from the local community, anyone who can spare some hours it seems can work when a ship comes in. we work 2 hours on and 1 hour off, sometimes working 14 hours at a time untill the ship is clean. this can take 2 or 3 days.
just about everybody smokes here, so the lunch/break room is always filled with choking smoke.
that was a happy little story. oh yes and then they lived happily ever after.
29th oct. dougs new life part 1.
its taken a long time...
its finally happened...
i now have my very own computer and modem at home, made out of old bits of string and lint. but it works!!!
imagine the luxury of being able to communicate again. this is the longest period that i have been without a computer, i think.
the biggest problem was simply money. everything is so expensive here in norway, so now that i am working i can afford to start to buy all those little things around the house you take for granted.
it has been a mad 4 months.
living at velaugs perents place for the first 9 weeks, learning how to feed and milk cows, mend fences and help out on the construction for the new cow house. it was a big shock to my system after my sedentry, cafe late life in newcastle.
velaug is one of 6 kids, she being the eldest. so at the stiene house there lived jørgan and berit, (velaugs mum and dad)
the 2 youngest kids halvor and linn, grandma bergit, velaug and myself. in addition the 3 other boys hans-krister, inge and erlend (who dont normaly live at home) would drop in to stay for a while.
as you can imagine, it was very generous of jørgan and berit to let me stay with them.
stepping out of my comfortable life and into a totaly new environment, with different language, culture/customs, was a big chalenge. this coupled with living well away from a major centre, made life at times, more than a little frustrating. ie, you cant just walk down the road and buy a watch band or a set of head phones. items other than basic groceries need to be ordered over the phone and sent by post, and you pay the postman for the purchase and post cost.
living in the country side means that you must slow down in a way. it is so different from the immediacy of living in the city. i am begining to appreciate and enjoy it.
there were certain tasks that i set for myself when i arrived here.
- get through all the red tape/bureaucracy so i could stay and work here. big hurdle and very frustrating.
- find a job. dead easy... norway has an unemployment level below 3%
- find a home, a car, a computer and all the stuff required for baby keeping with vertually no money. hmmmm.
guess what.... we did it!!!