Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Salted Snails,,,

No, not another Norskie delicacy, just an easy way to get rid of a pest.
Iberian snails have become a problem here over the last 10 to 15 years. Horrible brown sods which can be up to 12cm long. They do severe damage to gardens, and to make matter worse they have started to cross breed with the local black snails. Maybe they'll produce a super species..
In the meantime, the easiest way to kill them is by sprinkling a little salt on them. Just in case that isn't totally effective, it's best to scoop them up and throw them out of the garden, on to the road, where the local boy racers can squish them.
'She who controls the wildlife in this house', (and that includes me), has just killed the first one this year.
Pity she disposed of it before I thought about the camera, just in case you think this is an April Fools post.
Pictures will follow of the next kill.


God I hate shopping.. Not just a little, but hatred of an extreme kind. And so far I've spent too much of my Easter holiday embroiled in this hideous pastime/punishment.
But thankfully I will get a rest for a few days, since most of the shops are shut now for the next 5 days. Whoopeee :)
I often read on Shetlink about folk panicking if the shops in Shetland are shut for one day. Lord knows how those people would manage in Norway. ;)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

End of a nice day

Today started beautifully, and although there was some pain and discomfort to a certain part of my body during the afternoon, the day has ended beautifully as well.
The view I see most when I sit in the couch, and manage to look past the TV, is this one. These are 'my mountains'.
Those mountains are from 20 to 30 kilometres away, but sometimes they are so clear that it looks like I could count the Trolls on them.
Which reminds me, there are rumours going round about a Troll uprising in the local area. Hopefully it won't spread beyond the local area but, you never know. If I hear any more about the rumours I'll post an update here. Most likely on Thursday. ;)

Mountains, Skis, and a sore behind.

Since it was such a beautiful day, we headed to the mountains. On the way I got a picture of one of the avalanche sites in Skorgedalen. It's easy to see where all the trees have been torn away. This avalanche was one of the ones which closed the road through Skorgedalen during the recent snow.

We then headed up to Ørskogfjellet to strap on the skis.
Nothing ambitious, just a little bit of cross country skiing.
I was doing well going uphill, after all it was just a gentle slope, and the view was stunning.

But, thanks to the law of gravity, which states that 'whatever goes up must come down', it was time to try back down this gentle slope.

I was doing reasonably well for an old fart. I managed to stay on my feet some of the time.
Did I mention gravity? Well gravity obviously has little or no respect for me so I had to make use of my primary braking system.
I now find sitting on my primary braking system slightly uncomfortable. Whoever said that snow is soft was a lier.

The West Norway "WOW Factor"

Even after 3 years I still get that WOW feeling sometimes when I look out in the morning:

Monday, March 29, 2010


I think I stupidly posted that Spring was here. Well I thought it was until I opened the door this morning, and saw this:
It's snowed most of the day, but thankfully the snow isn't accumulating. It's just a few centimetres, so no problem, unless it snows all night, now that the temperature is almost zero again.

We went to Moa, the big shopping centre near Ålesund today.
She who must be obeyed told me that I needed some new clothes. What is this thing that women have about shopping??? Actually all I needed was some new trousers and shirts for work, but for some reason, which I find hard to understand, she thinks that my butt has to look good in working trousers. Why? I wear a boilersuit anyway. :)
I have to admit that I desperately needed new trousers, following a gaseous incident last week when the result was a hole, and a cold draft in the rear. Must stop eating beans..

On the way to Moa, which is about 56km away, we passed through Skorgedalen where there had been several avalanches with the heavy snow recently. The visibility was crap or I would have got pictures. 1000 metres of devastation to a mountainside, when snow decides to slip, is an impressive sight. If the weather is right tomorrow we're going skiing, which means going that way again, so hopefully pics then.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mountains in the mist

Took a trip to town today. In Shetland such a trip involved 20 minutes driving on beautifully smooth roads, since I have to admit that Shetland has about the best maintained roads in the UK.
But from Vestnes, a trip to town takes 20 minutes on the Hurtigbåt (fast boat). The journey is about 11km at 27 knots, on a sea which is smoother than any Shetland road.
Today there was mist hanging around the fjord which made the mountains appear mystical, and different in perspective, so it was like seeing it all for the first time.
As a Shetlander I don't think I'll ever lose my fascination for mountains.

I took a video of the crossing, and once I figure out how to add a video here, you'll see it.

Flower Bed Lottery

Last spring we dug up the flower bed, which runs along the side of the house, and sieved the soil with a home made soil sieve, to get rid of the roots of a particularly nasty weed.
During this process all the bulbs were lifted, and returned to the ground in what could best be described as a 'random manner', so it's going to be fun to see what grows where. Or in the case of the snowdrops, what grows nowhere.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's cold up top..

Well, that's the job done, and it's a good un. But without the insulation, don't be surprised if my old braincell flips a few cogs and starts making typos.
It's almost sad to see my beautiful locks of golden (ahem) OK 'grey' hair lying on the floor, like a roadkill Tribble from Star Trek.

And Peerie Trowie is still laughing. She'll stop just in time for the next haircut.
By the way, the clippers that did the job cost 399 Kroner, just 19 Kroner more than a haircut in Trondheim, and I've had about 40 haircuts from them. So simple advice, cut your hair before you come for a holiday to Norway. :)

Hair today,, well half way,,

This is da Peerie Trowies response to the pictures of the SMUHA Jarl Squad's hair cuts which she added to Shetlopedia a few days ago. Check this out. You'll have to scroll to the bottom of the page to see what I mean.

Sometimes I don't know whether to kick her ass, or hug her. Maybe a bit of both.
Although I have to be nice to her until she finishes the job.

Hair today,,,,,

Now that the weather is getting warmer, and I'm on holiday, it seemed like a good time to get my first real haircut for 2010.
I already had a haircut this year, when I was in Trondheim for treatment. Although the cost of that haircut had a worse effect on my than the cancer... 380 Kroner for a 5 minute trim, WTF..

Anyway, back to today. 'She who giggles a lot when cutting my hair' decided that she had to take a picture before she started. And, being the person she is, she had to ruffle it up to look as bad as possible.

Stay tuned for the next hairy episode....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hanging About

Spent a lot of my day hanging about in a basket below a crane. It was the easiest way to access the thingy I was building. It's one of the larger winch frames we make, about 12m wide, and 6 m high.
I think the picture gives a reasonable perspective of the beast, and it's fun whizzing around on the end of a crane. :)

Påske Tree (part tree)

'She who knows better than me', and who also happens to have a better camera than me, just had to find proof that her creation was starting to come to life.
Well bugger me, something is happening, even I can see that buds are starting to form.

This is getting interesting... And it is just water that the twigs are in. There is no truth in the rumor that it is a secret mix of viagra and baby bio.

Beauty and The Beast

Another old sailing boat tied up at the pier here today.
The 'Solli' is an absolute beauty, especially in contrast to the hurtigbåt 'Tide Rose', which has to be about the ugliest thing afloat, apart possible from the Forvik Island ferry.

The Solli has her own website, which you can find HERE
She's 102 years old, and she will be visiting Shetland again this year,,, wonder if I could stow away. ;)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Påske Tree (part 2)

She, who must be listened to, tells me that it is growing.
Well, I know I have some eyesight problems, but a supposedly green bud, on a green branch, is way out of my optical range. And also way out of the optical range of an Olympus camera. I did try to take close up pictures of the thing, using the macro function, but failed.
Took 20 pictures, deleted 20 pictures, felt ashamed that I had fallen into the crap digital camera age. If I'd still had a real camera I would have had a picture to prove that there are no buds there. ;)

Monday, March 22, 2010


Today was the first time this year that the sun was rising as I set out for work.
Sunrise pictures look good, but it's often better to look in the other direction and see what the sun is lighting up.
In this case one of our local mountains, Ystetind, which is about 1160 metres (3800 feet) high.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Påske Tree

Påske (Easter) is almost upon us, and in the true Norwegian style that any excuse for a holiday is a good one, I have 10 days holiday from work, starting next Friday.
This is all very well for people who don't like working, but for me it's a pain in the butt. Or so I thought. I now will have the excitement of seeing a Påske Tree grow,... Honest, I'm told it works, but I'm having a damned hard time believing it.
Today while we were out for a walk, the significant other half took cuttings from Birch trees, and once we were home she put them in water, hung decorated eggs all over the arrangement, and with a smug grin said "Wait and see".
Well here's the picture of the scantily clad tree, as it is just now. Watch this spot... Lord knows there is just a chance that miracles do happen about Easter time. ;)

Spring is here.

Just 5 days ago we had 50cm of snow, but in Norway things can change quickly.
The first Crocuses are opening today.

More Trees

Although we live in a fairly built up area, less that 10 minutes walk and this is the scene.
Peacful and tranquil, the walking path along the side of Flatevågen (The Flat Voe) is beautiful at any time of year.
It's easy to forget that this is in the centre of a 'village' with about 7000 residents.


Since it was a lovely day we decided to go for a little walk this afternoon. You can't really walk anywhere in Norway without being surrounded by trees which, after 3 years here, I still find fascinating, simply because Shetland has hardly any.

I have to admit that I am completely ignorant when it comes to trees, so I'm always having to ask what kind they are, which makes me look a bit silly.

This one is a Fir, don't ask me what kind, but it's a beauty.

Old Sailing Boats

These 2 great looking sail boats have been lying at the Hurtigbåt pier, just next to the house, all day.
The Auno is a regular visitor but this is the first time I've seen the Framstig here as well.
They take tourists on winter fjord tours, including fishing and skiing.
It's great to see classic boats like these being looked after so well, especially the Framstig, which looks beautiful with her traditional 'oiled' planking.

Saturdays Happen

I don't exactly know why this happens, but it does.
Every week ends with a Saturday. And every Saturday night I end up with too many intoxicating fluids coursing through my body.
Then, as usual I get the guitar down and sing a few terrible songs, terribly out of key, and without remembering the words.
So this Saturday, just to be different, I didn't get the guitar down from it's honoured place on the wall. Instead I went to YouTube and listened to Johnny Cash.
So Johnny played a few songs terribly out of key, the recordings were his final live appearances, but I damned nearly cried from the feeling that he gave to those songs. Some of the songs I'd heard from him many times before, but never delivered in such a heart rending style.
And if anybody doubts what I mean, just listen to this song. Johnny didn't write it, but he made it his own:

Yun's aa da nicht.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Damned Weather.....

Well the thaw came, and with it the obligatory day of absolute pissing rain.
So 50cm of snow has been reduced to 10cm in about 24 hours, and the temperature managed to get as high as 9C today, which should mean that spring has come. In fact, couple that with the fact that various forms of plant life have the same idea, then it could be fair to assume that spring is here.
Norway has a great ability to surprise people, and not least by it's weather. In the time I've been here I've been shocked by as much as 20C difference within 24 hours, the shocking part of which is knowing what to wear on any given day. Just imagine going out in the morning with long underwear on, then sweating so much in the afternoon that you wished you didn't have any underwear on.

Anyway, enough about weather until the next time it shocks me.

Work, now there's a horrible word. But since I escaped from the clutches of the medical profession, after 6 weeks of radiotherapy, I've been struggling to get my relaxed muscles (fat) back in shape. The first week or two back at work I suffered from terrible spaegie (that's a Shetland word for aching muscles), so I had to find some way to get back in shape. The simple solution was when the foreman asked if I fancied a little bit of overtime..
Well who wants to pay to go to a gym and get fit from pumping metal, when my job involves arguing with big lumps of metal all day, so off course I said yes, and the result has been a lot of 12 hour days, a lot of spaegie, but I'm feeling better for it. And incidentally so is the bank balance.
And saving money is a big thing for me at the moment since there is a trip planned in June to enjoy 2 Willie Nelson shows. One in London, and the other in some place near Oslo which I can't pronounce never mind spell, but it's roughly in the area of Porsgrund, and everybody who has ever had a pee in Norway will know the Porsgrund name, since it's stamped on most porcelain products here.

Onywye (anyway)
Mair sharn eftir (more sh**e later)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

There will be a thaw eventually...

But until then I'll just keep shoveling snow....
Somewhere in the middle of that pile is a rather nice bush which becomes a radiant yellow mass in spring, if spring ever comes this year.
I'm actually quite happy that the bush is weighed down by snow as it gives the satellite dish a better chance of getting a signal.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Still Snowing

Had about another 6 inches of snow since yesterday, and more on the way.
On the bright side, the Norwegian football season starts today, so there's something to laugh at. The local team, Molde FK, have been appealing for volunteers to help clear 35cm of snow from the pitch.
When I lived in Shetland, a couple of inches of snow could make the whole place come to a standstill, if there was enough wind to drift the snow. Here in Norway the snow never drifts, it just lies still, but even large falls are cleared so quickly by the snowploughs that movement is never restricted. That, and a legal requirement to use winter tyres makes driving here easy.
The snowploughs here do a brilliant job, keeping roads, paths, and car parks clear. The reason the snow clearing operation is so successful is in the equipment the use. Normal ploughs and snow blowers on the main roads, and tractors on the smaller side roads. The tractors are contracted from farmers who would have the tractors sitting idle in the winter if it wasn't for the snow clearing. A lot of the tractors have double ploughs, like the one shown above.
There's also tractors with big trailers which dump tons of snow into the sea.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

More Snow

During the last week there has been a thaw of the snow which has been lying since December.
I had hoped that this would be the end of the snow for this year, but we've had about 7 inches so far today. Wet snow, the perfect kind for making snowballs. A couple of the guys at the work decided to do just that.
They have left a little snowball in front of the foreman's office door, for him to play with on Monday morning.

Friday, March 12, 2010

First Post.

Well where do I start when it comes to doing something I've never done before.
At the beginning I guess.
I've been meaning to do this for ages, but time is always a problem, and unless you make time for some things it never gets done.
So here goes.....

Under my real name I am a regular editor on a website, which is styled on Wikipedia, about Shetland. You can have a look at it here:
It's a hobby which wastes a fair bit of my spare time, and is also accountable for most of my grey hairs.
Tonight I've been trying to add pictures and details of the latest Viking fire festival in Shetland. The South Mainland Up Helly Aa, some details of which are here:

It's strange, sitting here in Norway, looking at pictures from Shetland, because Shetland, which was my home until 3 years ago, was a place I never thought of leaving. But as of the 29th of this month it will be 3 years since I waved goodbye to those island shores and started a new life in West Norway.

Life in Norway is much simpler, slower, and lovely than life in Shetland. And I hope with this blog to show the difference, or at least to show how happy I am with life in Norway.

I may not post something every day, or what I post some days may not be worth reading, but bear with me.
Once I figure this out there will be loads of pictures coming, and this area of Norway is the very best for pictures.

Da Auld Een