Friday, April 30, 2010

Wildlife Post

Just to prove that I can post about wildlife, and not just scenery, I thought I had to add this little snippet.

When I got up this morning I found that we had had an invasion of these little beasties:
Thankfully the dustbuster managed to suck up a few hundred of them before 'she who hates ants in her pants' got out of bed, or that would have been real "wildlife".

I don't know why she hates them so much. I find them completely fascinating.
I think that my fascination with them stems from the fact that they are constantly working towards getting whatever job they have in mind done, and they are all working together to get that job done. So the next question I need to find the answer to is: Which country do these ants come from? ;)

Trondheim trip - Part 1

First part of the trip was across the fjord to Molde, and it was the first time we got to go on one of the new ferries. These new ones are LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) powered, which I'm sure are good for the environment, compared to diesel, but I'm also sure that they are cheaper to run, so that's why they're used.
The one we got on was the Fannefjord. Now the name has caused almost as much controversy here, as it will cause hilarity to English speaking people.The controversy here being that Fannefjord isn't a fjord which the ferries sail on, and the 'English speaking' hilarity can be understood, if in doubt, by a google search, if your swearie filter allows it. ;)

Anyway, here's a frontal view, oops, I mean a bow view of the Fannefjord:
She doesn't really look very big from this angle although she's 5 lanes wide. It's only when you see this view of her sistership, Moldefjord, that you actually realise how big they are. About 125 metres long:
Heading north from Molde the next interesting thing we came across was the Gjemnes Bridge which crosses to Bergsøya with Kvernesfjorden to the west, and Bergsoyfjorden to the east. It's an impressive bridge, the deck of which is about 50 metres at it's highest point:
The run north from there also featured another interesting bridge which I failed to get a picture of, but it floats on concrete pontoons. I'll have to revisit that one and find out how the structure compensates for tidal variations. That's a summer project.
Next stop on this leg of the journey was at Kanestraum where we got the ferry to Halsa on the east side of Halsafjorden. This picture is looking north from Kanestraum:
The snow clad mountains in the background are on the island of Tustna.

At this point of the journey the weather turned a bit, and to use a Shetland expression, "Hit cleared up an cam a day o sh**e".
Only half decent picture I got after that was a panorama of Surnadal:
But I think if you click, and zoom the picture you'll get an idea of what so many valleys in this area look like when seen from the roads above them.

So we arrived in Trondheim, and since I hadn't eaten anything sensible all day, we quickly checked in and headed to town for a meal at the Egon restaurant. About 800 kroner for 2 decent meals and 2 crap beers. So we crossed the road to the Cafe Dublin, found Stella Artois, and spent a few hundred more Kroner getting happy.
At this point I took my usual 'bum shot' of the day.
Now, I must run and hide before she sees this 'wide angle' shot.
;) LOL

Yun's aa fir enoo, mair da moarn.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Back home from Trondheim

Returned from our travels about half an hour ago. Slightly knackered, but glad to be home.
The shortest route between Vestnes and Trondheim is 224km, with 2 ferry crossings, but the shortest route goes over some high roads, and since there was a chance of snow on Tuesday evening, we did a slight detuour through Surnadal and Rindal, which only adds about 15km to the journey, but kept us below 270 metres all the way.
For the return today, 'she who navigates', and I'm not talking about "Geettin' Gertie" the Sat Nav, said we should take the scenic route. As if there is anything other than scenic routes in West Norway.
Anyway, this route took us south on the E6, through Oppdal, to Dombås, where we turned west through Lesja and Romsdal, then home via Åndalsnes, Innfjord, Måndalen, and Tresfjord. This route turned out to be 380km, but took almost the same time as the other routes because there were no ferry crossings.

I've got a load of pictures to dig through but I know I've got some good ones, so I'll add some posts over the weekend to show what the trip is like.
The salvation of the whole journey for me can be summed up by this picture:
Great food, and they served Stella Artois ;)

I suppose though that the main purpose of the trip deserves a mention. And it's good news.
MRI scan, CT scan, and lord knows how many others pokes and probes they did while they had me out cold this morning, but it looks like I've beaten cancer. It should have known better than take on Da Auld Een. LOL!!

Yun's aa fir enoo, mair afore lang.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Greetings from Trondheim

Just a quick post to say that we survived my driving from Vestnes to Trondheim yesterday.
Weather wasn't too great for pictures, and both me and Honey the Honda weren't really in the mood for stopping, until I needed to. ;)
But there are a few good pictures coming when I get home, but sadly I missed the best photo opportunity when we passed a Moose at the side of the road. That's Moose, not Mouse.
But we'll keep our eyes open on the way home, there has even been a Bear seen in Rindal this last week, so you never know what might appear in my posts about the weekend.

That off course, assumes that I survive being beggered about by the medical staff tomorrow. They're great, but they can wear out the patience of a Saint.

Yun's aa fae Trondheim..

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday run to Tomrefjord, etc...

It was a nice still day and I needed to refuel the car, so I suggested a little run over to Tomrefjord while we were at it, which is about 11km away. Well we drove a little bit further, and by the time we got home we had clocked up nearly 100km.

The furthest we went was just beyond Rekdal, to the site of a wartime prison camp where the Germans held Russian prisoners.There's not much left to see now, apart from the ruin of what was their chapel.
Looking west from there we can almost see the open sea in this picture.
Centre, in the distance is the island of Haramsøya, just to the south of which, but hidden from view, is the island of Lepsøya, where Betty_Mouat landed in 1886 after drifting across the North Sea, alone, in the smack Columbine.
Incidentally, the sign in the bottom right of the picture tells that this beach was mined with anti tank mines during the war. Don't think I'm heavy enough to set one off, even if they didn't clear them all. ;)
Looking east, in Misundet, often wrongly called Moldefjorden on maps, this picture shows the small island of Tautra.
Sometime in the next few years work will start on a tunnel under the fjord to replace the existing ferry service. The tunnel will pass under Tautra to the island of Otrøy, at the extreme left of the picture, then a bridge will join from there to the mainland just west of the town of Molde.

On the way back we stopped in Fiksdal for a couple of pictures. Fiksdal is a fairly typical small settlement here.
But it's got a particularly nice little mountain looking down on it, called Melen.

Next stop was for a picture of Tomrefjorden.
I wish somebody would make up their mind what to call the village at the head of this fjord. The signs say Tomrefjord, the maps say Tomra, and there are various other words for it which I can't bring myself to write. ;)
Tomrefjord has the biggest shipyard in this area, Langsten, which is now owned by STX Europe, which I think is a Korean owned company. Here's a ship they've just about finished.
And one in the construction hall which is well under way.
The reflection in the water inspired me to take a picture across the fjord, hope I got the picture the right way up.
Interestingly, the Solstrand shipyard which as on the other side of Tomrefjord, and which I forgot to take a picture of, is where the Shetland trawler Altaire was built.
On the way back home we took a turn out towards Øverås where there is a beautiful little bay called Leirvåg, with a nice little island which has a lovely secluded house on it.
On the way back to the main road there was a nice view looking into Tomrefjorden.
Since we were being Sunday sightseers we took a turn in around Flatevågen (the flat voe), and went up to one of the farms at Flate to get this picture looking towards Vestnes.
Flate used to be called Flatebostadir, which would be a direct translation to the Shetland Fladdabister
And to add another Shetland connection, on the north side of Flatevågen, there is a small bay called Lervik which relates nicely to Shetland's Lerwick .

So that was this Sunday run. Next serious drive is to Trondheim on Tuesday evening, so that doctors can poke and prod me to tell me that I'm fit and well, hopefully. There will likely be a few pictures of that trip about the end of the week.

But, as an edit to this post, since I mentioned shipyards, here's a link to a video of a ship which was finished at the Langsten yard, the 'Far Samson'. It's well worth a watch.
Far Samson video.

Yun's aa fir enoo.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A peerie bit o poetry

Da Brucky Drawer.

“Whaur did I pit me thingumyjig?”
I aksed her dat sud ken ee day,
“Is du hed a skoit i dee brucky drawer?
wis aa dat shö did say.

Bit na, I’d neevir tocht o dat,
an whit a tocht ta luik in dere,
hit’s foo o peerie bits an bobs,
an antrin idder gair.

I lippin every hoos haes een,
a drawer dat gadders bruck,
whaur tings end up dat’s needin kept,
ir kept fir faer o ill luck.

So luik böst I atil dis drawer,
ta fin me thingumyjig,
bit hit’s packit foo o dat muckle hellery,
hit wid need ta be twice as big.

Batteries, pens, an sticky tape,
mobile phones, an auld gold ring,
cable ties, leads ta hook up cameras,
an Loard kens foo muckle string.

Headphones an widden puzzles,
a watch ower guid ta wear,
an empty box a praisant cam atil,
dat I kept ta had idder gair.

Half a score o pictir postcards,
shawin bare Shaetlan erses,
and dizens o auld birthday cairds,
wi boanie written verses.

A badge fae me 50th birthday,
dat seems a while past noo,
a spare strap fir me wearin watch,
an a toosip o darnin oo.

So a’m fun a lok o tings in dere,
tings I tocht wir lost,
bit I didna fin me thingumyjig,
I winder whit a new een’ll cost.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Living in a construction site

Sometimes all the work that has to be done in a neighbourhood happens all at once, and this is certainly the case for us at the moment. We've got more heavy machinery around here than we can comfortably cope with.
To start with there are diggers tearing up the road to lay new pipes for sewage, water,  a heated sea water defrosting system for the main shopping street, and additional ducting for electricity etc., and such like.
Well, that's OK, maybe it will be an improvement, if they'd just get on with it. They've been blocking the road with machinery for days, while many men who look like they know what they're doing, stare into the hole that the diggers have created.
Then, on the other side of us, about 10 metres away, more machinery is setting about tearing down an existing building, to make way for a new 'Rema 1000' supermarket. And there's something very sad about this picture:
Although we've managed to scran (save) some paving tiles before the demolition starts, the building will go in the greater part to land fill, and that includes laminated wooden beams, which at the very least would have kept any decent Rayburn stove burning for months. But Norwegian's have absolutely no understanding of the simple word, 'RECYCLE'.

Otter Board

Now, here's a blast from the past. Most Shetlanders my age will have some memories of trying to catch a few trouts in a loch by using an Otter Board. But such excellent fishing practices became illegal, or at least seriously frowned upon by the local constabulary, and totally vilified by serious anglers who prefer to stand waist deep in the water casting with a rod, whilst freezing their gonads.
Well thankfully Norway has a more sensible attitude towards sensible fishing.
I'd never mentioned this topic before to 'she who thinks she knows about fishing', until tonight, but she dived into a cupboard and came out with this one, local name Oterfjøl:
Only is Norway can you find an Otter Board with a brand name on it. :) :)

Gone Fishing.... ;) :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Winch drum flywheel

I recently posted something about making a flywheel for a winch drum. It was hard work, in fact damned hard work.
Then the welders get to work on it. There's a fair bit of manual welding, then it goes to the auto welding table, "Cake Stand", where poor Per sits for hours going round and round in circles watching a welding machine do it's stuff. Lord knows how he has the patience for such a job, although sitting on hot metal can have it's benifits on a cold day.
He was so intent on the job that he never even saw the camera flash.
So, if you see this Per, "HI!!!"

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Winter returns

I knew I changed those wheels on the car too soon.
But at least what's falling from the sky isn't volcanic ash, it's white stuff. We've had wet snow most of the day, and above about 100 metres it's blanketing the mountainsides quite nicely.

'My mountains' look particularly nice when freshly coated. It almost looks like the nearest one has had a line drawn around it's edge.
So, since it looks wintery outside, there's only one thing to do. Have a feed of Pinnekjøt, the local version of salt mutton, along with smoked sausage, neeps, and tatties. Yum Yum.
And a little dram along with it to balance out the fatty mutton.
This meal is actually the traditional Christmas meal, but we like it so much that we have it quite often.
Incidentally, the traditional drink with pinnekjøt is Aquavit, but that tastes like, well, something I'd rather not describe. So I have a small mention of the Scottish version of Aquavit, Whisky. :)

Aquavit, like whisky, comes in many brands, but 'she who says it's good' prefers 'Linie Aquavit'. That brand has been matured in casks whilst on board ships traveling all over the world. Apparently the climate variations give it a more distinctive flavour. I still think I'd rather drink tap water.

Yun's aa fur enoo :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I mentioned in an earlier post about Spring, that the sparrows were prone to blocking the guttering with their nests. One of these sparrows is cheeky enough to sit on the edge of the guttering and have a staring competition with me in the mornings.
I know the picture angle looks odd, but that's how it looked, looking straight up, while he/she was looking straight down. Just so long as it's the head end of the bird that's looking at me, I don't mind too much.

Anyway, that's enough about birds blocking things. Now on to the other blockage today.
Just imagine the sheer mayhem that a full packet of cigarettes can cause when they are in a pocket, in a washing machine...
The detergent does it's job beautifully, by breaking down the glues that hold the packaging abd the cigarettes together. The filter tips find their way, naturally, towards the filter in the machine, and block it. The tobacco finds it's way into every nook and cranny of everything that is being washed. And the idiot who left the packet of cigarettes in his pocket finds his way into the bad books of 'she who does the washing'.
I'm wondering at this point if there is a market for tobacco flavoured underpants???

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tyre, Oops!!

I mentioned in my last post about changing the tyres. Well in this process I found a little oops moment. Three of the tyres were perfect, but the fourth one was, to say the least, frightening.
You might notice that the left side of the tyre has bulged a bit, and is very perished.
Oooops!!!!! No wonder the car has been handling like a turd in a tidewash lately. ;)

Another problem I found while changing the wheels was that I had fitted the winter wheels according to the markings on them, eg., VF = left front, HF = right front, but I only noticed when I took them off this time that the tyres had been fitted with the rotation marks in the wrong direction,

Honey the Honda now drives a helluva lot better anyway,
Yun's aa fir enoo.

Sunday Drive

Today is officially the day that the tyres on cars should be changed from winter to summer, so for once I actually got it done on the correct day. Which means it will likely snow tomorrow.
After changing the wheels we took a little drive in to the head of Tresfjord. It's a lovely place in Summer and doesn't look too bad at this time of year either.

There's a beautiful little church in Tresfjord, built in 1825.

We headed further up the valley to Øvstedalen, which has fairly high mountains on both sides, and at the inner end. This area has some very rich farm land, and it's also a major centre for horsy folk.

 Some of the mountains are quite impressive.
A little tour around some of the side roads revealed some interesting scenes, like the Kjersem Bridge, with it's lovely waterfall.
I was amazed to see how much the water has eroded this stone beneath the bridge. Really shows the power of water.
Another nice old bridge we found was the Skorgen Bridge, which dates from 1905.
Another interesting little sight was this painting on the end of a barn. Quite artistic. Not sure what it's meant to depict, but we think it's something to do with Norwegian resistance to joining the EU.
As usual, when I go out with the camera, I always end up with a lot of pictures which are not worth looking at, but the only bum picture I took today looked so good that I thought I might as well include it, then find out how fast I can run ;)
Yun's aa fir enoo.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cars, The best of British, and the worst of American

Our after dinner walk tonight was to one of our local car dealers, because my curiosity had been aroused by seeing what was obviously an old British car sitting outside when I passed earlier.
This dealer specialises in imports from America, so he always has a forecourt full of things like this:
And they're a common sight around here. I suppose that's partly due to the fact that petrol is relatively cheap, compared to wages. I have to admit I'd love one myself.
But, back to what I started to post about. The British Car. And here she is:
A 1938 Rolls Royce Phantom 3. The import ticket on the window says that she has been imported from 'Gullwing Motor Cars Inc, Long Island City, NY.
Her paintwork is in a dire state, but I fully expect to see her completely restored soon, and commanding a very large price. I'll keep an eye out for her after she's been restored and post an update picture.

Interestingly, on the subject of cars, this area is great for old cars. There are Volvos from the late 50s running around, a friend of mine even has a 1983 Range Rover which hasn't disintegrated into a pile of rust like they do in the UK, and I have a Honda Accord, called Honey, which has recently celebrated her 20th birthday.
Honey is a nice old car, everything electical still works after 20 year, even the heated seats which sometimes get switched on by mistake... And her maintenance cost for the last 20 months has been one light bulb , and one litre of oil.

Anyway, that's enough about boys toys.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bedroom Floor

And before anybody thinks anything naughty, no I didn't get drunk and fall on it. I just had to try to replace it.

We dicided a couple of weeks ago to lay a laminate floor in the bedroom, because the carpet was,, past it's best.
We ordered the flooring from the local shop and were told that it would arrive on the Wednesday before Easter..
FAIL!! It only arrived this week.
Anyway, we picked it up today when I finished work (early finish today since I was too kanckered to work any more). So, home with flooring, and I just had to start working on the job. It would have been finished tonight, but the X-Files were on at 7pm......

Funny thing about this little domestic task is that, "She who tells me how to do things", said nothing after my first few swear words. I'm beginning to wonder if Trowies don't know how to lay laminate flooring??? :) :)

Da Week Dat's Awa, or the week from Hell part 1

After 10 days off for Easter I was looking forward to getting back to work, especially since there is a fair bit of urgency with some of the jobs, and 12 hour days are back on the menu.
I'm not a morning person, I really only switch on about 9am, get to full speed about 1pm, and by 7pm, asfter 12 hours I don't want to stop. But the body, at 53, doesn't always agree with me, so the muscles are taking a bit of time to get over the 10 day holiday.
But, all going reasonably well, apart from the aches and pains, until today.... Some butthole, sitting in an office at our union headquarters, has hatched the brilliant plan that we should go on strike next week. If I knew who he was he wouldn't be able to sit for the rest of his life, as sitting is a tad difficult with a size 11 steel toe capped boot lodged in your anal sphincter.
I've never been on strike in my life, and I'm not going to start now. So Monday morning, if the strike goes ahead, I'm going to work as normal. Well maybe not as normal, since our union rep will be on the picket line, so my first task will be to drag his sorry butt to a telephone, so that he can call the union and tell them that I am no longer a member of the union.
Come to think of it, perhaps after he's introduced the topic to them, I'll ask to tell it to them in my normal dialect, which I'm sure they would understand. Not because Norwegians would understand Shetland dialect, but purely because they would understand the liberal sprinkling of English four lettered words which will make the main body of my submission to them. ;)

Anyway, speaking about pressure at work, hows this for a bit of pressure when it comes to bending/straightening metal:
Two 25 ton jacks, two hydraulic jacks, many bad words, and a result which surprised me. It worked. :)
I'll try to remember to post a picture of the finished article, it's a flywheel for a winch drum, and it weighs about 10 ton. Once the drum is complete, flywheels, core, etc, it will weigh about 60 ton. Add that to the winch frame, add the cable, and all the motors and fittings, you're looking at a 400 - 500 ton monster. No wonder these anchor handling ships are getting so big.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Signs of Spring

There are many things that herald Spring in Norway.
Small buds are appearing on trees and bushes, and birds of all kinds are suffering an overflow of hormones. Especially the Magpies, they have to be the craziest thing on wings. Or maybe the Dunters, who seem to suffer a severe gender imbalance here, with about 10 drakes chasing after every duck, and making more noise than the drunks being thrown out of the local pub at 2am.
The sparrows are busy blocking the guttering as they build their nests, the snails are appearing again, and my favourite creatures, the common garden spiders, are starting to crawl out of their hiding holes.

But in Norway there are more obvious signs of spring. Motorbikes are being dragged out of sheds, polished, and paraded by old men in tight leather suits. Camper vans with Nederland and German registrations are starting to congregate. And the first report of a tourist going missing, whilst fishing, has appeared in the news.

And our flower bed lottery is starting to show results. We now know where some of the Crocuses are. And they're beauties.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I thought it was a UFO....

The last couple of weekends we have seen a strange light in the mountain just southwest of here.
It bugged me a lot last weekend, I even tried to get a video of it, but 70 times zoom just proved that it was a stationary light, so not a star. Daylight observations have enabled me to pinpoint the exact spot.
So what we've figured is that somebody is crazy enough to spend their weekend nights up there, under a basic shelter, with a camp fire. Just so that they can crawl out at first light and shoot anything that moves.

Being the nasty old person that I am, I hope they get frostbite, or shoot themselves in the foot.

Maybe I'm not exactly in the right country to be opposed to hunting. And yes it has been said that I do a lot of hunting myself. But I reserve my hunting for Trolls on websites such as Shetlink. HE HE

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Påske Tree part 4

As I correctly predicted in an earlier post (ahem, well not exactly correctly, but,,), the tree is blossoming nicely now.
Not bad for a few old twigs, dumped in a jar of water.
If you click on the image to get a larger image you'll see nice leaves...
No wonder there are so many trees in Norway, if they're that easy to grow.

'She who likes to be proved right', has put a couple of twigs from her favourite bush in water now. I'm not laying any bets against the success of that horticultural effort.