Monday, May 31, 2010

Mountain Rivers

Again I think I've succeeded with Panorama Maker.
This one was stitched from 3 pictures, where it would be impossible to get the same image from one shot.
The second one is just from 2 pictures but yet again, I couldn't quite get the scene I wanted in one frame.
The shots for that image were taken from this bridge.
It had all the characteristics of the Millennium bridge in London. It swayed like a drunk Glaswegian, and should have been closed to the public as soon as it was opened.

Anyway, if you're beginning to like pictures from Norway, it's going to get better over the next week and a half. We have visitors coming on Thursday, so the Grand Tour of Møre og Romsdal is on the cards for them
Visits to Ålesund, Kristiansund, Geiranger, Trollstigen (Troll Road), Trollveggen (TrollWall), Molde, Rødvenfjorden, Gudbrandsjuvet, etc.. etc..

Watch this space.
Yun's aa fir enoo

Mountain Panorama and Man Flu

I said in my last blog that I was going to try to make some panoramas from yesterdays visit to Daugstadsetra. Well I may have succeeded if this can be seen properly. You'll have to click on the image, click again to zoom, then drag or scroll the image. It should be worth the effort.
The image is about a 90 degree scan stitched from 10 photographs using 'Panorama Maker 3.5', a very nice little program which I've been using for a few years.

And, yes, as the post title suggest, I've got man flu. I suppose it's just the common cold, but it's a bad un. ;)
I suppose I shouldn't really grumble, I haven't had as much as a cold for nearly 2 years now. How's that for healthy. There was of course the cancer thingy, but that wasn't actually an illness, just a challenge. ;)

Now, I must go and play with some pictures of a mountain river for a vertical panorama...

aboot igyen afore lang.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mountains and Setters

Setter, that's a word well known in Shetland, since many places bear the name in one form or another.
Here in Norway, where undoubtedly the name came from, a 'Seter' is basically a hill farm. In times past the cattle would be taken up to the high pastures for the summer months, and either the farmers wife, or daughter would go with them to take care of the herd, milk them, and make cheese and butter from the milk. Small cabins were built for accomodation, and many of these small cabins still exist. In the case where it was the farmers daughter who was living at the setter during the summer, you can imagine that it was a popular place for the young men to visit, and many a lasting relationship was formed in such a setting.
In more recent years many more cabins have been built as summer cabins. I think most of the locals I work with have a cabin somewhere in the local mountains.
The access roads to these setters are just gravel roads, but are maintained to a fairly high standard, thanks to the Toll charge for access.

We took a run up one of these roads today, to Daugstadsetra.
At the bottom of the road there is a payment point.
The charge in this case was 40 Kroner. There are envelopes which you write your name and registration number on, tear off the duplicate slip from the front, which is your 'pay and display' ticket, then put the money in the envelope and post it in the cash box. It's a payment system designed around trust, but the fee is always worth paying for the views that can be seen from these roads.
As can be seen from this picture, the lower part of these roads are like most roads in Norway, nothing but trees.
But once you get up to the setter where the cabins are, everything looks different.
At about 460 metres there aren't very many trees.
Signposts point towards suggest walks. Note that there are no distances given, just estimated walking time. (time = hour, hence the t after the number)
But, as the title of this post suggests, the following pictures are the reason for driving up to a setter. Click on any of the pictures for a larger view.
I never stop being fascinated by scenes like those.

On the way back down I snapped this picture, looking across Tresfjord, towards our home at Vestnes.
Just about where I took this picture there was a picnic spot, with table and chairs which could certainly stand up to a Shetland storm.
Hope you enjoyed the scenes.
I have a lot more pictures from this afternoon out, mostly of the river which runs down from Daugstadsetra. I'm also going to stitch together some panorama pictures, so the next post could stretch my picture handling capabilities a bit.

Yun's aa fir enoo,
Da Auld Een

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Shopping trip to Moa

I was told earlier in the week, by 'she who tells me what to do', that we need to take a shopping trip to the Moa shopping centre, just outside Ålesund.
For once I actually agreed. Mainly because I wanted to buy some new work clothes from a shop there called Jula (pronounced Yula). Particularly I needed more socks, because hot metal finds its way into my boots and burns holes in them. The same happens with T shirts, to the stage when you pull of the shirt and think that, with the light shining through the holes, you're in a planetarium. But, I digress. I'm sure I could write a hundred blogs about the ill effects of molten metal, but back to today.

I had to work this morning, and wasn't too happy about that since it was a horribly difficult job, but as usual at my work there is always something to brighten the day. In this case one of the guys needed to do some work on his pick-up truck. No need to run it up on ramps, or go to a garage to use a lift, when all the lifting power required is available on site.
I only worked until 1230, I was knackered by then, and really wanted to go home and sleep, but the shopping trip loomed ominously so we set out.
It was a lovely day, and I snapped a nice picture on the way, a view across Storfjorden towards the entrance to Sykkylvsfjorden.

The Moa centre is about 55km from Vestnes, and along the way there are many such scenes, although the nearer to the coast you get, the smaller and less significant the mountains get.

After the shopping, which included yet another visit to a damned garden centre, (Oh Lord, why did I ever get the Peerie Trowie interested in gardening again?), we headed back for home.
Here's a nice scene from Valle, looking across the inner end of Ellingsøyfjorden.
Just over half way home, we passed through the little village of Sjøholt. The were having some sort of fair there today, and had a few stationary engines on display which always fascinate me. Here's a real beauty.
But it was completely overshadowed by this one.
Built in 1903, restored in 1991... BEAUTIFUL.

While we were in Sjøholt I took a few pictures, just since I think it's a lovely place.
Here's a view looking west through Storfjorden.
 And a view north across the beach past a row of Nausts (boat houses), and likely where the Shetland word 'Noost' came from.

One of the most beautiful buildings in Sjøholt, although sadly in need of restoration, is the beautiful old Sjøholt Hotel.
The original was built in 1882, but after being destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt in 1901.
It is a little bit grander than most of the hotels from that period, which tended to follow more of the style of this one.
Which is actually the St Magnus Bay Hotel in Hillswick, Shetland. The St Magnus Bay hotel was prefabricated in Norway, displayed at the Great Exhibition in Glasgow, in 1896, before being bought by the North of Scotland Steam Navigation Company, and relocated to Hillswick.
Some historians in Shetland have disputed these facts, well one actually, but we'll ignore him anyway. Although a very nice man called Erik managed to do the following alterations to an old picture of the St Magnus Bay Hotel, to make it look like it was designed by the Shetland  architect Thomas M Aitken. So hopefully this picture will end up in being 'archived' as what the architect intended.
Can't beat a few nice turrets... ;) Thanks EM. LOL

I'm completely off topic again, as usual. But never mind the journey was nearly over. We headed home over Ørskogfjellet and I took this picture of the south side of the mountains which we see from our kitchen window. The snow is receding fast now.

Well, if you've read this far, congratulations. I tend to ramble a bit sometimes.

Yun's aa fir enoo.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Da Rekerie Ooterie is finished.

With less than a week until our Shetland visitors arrive, there has been panic to finish our various garden projects.
We don't want to let Shetlanders think that Norway hasn't any horticultural capability.... Maybe somebody can explain what 'horticultural' means. It's just something I picked up, supposedly connected to gardening, which is a grey area to me.
So the last of the plants have been planted, the last of the Butinox has been applied, and it's looking as good as it is likely to be.
Including the damned parasol......
And, in case you can't see the finer detail, here's a zoom shot of a little Squirrel who got his nut. I love this little guy, got him as a birthday present, and I can assure you that the marks on the fence below him are just a result of bad painting, He didn't have a dose of the runs.

Yun's aa fir enoo..
Going to bed before 'she who paints fences' reads this.

Poor Satellite Reception

At last I've got to the 'bottom' of the problem, literally.
I think I've mentioned the occasional interuptions to my satellite reception before, but tonight I have photographic proof of the cause.
This is the normal view of the satellite dish, at roughly the angle the signal is received from.
As you can see, there are no obstructions to the signal.
But, add a smallish Trowie to the equation, and my X-Files suddenly stop, and "No Signal" is displayed on the dreaded blue screen.
I guess this post will get me, at best a slap round the ear. And at worst if there are no more posts to this blog, at least you know the reason why.

Ducking for cover now,,,,
A'm geeng.
;) :) LOL

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Honey, the wonder car.

Honey the Honda never fails to amaze me.
I bought her 2 years ago, sort of by accident, since we were actually just walking past the car dealer on our way to another shop. She cost 16000 kroner (about £1500 at the time, although more like £1700 now since the £ has sunk in value so much).
Within the first 3 months Honey suffered a small lighting failure, which cost about 700 kroner to fix. Then in August 2008 I had to have a bandage put on an exhaust leak, that cost about 900 kroner, (that bandage is still holding, so worth the money).
Since then, 2 light bulbs and 1 litre of oil, that's it, until this week.

She was due her mandatory EU Kontrol test. Similar to the UK MOT test, but only done every 2 years, so perhaps a little bit stricter. I fully expected her to fail for something, after all she is 20 years old, but since the only thing I could see wrong was her tyres which were near the limit, I replaced them, and headed to the testing centre today.

The test goes over all the same things as an MOT test, but the old girl came out with flying colours. They couldn't find anything wrong, so she's clear to continue giving me motoring pleasure for another 2 years.

Here's Honey looking rather proud of herself tonight. Maybe I should think about giving her a wash, she's only had one of those since I bought her.
An interesting little point about this particular model of the Honda Accord, which I found out when I did a Google search shortly after buying her. In one state in America, this model was the most likely car to be stolen because they were in such demand.

Anyway, looking good for a 20 year old.
:) :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Da Mön

The Moon looked good tonight as it crawled up over the mountains at Tresfjord, so I couldn't resist trying a few pictures.
I really need a better camera, but here's what I got.

The first one is using a 'night scene' setting, and it's very accurate to the image, as seen.
The next one was using the 'Auto' setting, and although it's nothing like what I saw, It's still fairly amazing for what is now a very outdated camera.
The full moon isn't for another couple of days, so if the weather holds I might be lucky enough to catch a pic with a better mountain scene. Guess it will be another case of 50 shots, and hoping for a good one.

Yun's aa fir enoo.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Garden improvements..

Considering the weather we're having at the moment, perhaps watching TV would be a better way to spend my time, but since I don't have much time off work just now, and the garden needs work done, poor little me has to do it no matter what the weather, when I do get a some time spare.
One of the main projects at the moment is to create a path round to "Da Sitterie Ooterie", our patio.
 This bit of the path is still under construction, but the first part is finished.
One slight snag with the path is that it goes in front of the satellite dish.
This causes a problem when I'm watching my Sci-Fi programs. There's nothing worse than a program freezing due to signal loss when a peerie Trowie walks past the dish.
So the solution to the problem was to create a mini sitterie ooterie, in front of the door. This has become known as "Da Reekerie Ooterie", in other words, 'the smoking area'.
Well, I managed to get it finished today, with the completion of a fence to hold back a bush which is threatening to take over the whole garden.
I'm fairly chuffed with the result, and I love the little table and chairs which we bought the other day for only 400 Kroner (about £45).
 The bush behind the fence is starting to bloom now, a month later than last year which shows how rubbish the weather has been. When it does bloom it's an absolute explosion of vibrant yellow. I'll try to post a picture of it when it's at its best.

One of the next little projects I have to do is to make a couple of signs for "Da Sitterie Ooterie" and "Da Reekerie Ooterie". I just fancy doing that to confuse Norskie visitors. ;)

Yun's aa fie enoo.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wood is cheap in Norway

Well given the number of trees, you might think so. And in reality the prices at the DIY centres aren't too bad, but not as cheap as I found today.

We went to town to buy some wood for a little garden project we are working on. The Coop Bygg store in Molde is a fairly new store, and I think they were trawling the bottom of the employment barrel for staff when they employed the young chap who served us.
I had gathered some lengths of wood on a trolley, when 'she who has the overall plan for the garden', managed to find some 50cm x50cm wooden tile thingies that she wants me to do something with, so I piled 9 of them on top of the lengths of wood, and proceeded to the payment point.

This young guy, fresh out of nappies, and about 10 years away from a real shave, looked like he knew what he was doing, and since I try to avoid language confusion, I just stood there with bank card in hand ready to do my bit.
After plinking on his computer, scanning some labels with a bar code scanner, and looking less intelligent than I had originally thought, he came up with a price of 362 kroner. I did think "That's cheaper than I thought it would be", but I didn't know what price the wooden tile thingies  were, so I assumed they were cheaper than I had feared.

So, trolley to car, which was already full from other things, and out with the crosscut saw. Standing in the car park I cut the wood to the sizes I needed, and which would fit into the car. But all the time I was thinking, "Wood really is cheap in Norway".

Only when we were at the ferry terminal did I remember that I had put the receipt in my pocket, so we had a look.
Now, we had bought:
9 wooden tile thingies
25 metres of 50mm x 25mm wood
10 metres of 50mm x 75mm wood
10 metres of 25mm x 100mm wood

The receipt said:
7 wooden tile thingies
10 metres of 50mm x 25mm wood
5 metres of 50mm x 75mm wood
And absolutely no mention of the 25mm x 100mm wood.

Maybe I'll have to be honest about this and return to the store the next day I'm in town. But this guy was so far wrong that he'll likely loose his job if I do that, so I suppose the best I can do is say nothing and hope that the poor chap learns his job before his employer goes bust.

I'll certainly shop with them again. Just in case I get served by the same person. ;)

By the way, there will be a forthcoming blog about those damned wooden tile thingies. They're part of the plan for the 'Reekerie Ooterie". That expression will be explained when the job is done, and I post about it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Looking forward to.... Willie Nelson 2K10

Just a few weeks now, and this is what I'm looking forward to.
 London, 11th June, then Langesund 15th June.

Willie Nelson is 77 years old, still performing like a rock star, still touring like a rock star, and while he's on the road he still drags his little sister Bobbie with him. Bobbie is only 81, and for the forthcoming European tour, she's shipping her own piano across from the US.

Willie Nelson and Family, and the family tag means what they consider family, it's the band that has been together since before Outlaw Country became popular.
Willie's long time drummer, Paul English, who I've had the pleasure to meet a couple of times, has recently suffered a minor stroke, so I hope he'll have the sense to pass on this tour, but these guys just live on the road, giving pleasure to fans like me, so I will not be surprised to see Paul at the shows.

Not that I have a serious fanaticism about anything in particular, but if you don't like Willie, it might be a good idea to avoid my blog for a few weeks. Although, I'd have to ask, WHY?
And offer a few morsels of incentive to stay with me. Such as:

Yun's aa fir enoo,
mair sharn eftir.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More Macro

 I think my camera is stuck in macro mode.
Yesterday I evicted some snails from one of our rose bushes, and just for fun, lined them up for a race.
They shot of at such a speed that I didn't really manage to catch the action, didn't have a high enough shutter speed available, but when one of them came into the pits for a slime change, I got this picture.
This one was the eventual winner of the race, purely because the other three failed to appear in the paddock at the end of the event. ;)

Anyway, continuing with the macro theme, here's a mystery, or perhaps a moment of truth.
I've always thought that people are a bit like ants, when it comes to some things, such as satellite TV. People worship the multitude of channels they get from Sky, or Viasat, or whatever their local supplier is, behaving very much like ants, in as much that they strive towards viewing the drivel that is broadcast without question, just as ants never seem to question their purpose in life.
But ants seem to worship the feed cable from the satellite dish, and here's two pictures to prove it.
These ants normally run around, being busy at whatever they think is important to them, all day. But today they have discovered the attraction of satellite TV, and have congregated around the feed cable, worhiping it all day. I don't know if it's an attraction to any residual heat from the cable, or more likely the electromagnetic fields surrounding the cable, (they congregate at about 60cm intervals), but they're the calmest ants I've ever seen.
Proof once more, as if it was needed, that television can turn anybody, or any ant, into a lazy couch potato.

Any sensible, or even amusing, explanation for their behaviour would be greatly appreciated.

Yun's aa fir enoo.

Monday, May 17, 2010

National Day

 The National Day, or Grunnlovsdag, is by far the biggest day in the Norwegian year.
It's yet another day for flying the flag, and yet again another day for washing the flag this year. The weather has been miserable, with the temperature struggling to reach 11C. But that doesn't seem to dampen the spirit of the day, especially for the children.
Many folk turn out in their national dress, which I, as a Shetlander find absolutely fascinating. I mean, think about it, what is Shetland's national dress? Wellie boots, flat caps, and dungarees.

Norway takes great pride, and rightly so, in its national identity. I'm just proud to be able to live amongst such a great people, and be accepted by them, even if I may never get the hang of the local language.

The Vestnes Kommune consists of several villages; Skorgen, Vikebukt, Fiksdal, Daugstad, Tresfjord, Tomrefjord, Øverås/Nerås, Rekdal, and Helland, where I live, each of which have their celebration on 17th May.
I took a little video of the parade across the Old Helland Bridge. Pity the weather was so dull, but it's nice to see the costumes, and even nicer to see the way that people of so many different nationalities, are so easily integrated into what is a very Norwegian day


We had another influx of Swallows this weekend, and God, these guys are hard to catch with a camera, especially given the time delay on some digital cameras. But, after a long time spent snapping, I eventually got this image.
These guys really are the 'Spitfire' of the bird world. Even the shape of their wings confirm that nickname.
That was one shot from about 80 attempts.
I'm glad it wasn't on  film, the processing cost would have been horrendous.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Big Bird?

Well that's the nickname I've given to this flower.
'She who likes flowers' said that she just had to buy this one because "It looked at her".

Now, I'm trying to remember who wrote 'The Day of The Triffids'


Friday, May 14, 2010

RIP Tommy Watt

Tommy Watt, curator of the Shetland Museum, has passed on.

A gentle, kind, and decent man, who will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

My thoughts are with his nearest and dearest at this sad time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bird Stupidity, Shalder Style

Shalder is the Shetland name for the Oyster Catcher. It's Norwegian name is Tjeld. (It's difficult to explain how the Norwegian name is pronounced, but it sounds a bit like "Tchell", which is likely the root of the Shetland name.)
But in any language, it has to be the stupidest bird that ever flapped a wing... Although maybe that's not true, because I haven't got round to a post I meant to do about the Magpie yet.

Anyway, here's Sammy the Shalder, just over a week ago, sitting on a digger bucket, at the building site next door to us.
As I said in my last post, the weather here changes quickly. So 9 days on, here he/she is again, sitting in the middle of the building site.
Now, why would a bird be sitting in the middle of a building site? Simple.
Now if that ain't stupid, what is?

Yun's aa fir enoo.

Summer has arrived

On Tuesday morning I was contemplating thermal underwear because it was below freezing when I went to work. But, typical of Norway, things can change very fast, and today we were bathing in the glory of +20C.
This, of course, could mean only one thing, since I had a day off. Hard Work...
But before I did anything I sat down on a chair before the door, and had a look at the smaller things in life. Yes, more macro photography.
Damned ants are everywhere.

First job of the day was to move our satellite dish on to the new ground mount I had made. And although the mount is heavy and weighed down by about 150KG of concrete slabs, I know that it would never be able to stand up to a Shetland gale, but it'll do nicely here since there's never any wind, unless I've been eating beans.

But after this I had to set my sights a bit higher. And 'she who also carries a camera everywhere' took the 'bum shot' for today. Me up a ladder trying to clear the downpipe from the guttering.
While I was up there, and since I always have a camera on my belt, I got this nice view over the marina.
And an aerial view of our current gardening project, including my newly relocated dish.
Then we headed off to the garden centre near Tresfjord to buy some plants. The view east across the fjord from there is rather nice.
And here's the view north towards Molde. In the middle of the picture is Skorgenes, and to the right Vikebukt.
So, home with a car load of plants, shrubs, bushes, and a dear little bronze deer which I bought as an early birthday present for my peerie Trowie. Damned thing weighed nearly 40kg, so like the satellite dish, I don't think it'll blow away in a hurry.
Some of these small shrubs which we're buying in pots have a tendency to grow rather quickly. And, as an example, here's a picture of one that was just a pot plant 15 years ago. It's about 12 feet high now.
Some of the plants we bought are the start of a rockery feature to fill in a dead corner in the garden. I sat back and enjoyed the sunshine whilst 'she who gardens' got busy.
After she'd finished, this was the result.
Some of the small flowers, which I thought looked like sea anemones, and which I haven't a clue what they are, have an unusual historical use here. Because these plants have a lot of water in them, they used to be planted around the chimneys of grass roofed houses here to reduce the risk of fire from stray sparks from the chimney.

Anyway, that's all for this post, although I have another post about the stupidity of a local Shalder (Oyster Catcher)