Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Twartree Peerie Verses

That of course is Shetland Dialect for, "A few small verses".

I've always had a rather irritating habit of trying to express myself in verse. Most times I fail completely, and all too often, unless it's read by a Shetlander, it might as well be written in morse code. Especially since grammar, in any language, never was my strong point.

Rather than annoy anybody reading this blog, with things which they might not be able to read, (as if that might be different drom the blurb I normally post), I've created a seperate blog called "A Twartree Peerie Verses".
You can check it out at this link.
A Twartree Peerie Verses"

I have loads of silly little poems, etc., which I'll add as and when I find time.  And anybody who knows me doesn't have to worry, I'll leave out the  X certificate ones.

I've added one tonight as a starter.
If you like it, look back again. And if you don't like it, you have very good taste. ;)

Yun's aa fir enoo.

A morning picture

Sometimes I get bored with seeing flat calm water all the time, and sometimes the morning scene just begs for a caption.
Yun's aa fir enoo.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Uræd, the first covered lifeboat.

Proudly displayed in Ålesund is the "Uræd" (fearless), the first covered lifeboat. A strange egg shaped, 18 foot craft which 4 Norwegians sailed across the North Atlantic in the winter of 1904/5.
The story of this craft started in 1898 when the second mate of the steamer Athalia, Ole Brude, witnessed an accident with the launching of one of the ships lifeboats. The incident prompted the 22 year old to design an enclosed, steel hulled lifeboat when he returned to his home town of Ålesund.
In August 1904 with 2 other young seamen and a Norwegian captain called Thoresen the small craft set out from Ålesund. The only means of power was a single small sail.
Although they encountered bad weather, and at one point were completely turned over by a wave, they managed to reach Newfoundland 3 months later. After resting in St Johns they set off again for New York. Once again the weather became very rough and the boat started leaking. By 5th January the boat was leaking at the rate of 24 buckets per hour and they realised they couldn't make it to New York.
At this point a ship offered to take the men on board, but they refused to abandon their craft which had been their home for 5 months, and they instead headed for Gloucester, Massachusetts.
At 1150pm on the 6th of January 1905 the Uræd washed ashore on Pavillion Beach, Gloucester, after a journey which proved the life saving capabilities of this kind of craft.

With the success of the trip it would be easy to assume that there would be a demand for such a craft, but only 23 were ever produced. Even after the loss of the Titanic in 1912 the Brude Lifeboat Company failed to convince the White Star Line of the value of covered lifeboats.
It wasn't until 1977 that the Norwegian government made the use of covered lifeboats mandatory on larger vessels.
Now covered lifeboats are standard. But the obvious question remains. How many lives could have been saved over the years if Ole Brude's invention had been adopted all those years ago?

There's more about the voyage at this link.

I'll have to get back to some nice scenery posts I had planned, but this little bit of history was just too interesting to pass over when I dug out the picture whilst planning an Ålesund post.

Yun's aa fir enoo

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shetland Panoramas

I've been playing with panorama pictures again and uploading them to the Panoramio site.
The first one is taken from Fitful Head and shows a scan of about 160 degrees.
The second one is from the Ward of Bressay showing a scan of over 180 degrees.
I'll add the images here with the link to the Panoramio site below each one. Click on that link, then click on the picture, and click again to zoom.
Hope you like them.


Random images

I took this picture a couple of weeks ago and forgot about it. Our bush at it's best.
And here's another nice little macro shot. I just love these little guys.
The next picture is the end of 2 nausts (boat houses) with some lovely artwork instead of windows.
The last picture is something which has always amazed me since I moved here. In Shetland, everytime any roadworks are done the disturbed earth sprouts forth an endless sea of Dockens (Dock Weed), but in this area disturbed earth results in a sea of Lupins.
Yun's aa fir enoo.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Battle of Kringen

On our way back from Langesund recently we stopped in Otta to take pictures of the memorials to  "The Battle of Kringen", in 1612.
This is the old memorial.
And a new one which was unveiled in 1999.
The Scotsmen who were massacred in this battle had sailed from Lerwick on the 16th August 1612.
Here's the bit my Peerie Trowie wrote about it on the '1612' page on Shetlopedia :

Two Scottish troop ships left Lerwick harbour, bound for Romsdal, Norway, after staying two weeks in Shetland, training the soldiers and getting supplies. One of the ships carried one company, commanded by Colonel Alexander Ramsey, the other carried two companies, commanded by George Sinclair and George Hay. The troops were soldiers hired by the Sweedish king to help defend the castle Elfsborg in the war against the Danes. The plan was to march through Norway to Sweden, but their destiny became a tragedy.
On August 19th they arrived in the Romsdalsfjord, and hired a local farmer, Ivar Helland of Vestnes who were out fishing with his daugther, as pilot. He cheated them and led them to the wrong side of the fjord, they landed at Klungnes and had to march 20 kilometers through the woods before they could start up the valley. This made another farmer, Peder Klungnes, able to alert the local sheriff. The wards were lit and the farmers gathered their weapons and started following the Scots.
On August 26th, there was made a trap at Kringen, a narrow path in Gudbrandsdal, the Scots were surronded by the farmers and most of them killed. Only 18, among them Alexander Ramsey, were taken prisoners. They were sent to Copenhagen, and could later return to Scotland.
George Sinclair who was the first to be killed, was a direct descendant of the Sinclairs who were Earls of Orkney and Shetland in the 14th and 15th century.

And here's a link to another website about the battle. http://sinclair.quarterman.org/history/mid/battleofkringom.html

Onywye, yun's enough history.
But I think I'll have to pop into Shetlopedia and correct some of Trowie's typos in that article... LOL

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Panorama Pictures

Over the years I've taken what I consider to be some great panorama pictures, but there has always been the problem of showing that kind of image on a site like this.
Well, just maybe I've found the answer. A site which hosts panorama pictures in their full resolution.
The site is:  http://panoramia.com

As an experiment, here's an image I took recently:
And here's the link to the same image on panoramia:
Daugstadsetra Panorama
I'm just learning how to navigate the site, but as far as I understand all you have to do is click on the image, then click again to zoom, then pan from side to side.
I'd love to hear what anybody else thinks of this site, so feedback please. Assuming this works...

Yun's aa fir enoo.

EDIT.... That's one site which actually does 'what it says on the tin'. I was a bit skeptical until I'd tried it in a live post, but I was gobsmacked to see the same image online that I saw on my 'pooter screen. Yes, it may be a bit slow to load if you have a poor connection, such as BT, but it's worth the wait.
I have many lovely panoramas, especially of Shetland, which I haven't been able to share properly before.
But now I know how, look out. ;)

Ålesund Aquarium

I've been to this aquarium several times and enjoyed each visit. However I never realised just how good it was until I paid much more for entry to one in London, just to see tropical fish and a few sharks.

Ålesund have really cracked the aquarium experience by showing the fish which we all recognise, because we eat them. Next time I go there I'm taking my Piltock waand (Coalfish rod) with me.

Taking photographs in an aquarium is difficult, if nor damned near impossible, but here's a few to give an idea of what they have.
First is a tank of Herring (Norwegian name: Sild).
A Hailbut (Norwegian name: Kveite), a female one which has a name which I can't remember. She's well over 3 foot long.
The cod (Norwegian name: Torsk)
More Cod.
And a cod being closely observed by a Catfish/Wolf fish. I'm not quite sure which name is the common UK name, but it's known as both, and it's an evil sod at its business end, with fangs like a Saber Tooth Tiger. Shetland name: Steenbiter, (Norwegian name: Steinbit)
One of the large shallow tanks has an amazing number of Rays in it, which come to the surface to greet people, and they love to be petted. Kids just love that.
One of the craziest things I've seen there was this flat fish. I'm not well enough versed in flats to know which species this is, but what fascinated me was the way it did a dance, head above water, and sprouted water. It was a real showman.
Somehow the aquarium diversified a bit, possibly as a way to get rid of excess fish, and acquired a small colony of Penguins. They've  successfully hatched chicks this year, so must go for another visit soon.

As I said earlier, photographs in an aquarium just don't come out very good, so here's a tip. Use a video camera. And in the Ålesund aquarium the best time to use a video is when they feed the fish.

The darkest looking fish in there are adult Coalfish. Shetland name: Saithe (Norwegian name: Sei). Norwegians call all Coalfish 'Sei', although they do differentiate by size. Små (Small) Sei, Sei, and Stor (Large) Sei. This is one area of language where Shetland has Norway beaten completely. Sillock, Piltock, and Saithe sound far better. Just wish I had a plate of Sillocks for my supper now...

Yun's aa fir enoo.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A trip to the coast.

Although we live 20 metres from the sea, that's a fjord. So it's nice sometimes to get a view of the open sea. I suppose that's one of the things I miss about Shetland.
Anyway, when our visitors were here a couple of weeks ago we went for a run out to the coast at Haram, just north of Ålesund. It's only just over 40km as the crow flies, but by road the round trip comes to nearer 160km.

We went out through Tomrefjord, and I remembered this time to take a picture of the Solstrand yard where the Altaire was built.

Note the floating dock. There's actually 2 of them in Tomrefjord.

Here's a picture of a very common sight here.
This beautiful little holm lies in Vatnefjorden. Even little holms are covered with trees.
Along the side of every fjord there are always little boat houses like these, The Norwegian name is 'Naust', the root of the Shetland 'Noost'.
Cars may be expensive in Norway, but tyres are cheap, or so it would seem. The roads are always covered with marks like these, from silly little kids 'burning rubber'. Thankfully they no longer do it in residential areas, since the police had a bit of a crack down and removed licences from a few of the little brats.
I just liked this scene where the river enters Vatnefjorden at Vatne.
This scene is looking northeast across the mouth of Vatnefjorden, towards Mifjorden.
The next section of road, from Vatne out to the side of Mifjorden at Hellandshamn, was just a gravel road, but gravel roads here are nearly as good as the normal roads.
Another nice view in Mifjorden.
And another one from a bit further along the road. The first lump of land on the left of the fjord is Otrøy, and beyond that are the mountains just to the north of the town of Molde. Some maps call the fjord in this scene 'Moldefjorden', but just like maps produced by the OS in Britain, they're wrong. It's Mifjorden, end of story. ;)
At last we got to the coast at the west side of Haram. Several beautiful islands lie offshore there. This island is Haramsøya. To its right, north, there is a causeway and bridge which connects it to Flemsøya. I think that's one road I wouldn't like to drive with a force 10 northwesterly wind, it could be a bit rough.
This is Flemsøya, with the tip of Haramsøya jus visible to the left.
South of Haramsøya lies this island, Lepsøya. Shetlanders will have heard of this one before as it was where Betty Mouat drifted ashore in 1886 on the smack 'Columbine'.
All those islands are fairly heavily populated, and served by an excellent ferry service, as well as a hurtigbåt (fast boat) passenger only service.

Turning back inland from Haram we had a view of Ålesund, but nobody in the car bothered to take a picture.
But here's a nice picture in to Grytefjorden, which separates Haram from Ålesund.
On the way home we took the road through Skodje to look at the bridges.
The old one pictured here (well there's actually 2 bridges, this is the biggest one) was built between 1911 and 1919, with the road being opened in 1922 after they got a small tunnel dug to connect the bridges to the road, and was in use up until 2004. Restoration work is being done to the old bridges, so I'm sure they will continue to be an attraction for many years to come.
The bridge shown above, incidentally, is the largest stone bridge of its type in Scandanavia. For more info, check out this wiki link.
And here's a view of the new bridge, opened in July 2004, as seen from the old bridge. Note the current swirls in the water. I saw a guy trying to paddle a cone through there once, it was slow progress.
The tunnel which went along with the old bridges, and remember this was being used up until 2004, would be a bit tight for some vehicles these days. It even looks narrower when seen in relation to the two scenic landmarks in the foreground.
And with that bum shot. I is ducking for cover, very quickly...

Yun's aa fir enoo.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Willie Nelson 2K10 - Sad Songs & Waltzes Aint Sellin No More & Yesterday's Wine

Another couple of treats from Willie.
One line in the first song says, "It's a good thing that I'm not a star". Likely the most inaccurate line he's ever sung, since he's been a star for more than 5 decades.
The second song, is the title track of the Album "Yesterday's Wine", which is my favourite Willie Album. The songs in the album tell the story of life from birth to death. Willie wrote most of the material for the album in just a couple of days, but when it was released in 1971 it failed to get the attention that his later concept Albums, Phases & Stages (1974) and Red Headed Stranger (1975), got. But it was re-released in 1997 by Justice Records and immediately got the recognition it deserved as a classic work of songwriting.

Willie Nelson 2K10 - Always On My Mind

Just in case my Club Luck friends think I've run out of Willie material, here's another gem.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dalsnibba - Geiranger - Video

While digging through my videos, I found this clip which I recorded at the top of Dalsnibba.
360 degree view of some lovely mountains. Enjoy.

And for my American readers. Don't worry, there will be more Willie Nelson videos uploaded very soon. :)

Aerial Photos

On our recent flight back from Heathrow to Gardermoen I snapped a few nice pictures.
Heathrow airport.
The rest are over south Norway.
The first one is Kristiansand.
Next, just northeast from there is the small town of Lillesand.
Lillesand to the left, and Grimstad to the right.
Arendal to the right. The sea inlet to the town is Galtesund.
Arendal to the left, with the island of Tromøya in the foreground.
60 odd kilometres further northeast the town of Kragerø. The sea to the left is Kilsfjorden.
The next one is the town of Helle, at the west end of Hellefjorden.
30ish kilometres further is Friefjorden which has the town of Porsgrunn on its east shore.
Porsgrunn, where most of the porcelain products in Norway are produced. So anybody visiting Norway is sure to make use of something made in this town.
This picture was just unusual as you can see where the river which runs down to Larvik has bypassed a large twist in its course sometime in the past.
This bay is called Sandebukta with the village of Sande to the north.
The valley north of Sande.
Inner Oslofjorden, looking towards Sandvika at the west side of Oslo.
Oslo harbour in the centre
Oslo. You can see the royal palace surrounded by a bit of green, to the left of top centre.
Railway lines.
North side of the town.
The next 3 pictures are just nice countryside shots.

Yun's aa fir enoo.