In Norway Today ...

I love the amusing things I'm finding here in Stavanger, Norway.  The big red supply ship, with the huge mouth and sharp teeth painted on the bow, parked in the harbour below.  The hairdresser's sign in the photograph at the end of this post.  And the graffiti ...the graffiti here needs a whole  its own post.  It's divine.

And Norwegians speak the most beautiful English.  Ylvis prepared me for the English but oh... it is everywhere in this country I've not known until now.  The interview I'm linking to, switches to English at about 1 minute but these guys were my very first introduction to Norway.

Today though, we were in the most exqusite teahouse I've ever had the privilege of visiting.  Thank you to Selman, for his hospitality and kindess, and his truly good tea.

Rebecca and Karoline were such a pleasure to spend time wandering with, and I'm loving the light and the photography too.

It's like that.

The Jandal of Joy ...

When I changed my jandals for something more sturdy the plump and middle- aged dog was seized with a puppyish urge. He pounced on a jandal, ran to the lawn with it, tossed it high, pounced again as it landed and shook it to death like a rat. Then he looked at me with both ears cocked and the jandal pinned and I had to smile at his joy. Don't let anyone tell you that beasts don't feel.

Indeed, as I tied my shoe I asked myself when I was last as happy as the dog was now. And the answer was Wednesday.

Joe Bennett, extract from, Happy as a Dog.

This captures something of what my New Zealand life was like sometimes.  Although I only fished off the wharf and out of a lake.  No fly-fishing.  But it was possible to live so much closer to Nature than it is here in Antwerp.  And lately I've found myself attempting to weigh up what means more to me ... the proximity of Genova, Paris, and the rest of Europe, or quiet moments spent wandering on an empty beach with my dog.

I loved the morning hours back then ... dog-walking, or dreaming over breakfast coffee taken on the steps of some house I was living in.  I lived in so many houses between 1985 and 2004.  And all over the South Island of Home.  Each place I lived would be added to my list of places colonised by my soul.  Mosgiel, Dunedin, Cromwell, Blenheim and Te Anau, before circling back to Dunedin.

I had one dog for most of the years of my first marriage.  She and I had so many places we loved.  She knew the joy of jandals although we were happiest with stones or sticks, a tennis ball, a lake, river or beach.  We needed so little to be joy-filled.

Joe Bennett's article set my soul singing a song of longing this morning.  I'm just in from zero celsius and horrific pollution.  Miss 9 and I headed out into it at 7.30am, mostly laughing our way across the city.  We're both very amusing ... we tell ourselves.  We shared Gert's big old woollen gloves.  She wore his left glove, I wore the right glove, we held hands with the hands left bare and were warm enough out there in the mist and the frost. 

She's wearing the cutest little bear hat these days, with long sides that hang down as pockets for her hands but more effectively, those long  bits can be worn as a scarf.  I hand it to her some mornings saying, what did the fox say?'  It's our signal to begin ... she says, 'It's a bear!!!'  but we can't help singing that bloody song.  'Bloody' as explained in this interview with the guys who created it (the language switches to English quite quickly, if you haven't viewed it already).

And here I am, still smiling over the long answerphone message I left for my baby brother over in Perth.  It's Kim's birthday today.  He's surprisingly old, not the 17 year old I still imagine him to be.  There was that surprise of time moving on when I picked up our Nana's ancient birthday book, looking for the year he was born.

I'm nursing a pollution-inspired ache in my head, putting off beginning the work I know I must do.  My Genovese friends are in Brussels today and I'm cooking them dinner tonight.  The skies have been clear since they landed, this morning's mist is already gone ... 10am.  They'll never believe me next time I'm in Genova, when I tell them I'm fleeing the grey grey skies of Antwerp.  They just haven't experienced those skies, and I'm torn between glad and compromised.  They leave on Monday.

But anyway, today's quest ... I would like a small jandal of joy moment like Joe's, like his dog too.  I looked through my this time last year photographs from New Zealand and found this one.  It was taken on a beautiful sun-rising morning while out wandering Cook's Beach in the Coromandel.

Some More On Writing, then veering off in Ylvis

19 days of blogging everyday ... sometimes more than once a day. 

And it's interesting, for me, to realise that the more I write the more I want to write.  Last Wednesday I took time out to photograph an event and that had its own rewards.  And then Saturday I took a little more time and interviewed a truly interesting woman

But always, I return to the writing.  And the book is growing.  And it's just as I had experienced, twice before, it feels something like a pregnancy.  I didn't finish the other two books, I didn't make time ... it was life then, the usual excuses I guess.  But with this book ... there is always some thing that is happening with it, some thing that excites me at least once a week.

Of course, there are all the other things too.  I guess they would be the equivalent of cramps too early in the pregnancy, gestational diabetes, elevated bp ... the highs and the lows of growing something you very much want in your life.

My cousin, Julie, the creature who so generously took me traveling with her back in October, has finally arrived in New Zealand.  She left her life in the Cayman Islands a few months ago, came to Italy via a lone roadtrip in the UK, then stayed with us in Belgium, and we did some more of Europe together, and she did Lisbon, and later traveled on to Greece and Malaysia and Australia alone ... but I know I have forgotten some of the 'everywhere' of her travels.

However at some point I realised she had my October interviews, the three I had worked on in Genova.  She had bought a voice recorder there, saying she needed one ...  but really it was so I could borrow it because mine was back in Acqui Terme.  She's like that, one of the kindest people I know.  And so I had a series of delightful interviews recorded on it.  It was a crazy-busy time and somehow I never downloaded them because there was always tomorrow

Having finally arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand a couple of days ago, she was able to send them while I slept last night, despite another earthquake there.   And as I downloaded them, I realised how nervous I had been about it all.  The nausea slowly disappeared as I realised they were all there.  They're for the book too.

So it's like that these days.  The weekend was impossible, Monday was challenging.  Today ... today has started so well.  And I received an exquisite book in the mail.  Oh and last night, I was introduced to the most interesting Norwegian brothers.  Not really 'introduced' actually.  But they call themselves Ylvis.  I don't know which youtube to link too because you have to see them all ...

So ... probably everyone else knows about their song that went viral.  (They're mortified about it just by the way which I find hilarious.)  They explain some of it to Ellen Degeneres here.  The song they're talking of is here ... What Does The Fox Say.

But I think this is the best of their story found so far.  An interview they did on a Norwegian talkshow.  It begins in Norwegian but only the introduction.  Like so many Europeans they speak beautiful English.