Archived Post from Old Blog
Norwegians insist on watching this “Dinner for One” sketch on the 23rd December every single year. However, they are not alone: I have German and Dutch friends who inform me that the same sketch appears regularly on their TV stations as well. If you actually do feel the overwhelming desire to watch this, press the play button above. I shan’t be joining you..
Such is the power of tradition that we do the most illogical things. Woe betide anyone who doth not understand this. I shall never forget the year I chose not only not to have the Norwegian hymn “Deilig er jorden” (“Lovely is the Earth”) when I planned a Christmas service, but not to place it in its obligatory place at the very end. No variation is possible, for this hath been handed down even from Jesus’ time…. That foolish mistake was back in 1995, and since I have come back to the same parish I can tell you that it was never forgotten! Needless to say, I have never repeated it either.
It is easy to scoff at the unreasonableness of such a thing. Yet I have only to consider the way in which Mark Damazer, the newly appointed controller of BBC Radio 4 got rid of a certain long standing tradition in 2006 before I too start feeling “hot under the collar”…
As you know, I grew up in the United Kingdom, and through my childhood (and more importantly in þe goode olde dayes of Adwick!) I would listen to the opening of that station. All through my formative years Radio 4 would open up with Fritz Speigl’s “UK Theme”. Indeed, on Sunday mornings I would wake up extra early at six o’clock to hear this before cycling off to Woodlands All Saints’. This was in those halcyon days of Adwick School, when the service used to be at nine o’clock. I could have laid in for at least an hour too, but such is the power of tradition. Every time I now find myself dragged out of bed at some God forsaken hour of the morning to play for a school service before Christmas, I think about what I put my poor mother and father through then. There is justice in the world….
I was not the only one to like this tradition. When Mark Damazer decided to end opening the station with this theme every day, he quite rightly incurred the wrath of the public. It went all the way to parliament. Sadly, however, it wasn’t enough to save it. Although he has now left the radio station, the “UK Theme” is now history. I shall never forgive him. In my opinion, the only reason it had to go was so that Mr Damazer could prove that he was the man in charge.
So I have to be careful about condemning others for traditions. Indeed I have them myself. Every year, on Boxing Day, I take a glass of port wine. This is now my very special way of remembering my parents. The only times I have not done this have been when my job required me to drive on Boxing Day (in which case I took this traditional glass the day after). The reason I do this also cometh from þe ancient dayes of Advicium.
Here beginneth the story that my dear mother was so fond of that she spoke of it till her dying day. Unlike here in Norway, where there often seems to be a taboo about alcohol, I was brought up with the idea of wine every Sunday dinner. My father made it himself, with varying results (although in the end, I have to say he became quite adept at the art). My parents believed that it were better to introduce children to alcohol at an early age, so they would know how to use and enjoy it properly. They believed that denying it until it were suddenly “legal” was the reason that many young people then went completely mad, and got drunk on it. So from about ten, I was allowed a very little drop of wine when we had our Sunday lunches.
When I was about fourteen (I cannot actually swear that I were either fourteen or thirteen, but it was one of those years, and if the later these events took place in þe olden time of Adwick School, which maketh it far better), my parents decided that I could try some port wine on Boxing Day that year. I was told that I had to sip it, and not to drink it like pop. Needless to say…. that I did what I was told not to do, and then had to spend about three hours on the sofa because I was so dizzy! My silly behaviour was later the subject of much mirth, and my mother would relate this story from year to year thereafter.
I should perhaps state that I was not drunk, and neither have I ever been drunk (not then, nor later in my life). The amount of alcohol I was allowed was not very large. Neither did the experience scare me off port. Some years later, when Adwick went into decline (during my years at the former Polytechnic of Huddersfield, I should lament seeing the slovenly condition of our once proud uniform when returning home on visits) a certain nostalgia for those bygone times spawned this my own very special tradition. Later, when my father passed away in 2001, this became my way of remembering not just childhood – but the family I no longer have.
That then is the reason that every boxing day, I take a glass of port. Ideally, I like to watch something entertaining on the TV, but these days that is becoming increasingly unlikely with the ever greater amount of garbage one sees there. Nevertheless, I do now sip my port, and I toast to my mother and father each time I sit back to enjoy it every Boxing Day!
For those who can read Norwegian, I wrote about my tradition last year on the Sister Blog. You can find that post at http://www.cqd.nu/blog/2012/12/17/ebeneezer-scrooge-kom-du-attende-alt-er-tigjeve/
Some photographs capture something “more”. On the face of it, this is but a picture of some trees. For us who went there, however, it is the grave of Adwick School. Here stood our senior wing.
There is a wistfull atmosphere. Black and white amplifies this. That maybe entirely subjective, but I am not the only one to pick up on it. There is something “more” to this picture than meets the eye.
Trying to define this something “more” is like chasing a rainbow. The moment you approach it, it moves further away from you. Yet I am not speaking of associations that only we who came here can know about; there is something more, that makes even those who didn’t, to describe it as “haunting”.
For me (qualifying therefore what I write precisely with feedback on my earlier post both from people who did know what used be here and those who have absolutely no personal association with the place) this is both unsettling and very beautiful all at the same time. “Haunting” would therefore be a fitting description.
I have recently received some pictures not only of what used to be here (and off camera in the likewise demolished main building further up to the right), but from our world and time that long have passed. Unfortunately I cannot post these, because they are not for further publication. However, I can tell you they are no less poignant.
Most of these pictures are in black and white. Yet that seems to highlight any associations one actually might have. I do not even notice the absense of colour: that something “more” seems to allow my brain to “see” what is not there!
I find myself transported backwards in time. Once our uniform was very smart and characteristic. Before its lamentable decline in the nineties it was very strictly enforced. As I see my uniform thus again, it is as though I am standing there among those pictured. It is so incredibly “virtual” an experience – to use a modern expression. Yet again the black and white picture but re-enforces this experience!
I am utterly captivated by the photography. This was the world I knew! Yet I cannot bear it too long. That something “more” is unsettling as well. It is a world that has forever gone.
With respect to the hauntingly beautiful, yet eerie picture shown above, we are looking at a graveyard. What now is but some trees and grass, was once our childhood world alas!
I really had other things to do this last month than redesigning the logo for my twin blogs and avatar for Facebook and Twitter. However such is the silly world we live in – and copyright – that I was given little choice.
Firstly a word about the logo however. Before it was suspended at the end of October (for the aforementioned copyright considerations) some people threatened to report me to Facebook and the authorities on the completely idiotic assumption that it were a modified swastika! Nothing could be further from the truth. However in order to avoid (I hope) this situation in the future, this post tells you exactly what the logo is and how it has been derived.
My logo’s most important symbol is the historic raven symbol of the Vikings. It is this element there has been some question about the copyright. My original logo used a drawing taken from the Wiki Commons, which is a repository of images and media that are in the public domain. That drawing was subsequently withdrawn, after it transpired that it was probably taken from someone selling Viking flags in the USA (and consequently copyrighted as a derivative work). Either way, I decided to withdraw my own logo to be on the safe side.
The raven itself however is a thousand years old, and there exists a picture of it on a coin in the Wiki Commons. This picture is in the public domain. My new Viking symbol was traced on transparent paper from a print I made of it. Once I had drawn what was on the coin, I then scanned the image and superimposed it upon my logo’s other elements. As one further precaution to avoid confusion with anybody else’s product, I also reversed the direction of the bird’s flight. Consequently both it, and the resulting symbol I use it on, are my own derivative work.
The raven represents my new life here in this country of Norway, and can be understood in the context of this blog’s title “Yorkshire Viking Norway” a Yorkshire Lad Turned Norwegian. The other elements upon which it is superimposed are a Greek cross representing Christianity (my faith), and the defunct logo of the former Adwick School.
Both the logo and the twin blogs I use it upon maintain the strict colour code of the historic, now disused school uniform it has adapted. The school logo and the raven are black, while the Greek cross is green. White is given in the background they are drawn on, and this is additionally identical to the background of the old school badge.
That, then, is the origin of the symbol. It has nothing to do with any neo-nazi connections, and as far as I can now see is 100% legitimate according to copyright laws. If, however anyone still has objections, they may contact me by using the contact form on this website. Simply go to the “Lobby” at the top of the page, and follow the link from there.
I’m very glad and relieved when Arctic Organist laments the inclement weather. Not only is it true, but apart from enriching your experience as my blog reader (Jon really does take some lovely shots: I can only recommend you visit his page), quoting him gives ones own excuse credibility!
The fact is that we have had many a day you would not have thanked me for taking a picture. Not only are we in the Polar Night – and we actually are now even if our neck of the woods were completely flat – most of the last two weeks have been miserable and overcast. We have had everything from snow, sleet, rain, hail, gale force winds, cloud and everything nature can throw at you pretty much. When you consider that if it is cloudy, it is actually dark at midday now, that vastly reduces your photography options.
Otherwise, I am going to try starting on the logo. As many of you know, I was forced to remove the logo just over a month ago when Wiki Commons likewise was forced to remove one of the elements that make it up. It had been lying there “in the public domain”. Unfortunately someone disputed that, and for copyright reasons Wiki Commons removed its viking raven and I took down my blog logo.
I wish to assure you that I have not abandoned the logo. I am sticking with it. I do have a photograph, in the public domain, of the raven in question. I must now draw this by hand, and superimpose that drawing on the symbol’s other two elements. When that is done I should theoretically have a derivative work belonging to me alone. The problem has been getting the time to do this. I promise I shall try harder to find some!
After all, tomorrow is my December “day off”. And Jon Blamire is right about those temperatures – it’s a bit too nippy outside for anything else….
Where I live the sun is no longer visible. Due to geography, my home is already in the Polar Night. Nevertheless, the sun is still visible in other parts of Lødingen.
My colleague in Finnsnes has a countdown to the start of the Polar Night on his competing blog. It should be noted, however, as I have previously pointed out, that these dates are often academic. In Lødingen the Polar Night should not begin until the 6th December…. but of course, the earth isn’t flat, and just like the place I live in Lødingen loses all sunlight the last week of November.
Readers wanting the daily photograph have been disappointed the last two days. That is because of inclement weather conditions. There really was nothing worth photographing.
However, today has been much better, and a daily photograph will be published later this evening.
Daily photos are for members only, although you can see all of last year’s daily photographs without logging in – so in practice everybody is able to view those.
The daily photo can be found by going to the menu at the top of the page.
As the Polar Night draws ever nearer, we have now come to the point where the sunset is in the middle of the day! Where I live we are – to all intents and purposes – already in the Polar Night. Although the sun is still there, as you can see from this photograph, you have to get on top of the mountain to see it.
Our church is still lit by the sun midday, but even from here you will see that there is a difference between the maths of when the Polar Night begins and when it does in practice – if you look towards the sunset on this picture you will see the mountains on the other side of the fjord. These will in practice hide the sunshine from all of Lødingen from the end of November. That makes the maths that say the Polar Night starts on the 6th December academic.
The picture was taken at five to one this afternoon. The Polar Night has almost come!
This picture is the first “real” one in our series Daily Pictures. It was taken at midday November 8th. So it is the “freshest” Daily picture yet.
We are now very near the start of the Polar Night. Although the sun is still above the horizon in the middle of the day, there is a distinctive gloom; the light is much weaker now, and one feels like it is evening even though it is lunchtime. Depending on where you are, the sun will soon be disappearing…
Jon Blamire, my colleague further North will lose the sun in the last week of November, or at least he would if there were no mountains. In reality, he will be in the Polar Night after the 14th November next week! I’m a little better off because Lødingen doesn’t actually enter the Polar Night until the 6th December, although for the same reasons we won’t see the sun after the last week of November.
A curious thing about this time of year is the wildlife. There are seagulls everywhere! It seems as though they are taking a final physical exercise before the dark time ahead.
At last! By very popular demand, and just for our loyal members…. the pictures from this part of the world, as we go into the darkest time of the year. The Daily Picture is back. What’s more, it’s all in a beautiful colour supplement. You can find it by going to the menu at the top of the page.
Yes, we’re sorry – we are two days late. We’ve been struggling with some copyright issues.
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