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Dead Hyperlinks

All of this material you see on my blog archive has been moved from its original place. This means that whilst I have preserved the old blog, many of the links have been broken. In the course of time, these will be repaired. However, you will most likely be able to find articles that are linked by using the search function – since most of the broken links are internal links to Yorkshire Viking. So if you find, for example, that a link to the logo does not work, write “logo” in the search field. That may be a good temporary fix until the old links can be updated.

adwick

Soured Memories of Sweet Sixteen

This post is in response to a writing challenge on The Daily Post. You can see this here http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/only-sixteen. It also marks the first anniversary of Adwick School’s demolition. The post refers exclusively to Adwick School, and (save for the poetic reference to others taking the throne) not to the two institutions that subsequently succeeded it.

That last seat of childhood authority is no more. One year on, I still struggle believing it! That our prestigious institution could so unceremoniously fall to the dust beggars belief.

Sweet Sixteen - in school uniform

Sweet Sixteen – in school uniform

For in truth our Emerald Queen was gone long before her ruined courts were razed. And I find that so hard to comprehend. What in my day was revered if though in dread, these days is scarcely remembered save in contempt. Therefore though those buildings be but newly gone, our world therein is much that longer lost.

While these ruins of our youth remained, they were defamed by those that came after us. A generation that had not seen the glories of our day, remembered them for other things. I too saw her slow decline, I watched her uniform in decay, and I heard of the infamy of her latter day. I still sighed when others took her throne. It was over then, not years later when the buildings went.

Ruins of Adwick School

My childhood world in ruins. Photo: Gerald Sables.

Those that scorn the memory of the Emerald Queen could not have known how once it was, and verily I remember her latter crew. They wore the uniform but as they did please; we were never once given the choice! Yet for all that we rebelled, secretly we admired the place – that final seat of absolute authority over the devices and desires of our own hearts! This is the greatest difference between us and them, and now and then!

That it should have ended the way it did feels so unreal. In my day the uniform was not for negotiation, and whatever I said I loved its distinctive colours of green, and white, and black. I said otherwise when I was a pubescent sixteen year old. Like my protestations against wearing a uniform, I celebrated my (so-called) independence the day I finally left – in both cases an attempt to assert myself in the adult world I entered, yet neither were seriously really meant.

Then came those after us, and they did mean those things they said. Among them those that said they would willingly press the button, that day our school came down. Then my foolish words came back to haunt me. The Emerald Queen was dead.

The Emerald Queen is my poetic name for our demolished school

The Emerald Queen

Alas thou mine emerald queen, whose royal robes were black, and white and green – whose Courts of great austerity were in those fields between, and wast of all with reverence seen, of whomsoever thine had been!

Alas! How thou art brought unto the ground, our palace ruined, thy name renowned! and nought is left of all we had: all is gone and where is found, that love, and fear, and awesome dread?

Alas, thou art gone, and thou art dead, despised of those who never knew thee then (nor us for whom thou wast our head)!

 

Propria & Tie to Germany

Thomanerchor

This year I am travelling to Leipzig to hear the Thomanerchor!

Newsflash! The Yorkshire Viking Norway is going to Germany!

Last year it was unfortunately not possible to carry out the planned holiday, announced in this blog. God willing that will be different this year. Yesterday I was able to buy one of the last tickets to the grand opening of the Bach Festival in Leipzig.

I’ll write a little more on the coming German Tour this weekend. In the meantime, I shall be changing my own rules a little.

With respect the propria and (school) tie, the propria were designed to spare the latter in order to keep it in good condition. The German Tour will however see both in use.

For a variety of personal reasons, it seems very fitting to me to use propria for this particular trip, and for those same it must therefore be even more so to use the real thing for the opening concert itself. Going to Germany is yet another irony in my life history, for those who remember me from my childhood. It is for that reason I mention this here. If you’re one of those, do get in touch!

More on this later. Watch this space.

The Sun Has Got His Hat On

Well, not quite. However, I couldn’t help but think of that jolly little tune. The end of our polar night is nigh.

Had Adwick, Doncaster been at this latitude when I was growing up, today would have been our first glimpse of the sun. Doncaster doesn’t have our mountains. Nevertheless, although we shall have to wait another two days before we see it ourselves, it was for the first time this year visible on the highest ground. On the horizon yonder a golden fire radiated around the distant peaks that at least for now kept us in the shade.

There is tangible collective optimism when the sun returns. Some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, and for these the polar night can be a long time. In many communities, like Finnsnes where our competing blog Arctic Organist gets written, they really go overboard with a celebration in the church to which most of the schools come along. Then again, being further North they have good reason: they won’t be able to see the sun for another two weeks!

My apologies for perfectionists like myself. Because I have been taking so many pictures in dark conditions, I had left the ISO-setting at 1600, meaning that the images are a little too grainy for my liking. Nevertheless, in accordance with the policy of this blog stating “Although we reserve the right to use colour photography, black and white shall be preferred…” this is one of the occasions, then, when colour gets to be used.

We shall be getting a new employee in our church here in Lødingen in just over a week. He’ll be living in the apartment immediately over mine. Coming from Örebro in Sweden, he is going to experience huge changes even though he has missed the polar night. When he arrives, the day will only be a few hours long; by the middle of April, the last traces of night will be disappearing! The polar night has of course its counterpart: in the Summer from mid-May to mid July, the sun never goes down, and there really is no night from the last week of April to the first in August.

If anyone wants to experience the midnight sun then the best time to do so is the month of June. If you come in July, it is true that we have it until the middle of the month; but because things change so quickly here, one notices that the shadows are already getting longer with every passing day. If you really want to know what 24 daylight is like, my recommendation is the first two weeks of June. Then not only is the sun out 24 hours a day (if it’s not cloudy or rainy of course) – but it is still getting higher in the sky.

I shall publish some links to places you can stay in Lødingen later on. Right now, it’s bitterly cold. You wouldn’t really want to be here!

Þe Olde School Tie Tradition

I have now placed my school tie back into its draw, most likely for another year. However, here is a tongue-in-cheek account of my tradition. I don’t want anyone thinking this is some modern nostalgia! Therefore, lest you should think it…. the whole (more serious) point of this, is that the tradition has not just occurred now that I have become Norwegian, but has been constantly in use since (at least) 1988.

It hath long been my custom (as I bare witness herein in mine aforementioned posts) to take up the colours of our school at Adwick in Doncaster, whensoever certain occasions have presented themselves.

There is a problem with this picture on mobile devices.

One of the earliest uses in Norway. Christmas Eve. Kvenvær Church, Hitra 1993

Which tradition hath furthermore continued long after those hallowed buildings ever were occupied by an alien entity, and verily now after they in these latter days have been destroyéd by the same. And whereas (and lest) the minds of some slanderous folks should perchance question my motivation, that peradventure this be a mere vain invention of more recent times, it hath pleased me to go diligently unto mine archives for to prove what long standing my said tradition most surely hath.

1993

Christmas Eve – Kvenvær, Hitra 1993

Wherefore doe I present unto you this photographic evidence, taken in sundry years, that ye now may know the certainty thereof, and that this same childhood relic continueth in use whensoever it be meet and right for it to do…

1993

Christmas Eve – Fillan, Hitra 1993

And whereas the custom of this blog doth but permit the same school colours, and whereas these pictures are therefore published unto you in monochrome (save for any portrayals of this relic which by very nature thereof are herein permitted), thou mayest click upon each same to show it in original colour! Thou shouldest click upon the resultant picture once more if this breaketh the confines of thy computer screen forasmuch as the majority of browsers will then adjust it for thee! 🙂

Resignation

My resignation from Hitra. 4th July 1994

And from these mine earliest times in Norway, I did take away my facial hair in 1994… pictured showing my resignation from my position on the island of Hitra. Ye that truly and earnestly make examination of the above picture shall be able to make out my first logo, that preceded that ye now see above my work, which I used from the year of Our Lord 1990 – until 2012.

1993

Waiting for the Newspaper outside Fillan Church (4th July 1994)

Thus I stood that same day outside Fillan Church, forasmuh as the tidings of my departure had reached unto the local scribes who publish the tidings of that island, and there did wait upon them for that they wished to speak with me…

Nordbotn

My last service at Nordbotn, Hitra – October 1994

And so it was that in October 1994 I played for my last service in Nordbotn Chapel, on the island of Fjeldværøya, and there did give a farewell concert unto the residents thereof. Afterwards they presented unto me their tributes, with flowers and good wishes.

1994

Home at Fillan (Hitra), before leaving for Lødingen in 1994

And thus I departed those parts, and came hither, unto this Arctic abode of Lødingen. Now in those days there was a military fort in these parts, and exceeding greater opportunities for employment.

blog3

Unknown occasion 1995. Music room Lødingen High School.

And thus I began my service in Lødingen – both as organist and music teacher. Ye see me here even in the classroom. As for the occasion that surely did merit this tie I now wot not. It suffice to say that I have only ever used the tie for special happenings, and this must therefore have been one of such.

1995

Music Tour 1994, pictured Orkanger

These were the first days I therefore platyed the organ in Lødingen, and at that time I should also travel to the nethermost parts of this great land to entertain others in concert…. So it was that, that same first Summer, I went on a tour in Trøndelag and in Møre and Romsdal. And it was from this time that the School Tie became a part of my concert routine. Before it had only been used at Yule.

1995

The concert at Rindal. Summer 1994.

The last of these concerts was at Rindal. Here I am pictured with the other musicians three. The tradition of the School Tie was therefore well established, ere ever our school had ceased to be…

Arna

2005 in Bergen, after Adwick School had ceased to exist.

Now I remember putting upon me this Tie in the year of Our Lord 2000, but two years later our old school was deposéd by a new.  And all that which we once knew – which by then had waned so greatly that I had foreseen the end as early as 2000 (and had written in that year a great chronicle concerning the decline thereof) was finally lost to history. Peradventure I failed to observe the Tie tradition in 2002, knowing our Rome was sacked. Yet ere the new Empire of Wakefield laid claim unto its land, I restored the traditions in memory of yore! Here ye see me before I left Bergen in 2005!

Now this is the account of my Tie tradition, for those that would say it be a modern invention now that I have joined the Viking tribes, and made myself as one of them. Forsooth I say the Tie tradition goeth long way back, even unto my time as a student at Huddersfield. Even from there did this begin! And not even the great Arctic Organist himself hath ought quite like unto Þe Olde School Tie Tradition of mine that hath so greatly influenced the making of my Yorkshire Viking Norway Blog!

The Same Procedure As Every Year…


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.

Other Traditions

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.

My Tradition

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.

Home

Every year I toast my mum and dad on Boxing Day.

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.

Port Wine

Port – My Boxing Day Tradition!

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/

 

School Graveyard

Senior Wing

A beautifully calm, yet hauntingly eerie picture of where my school once stood! Picture Janet Roberts

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!

 

Now Is Time

Vestbygd

Philosophical Reflections

 Truth is not afraid of shedding tears,
And those who will not lament past regrets,
Must face by far their greatest fears;
Laden so by many debts,
from youth misspent, and sins before,
These cry too late, and God implore,
Who now would not, and Him ignore,
So do not live but for this now:
As much your nature will allow,
Repent that wrong done in the past,
knowing they most surely lie,
deceive themselves who will not cry,
And lose in lies their lives at last.

 

Assessment Report

School gone

Where Adwick School used to be. This is where the old main building was, looking towards the demolished 6th form and music block (where the trees in the middle are). Photo: J. Roberts

Before my school was demolished, a full record of the building was made for posterity. That was a condition before the demolition might go ahead.

There are some inaccuracies in this report. I believe that it is wrong in citing 1999 as the creation of Doncaster North Technology College. According to my sources, the former Adwick School applied for status as a technology college in 2001, and although I am only inferring this from the fact that I know the conversion to have been made by September 2002 – I believe that Adwick School must have continued nominally at least until July 2002. I base that on the time needed to put in the new dress code.

Other errors have also been pointed out to me too. If you find some yourself, do let me know either by commenting on this post or else by contacting me using the “contact” option on this blog (go to the blog Lobby and you will find it there). An option for feedback on the school report is not currently there, but I shall have it added shortly. Do not be afraid to use the form, in the meantime, for this purpose.

You can find the assessment report online, and there is a permanent link to it on the archive menu here.

The Void

Senior Wing

This was where the senior wing of my school once stood. Photo J. Roberts

 

Today I was sent some pictures of where my school once stood. It is completely gone!

The photograph above was where our senior wing used to be. Here the buildings were in the worst condition. They were also very last to come down, and I have it on good authority that once they began to demolish the main building of this particular wing, it then collapsed of its own accord.

Today this is all that is left of our bustling school world. In the autumn of my life I am looking at the grave of my youth!

It is important to point out that even had the campaign to save our school’s main building succeeded (what in my time was the junior wing at the other end of the school complex), these buildings were too far gone to be saved. Nobody seriously had suggested saving them. Since we had differing opinions though about that campaign, I am glad that I have been sent this particular photograph. It has all the peacefulness of the graveyard it has become.

It is undoubtedly an improvement aesthetically – at least as long as the developers don’t now decide to build yet another housing estate upon it; but for those of us who grew up here it is an empty, aching void. The silence, to use the cliché, is deafening.

Alas O Emerald Queen!

This poem was written as the last bricks of my school were being levelled to the ground. Adwick School is here poetically referred to as “The Emerald Queen”.

Emerald Queen

Alas thou mine emerald queen, whose royal robes were black, and white and green – whose Courts of great austerity were in those fields between, and wast of all with reverence seen, of whomsoever thine had been!
Alas! How thou art brought unto the ground, our palace ruined, thy name renowned! and nought is left of all we had: all is gone and where is found, that love and fear and awesome dread?
Alas, thou art gone, and thou art dead, despised of those who never knew thee then (nor us for whom thou wast our head)!