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.
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.
“I’m going to mark its end, because somebody has to. I’m also going to speak well of the place too for the same reason.” – Adwick Style
I cannot tell you how strange it feels. Yesterday I received photographs from Saturday’s tour of Adwick School, and today I was sent more from a former pupil of the even older Percy Jackson Grammar School. As I meditated upon the beauty of the Polar Night here, I tried to take in these wistful reminders of my childhood whilst juxtaposing the thought that EXACTLY thirty-three years ago, I was starting my very first day there.
In fact this is more than juxtaposition in time. I’m now over here in Norway, and these events – both then and now – are way over the sea in England. Nevertheless I also feel a strange satisfaction in doing what I am. I have read many a spiteful comment about Adwick this last year, and feel that someone ought to point out that whatever its difficulties at its end, it was once highly respected. Someone has got to cover its end in a fitting way.
So my blog and I are like a kind of satellite, now with very little connection to the land that originally launched it, orbiting above and separated by a huge distance – yet transmitting a message that more should broadcast terrestrially. Fortunately I know that I am not entirely alone, though. After all none of the pictures I have of Adwick School these last days were taken by me! It may be ironic that a blog based in Norway has taken on this task (for that no one else has done so), but it is fitting that that very irony demonstrates the once great name our school once had.
Indeed there are former pupils living all over the world. One should also include those who went to the Percy Jackson Grammar School that preceded Adwick School. These people have been very active with reunions, and are a truly international bunch. We have perhaps differing views about the demolition of our former school, and the rebuild; but we are nevertheless united by our respect for where we grew up. Whatever our personal views, we do not rejoice at our school’s demise.
What has saddened me in the last year, then, has been to hear what I can only describe as contempt, on the part of certain people who still live in the vicinity, for what is and always will be a part of their own history. It saddens me that for these, it is also incredible that anyone should wish to mark the end…. yet in truth, they have never appreciated the worth of what now is lost.
I would rather not end this on a negative note. Therefore let me leave my point concerning those who have come with harsh words with the following observation. With the exception of one person whom I know personally, and who had a very difficult time at school, most of the comments I have read – on Facebook and similar sites on the Internet – come from relatively younger people. We are all aware of the problems the school faced in its final decade, before ceasing to be Adwick School. Yet let not that generation speak for mine!
So now we enter the very last days for what was our school, what was our childhood, and indeed what we for some time have been mentally preparing ourselves for. Seeing the photographs my friends have sent – I shall publish more (I already have permission for most of them) – I nevertheless can see that our old lady has become tired. The buildings, especially the old senior wing further down from the Percy Jackson building photographed here, show their age; and a certain melancholy pervades all the pictures I have seen.
Thank you everybody who has sent pictures to me. I wish especially to thank Janet Roberts for this wonderful group photograph. I have taken the liberty of posting it, but naturally I shall withdraw it if you would rather I do so. Adwick, there are many who have not forgotten thee!
This is where I now am! Thirty-three years ago to this day, Monday 10th December 1979, I was beginning my very first day at the now condemned buildings of (what used to be) Adwick School. After our concert at Lødingen Vestbygd this evening, I shall be writing more about that anniversary. This is the daily photograph from the Arctic North for 10th December.
Of course Adwick School was firmly on my mind today. My friends from school would be paying their last respects, and just as their tour of the condemned buildings began I took myself out on to the beach at Vestbygd.
A year ago, I had photographed brilliant colours coming to this place. This year there was so much cloud that black and white had to do. Perhaps the weather only reflected the sombreness of the occasion in England. Norwegian Time is one hour ahead of English time, so this picture was taken while the tour of my school was going on.
It is an odd thing that – of all the places – I should end up back here. Vestbygd School, which is itself threatened with demolition, is the one school in Norway with a connection to Adwick School. Back in 1997, when I worked in this municipality before, I had travelled to Adwick School with two of the pupils from Vestbygd. They had enrolled half a day there, and one of them even used my old school tie!
The darkness is upon us. The Polar Night has come.
Tomorrow is the big day. My friends from school go back to school – or back to that shell where once its spirit lived.
Today was cloudy. I was unable to take the pictures that I got a day ago, and which I know so many return here to see. So I shall publish one below from Wednesday. Today it was mostly grey all the time. Since it does not start to get “light” (everything is relative here) until about half past nine in the morning, a sense of gloom has pervaded the entire day.
Strangely enough, this is not unlike Friday 7th December 1979, apart from the obvious enormous difference in the hours of “daylight” (once again everything is relative). That was also a grey day if memory serves me right. My parents insisted that I go into my old school, Don Valley High School, to return some books. I had also to be “de-registered” there before starting Monday at Adwick. It was something I wasn’t too happy about, but in those days I had not any choice in the matter.
So just as tomorrow is a day when my thoughts will be on Adwick School, so too the immediate days before Monday 10th December 1979. I can remember them as if they were yesterday! How time has flown by, and how we have all aged!
However, enough of my musing…. since it was so grey today, as you can see in the photograph above, below is a picture that I did not show on Wednesday. They say that smells bring back memories. I think the views of nature we have are rather conducive to doing the same, if only because they dispose one to contemplation.
Lødingen Church in the Polar Night
This is the daily picture for Thursday 29th November!
We have started the Polar Night. You might think that’s all dark and depressing. You couldn’t be further from the truth.
As we near the Solstice – which curiously enough coincides with the disuse of Adwick School, one of the top stories in this blog – it will of course continue getting a little darker. However, it is never completely dark, and every day is different.
This was the view I got treated to this morning. It’s taken from my veranda.