Once again the Yorkshire Viking (Norway) blogger and Arctic Organist joined forces. This time it was at Finnsnes Church. We did so for a concert on Saturday 8th February.
The first time we co-operated was back in 2012. That was when Jon Blamire, aka Arctic Organist had just arrived in this land. I crossed over from my neck of the woods the scenic way, taking the ferry over from Andenes to meet him.
Jon’s blog had already had a profound effect on this one. Indeed had it not been for the arrival of Arctic Organist my English blog, then a separate publication, would have been discontinued; I had begun a Norwegian one the previous year, and had decided to concentrate on that. The (unexpected) competition from Lenvik caused me first to redesign the original blog, experiment with black and white, and finally “wed” it to the Norwegian one as its “twin”. The Yorkshire Viking Norway you read today is therefore largely due to Jon!
Then we came together again last August. This time Jon Blamire came to us in Lødingen. The idea was to raise money for our parish, and neither of us took any money for this other than reimbursing the petrol money. Then as this week we put on a concert for our parishioners.
This last weekend was therefore the continuation of that August concert. This time I should visit Finnsnes where Jon works. Once again we took absolutely no money for ourselves, and other than my petrol money all proceeds exclusively went to the parish.
So we put together a concert using both the impressive organ and the beautiful grand piano in Finnsnes Church. I started the concert with Haydn’s Piano Sonata in B Flat (HOB XVI:2), and then Jon performed a piece on the organ. He had put the program together such that the piano and organ provided as much variation as the different genres of music we had set up. However, Jon was to remark that he did have the disadvantage of having to change his shoes every time he went to or from the organ. In this respect, I have an advantage, since I have not used shoes for the organ for about twelve years.
Lenvik is very fortunate to have found the Blamire family. They produce music of a very high standard, and crucially are convicted of their Christian calling in their work there. I have no doubt at all that my own music making will ultimately prove to be adjusted and improved upon in a similar manner to my blog, as Jon keeps me “on my toes” (if you’ll pardon the pun for an organist who doesn’t use shoes anymore).
I was both delighted – and horrified – to find that he had a piece of technical wizardry that provides a recording of the concert. While the concert was an undiluted success, I was able to hear areas I need to pay more attention to, something I needless to say intend on doing.
For the concert, I wore THE tie. That has now become fast tradition. When we also worked together for the Sunday morning service, I replaced it with propria. That is because while I have made the green, white, and black something of my brand, the Adwick tie is irreplaceable: it is in use for concerts and the 24th December only. At a distance, the propria do the same thing on those lesser occasions that I want to do that same thing.
I am indebted to Jon and Sarah for their hospitality. They kindly suffered me for the three days I was over there, and in addition to providing me with a bed to sleep in treated me to a wonderful Sunday dinner before I drove back home to Lødingen. For the dessert we had Christmas pudding, which they had made themselves. This was in answer to my post at Christmas.
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!
Never let it be said that we don’t acknowledge when we’re beat. We’re beat.
We have (of course) the most beautiful blog and logo.… 😉 based on the smartest school uniform that ever used to exist 😉 a tradition to maintain the tie for special occasions, and well, we’re just the best…. 😉 and in none of this has our competing Arctic Organist the slightest chance of beating us… even though we admit he takes some darned good pictures of our local nature.
But this time we’re beat. He wins! He managed not only to get his wife to make him Þe olde CHRISTMAS PUDDING – but his wife even flames it as well!
He wins this one. We’re beat! His post can be found here http://arcticorganist.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/christmas-catch-up/
Yorkshire Viking Norway would like to congratulate you, Jon, and wish you a Happy New Year. We (that’s the pluralis maiestatis of course) look forward to more creative competition within the blogsphere in 2014.
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.
or Beat that Arctic Organist!
More details to follow!
My last post in this blog was about something that happened on St. George’s, the national day of England. Here in Norway, we have ours right now – on the 17th May.
Naturally the destruction of my school made this year a little special. Nevertheless, I remember comparing the two national days when I first came here over two decades ago. At that time my father was still alive. He too was very impressed, and in those days Norwegians were – if this be possible – even more “over the top” on the 17th May; there were more flag poles with flags than there were street lights in the cities, and absolutely everybody held a flag of some size in their hands.
My father told me that, although the Norwegians might rightly claim how unique their day is now, that the day actually reminded him of Empire Day. Apparently there were children’s parades in England too at one time. A long shot from today, where some councils forbid the flying of the St. George flag!
However, here in Norway, the day is as special as ever. I myself make it an occasion to be thankful for my citizenship, and to remember those who for whatever reason have not been allowed to remain in this country. I am extremely fortunate to have landed where I did in life. The 17th May is, for me, an important day on which to remember this.
Norway has not one, but three national anthems. There is the one most people think of Ja vi elsker dette landet (Yes we love this country), which also is the usual one…. but there is also the royal anthem, which is identical to the British one. Lastly, there is the national hymn, Gud signe vårt dyre fedreland. That in my opinion, really is something… and is based on the biblical psalm 127 “Except the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain“.
Jon Blamire has often written some very interesting, and thought provoking reflections about what his experiences here in Norway mean for him – often from a biblical perspective. I value reading them. However, on a day like the 17th May, perhaps I shall stop and pause to reflect that the builders of this country (alas, times have changed, and the church no longer has the sort of influence it did back then) founded their new country firmly on their Christian Faith. Although the national hymn is used much less now, for me it has one of the profoundest texts of all.
The hymn is, as said, based on Psalm 127. One verse in particular is almost directly lifted from it.
Vil Gud ikkje vera Bygningsmann, (If God will not be the builder)
Me faafengt paa Huset byggja. (we build the house in vain)
Vil Gud ikkje verja By og Land, (If God will not guard [our] cities and land)
Kann Vaktmann oss ikkje tryggja. (the guard cannot protect us)
So vakta oss, Gud, so me kann bu (So guard us, God, that we may live)
I Heimen med Fred og Hyggja! (at home in peace and comfort!)
Happy Constitution Day!
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.
Lødingen Church in the Polar Night