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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.

jon blamire

Arctic Organists Unite


Me, the Yorkshire Viking – ready for our concert

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.


Jon changes his shoes while his wife waits!

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).

Me opening

Opening the concert with Haydn’s Piano Sonata in B Flat


Bowing to the audience after the concert.

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.


Sarah’s Christmas pudding!

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.



The Arctic Organist Wins

Christmas Pudding

We concede that Arctic Organist has today’s best post! Christmas Pudding!

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

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.

Apologies for Inactivity!

Dog sledge

Winter has come. Children wait eagerly for rides on the dog sledges.

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!


Brhhh. Minus 16 under clear skies in parts of Lødingen

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….

Daily Photo 14th November

Polar Night Afternoon

14:55 in the afternoon, and it is clear the Polar Night is getting nearer!

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.

Our National Day

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!

Thursday 6th December – More Photos


9.30 in the morning here in Lødingen

For the photoholics among you, here is today’s shot from where I live. The sun is further below the horizon now, and it is getting still darker. The fiery glow we see there has been replaced by a warm peachy hue. This picture was taken at half past nine in the morning, at the very start of twilight.

As you can see there is still daylight in the Polar Night. At the “lightest” time yesterday, I took my camera out of town, and snapped this picture of Lødingen in that warm peach hue. The temperature at the seafront was minus 4, but only a few meters inland my car was recording minus 8!

Outside the town of Lødingen at the "lightest" time of the day. Note the time-stamp!

Outside the town of Lødingen at the “lightest” time of the day. Note the time-stamp!

Yesterday indeed conditions were fantastic for taking photography. When you are doing posts like this, you have unfortunately to “weed out”, but I really had to include this one!

As the "day" goes over into full night again, at about two o' clock in the afternoon, I snapped this picture of the church and the fading glow over the mountains.

As the “day” goes over into full night again, at about two o’ clock in the afternoon, I snapped this picture of the church and the fading glow over the mountains.

Digital Dissonance

Andenes Kirke

Andenes Kirke has been using a digital organ since 1987. Today I got to hear it for myself.

Today was my free Sunday. I decided that I should pay a visit to Andenes. Ever since 1987, they have been using a digital organ for their services.

There is much disagreement about such instruments. Many of my colleagues will have nothing to do with them. On the other hand, I recently heard from a reliable source that a church that was damaged by the “collapse” of the World Trade Centre towers has decided very much in favour of the technology. Apparently they had invested in a digital organ as a temporary solution – but have now made that the permanent one. There is no question, here, that that decision has anything to do with money.

The sound comes from the old organ.

If you didn’t already know, you would think that the organ were “real”. The sound comes from the older organ, which while retained is in disrepair.

I can just imagine the reaction of my colleagues in this country. In its day, indeed, the Andenes organ caused no small stir. Yet for all that people condemn it, I want to hear and, if possible, play the thing for myself before giving my opinion on the matter. Today I got such an opportunity.

I sat through a service from the so-called “new liturgy” (in my opinion there is not so much that is “new” about the Norwegian Church’s “new” services, but apart from explaining my parentheses that is really quite a different subject beyond the scope of this particular posting) and listened intently to the sounds produced. I expected to pick up a certain “tinny” quality, or that the true nature of the instrument would get betrayed by an artificial echo. None of this happened, and the organ faithfully reflected the organist’s input – warts and all.

The console is at the front of the church, just before the choir section. After the service I did get to play it, if for only a very short time. Unfortunately the priest had arranged for something immediately after the service. Nevertheless, I have to say that I was impressed. To my ears, the organ sound certainly appeared to come from the real organ pipes on the gallery above, and I was more than satisfied with the result.

I know that there are many organists who will shake their heads in disgust. I can only say that I went to Andenes with an open mind. Whereas I do not doubt that there are some who can hear the difference between digital and genuine, just as there also are musicians who have absolute pitch and can tell you if your piano is exactly tuned to A=144 (something which isn’t always a very good thing), I rather suspect that there are many more who really cannot. On the other hand, I am sure that there are many who no-matter-what, have already decided a forehand that they will not like digital – so no surprises then that they don’t… Whatever anybody says, however, technology has come a lot further since 1987, and if this organ is still going strong in 2012, to me this quite an argument in favour of it.

The Kingdom of the Blamires

The Kingdom of the Blamires! Over the water is Senja, my former haunt and now the setting for the Arctic adventures of Jon and Sarah Blamire. You can read Jon’s blog at

Driving to Andenes meant of course that I was in the only part of Nordland where it is actually possible to see my former haunt, albeit yonder at a distance. If I might take a line out of Jon’s own blog, you’ll notice that this looks a little different to how it looked in the Summer when I took the ferry over to visit Jon there. Just as well there isn’t a ferry in the Winter!

[Cognitive] Dissonance is aroused when people are confronted with information that is inconsistent with their beliefs. If the dissonance is not reduced by changing one’s belief, the dissonance can result in restoring consonance through misperception, rejection or refutation of the information, seeking support from others who share the beliefs, and attempting to persuade others.