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.
The first day the sun showed himself after his two month polar night retreat, he did just that. We had a simultaneous sunrise and sunset. No sooner had we seen him than he had gone again.
Now after two days, we have already a significant “day” lasting about one hour, with proper sunshine. The weather has even given us optimal conditions. Everything is moreover lighter now. It is now reasonably light again at nine o’ clock in the morning, even though the sun doesn’t rise until 11 o’clock. It does not become dark again until three o’clock, and it is not fully dark until half past four.
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!
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.
This gallery contains 7 photos.
I see Jon Blamire is reporting the onset of the autumn in his Arctic Organist blog. Not to be outdone, Yorkshire Viking Norway follows up with this gallery of images from Lødingen!
Temperatures are certainly beginning to fall now although, as Jon also reports, they are still higher than normal. Today the weather has been very wet and windy. During a brief respite from the precipitation, I took myself to Nygård mountain where Lødingen’s main TV and radio transmitter is situated. This gives a wonderful vantage point for photographs of our town.
The really observant among you will have seen this picture – and some strange Norwegian – a few hours ago. Yorkshire Viking Norway is twinned with a Norwegian only blog, and I posted something meant for there here instead.
Since something actually appeared, albeit briefly, in this blog I shall explain what my post was about. I was writing about a Norwegian expression that has been lifted from the Swedish. There are differing opinions about the rights and wrongs of using this in Norwegian. Nevertheless people do use it, regardless of whether it is “right” by the rules of Norwegian grammar, and the expression has (I argued) a different meaning to that conveyed by the “correct” native expression supposedly for the same thing. Therefore for those reasons my opinion was that it were justified.
There is little point trying to write the expression in English. It is idiomatic rather than something I can translate word for word. Nevertheless, it functions very much as the adjective “present” in the title of this post. The implication is that the status quo may soon be about to change. That indeed is the case for the Municipality of Lødingen.
For demographic reasons it has long been accepted that our municipality – and many others – will have to be amalgamated. There is simply not the population anymore to justify their existence. However, now we have elected a government that has made doing this a priority. Consequently, the days of the Municipality of Lødingen are probably numbered.
Today I was out with my camera, and I decided to start documenting what is most likely to disappear within the next five to ten years. The picture shows the municipal boundary as you drive towards where I live. This will, of course, be taken down if the municipality is abolished and merged with its neighbours.
I shall of course continue to do everything I can as an interested photographer to document the changes that are likely to occur.
Today the king’s men returned! Once an important military town, we lost our fort eleven years ago. Today the best band in the North of Norway, the military “divisjonsmusikk” based in Harstad, visited Lødingen in connection with our Seafood Festival.
The band gave the public, who packed the tent down at the waterside, a free concert beginning at 12 midday. The schools had allowed their pupils to take time out of their lessons. Because of that, and because there fortunately were no funerals in the church either, I too was able to go. Indeed it so happened that my route to the festival crossed that of the hoards of primary school children who had already set out from the school.
While the band entertained us, we were served with fish soup. This was absolutely delicious. Nobody seemed too worried that “experts” now claim that salmon be dangerous. Apparently it can damage one’s IQ! Still the warning was only for women and children. There was nothing mentioned about us men, who one must assume are already too brain-damaged to notice any difference!
I think we must become acclimatized to living in the Arctic. Like a class of the youngest children, I found that it was far too warm for me – and had to stand by the tent opening in order not to be drenched in my own sweat. Even outside it was 23 degrees in the shade, and today has not been sunny.
Nevertheless, the concert was wonderful. For a few moments, one might have imagined Lødingen as it was in its heyday before the military left back in 2002.
I received news today that the last building from Adwick School has now come down. I was waiting for confirmation of this before the launch of the third CQD Site at http://adwickschool.cqd.nu. In common with the existing twin blogs, the tribute site uses the Adwick colour scheme. However, the logo is in its original (school) form.
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!
O winter that from us fleest fast,
each night is shorter than the last,
yet in the pureness of thy snow,
the night like day can also glow,
And on such nights as these I say –
oh that thou couldst with us stay!
When I was growing up in Yorkshire, I can remember very clearly a yellowy glow at night. If I were in bed, and I saw it, I knew straight away what it meant! I should excitedly go to the window – and sure enough should be in awe that it had snowed.
Of course the car had had to be dug out first…. or should I say, I had to dig a way to the garage in order to even get out!
But at least it was a good opportunity to use the black and white feature on my camera. I think that snow pictures are fantastic when taken in black and white. A lone barren tree, for example, in a cold snow setting suddenly comes to life…
Indeed the same can be said of the wintry road. This just would not look so magical if taken in colour!
This picture above is looking in the direction of the shore, and the picture below is in the other direction towards our church (not visible)…
Now of course you will be wondering about our schools. Clearly we had a lot of snow today. As we know from England, schools and snow don’t go together. You will imagine how worried I was when I went to teach my piano pupils in the afternoon! The place would surely be deserted?
Yet there were so many cars parked outside the school that I had to drive about 500 meters further, and walk into school by the school’s playing field… which (shock! horror!) not only was white with snow, but unlike our English counterparts, was completely so. There was not a turf of grass to be seen!
Not only was there plenty of life, but the place was bustling with children! Can you imagine that! You would think that they must be so traumatized. After all it had snowed, and what if one of them should fall and break an arm or a leg? I think this borders on child cruelty that the headteacher doesn’t close everything down on environmental health concerns!
Not only were the parking places – on both sides of the school – full of cars, but the children had come on their sledges. Probably some teachers had done too. They call these a “spark”, which quite literally means “kick”. So you could say the kids came to school today on a “kick”.
English people will see straight away how irresponsible we are! Norway is such a barbaric country you see, and schools go about their business without so much as batting an eyelid if it snows. What is even worse, all our public services carry on normally as well!