Monthly Archives: August 2013
When I was young my father desperately wanted me to learn how to play the piano. I gave it a try but it just wasn’t my thing…
Flash forward and none of my four, plus one (stepson) seemed any more interested in playing an instrument than I did.
Then our sixth (and last!) child came along. This one was different or should I say Unique, he’s quiet and always keeps to himself. At three-years-old he was diagnosed with autism. Unable to participate in team activities, he started piano lessons. He unenthusiastically played for about three years before moving on to the guitar. A few years went by and he lost interest in that as well.
Sorry Dad, it doesn’t look like the grandkids will be playing for you either.
You can only imagine my surprise when last summer this son, now eighteen came to me and asked if he could start playing bagpipes!
Bagpipes in Norway? Who would teach him? Where would we buy them? And how much do they cost?
I calmed down when he told me he could take lessons online and we didn’t need to buy bagpipes (yet). The first step in learning to play the bagpipes is on a chanter. A chanter by itself doesn’t cost much.
He stuck with it for a whole year, didn’t lose interest and was really starting to sound good. Now convinced that he was serious, off to Scotland we went. We bought bagpipes, ordered a kilt and he attended an intensive bagpiping course in Glasgow.
That was two months ago. He practices everyday and I think he sounds great… Have a listen for yourself.
The first song is Corkhill, the second is Itchy Fingers and the third is Amazing Grace.
This is for you, Dad…
Every year it’s the same story… Where should we go this summer for a suntan?
The reason is simple, we live in Norway.
Here in Norway, you can never-ever count on good weather.
Not even in summer!
Most Norwegians head south but not us. We go west, towards New Jersey. The Jersey Shore is a great place to spend summer.
This year, with my granddaughter coming over from the States we decided to stay right here in Norway. We were invited to a friends place, way, way up in the top of Norway and so while everyone else was flying south, we flew north…
I promised the locals I wouldn’t give our exact location, because they don’t like tourists wandering around while they’re trying to skinny dip 😉
I will tell you this… We were above the Arctic Circle and no one was more surprised than me at how beautiful it was.
It was a perfect, Norwegian summer!
Imagine if you will –the most perfect summer day. A warm sun, a gentle breeze and a clear blue sky.
Now try to visualize –the ultimate outdoor theater. Hundreds of people sitting on a grassy hillside overlooking a natural stage set in Viking times. Behind the stage, magnificent mountains and a sparkling Norwegian fjord.
A perfect setting for the timeless and tragic legend of, Viking Hagbard and Princess Signe.
Hagbard and Signe were from the same village, played together as children and fell deeply in love as teenagers. Hagbard is sent off to war and Signe promises to wait for him. Three years later thinking Hagbard is dead, Signe’s father has arranged for his daughter to marry a Russian prince. Hagbard comes back and Signe who is still very much in love with him, refuses to marry the prince. Her father is enraged and insists she honor her commitment, for the good of the village and to protect his reputation as a leader, and man of his word.
He bans Hagbard from the village and locks Signe up. Hagbard disguises himself as a woman and sneaks into the cabin where Signe is being held. The reunited lovers make plans to escape and runaway together, but are caught in the process. A fight breaks out and many people are killed.
Hagbard is captured, tried and sentenced to hanging. A distraught and desperate Signe begs for his life, but to no avail. On the day of Hagbard’s hanging a brokenhearted Signe sets her cabin on fire and also dies.
Singne’s father is grief stricken over the death of his daughter. Her mother, who had also begged for the lovers freedom leaves him.
He is left broken and alone.
Although sad and tragic, the play was also filled with music, dance and sword fighting. There were horses and a witch. They also carried in what looked like a real lamb (my husband assures me it was not) and slit its throat as a sacrifice to the Viking God, Odin. I found myself totally seduced by the surroundings and captivated by the Norwegian history. This production, bringing both tears and smiles, was absolutely mesmerizing!
Did you know…?
Northern Norway lies above the Arctic Circle and is a wonderland of treasure…
The Northern lights illuminate the dark skies of winter, and the midnight sun provides endless days of summer.
The midnight sun also gives extra energy making it very easy to forget to go to bed at night.
A landscape of skerries, boat-houses, lapping waves and the cries of gulls ease away tension.
Would you like to see the treasures I found on my recent trip north…