If you are a vegetarian who doesn’t eat fish, you may not want to read this post.
Last week the weather was cold but beautiful, with clear skies and plenty of sunshine. The weekend arrived and we were hit with another snow storm, but we didn’t let this interfere with our dinner plans.
Yesterday we took the boat out, set some nets and then returned this morning to collect our catch. There were fifteen Cod fish in the net. My father calls Cod, Norwegian turkey.
I don’t like seeing them jump around, gulping air. So when my husband wasn’t looking, I quickly threw the smallest ones back into the sea.
In less than two hours the fish were filleted and ready to cook. When fish is fresh, it curls and splits as it fries on the pan. It smells like the ocean and tastes like a dream.
Later, when my son asked how many fish we caught, I heard my husband answer “I could have sworn there were fifteen but I filleted only ten, I guess the other five jumped ship…”
Here, on the southwest coast of Norway, the cold days of winter are relatively short. The sun struggles from about the end of October until the middle of January to make any kind of significant appearance. There are some hours of daylight as it lingers on the horizon, but it’s never able to reach its full potential. It will however, make up for its shortcomings by working overtime during the summer months. That doesn’t necessarily mean the weather will be nice. As always we still have the cold Northern wind and lots of rain clouds to deal with.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe a beach girl such as myself ended up here (it must have been love).
I was suppose to be in school yesterday, studying Norwegian (one can never be too fluent) but for some reason my class was cancelled, or rather postponed. It was a beautiful but cold day, the temperature was -4 degrees Celsius, that’s about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. I decided to join some friends who were going over to the mainland for a walk along the old railway track. The trail takes you from the little town of Egersund to an even smaller place called Hellvik. There are a lot of twists and turns through the mountains and along the shore.
In some places we could see the island where we live, across the ‘fjord’.
We also walked through an old train tunnel, where giant icicles hung like daggers above our heads.
There was a sign posted outside which read, Enter at your own risk.
You can hardly take fifty steps in Norway without walking uphill, which can be absolutely exhausting, but at least you don’t have to worry about freezing. We walked for quite some time before taking a break between the rocks, in the sun. I could barely feel the sun on my face, but it was there, trying, and that’s good enough for me. It seems brighter days now lie ahead.
Robert Louis Stevenson (from A Child’s Garden of Verses, 1885)
Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head,
Blinks but an hour or two, and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.
Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise,
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.
Close by the jolly fire I sit,
To warm my frozen bones a bit,
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore,
The colder countries round the door.
When I go out, my nurse doth wrap,
Me in my comforter and a cap,
The cold wind burns my face, and blows,
Its frosty pepper up my nose.
Black are my steps on silver sod,
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad,
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.
Yesterday morning I woke up to snow and since we live at the bottom of a private road, no one would be coming anytime soon to dig me out. I made the best of it with a good book and plenty of hot tea.
Last night a friend called to tell me there was another storm on the way. Afterwards my husband called from an oil platform in the North Sea to tell me his helicopter had already been cancelled and he wouldn’t be coming home before Monday!
Feeling cooped up and worried about my empty refrigerator, I decided to take a walk up the road to get some air and check the mailbox. (my mailbox is about a quarter of a mile up the road). All my neighbors live at the top, there are only empty summer cottages and boat houses down by the water, where I live. Trekking up, the snow felt crisp and frosty beneath my feet, not too slippery and this gave me an idea…
I decided to try to get my car up the hill. I have good winter tires and four-wheel drive (but that didn’t stop me from spinning off the road last winter). I gave it gas, went zooming upwards and then made the mistake of trying to shift gears, half way up. The car lost momentum while shifting and the tires began to spin on the ice under the snow. I backed up (or down in this case) and tried again. This time I stayed in first and floored it all the way!
I parked the car at the top and walked home. This morning I bundled up, walked back up the hill to my car and drove to the store. I ended up buying five bags of heavy groceries and therefore, had no choice but to drive down again. Throughout the night strong winds had blown even more snow onto the road…
I held my breath and kept a light foot on the brake as I drove down through the snow drifts.
I don’t think I’ll be brave enough or that it’s even possible to get the car up again. But I have tea and plenty of chocolate in the house now, so who cares… I’ll be alright.
I’m always happiest in the summer. I want to say its because of the nice weather, but we don’t always get the nicest weather here in Norway. Warm sunny days pop up randomly but can never be counted on. What we do get, is plenty of daylight. While the north of Norway basks in twenty-four-hours of it, we here in the South get about four hours of dusk, to which we call night. I get super charged by the light and run around like the Duracell Bunny all summer long.
As you may have guessed, by the end of summer I’m more than ready to go into winter hibernation. Especially since our long days of daylight turn into long days of darkness. I get through these months mostly in pajama pants, with plenty of books and lots of vitamin D. (Exercise and eating healthy also helps).
As the days steadily get shorter and the kids head back to school, I can feel my energy already starting to deplete. I’ve been sending children to school without a break since 1982, and with only twenty months to go, I’m eager to put that part of life behind me!
My book came out in April and its been nonstop since then with blogging, promoting and travel. I’m happy to report an excerpt from the book was recently highlighted in the Foreign Exchange Newsletter and put up on their Expat Exchange web sight. Feel free to go in and push the fb like button or tweet it. Thank you!
Which brings me to the next order of business, I promised a book giveaway. The lovely Emily (granddaughter) took time away from her painting to pull a name for me…
And the winner is Crazytraintotinkytown which is a great blog, that comes to us all the way from Turkey… Yay!
Later this week my daughter and grandson are coming from America for a visit. Its not often I get both of my daughters in the same country. I’ve therefore decided to take a short break from blogging and enjoy every minute I can with them. I hope you all enjoy your week as much as I know I’ll enjoy mine. -Maggie