Thursday, September 13, 2012

Norway, and other shocks

Well we've been back about two weeks now. The journey both to and from was uneventful and much easier from Gatwick than from Heathrow. For starters I can drive there, whereas the approaches to Heathrow are, for me, a nightmare. Second, the car parking is cheaper, even with a collection service, and third the journey is largely rural, not the urban sprawl of London. Norwegian Airlines was not noticeably different from SAS, and the prices are much the same, so it looks like Gatwick and Norwegian from now on.


On arrival on Thursday evening we were met by the whole family! We felt like celebrities, and it was lovely. Arrangements were well in-hand for the Saturday confirmation of Marie, and I was pleased to see that there was plenty of cake. We met Abigail Elisabeth for the first time and she made a huge impression on both of us. The Wife even got to hold her, for a while!

 On Friday we were left more or less to our own devices after breakfast, after all there was work to be done! Kjell accompanied us to the local shops since he had to visit the bank, and we managed to lose him in the classic scenario of the shop with two entrances on different streets! Just like Laurel & Hardy. We had to have coffee and cake to recover.

Saturday dawned fine and bright. The ladies of the house were all in their National Costume and at the appointed time we set off for the church, a few kilometers away. The church is timber-built and quite old. There has been a church on the site for about 900 years. Inside, as in all Norwegian churches I'm told, a model of a galleon hangs from the ceiling. This I assume to be symbolic of the Christian ministry in some way. In this church the pews extended into the South transept where there was a large TV screen so that occupants could see what was going on. Many ladies were in traditional costume, and the atmosphere was friendly, noisy, and somehow convivial.

When the confirmation celebrants appeared from the rear of the church they were in procession behind the minister, and white floor-length surplices covered their clothes. It was actually quite a moving sight. After a hymn or two, for which the congregation remained seated, the choir sang from the gallery. They were impressive with their descant and their harmonies, and had obviously been well schooled. Speeches (homilies?) were made by the minister and his assistant and then the business of calling forward one by one the individuals to be confirmed. Each stepped up to the altar in response to their name, was blessed, and received their insignia. As each returned to their seat a candle was lit for them. The ceremony concluded with more singing. A very different (and shorter!) ceremony from the Humanist rituals we have witnessed before. Marie looked radiant.

On the following Tuesday The Wife and I were invited by one of Kjell & Greta's friends to go fishing. This meant borrowing warm clothing, driving some 30 Km out of BodΓΈ to the friend's boat, being rowed from the shore to the fishing boat and transferring from one to the other on a choppy sea before even the fishing trip could begin. All went well except that yours truly was ill and largely missed the main event! Nevertheless a number of coley were caught and later eaten, having been steamed at their (Tora & Fritz Arne's) nearby house. I'm told they were delicious!! Mind you, the fishing boat nearly got away. Wind and current combined in that part of the fiord to drift the boat way over to the other side. Poor old Fritz Arne had to row like the very devil after it. If ever a man earned his fish supper, it was him that night.
All in it was an enjoyable visit, and we have been invited back, so we must be doing something right!


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