My Norwegian Christmas

Sunrise/sunset: Down all day.

When I left you on 21st December, I had only a faint hope that there would be a white Christmas. It had turned cold after the thaw and at some point, a tiny potential snowfall had appeared on the weather forecast. Only a few millimetres, but perhaps it would be enough. But when I checked again on the twenty second, this was what greeted me.

I texted Charlie. After all, he was supposed to be flying up the next day, and the forecast for Tromsø was much the same. Clicking on the yellow triangle told me that this was a warning for a Polar Low – otherwise known as an Arctic Hurricane.

Early on Wednesday afternoon, the sky had turned to a brooding shade of grey with edges of lilac. Already, there were a few snowflakes in the air.

The wind never really got up, but it did snow. Fortunately the airport in Tromsø was unaffected and Charlie arrived from the fastboat right on schedule.

We went for a drive on Christmas Eve so that John could knock some of the snow off the roof of his caravan. One of the thing that daunts me about buying a house here is that you have to know when to knock the snow off your roof. To an extent, the snow insulates your house, but if there’s too much, the roof can collapse. This was a picture I took along the way.

We made (and ate) a chocolate log on Christmas Eve.

And despite all the rain, we awoke to a beautiful blue-white morning. I got my white Christmas after all.

Though it was cold outside, inside it was warm and cosy.

Triar was wearing his Christmas hoodie to open his presents.

Perhaps My Norwegian Christmas is an imperfect title, because though we were in Norway, we have never got into the local habit of eating our big meal and celebrating on Christmas Eve. I did cook ribbe though, instead of turkey. Ribbe is pork, taken from the flank of the pig, over the ribs, as you might expect. It’s very tasty and forgiving meat, but for Norwegians, ribbe is all about the crackling. In order to get it right, you have to salt the joint two or three days in advance, then you have to roast it in steam for the first hour, then roast it uncovered until it’s finished. I was pleased with the finished result, which was properly crispy and light.

There’s lingonberry sauce instead of cranberry, but other than that, our dinner will probably look familiar to most Brits.

One day we will perhaps cross over to cloudberries and cream, but for this year, we celebrated in true British style with a traditional Christmas pudding.

Anyway, as you can probably see, we had a very festive Christmas. I am very much aware that we were lucky that everyone arrived safe and healthy. I know that some of my friends were not so fortunate. But wherever you are, I hope you managed to find some peace and joy.

And if not, and you ended up going to hospital, I hope your ambulance station was as tastefully decorated as the one here in Finnsnes. Merry Christmas all.

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