Still Here

Sunrise/sunset: 04:16/21:.22 Daylength: 17hr06min

Time is going by, and the harvest season is almost upon us, here in the far north. Not that there are many crops, but there are berries and fungi now on the forest floors and already there are hints of yellow and red on some of the trees. As you can see at the top of the page, there are flowers in the garden of the apartment we’ve been living in for two years now. I am going to miss the view, even though I can’t wait to move into our own house. It already feels more of a home than the apartment ever has. Today or tomorrow, my bedroom will be fully decorated and I can start to move my clothes into the cupboard and drawers, though my new bed still hasn’t arrived. The boys and I are going to camp out in the new house tonight though. I want Triar to get used to the idea as Andrew will be back at school next week, so when we do move in Triar will be home alone after only a couple of days.

The main harvest here isn’t wheat. Coming from the UK, harvest still brings to mind combine harvesters ploughing through fields of golden cereal crops, but I don’t think I’ve seen a field for growing any kind of vegetable or corn up here, other than grass for silage. The local autumn crop is seasonal lamb. Odd as it seems, I am looking forward to what is referred to at the abattoir as “sesongen” – the season.

For most of the year, the abattoir is fairly quiet. It’s only open three days a week and there are only two or three staff in the Mattilsynet office on any given day. In the season, staff are drafted in to work on the line, many of them from traditionally Eastern European countries. Mattilsynet fields seven people on any given day, and the whole place comes fully alive.

When I moved here first, I was thrown into the season and mostly on the sheep and goat line and I quickly grew to enjoy it. It’s the only time when two Mattilsynet staff work on the line in tandem. I was on the line alone this week (the line speed is much slower until all the extra staff arrive) and was thinking that shortly I will be standing instead with Vaidotas (who has worked the season for the past two years) and Ernestas (who is coming back after a couple of years off). I haven’t met Ernestas yet, but I’m looking forward to it. He keeps popping up on my Facebook page as someone who knows a lot of people I do, so hopefully I will be able to add him shortly. Working with Vaidotas has always been a pleasure. Soon we will be competing to see who can open the door for the other first and he will be picking up things I’ve missed and correcting them with quiet gravitas, while still treating me as if I’ve never put a foot wrong in my life.

Bright red berries on a rocky outcrop under a purple sky.

I haven’t had the results of my MRI back yet. When I lived in the UK, there were generally good systems in place for doctors to follow up test results, but here it’s much less reliable. I hope they would contact me if they’d found anything serious, but the lack of contact doesn’t absolutely rule anything in or out. I’ve been mostly feeling quite good recently and it crosses my mind often that they may not find anything. Hopefully, by next week there will be an update. In the meantime, I should probably go and pack more boxes. Soon we will have to be out of the flat, beds or no beds, and everything will have to be spotlessly clean. It’s going to be a busy time. Have a pleasant week, all of you.

Wild flowers in my new garden

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