Sunrise/sunset: 07:28/17:40 Daylength: 10hr11min
A lot has happened this week. I’m starting to feel that life couldn’t be much more up and down if I was strapped into a roller coaster beside a demented grizzly bear.
Last weekend was mostly good:
John and I drove down to Narvik on Sunday to buy a snøfres or snow blower. I can see, when I look at the estate agent pictures of my house from last winter, that it obviously gets a lot of snow, so working out how to clear it is important. I like snow, which is just as well, and at least I now have a garage – no more getting up at 4a.m to clear one car, then a second ten minutes later. But I will still have to clear the driveway, which is longer than the old one. John found the snow blower on Finn – a Norwegian website that has everything from second hand stuffed otters to holiday booking and jobs.
The bloke selling it laughed at us when we arrived with my car and no trailer. I seem to have been beset by arsehole men of late (not sure why – I wouldn’t have said it was typical here) but happily John had brought his tool kit. He very quickly removed the wheels and the funnel that directs the snow, and we soon had it in the boot to drive home. Here’s John checking it out when we got back.
In addition to the snow blower, I have also invested in a Roborock Vacuum cleaner. This must surely be the best invention ever for those of us who don’t like housework. In order for it to work, the floor must be clear, so that was a good start and gave us the final push to put away the last few things that were still lying around after moving. The first time I set it going, I discovered that you can watch its progress on the Roborock app. This was oddly fascinating and I sat and watched the lines building up as it cleaned the floor in sections. I actually watched this for about 40 minutes as it wove in and out of the hall and kitchen! A couple of days later, I showed John and he was equally mesmerised. And all that comes with the added benefit that the floor is unprecedentedly clean.
The highlight of the weekend was a visit to Trude’s to see the puppies. We had a puppy cuddling session and then coffee and I even came home with some plants for the house.
Monday wasn’t a bad day until the evening. I was checking my online bank when I noticed there was very little left in my current account. This does sometimes happen, but I wasn’t expecting it, right at the start of the month. When I checked the outgoings I realised, to my horror, that an automatic rent payment had been paid out to my ex-landlord. I went and checked, with shaking hands, and realised that the monthly payment, which I had stopped, had restarted.
The bank helpline was still open, so I called them. They told me it was my responsibility, that the stop button was only for a month, and that it was now on me to try to get the money back. I was reeling. It was a lot of money as I was paying 14,500kr per month rent (well over a thousand pound or US dollars).
John was frantically searching online – a difficult task as all the information was in Norwegian – and he told me I had to contact the person I had sent the money to, to establish that it had been sent in error and that I wanted it back. My first instinct was to message the wife of Mr Abusive, so I did so, but then thought afterwards that I should tell him as well, given it was his bank account. I’m glad I contacted her as well as him as, though neither of them responded, I can see from her messenger (and thus can prove) that she read it, which might turn out to be quite important.
My bank have not been particularly helpful. I will be making a complaint, as if I click on a button that says “Stop transfer” and a button pops up that says “Start transfer” I assume that the process is stopped until I start it again. When I looked again, I can see there was also an option to delete. It was a while ago, so I’m not sure why I didn’t take that option, but with a word like “transfer” which can refer to an individual transaction, or the monthly transfer of funds, that the bank should have made it absolutely clear that the stop was only temporary and would restart the next month.
Of course, Mr Abusive has not sent the money back. I presume that he thinks he will keep it as a kind of “deposit” against the 40,000kr he thinks I will have to pay him. Taking a deposit in your own bank account is illegal in Norway though, so I hope that the rent disputes tribunal will take a very dim view.
In the meantime, I have contacted his bank – apparently they are obliged to take “reasonable steps” towards getting my money back. My own bank told me I should contact the police, if he doesn’t pay it back. I think they might be referring to a particular branch of the Norwegian police force, who work in debt collection, rather than him being arrested, but that is all still to come.
In the first instance, I have been able to obtain legal assistance from Jusshjelpa i Nord Norge, a group run by the university in Tromsø, where law students assist people with legal issues. I have also informed the rent disputes tribunal and they have extended my response deadline so that I can find out whether he pays me back or not. If he doesn’t, I will be adding it to that case, which will be legally binding, if they decide in my favour. Given Mr Abusive’s ongoing behaviour, I think it’s becoming increasingly clear who isn’t being honest and reasonable here. Legally, he should send the money back and wait for the tribunal result, but it’s looking unlikely that he will do so.
Anyway, having picked myself up from that debacle, I was feeling tired, but pretty happy towards the end of the week. The house and my life in general are still giving me a good feeling of happiness and stability. So I was looking forward to the weekend yesterday, when I was on the sheep line at work. We use sterilisers for our knives, which are filled with water that is usually simmering. My knife fell into the water. I was wearing a latex glove with a cotton glove underneath, so I put my hand in to retrieve the knife, as I had often done before. Unfortunately, this time there was a hole in the glove. It took a moment for the pain to hit, but I had to rush off the line, ripping the gloves off and leaving Vaidotas alone.
It was one of those horrible moments. I was wearing loads of protective clothing and it was becoming increasingly clear that I couldn’t continue without running my finger under cold water, so I had to throw off all the gear as quickly as possible and rush to the Mattilsynet room, where fortunately Ernestas was sitting at the table. I asked him to go in for me, and went to run my finger under the tap. Having looked at the NHS website last night, I can see that the first aid advice for burns has changed from ten minutes under cool water to twenty, but having stopped after ten minutes, I was still in so much pain that I had to ask Trude to take me to the doctors’. Another change of clothes was required. I guess, in an out and out emergency, they’d take you in your white “clean area” clothes, but a scalded finger didn’t really qualify. I was in enough pain that I had been sitting with my finger under another tap at the surgery for fifteen minutes, before I noticed I hadn’t actually done my trousers up.
So now I have a bandaged middle finger on my right hand. Second degree burns, apparently. There’s a blister encompassing a good section of my finger tip and another at the top of the nail. The pain seems to be under control for now, but typing is definitely not as easy as it usually is. Fortunately, I will be inspecting live animals on Monday, which will only require me to wield a pen, rather than a knife, so that should hopefully be okay.
And now I need to go shopping, partly for food, and hopefully also to buy an outfit for Anna’s graduation, assuming I feel up to it. She and I are also planning a trip to Stonehenge when I go over. We share a love of the ancient, so that definitely qualifies.
And I’ll leave you with a photo of a snow capped mountain. It’s rather distant and therefore difficult to photograph, but beautiful nonetheless. Have a good week all!