Sunrise/sunset: Down all day
Is there anyone who doesn’t find themselves, at this time of year, reflecting on their life? As the new year comes in, it always feels like time to take stock of where I am, where I’m going and where I want to go.
There’s a lot happening at work at the moment. I am moving roles, from a focus on animal welfare out in the field, to animal welfare in the abattoir. They are advertising my old job for the second time now, without any notable success. I understand it is always harder to recruit people up here and perhaps working for Mattilsynet isn’t so attractive right now, partly as the wage is not competitive compared with other veterinary jobs, and perhaps because Mattilsynet is coming under a lot of flack at the moment. Still, I am thriving in my job. Though I can’t completely abandon my old role until I am replaced, there has been a significant change in focus.
I have gradually been taking on tasks related to meat inspection and now I have taken over the role of team coordinator for the team of vets and technicians who carry out Mattilsynet’s tasks in the abattoir. This role is partly administrative. I have to slot people into the rota and let them know what days they will be working sufficiently far ahead that they can work around it. There are currently only two staff who are full time in the abattoir and present: Trude and Konstantin. The rest of us work shifts there while based elsewhere, though it looks like I will be working there more than fifty percent of the time for the foreseeable future. I will need to get up to speed on what should be, rather than what is. Working permanently with a skeleton staff is harder on the permanent staff who are there than it should be, though for the past three years, we have been lucky enough to have enthusiastic and highly competent temporary staff, both in the season in autumn, and year round. Konstantin came for the season in 2021 and has been filling in for missing permanent staff now for almost a year and a half.
But as well as the admin side, I also represent the team, both in the wider department and on various committees, who work towards ensuring animal welfare and complying with the legal requirements we have to fulfil, and that is the role I am most looking forward to. Last week I wrote about Helene in Karasjok and Venche in Mo I Rana and I am excited to be working with them. I have masses to learn, and I love learning new things. I can also imagine a time, further into the future, when I will have learned enough “locally” (Mo I Rana and Karasjok are both about eight hours drive away from Andslimoen where I work) that it might be useful to travel further afield, to find out what abattoir workers in other parts of Norway do. For now though, that’s a long time away. I have my annual review next week though, so there is a lot to discuss with Hilde.
At home, things are reasonably stable, though I think we have messed up a bit with snow clearance. There was something of a thaw last week and all the snow slid off the garage roof. We hadn’t yet finished shifting the snow that had come off the house roof and the handle of the snow blower was broken. There wasn’t time to move it all by hand before the temperature dropped and it all froze again. So now we have huge piles of hard, icy snow around the house and the garage. Obviously it will melt eventually, but I think we probably ought to have cleared some of it to avoid the risk of too much build up through the rest of the winter and potential flooding when it does finally melt again. Only time will tell whether it will be problematic or not. Well, maybe some local people would be able to predict better than I can, but that’s the nature of living somewhere unfamiliar. Whatever comes, it will be dealt with when it arrives.
It continues to be very beautiful, though the tendency to hibernate is strong when it’s minus twenty outside. My pictures then, were taken around the house. The one at the top of the page, with the pink and blue sky, is from the veranda and here are two taken at night when Andrew and I went out on a duel mission to clear the pathway that allows him to get to the bus stop in the morning without walking on the main road and to give Triar some fresh air.
Anyway, I have to go now. In addition to everything else, I have some editing to do on my book. I told my agent I would have the changes to her by the beginning of next week, so I have to do it now. Deadlines are good for me when writing. Without them, the tendency for procrastination is way too strong.
Happy new year to everyone who has made it this far down the page, and I hope you have a good week!