Tag Archives: Sea

All Change

Things have changed since I last posted. So much so that this is the first time I have been able to sit down and record it. On the calendar downstairs, back on the 24th March, written in pink felt-tip pen, is the name of my nearest veterinary clinic. To distract my mind from my echoing e-mail box, I had wandered in off the street and asked (in my best Norwegian) whether I could come in and “see practice”, just for a week or two. The smiling receptionist, looking bemused promised to get the boss to call me, and I left, feeling, to be honest, like a bit of a tit. After all, I could have made that contact over the phone couldn’t I? Still, later that day, I received the call, and at 9a.m. on Monday morning, I presented myself.

I confess that the first question confused me somewhat. Peering into a cupboard filled with uniforms, Kari Anna (practice nurse) asked me whether I was a small or a medium. How to reply? I was obviously neither. Promising me that the medium was VERY stretchy round the waist (yes but what about the bum?) she handed over the medium overalls and commanded me to change. Shovelling me into a pair of green clogs (more on those later) she started to show me things on the computer. Obviously it was all written in Greek… or maybe Latin. Actually I might have understood those bits, but the rest was a mystery. Being me, I set out to solve it, and armed with a trusty pen and a post-it note, I gradually began over the course of a fortnight to decipher the runes.

I also made some new friends. So much for the much-fabled Norwegian stand-offishness; we spent the next two weeks laughing. And on the Thursday of the second week, I was offered a job. Dagny, the scary boss lady said I should talk to my husband… who of course said “What are you waiting for. Get signed up immediately!” So I did, setting out to work two days a week. The past fortnight has been a whirlwind of bank accounts and tax office visits ( yup, I didn’t have the former and have never paid the latter here) and getting the paperwork together to try to get myself authorised to carry out veterinary work in Norway. Currently I’m working as an assistant, which suits me down to the ground as I am helping out without having to consult (without knowing all those crucial anatomical words) and in the meantime, I am gradually picking up more Norwegian, though there is the terrible temptation to revert to English, especially as some of the clients immediately start to chat to me when they find out where I am from.

It’s a wonderful feeling, picking up the reins of something I used to be good at. Some things come back so quickly. Others are filled with fog. I suspect that when it comes to real knowledge, I have always been very reliant on books, and for the moment, I don’t have the right ones to hand. The BSAVA Manual of Emergency and Critical Care was my constant companion for all the years working in the emergency clinics. It’s at the top of my shopping list as even though there aren’t so many emergency cases during the day, I seem to recall it had a lot of fantastic tips on how to work cases up in the first instance. I’m slowly regaining knowledge, refilling the blanks, remembering the things I was never good at (I can take a mean x-ray, but I have never been on a course to learn to use ultrasound). I am learning new things as well. Who knew that it was illegal to castrate a dog or spay a bitch in Norway without good clinical reason? Apparently they have to be allowed freedom to explore their wild-side, though how that works when using drugs to prevent ovulation I have no idea. Bang goes the idea of opening a spay clinic in my nearest city!

This week started badly. I tried to anaesthetise a dog without having the machine fully switched on. Never a good idea. Worse still, it transpired that the green clogs actually belonged to the boss lady. Well I always did like to walk in shoes that were hard to fill. I’ve bought my own now. And Dagny has not yet used the whip on me that I took in for Irene (fabulous receptionist) to use on Jan-Arne (crazy vet).

Been out walking (the picture at the top is taken from south of our village, looking up the coast) and skiing, both downhill and cross-country. I would like to say that I didn’t fall over once, but sadly I can’t. Still things are looking up on all fronts. There might even be some movement on the book, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself so I’ll leave that for next time.

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Surge

The past few weeks have been stormy. Even for coastal Norway, it has been exceptional. Gale warnings have been almost the norm. I noticed last night however, there was a surge warning in place for this morning. For the whole coastline south of Stad Peninsula, the tide was to be 60 cm higher than usual. So at high tide this morning, I made my way to the beach.

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First view of the waves.
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Looking back towards the village. The tide was so high the path was disappearing and waves were entering the lagoon.
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The bridge was also under water.
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Rounding the corner, the wind was quite refreshing.

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The sky was sullen.

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In summer, these fishermen’s huts are a favourite destination for barbecues.
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There were seabirds gliding over the water.
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This isn’t well focused, but I was fascinated by the way these birds seemed to be flitting along in the trough between the waves.
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Last year, this piece of art appeared. Remarkably, it is still standing. Usually, it is quite a way above the waterline.

Kongeveien Jæren

This is one of my favourite short walks along a section of the old King’s Road, or Post Road that runs along the coast. There are many such roads around Norway and until relatively recently, these were the main roads around the country.

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My first view of the sea, through an avenue of trees between two farmsteads.

I’m not actually on Kongeveien yet. The first thing that comes into view is the tiny church at Varhaug.

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Varhaug gamle kirkegård

It hasn’t been cold for long. The river is still flowing, albeit with some ice around the stones.

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From the bridge

It’s such a wonderfully clear day.

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Looking north
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Looking south

If you look at the two photos above, you can see the snow has melted on the south side of the stones and not the north, a reflection of the sun’s low winter path across the sky.

I saw a number of other people out enjoying the sunshine. Below is a typical grouping, two young women, two dogs, one pushchair. When the sun is shining, it’s time to be outside.

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Not alone

It can be difficult to photograph all the things I love to look at. I am always fascinated with the rugged outlines of the stone walls, so different from those in the UK. I also love the clean lines of the branches against that vast sky, but it can be difficult to capture.

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A typical Jærsk wall.

The sea is almost completely smooth, so different from last week’s storms.

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Clear and calm

And now I’m heading back.

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I stop on the bridge to admire ice that has formed around the stones in the river.

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Patterns in the water

And then I’m back at the church and it’s time to go home.

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Weathery

Well as you can probably see from today’s featured image, we’ve been having some weather. Luckily I have a husband who is just as silly keen as I am on getting out and about, whatever the weather. We went for a walk on 25th January (AKA Burns Night) to build up an appetite for all the haggis.

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Haggis, tatties and neeps

The haggis looks rather cosy, not so the weather. It’s been incredibly stormy all winter, but this is the first real snow.

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You can perhaps get the impression of the horizontal snow in the last image. Anyway, it was just as well we went out for some exercise. We were well set up for our Burns Night feast. As well as the haggis, I baked some Bridies, (a pasty filled with sausage-meat and onions) another Scottish delight that isn’t available here in Norway. The recipe for those is here.

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Bridie

Then there was port and shortbread. Recipe here.

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Shortbread biscuits

I fear it’s all about food this week, so I may as well add that Lynn came round last week for a birthday lunch. She asked me ages ago to try to come up with a dairy-free recipe for chicken and mushroom pie, so finally Lynn, here it is. I also made her a cake, which I very hope was sufficiently decadent for 2014.IMG_1684

Oh Christmas Tree

Yesterday was the now annual event that is setting up the Christmas tree. For the last three years, it has been snowy, but this time round it was dry and well above freezing. Not so Christmassy perhaps, but not so chilly on the feet either. We buy the tree in the neighbouring village. Wandering around the plot and trying to find the perfect tree can take a while, but having found one we liked, which was actually far taller than we needed, the man came and cut it down and packed it up for us. At least we know it’s freshly harvested! And now, there it stands, the centre-piece in the room sending its wonderful warm light out into the darkness.
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It was raining quite fiercely earlier today. I generally try to get out for a walk each morning at eleven, but sometimes these dull wet mornings it can be difficult to motivate myself. I could, however, hear the surf from inside the house, so convincing myself that it would be spectacular, I donned a waterproof jacket, tied up the hood (so the wind didn’t just blow it straight back off) and set out.
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I tried to take some photographs, but as ever it is impossible to capture the sullen ferocity, the continuous boiling motion and the roar that fills the air. Ferocious is the right word for it. As ever after a storm, there were sad little avian bodies scattered along the shoreline along with the washed up seaweed.
When I do walk down to the sea on a windy day, I find it hard to drag myself away. I eventually turned back when I realised I couldn’t get any further without getting my feet wholly soaked. And anyway, by that time, the rainwater soaking into my leggings was becoming heavy enough to cause them to descend. Even I have my limits!

Finally, when I got home, I finished making the Bailey’s Irish Cream and Rum Butter Truffles. You can find the recipes here.