So Spoke the Skald

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And so it is we are gathered, through time to be here. See tribe of Gudvangen gathered. As in always. As in always. Gathered. Ancient Samian land of all tribes: Germanics, Zeeland, Parisi, Vendi, all. We become the Northern men. And we are. See. Here in one small semblance of what was once all Viking we gather. boat burial coloured cropped

In this fine fjord are, the very essence of Viking, wander if you will among the very story of it. Yes, we have travelled time and we have memories within us of the wild. The gods are in our hearts still and we live a simple life. There are those among us from so many many lands, so many hearts have travelled here. We are as was and see we celebrate. All is peaceful in this valley of the Vikings. A storm may come, and all about all waterfalls may turn to mists above us. Skies may darken, travelling low, so low the all of us are cowered, heavy ladened. Yet, we stand against the strong strong winds and batten down. Our tents, our hopes, our strong dreams will not weaken. We have travelled here to be. And we are.

creature spirits alarmed 02 colouredWe dance, we tell, we make strong, we craft, visions pierce us, send us into dream and yet we laugh. There is a heart inside that makes us laugh and share and be. For we are from always. From all lands and throng to share. From lands as far away as aboriginal, from lands as near as should be, as Simian memories, from Finland, new lands, Hiberno, settled of the Celt, the cold worlds and the depth of souls where-in one knows and believes – This is where we are from and we will live here simply. Even all the trolls and faerie are here, it is our heart, our land and see; year after year, after simple year we live and sport and craft and cook and share.

Wild in our hearts yet tears of laughter, joy and remembering ring within. oski smallWe are here and we will be.guilty coloured

Wander if you will among this throng and pierce the sky with your eye, stare upon the simple spirited waters, vision you the beings within the walls if you will, dare to step within the echoing caverns, breathe the fumes of fire and say, we are safe, we are skilled, we are here forever.

Viking Valley is, and will be and all the simple souls from child to innocent to wild; We are here and we will be. Forever. We. Are Viking. Here: Gudvangen.

So spoke the Skald.red ships

I will endeavour to post a blog as Skald to the Cheiftain every day during July while I am in Norway.

This piece is adapted from a blog written a few years ago when we were a-feared that there would be no more Vikingby at Gudvangen.

We are now building a town.

Most of the artwork is taken from Oski and the Amulet

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A Vision of an Independent Britain in Ten Years

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A Vision of an Independent Britain in Ten Years

 

 

“Please can we join the EU?”

“No, you do not meet the standards. You have far too many uneducated poor with little or no health care. Your workers rights and indeed human rights are far below European standards and all your systems are corrupt.”

“But we need to be part of Europe!”

“If you try and improve your country so people are treated more fairly then perhaps in another ten years you could apply again.”oski small

Equality, Consideration, Hope; it burns, it burns, in your heart, in your heart

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It burnscandle

For all the ordinary normal people

Who just simply are

Who accept others

Whoever they are

You

I have a command to you

‘Go live your life’

Hurtful people no longer be allowed

This is the light and the candle which says so

It was sent to me

Let it burn

For the sake of love

There is a path ahead

For the sake of love

We will impress upon all this message

For the sake of love

The candle burns

Look into the flame

And hate not

Hate not

Simply remember this to be human

Hate not

We,

Are ordinarycandle

I am mighty impressed with myself

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I am mighty impressed with myself

Crikey yes

As I approach two thousand visitors in my first months of blogging

(click now to be the actual one)

I have just had a scroll through

Cripes it is diverse and eclectic

But gosh, I enjoy reading them

I am laughing as I see each one

and

I am proud

This is my new career for the future

…and it is good

Be here for the start of things

There are over 90 blogs to scroll through

So you have plenty to enjoy

By the gods am I interesting!

and I thank you so much who have been with me so far

I Will Be Standing – (in Norway)

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red shipsI Will Be Standing – (in Norway)

I will be standing at the AllT’ing

Amid the timeless circle of chieftains

Echoing ever backwards and onwards

I will be standing, to proclaim my chieftain; my king

My king among men

Among my Njardar Clan

I will be standing at the Borre gathering

I will be standing, amid the circle of stones

Within the stones

Within the tribes of old

I will be standing for the myriad of visitors of Gudvangen

I will be busking

I will be raising the hearts and the spirits of many within the walls

As long high falls fall

I will be standing

I will be bringing donations; so eagerly given

To create our future

A vision

The Viking long past on our land

I will be standing; where a stave church will stand

And seeing it becoming because of us

I will be standing; at a gathering

A thousand yearlong gathering

In Sarpsborg

Among men I met in old Jorvik

Who invited me

To tell stories

With my Chieftain

I will be standing

For Njardar

In the land of God’s Water

To be international

At our market

Where fighters,

And crafters,

And wrestlers

And choirs

Will join with my telling

Of weddings

Of AllT’ing

Of merry making

And I hear today

I will be staring

At an old stone

Depicting

The brave ones

Of the ancient times

In their red boats of bravery

I will be standing in Norway

At the old stones

Of memory

I

Adrian Spendlowred ships

The old road of history leads us to what are believed to have been thirteen circles of thirteen stones. The graves of the women, the seats of the meeting, the place of the forever. Hunn near Skjærsilden, near Oslo. Here we stand at the Stortinget Plasser to rediscover what is truly in the heart and the bones. For we stand there and we know.

No, No, No

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No, no, no, no, no I do understand really. I have got it all worked out, I think.england flag

It is a game chaps play. I know all about it. There are nearly two dozen of them, and they run around in shorts playing a game. Well most of them do, there are two who are put at each end and it is their job to stop them.

There are a lot of people about at a time like this who are interested I believe, and they tend to shout at you, “England!” Thats what they shout round here anyway, “England!” I tend to reply by saying, ‘Yes, that’s where we are sure enough.’ That tends to keep them happy or at least reasure them about their whereabouts.

Each group has a kind of symbol, usually made up of two or three colours, and the interested fellows put these on sticks and wave them about; you see them placed on the tops of buildings or sticking up from cars that pass.

Many of these supports people have a strange belief. They paint their symbol on their face or even all over the front of their house in a village somewhere. They actually believe that because this symbol is on their house in a little tiny street in this country that their team of chappies who are miles away in another land will actually do better as a result.

england

Yes this is my neighbour, mine is the little door on your right

Above is an example of the symbols, it is on material in this circumstance I am pleased to say, as it will be down quicker than if it had been painted.

For ideological reasons I shall shortly be voting to stay within the EU, and a lot of these chappies will also be voting to stay in, but their reason is so they have someone to play with at this time next year.

My advice to you is that this is not a good time to go to the pub. Mainly because of all the shouting, but also because of all the negative energy you will pick up from all the terrible disappointment.

One advantage of all this going on at the moment is that for a couple of hours once or twice a week there will be lots less traffic on the roads.

There is however a remote chance that as you are passing a pub you may hear a mighty roar, although I do not expect this to happen too often.

It is however a great time to go shopping.

(I hope you have enjoyed my shopping advice blog)

At least you will be reminded of where you are.england flag

Pictures of the Past

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bunty pic

More on this below but you may have seen this hamper before, it featured in my (highly entertaining) Christmas blog. I have opened it since. The results are shocking.

We shall also be roaming through Ireland, Finland, Norway and a few other spots via intriguing pictures of the past.

Here first though is me!!!!

farm step

Yes this is quite a while back. The inscription on the back states; Adrian on the front steps of Farberry Garth Farm near Warter Priory where Nana and Pop lived.

Yes we lived in Warter.

coracleSo did these guys by the looks of things.

The coracle, this old picture from the west of Ireland shows how portable these boats were, although the old text says they were used for fishing in rapid-running rivers, I think perhaps they would be put to much better use in stable waters. It also says that ‘Caesar’ adapted them for his Iberian campaign. They are much older than that, , well into pre-history I would say. These pictured where said to be made of split birch and canvas, I am sure over all leather would have been the most used surface.

The photos here (with the exception of the Bunty pic) were taken between 1890 and 1935. There were no credits with them and some are rather grainy, I felt they would be of interest to reenactors, costume makers, historians etc.

Of interest to folklorists too. This one intrigued me. We are still in Ireland. With some sort of rebel gang, which is now largely forgotten: The Straw Boys…straw boysYes the straw hats were a disguise as well as making them look terrifying, what scares me most is that they would dress in women’s clothing.

I am reminded of the Cat People, much feared in Celtic lands, but not now recalled who – or indeed what, they were.

Now this one, clearly, isn’t from way back then, as I have just painted it…

ice cities -01colouredIn fact it is a blatant attempt to get you to read more of my blogs by clicking the link through to my Viking Comics Inc. Graphic Novel written with older school children – Oski and the Amulet.

(Do come back here though! The best is yet to come.)

We are off to the Pyrenees Mountains now, for a folk dance.folk dance The rather disparaging text says, that as well as a flute and a violin, the piping chap also played a primitive form of wire piano struck with a piece of metal. Hang on! He is playing both at once. The ‘flute’ is some sort of one-hand pipe and the wired thing looks like a wonderful old traditional instrument. I want to know more! I want to hear theses guys (and I want to hear whoever sang with them!).

We are off to old Esthonia now.esthonian croppedWonderful old costumes. I wonder how much of this is recollected and still worn today in the form it is here from over a hundred years ago.

We are looking here at style of dress from the Petseri district; Unique costumes were popular on the many islands around the coast too.

Come to think, I want to know more about such people’s lifestyles and interests.

The stories…

Now this feller told stories…tellerNebulous shapes of a bygone age weave and drift from the telling of this Guernsey teller, who went so far back that all of it was true. All of it was believed in the moment of telling, for there are things to the world which are other than we know. If only we knew now; perhaps if we go to Guernsey there will be someone there who remembers him, and remembers his tales.

Mayhap he knows of the elves.

His companion has clearly shifted all that straw in the huge bale behind her. I note she has a hay bailer rather than a pitch fork, if my memories of the days I would sit on that step and watch the Wolds farm workers are correct. For it has two prongs not three.old-pitchfork-isolated-over-white-25223928

I am transported now to Russia. I am planning to do a blog on strange and quaint sayings and proverbs from around the world, and my favourite is perhaps the Russian one I read:

‘Beware of pitchforks, for they make three holes’ – Discuss.

(Do please send me ones you know.)

He doesn’t have string round his trouser legs though like Awd Mr Bott.

Off we go now to the Sheep Islands, better known perhaps as the Faroe Isles. It says in the blurb from over a hundred years ago; ‘belonging to Denmark’, is that still the case?fearoe coupleDescribed back then as an optimistic people, I hope they are all feeling as jolly now. I particularly like the feller’s hat – can you still get them?

(The shoe fastening style is of interest too.)

Is it time for a break from the black and white?

Yes!dads car croppedThere’s mum all dressed up ready for another adventure. There is the car! They got stopped everywhere they went – by curious coppers.

For those of you who are into the details of such a thing, it is a Mini sub-frame with a boxed steel outer frame welded on and a single wheel axle at the back. They went everywhere in it.

Oh yes and plywood.

Back to black and white. A totally different place to the Faroes, but just as flat – Holland.hollandAnd yes there are flowers on the whip. It was their wedding day you see.

Northern Holland we are in (perhaps that is a bit steeper). What you do is, you drive around all the local villages with your engarlanded whips and throw out sweetmeats (as we used to call goodies) (as we used to call chows) (as we used to call sweets)… As you might call candy. Phew, we got there in the end.

When we arrived at the end of the Forth Bridge (they still haven’t built the fifth one) Dad still had all the takings from the raffle he had ran the night before. As best man at a wedding he was informed of a similar tradition to above. This was the sixties, so I am not sure if it still goes on. He was told they had been collecting coppers (great big pennies and ha’pennies) and gave him a bag full. He was instructed that as they drove around the villages he had to throw a few out whenever he saw children congregated. So he thought, ‘Well, I’ve sent a cheque (‘check’ in the US, if you still use them), so I might as well add in all this silver’; tanners, bobs, two bob bits and perhaps a two & a sprat or two. IE quite a lot of money.

Gosh what an uproar there was. Never forgotten. They still discuss the generosity of Yorkshiremen up there.

(Between the third and fourth bridges somewhere I think.)

(One of my little geographical jokes there did you see?)

Moving on…

They have even stranger customs in Finland…finsAnd I have no more to say about that.

This isn’t an island…speech blob 001

But Stromo is (please add your own two little dots to the top of the last letter O).stromo girlsAnd these are the Stromo girls.

Apparently Faroe was one big island till Norway went and dropped a bit of it’s coast by mistake. See Geographical joke no. 1.

After that Thorshavn was the central island of 21, 17 of which were inhabited just over a hundred years ago, (Is that still about right for nowadays?).

These girls where described as speaking a dialect version of the Norse (Is that still the case?)

I like the different headress thingies.

Now.

It is Bunty time.

I used to steal my sisters Bunty comic as soon as she put it down. mainly because of the cut out dolls – free in every issue.

cut out(Note the little tags – that’s what it was all about.)

But shock horror…

Well, shock horror 01

I opened the hamper.bunty pic

I opened the comic. There wasn’t a cut-out dressing up section!

I recovered.

I read the comic.

Shock horror 02.

I read it.

Well, I only read the front. It was enough.

bunty  coverHow horrendous! How funny it was back in ’84. Oh Bunty chats so. In she comes to the lesson on first aid. Oh how she chats. Nobody can learn a thing. Then Teacher has a great idea. Bandages wrap like this, she ties Bunty’s arms and legs to the chair. Band Aid sticks like this; she clamps shut Bunty’s mouth. Oh how they all laugh. Learning first aid and gagging and tying up the over chatty Bunty all in one lesson., Ho ho. Ha ha. Ho oh my god, have we changed that much! Its only thirty years ago.

Let’s run away to Sweden.sweden girlsThese happy Leksand girls were described as well-built and prepossesing. It is a shame we cannot see the multi-coloured nature of their aprons. I also think their hats are really cool.

This one said they were disappearing.lappsThe Lapps that is. I don’t think they did disappear, but perhaps the tents did. It is described as a Kota and I want one.

There are plenty more to come in the future, but for now, here is the last picture of this edition. I like this one.norway window croppedIt says that the Hardanger people are staunch advocates of the femine orthodox garb. It also decribes them as modern Norwegians. There is a suggestion that this is a farm house; although it is noted that the old log cabin farms are few and far between as they are being replaced by farm houses built of brick and stone – I haven’t seen too many of those either.

More from me soon. I am always glad to receive input.

adrianspendlow@gmail.com

I thought the next edition of this series might focus on the Americas and Australia.

But my next blog will probably be favourite quotes, so do please send some…