Nerd in Norway; A Spotters Guide – It is actually a report on my performances at Gudvangen Viking Valley, Norway.

Nerd in Norway; A Spotters Guide – It is actually a report on my performances at Gudvangen Viking Valley, Norway.

sign 01

I am looking at the stories I didn’t tell and wishing I had fitted them in. But there are other times of course and I am thankful of the times, the many times, I was able to tick a tale off the list.

Ticks, lists, statistics, I am getting into these. Nerdy I am. Becoming a spotter. A lister. A ‘tick-er-off-er-a’.

foxglove love

Long journeys listening to the sixties and memories.

Looking out and listing waterfall world; shadow waterfalls, gentle waterfalls, rainbow waterfalls, multiple waterfalls, tiny waterfalls… I list and tick.

me

The times of tears might be listed soon. This is a place of many strong emotions – emotions amplified. Moving yes, but everything inside, everything discovered, everything listened to, everything experienced: amplified.

It might be the water. It is everywhere.

As I overheard, “They have water here,” says the tourist on the bus, “all kinds, rain and waterfalls and all kinds. It is like a great big island with sea all around it.”

Now – 61, 78, 30, 2000 (est.), 30, but more on these later, stay tuned. I bet you just can’t wait.

But at last you will get down to where you will read what this blog is actually about – make a second coffee.

whale spouts
A whale

I creature spotted – I cheat – I award points for imagination, molehills count (as definitive proof of the existence of a mole), as do beehives and woodworm holes. I play alone and only cheer internally. So that is alright then.

Interlude: A tourist at the hotel sat next to me has a sandwich, a baguette actually, she is eating it with a knife and fork – it is not going well. Wait, (this is my live-feed happening as I am writing), her husband is opposite, (they are old so I guess they are married), he has a suggestion, he is thinking she might do better by picking it up off the plate to eat, she is asking if he means with the hands, and he does, so she is trying it.

I hit sixty! Sixty different creatures. Yes. It included reindeer, firefly, alpaca, llama (duplication cheat), and I saw a thing climbing.

village
Not actually a photograph of Georg

I didn’t count the enormous statue of Georg, (hours away from Gudvangen and surveying a valley where thousands of deer can gather some mornings). That goes on a list with a Roman Villa, hundreds of pre-history pictograms, standing stones, Half-Dan the Blacks funeral mound, concrete bunkers, winged horned gods, actual horned helmets too (oh yes), rock falls, trees on rooves (I gave up at 178 of them), ‘Danger Falling Rocks’ signs – extremely rare here for some unknown reason which I will probably blog about at some point, large fish rings, organic vegetable gardens (sadly a rare occurrence apparently), drummer boys, huskies pulling a white van and sounding like geese, iced coffee to die for, Godt og Blandett Frukt Salad (a must have), salty liquorice fish, trees in rivers, quadrillion-bends, ‘Deer Crossing 0.2 kilometre to 1.3 kilometre’ signs (go figure), naked wrestlers (no she needs to be on a later list which is chiefly flesh-related, as do arm-slings), bear-hunting dogs, armed seven year olds (I will document this more fully I promise), M. Thatcher pictures thanking her for Soft Ic, Pagans, Asutra, twins (no there’s loads), sausage boutiques, and

(Sorry I fell off that list.)

Btw the lady did manage to get most of the baguette in.

Btw 02 if you are someone who puts ‘of’ when you mean ‘off’ I actually hate you, quite actively, vigorously. Just thought you might like to know.

Tourists who are between coach and ferry and stand without looking up at the host of waterfalls.

No stop, don’t even start that list. ‘Tourists’ can wait.

I could write a list of the times people have told me of fearie things – a long list

(Please note; fearie is the topic, the place, or an actual list, not a being or thing.)

di happy

of the number of times people have approached me and insisted upon the existence of such and their observation of same. Usually just after I have done a silly story and have danced and pranced.

I know I am neither dancing or prancing in this picture, but I like it

They are very insistent.

I shall list this visit’s oddities.

There are several. Read on because you might be on this list.

The winged-thing will be listed last (damn I have just listed it). There was a drone. I have seen them before over Viking camps, once I saw one shot down by an archer, there were cheers. This one looked like one, but acted funny; shall we say impossibly.

I saw a brown blob. I am almost sorry it wasn’t black – then it would have been an ABB – Alien Black Blob. As mentioned often in Fortean Times magazine. They are officially what you get if you try and take a picture of an oddity. Always. Flying saucers, puma, yeti, troll, big foot, naked huldra; try it, you click, you look later – it’s a blob.

slender
Artists interpretation of something completely unrelated to this story

I cannot do other at this point than to instruct you to buy Fortean Times. If you are in the dark on this one search for Charles Fort; “Nonexistence of evidence is not evidence of nonexistence.” etc

My blob was brown, it was moving, it was far away, it was high up, it was climbing. I estimate bear-size.

Mine was above the Georg statue, Alan’s was above Goerg’s house. It was witnessed by many. I will not bother you with the photos of it, they have a distinct element of ABBness.

They watched it though. Crikey it was large. Gosh it was something other than is known. Wow are the hairs going up on our necks as we hear about it. It was tall as a hang-glider, slim as a snowboard, as quick as a skier, it disappeared as quick as a base-jumper. It is documented here, so it is true. There are photographs. It is true about Alien Black blobs too.

Calm down the hairs on your neck a little and read on.

small wasp

There are wasps.

And this is the interlude where you get to listen to a story. A story. The thing I actually do. Yes, a story.

It involved Anders. He is cool. He is Viking. He talks steady and slow. We listen.

When I talk of the wasp I dance, I do voices, I comb my hair in a beautiful way, I get cross. I am wasp.

Anders simple says

“They are spirit.”

That is why he jumps. This is the only time his smile leaves. The only time the cool goes.

The deep dark growling drawl which is only just within the range of the human ear stays – so listen with your bones.

“They are spirit.”

big wasp

This is why we should be frightened of them. This is why to be fearful of their sting. For they will sting. It is their intention. To sting.

The spirit which once was and now is wasp, is angry.

Imagine. If you will. To be of another realm. Where all is magical and – kind of – wispy. Then, you human being people stopped believing. Stopped sending all that belief in the magical to the realms around you. They dwindled. They faltered. They ceased. They died.

It is your fault.

The fairies died.

Spirit of fearie is part of this life and is subject to the same lore of living as us – reincarnation.

wasp changes

They reincarnated.

As wasps.

Can you imagine how cross they are.

Every single morning they wake up, the eyes are glazed as yours are, the brain is slow the same; thinking isn’t easy: “Oh a new day. Which frock shall I wear? I think I will choose a long flowing frock, and then I will comb my long flowing hair, add a few flowers. I will sing to myself blissfully as I skip toward the flowered meadows – and then I will  – dance!

Sh*t!

I am a wasp!

I am a bl**dy wasp!

No wonder they are angry.

big wasp flipped

Get ready to be stung.

That may be the end of the story, but not of the list.

winged

There is one more. I can see it. I can still see it. So can the man who told me. I didn’t see it. Neither did he. It is in our mind’s eye. It is about to enter yours. Alan went on the Viking ship. Down to where the fjord walls are tall and close. It is quiet down there. The skipper is quiet; a quiet man. As they flowed, so did his words. To a quiet crew. “Out there it was. By the side of the wall, and only just above the water. The dark thing with wings. I have sailed this way, and other ways, many times. I have never seen such a thing as this ever. It was slowly flying with large angled long slim wings; a suggestion of shape, a definite shape of wing. A timeless slow sense of flying. I don’t know what it was.”I don’t know what it was.

61, 78, 30, 2000 (est.), 30.

Yes here it is. The time. The point of the blog.

I held a story circle each evening and sixty one people came and listened. Some of them popped in briefly, some came every time. Some of them said ‘awesome’ in a quiet voice. Some made tricky suggestions.

I felt young.

My main audience were 15 to 21. I am honoured to be listened to by such. For up to three hours at a time. I still see the faces.

From 61 to 78. I performed alongside others. Vikings flocked to take part in my stories and talks or to join our parade. 78 of them, yes, I worked with 78 co-performers. Some of them, I admit, are duplicates. When someone drummed and marched one day and then acted another day I count them twice. It is still a whole host of willing Vikings.

galda

Each day my chieftain (Olafr Reydarsson, we call him Georg) and I led a group of musicians around the camp inviting everyone to join us. Lars Magnar of course was beside me. We stood upon the holy hill. Our rune-lore master, our Glima lord, our mythology study, our wise scholar of all of the once was, he stood among us, we called upon him, and he unleashed the ancient, the returned, the spiritual, powerful, Galda. That screaming call. It changes your understanding of what it is to be alive.

opening

We welcomed, we warned. We stood upon the stage and we informed, we made fun, we celebrated, we shared, and a host of people from Anabel to T’or Eric filled the floor with their re-enacting. Mainly. We laughed.

We celebrated and laughed with the mayor, with the team who are building our Viking Town, with crafts people, with entertainers, with spiritual leaders, with the dead, with the children who crawled and climbed to be part of this.

And most of the tourists survived.

harbour

There were presentations on the new Viking town we are building.

T’or Eric carried a dead body across (Daan) and Anabelle wowed the crowds with her product demonstrations. We even had a guest spot from Lady Shaga and a couple of guys carrying a plank. Vibeke and her team fought to the death and Kjell robbed them.

We even had a slave team run screaming through.

Every day we lined up and were multi-national. The pic below here shows most of the people involved, but one or two weren’t there that day. We had many languages and many accents, including, Scooohtish, posh, New York and Minnesota.multi

I spent thirty hours in performance. I estimate that two thousand people watched us and I probably spent about thirty hours planning it all.

That’s it.

No, hang on.

I am wrong. I am wrong about the 78. I forgot about the one I wasn’t at. As Holger had been in the news we thought it right to redress the balance and have him kidnapped as a slave. I put the word out through Karyn who whispered while she was braiding, and over thirty women turned up to clap him in chains and wrap him in a net. He didn’t fetch much though.

party

One more number to finish. As I walked back from the bar I counted 31 waterfalls within sight of the camp.

garden

And an enormous thank you to Angela and Georg for putting up with my trying ways and for making me feel so at home.

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

So Spoke the Skald 08 – Songs of Odin

So Spoke the Skald 08 – Songs of Odin

From a forthcoming recording The Boat Rising, this is the words of Odin arranged by me.

Read at the Gudvangen Market Opening Ceremony and at a child’s blessing.

Let words that echo resonate among the mountains, through the trees and throughout our lands.

Deep he went the Odin-one to seek the rune, to gather song and long long his words go on.

Let nothing harm the child, we fill each heart with happiness.

And women strong who bare them, let you be free of all pain.

To rise again to visit a warm bed..

Let love be in the heart, the body, in the loin and in the thoughtful head.

Let love be long and passions share whenever youthful women wish to dare.

For all will heal in time. This is the pledge the oath of man.

Let all wounds heal, let weapons fail.

Wild steam and fire quench upon the world and in the once so angry heart – be calmed.

For bondage shall be gone, all suffering, all pain, and chain.

Let all the weapons blunted be, for this shall be our start.

Odin’s words, his song, his rune, be our defence, our promises.

Through fjord wall, through forest glen.

Let Odin-hope be echoed still, throughout the hearts of man.

temple

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

The Reclamation of Love

I don’t do art, draw, or paint; I create images to compliment a poem or a story. This one says, ‘Read my poem; be inspired to love’

The Reclamation of Love

I think I’ve found love

and this time it is going to last

It came on fast

It let me know it is here to stay

This love has spoken of forever

Coming to me in a moment

In the petals of a flower

The seven hour scenery

Had many

Only one leapt out at me

This is a love of everybody

A love of me

Sadness told me

Lost love loses everything

Letting the feelings of failure

Come flooding

Forgetting enthusiasm

A trap of remembering

Saying

Never again

Never never again.

Never, be reliant on being,

of being better,

because of someone

Then, while thinking of others

of knowing

of helping

of contributing

I saw this one simple thing

Love is for experiencing

of living within

In the petals

of a passing flower

In that blessed glance

I rejoin the glorious dance

The song

The song I shall sing

Is

Love,

foxglove love

is in everything

foxglove

………………….Adrian Spendlow

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

Gudvangen Opening 2015

So Spoke the Skald 06 – My Opening Speech at Gudvangen from 2015

Adrian Spendlow The Blog

Here is my opening speech for the Gudvangen Market in Viking Valley in Norway. I thought I would share it with you and a few links, pics and footage too.

This is our encampment, our village, our market, our time
We are Vikings now
We live that way
as Vikings have always gathered, we gather here
And we learn
The people here know so much
We are living as Vikings
For the love of our past
And our heritage
Our shared heritage
Of the way you were
Of what you are from
There is something like this inside you
We can all learn from each other
For we are all experts
There are so many here with such amazing skills
It may well be the magic of the modern world
which brings us together
The skills of the dreamer, the planner,
of the group; those who bring trade goods
But…

View original post 302 more words

Where We Were – So Spoke the Skald 05

Where We Were

Walk close to the past

For it brings you who you are

Gives you a place to live

A belonging; A sharing

We walk together with love

Authentically care

Paths chosen

ASAdrian in the Norwegian theatre hut cropped

….

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

So Spoke the Skald 04 – Wishing You in Gudvangen

Oh I am so in Norway at this moment. Gudvangen Viking Valley… can see the fire, the late sun, the faces in the walls, can hear the waterfalls in the distance and see the gleam in the eye across the flames. I can taste the mead.

I can feel the thrum, the dizzying thrum as the water flows and the rock heart sings.

There are huge rippling circles in the fjord and no one knows what could have leapt so large. I smell the forge, the fire and the forthcoming meal. In a moment someone will turn to me and say, “Tell one of your tales Adrian”.

I cannot impress with stories of pixies, troll or elves for there are always a few sat close with a wild gleam in their eye who swear they have seen them, swear.

The night is here but there isn’t time for sleeping yet.

I love the storms. many fear them. but when the dark clouds lower to meet the very tips of the fjord and Vikings walk stooped as if they may be crushed, I stand and raise my arms and will the wind, “Blow down here along the depths of the valley, through this cavernous tunnel of ancient rock and sweep me, let me know I am alive!”

Let the many many low slender forces of water falling from far up there at the edge of the walls never reach the valley floor, as they turn to mist and meander serpent-like across the sky to reach and greet the powerful clouds.

And I would be up this morning coming to us in the early refreshing of the light, to see the still shapes in the hanging snaking mists, turn away and return and they are moved and different. Here upon you one moment and high and clinging to the turns of stone another.

We will gather in the day tomorrow, pipes will call and fluting sounds will weave as shamanic darks invite to learn of timelessness, and sweating efforts recreate from the hand-cut natural. We will watch or join as racing effort competes and strains. We will laugh at tumbles, open mouths at astonishments and surprising victories and we will cast a spell, by learning or by simply being.

I am in Gudvangen now, in my heart and in my thoughts.

Image031

I see you there with me.

.

.

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

Vikings May Our Wishes Come True – a slightly jocular protest blog

history-tabviking-life-taboldman-tabviking comics inc tab.jpgpoetics tab.jpgrants tab.jpgchat tab.jpgspooky tab.jpggby-tabnewsnext

Vikings May Our Wishes Come True

And I would like you to share this to as many people as possible – then my wish can come true as well.

All you have to do is come to Gudvangen (or send something – see later) and take part in my ritual (project).

How it works is, I hereby declare the perimeter of our Viking Market a magical place; a magical line. I ask you to come and decorate it.

Because it is orange!!!FullSizeRenderOrange.

If everyone who comes takes something to the fence and weaves it into the fence or hangs it from the fence my wish will come true.

I promise, that if you add something to the fence that you will be able to make a wish; a piece of bark and branch of an old tree, a piece of cloth – anything, anything, anything. I say again, Anything!

You will then be able to make a wish.

Then my wish will come true –

Vox Pop:-

“Well done Adrian, I will help”

“It is all we could afford”

“Cover it up for godssake”

“I will send the kids”

“Adrian, I don’t think the Vikings had political activists”

“You are making the world a better place”

“I think it is a Noray Design conspiracy”

“God it will be ugly if not”

“It is an ugly, horrible, disgusting, garish, untra-modern, vivid, bright orange bl**dy plastic fence.”

Steady now

We shall cover it up!

Yes that is my wish. That fence must go!

Please do this, please share, or you will be forever cursed by pictures of your visit here with orange in the background.FullSizeRender

I promise, that if you help with this; by sharing, telling people, sending things, hanging things, weaving things in, you will be able to make a wish.

I promise.

The Birth of a Viking Town

The Birth of a Viking Town

How exciting to playing a part in the growth of a Viking town. There are massive plans for Viking Valley here in the magical Gudvangen. Already world-renowned as a place of Viking life, the long dreamed of project is now launched.

A Viking town. Situated here in this place where visitors already flock; within the valley walls of this fjord between the long falls (I count 14 flowing down to God’s waters as I write this).

Right now at this moment I observe the valley. A wide expanse with different areas; the narrow flowing village of spacious timber dwellings, the far farm houses below the steep goat trail, the central encampment all along the riverside where Vikings have landed and gathered each summer. Nestled quietly beyond the silver birch is a throng of arrival – a ‘landing stage’ from the world. Cruise ships in a trail along the supremely beautiful Sognfjord disembark their eager passengers. Flåm railway has dispatched its host of visitors to their ferries to come here, (you can hear their multi-national voices cheering as they sight their destination), and Aurora, Alexsson, Benevista, Viking Tours etc accompany a hiss of air, a whoosh of door with, ‘We have arrived at our destination.’

There is plenty to experience here in the Viking Valley, especially in a week or so when the Vikings arrive on mass for our annual market, yet we are only at the start of our journey.

Gudvangen is already high up on the list of places to visit in Norway, and within a year or so it will be higher up, it will probably be top of the list of Viking places to visit. For here we stand at the very beginning of our new journey.

I was privileged to be involved in the launch banquet, to see the presentation for the media and for all the tour operators; as plans were unveiled for Njardarhiemr.

I will attempt to present a ‘picture’ of what is in store for us, but first, the food!

It is of course a major part of all life, not just Viking. I am enjoying the simplest of tastes of Norway by buying kaviar and having my favourite snack; Brunost (dark brown cheese) with sliced pear and honey. I expected far more of course, but I didn’t expect to be invited to a banquet. The chef team here have been working hard at bringing us dishes which are authentic and of restaurant quality. As the fire pit is being unearthed we are told how we know of the techniques, such as fermenting, curing, drying etc etc, and that we know of the ingredients, yet we have very little in the way of recipes. It is creativity and imagination from talented chefs which adds the final ingredient. This is authentic, for it was true then as it was now. The three main factors in Viking age food are the techniques, the available foods and the talents of the cook, and Vikings were very good cooks – So are the chefs here!

We had a savoury cream porridge topped with fermented carrots which was delicious and I am planning to have a go myself. Marinated cod with green leaves was wonderfully delicate, although I was a little concerned during the introduction, (There is a lovely tradition here of the chefs introducing the dishes as they appear), when we were told the marinade was made from wee, it turned out to my great relief that this was a mispronunciation of whey.  Another dish of the several courses I enjoyed was the smoked mackerel with cheese; the cheese was soft whipped cheese which appeared at first to be whipped cream and I was a little surprised when Janett a hotelier from the region commented that it was liquorice cheese; It was delicious, especially with the rye bread and local butter. The fire pit had contained lamb and celeriac, both tasting excellent.

Viking rice will be a popular staple during the camps, festivals and markets I am sure; a delicacy new to me where barley is served in the way rice would be, often with wild garlic.

This year as always I will be enjoying wandering from tent to tent being offered tastes from the pots upon the fire. I will be cooking that way myself of course. Another highlight will be the new team from within the Njardar Vikings who have been researching and practicing methods from the time, they too will be providing meals of an authentic nature.

Personally I will no doubt be making an offering of Neolithic cave bread, not Viking age exactly but I am sure they would have known of older techniques such as cooking upon stone.  In previous years this has proved to be great fun, with me starting cooking around six and still at it at nearly midnight.

I have another plan this year too. An English Viking dish! Well I am sure they would have eaten eels, so why not jellied eels. I am going to have a go. It is with great pleasure that I hear there will be fishermen among us doing presentations of their catch and I am hoping to procure some eels.

If anyone has any idea of how ‘liquer’ is made to go with the eels do let me know.

Another way food ideas will be expanded is by the consideration of vital aspects of Viking life; raiding and trading. We ruled an empire. All sorts of foods will have been brought up this fjord from around our ‘globe’. All sorts of people will be taking part in our camps too, we have had over twenty nationalities living here as Vikings in previous summers, many of them will be bringing their Viking-age knowledge.

We will all be bringing skills and talents too. This new town will be full of drama, real life, entertainment, activities and courses. From horsemanship to Viking weddings.

Be ready to be part of our town as we bring Viking life – to life!

temple
harbour
map
Official plan -see link below

http://www.gudvangenutvikling.no/

https://www.facebook.com/vikingvalley

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

My guide to getting to Gudvangen

I might give a little bit of thanks too

history-tabviking-life-taboldman-tabviking comics inc tab.jpgpoetics tab.jpgrants tab.jpgchat tab.jpgspooky tab.jpggby-tabnewsnext

I might give a little bit of thanks too

(here is a little bit of text to fill the space when it is posted to Facebook so you cannot read my blog without clicking the link)

Given my own space to be

Even when I was ill and let everybody down

Even when I wandered lost around the long country roads in a fever

I now know where I am, but it took a while.

Now recovered I relax

Meanwhile if you want a detailed drawing of the underside of the upper bunk let me know

I can recall every detail

or perhaps the back of the loo door

moving on

moving swiftly on

how many of you readers can say you have been collected as soon as you were ready and taken to a woodland full of tents and fires and wonderful people

To spend time where everything is ok

Where you discover Viking Ris (Barley grains cooked to perfection) served with wild garlic and root vegetables like you have never experienced

Even the water from the earthenware jug was amazing

To be taken from there to the chieftains house

To be made welcome and allowed to be yourself in your own space and to be drawn in to be fed and shared with in this rambling timbered wonder of a place

On the way here I saw roaming marshlands, huge wading birds, faces in the rocks, llamas, Elk (I think, but something big moving on the mountainside – perhaps a bear), a roman villa, the grave mound of Half-Dan the Black and so much more.

I recovered in time, once here, to partake of a Viking banquet created by globaly renowned chefs and was honoured to be asked to perform for the press and the Vikings (although the picture of me in the papers was rather grossly dramatic).

I have eaten my favourite food; dark brown cheese with pear and honey.

Today I was taken through the mountain to the next world, where trains and ferries traverse, I wandered through an organic garden where seeds I sent are flourishing, I bought beans to sprout because you cannot get beansprouts anywhere here, I learned to tell the time, and to call others to dinner, and I climbed an ancient burial ground: I have walked sunwise around a stone-which-is-stood as others have done before for countless times.

I am in a world which is countless.

Be here.