Gudvangen Dream Life as a Viking – Dream-time IV

Gudvangen Dream Life as a Viking – Dream-time IV

I have already been there, in other writings, in other lives, and these are the times. I am stood between Siw-Alfadis and Blathnaid-Brigid whilst Bjorn-Ole surveys the sea from the promontory, we are in Njardarheimr in Freyr-An’ersh’s Gudvangen Village of the Vikings. I am here with my heart. I am at once really here and yet also actually here in this dream.

My Gudvangen Dream Life IV portrays me already in a Viking-style life in Gudvangen where I am actually living as Skald to the Viking Chieftain in Njardarheimr Viking Town in Norway; in this blog version everything of myth and legend has become real.

Stay in place as followers to know what happens next; beware, nothing is made up, yet most of this is dream.

NB The names used are taken from those I have known but the characters added to them are based on other people I know.

PS Credits will be given for any writings.

PPS You can become part of this by sending me thoughts and ideas adrianspendlow @ gmail.com or by commenting below (as if you were there). A huge thank you to all those who have made suggestions and offered writings (there are loads half written up for the next one).

Gudvangen Dream Life as a Viking – Dream-time IV

We use the name Viking yet we are different, we are from different worlds, different worlds of thinking. We are together; I do not think like you. I do not think like you. I am Vanadís. disI am Díser of the earth. Creature of the old ways. I craft. I drag the iron from the very earth. I tell stories. I tell stories from my mother tongue. Far away. We are all far away. We are all here. See how the spring shoots grow. See how the hammer is protective. I sew the Troll cross. There is little time to practice to survive. I swing the iron. We practice with long shafts. I see the Ramslurk grow. ramslorkI see the mists and their foreboding. The children play. The wolf sleeps. Dream people; for we are a commune. Ships come.

Our chieftain, Freyr-An’ersh, respected as he is, he welcomes, while we judge and consider. They bring more skills. We flourish. We are what you call Viking and this is where we lie. Tread lightly as you go for you walk upon our heart.

Fires suddenly burn along the tall ways. watch fireAlong the high edges of the fjord walls. The lands we hardly know of. Top side. Up there in the Sami lands; the seasonal lands of nomadism, they pay respect to us. They are watchers. They trade with us. They will come down soon as warmer weathers once faded lead to cold times before the hard freeze. They go somewhere else when it is all frozen solid. Some say they go to other worlds, some that they are always of those worlds and visit us through a veil, some that they cave-live for the winter, in the steep sides of uninhabited fjords where no one can observe their smoke.

They will come down for the final trade quite soon. Coming to us is the nearest they ever get to warm climes, and that is in the far end of autumn.

So the beacons burn. watch-fire.jpgThe ancient debt we receive for; the old old owing, yet how can we ever repay the repayors! They far surpass whatever it was in ages past that caused them to be owing to us. Yet the fire beacons burn when we are in need of warning. They watch from on high whenever they are in the heights of their seasonal hunting grounds. Their camps look down upon the fjord and they see ships come. So they light the beacon fires; one upon one upon run and light along the high ground; and we know, we know: of battles, or enemies, of returnings, of strugglings. A ship is coming, (or a leviathan). We shall not venture out to sea to see.

We shall watch. We shall prepare ourselves.

Bjorn-Ole stands the stock of blades and bows in the strategic places we have established. Our defences are in place.weapon pot

Poppa-Varg, Poppa-Volva and the other children climb Yew and Maythorn trees back on the higher ground.kids tree

Warriors; Tor-Gunlodd, Brunhildr, Ailbhe Connell and Frode-T’or climb cliff sides.

There is an expected returning. There is a ship we know and love returning just as we hoped that it would quite soon. Nothing comes. The beacon fires up high should have brought a ship or result by now. Our Viking ones are overdue. The beacons must mean other than ‘Here comes your brethren returning’.

Our thoughts are that, there is a complication. Perhaps enemies assail them. Perhaps they are all dead. Perhaps they are sinking on their way home.

We do not know and Thorfinn Asmundsson will no doubt regail us of the tale in a slash by blow way after the settling of them; the hopeful settling of them. We wish and hope for a safe fare landing together if all return and blood is staunched; the fettles calmed.

A light, we see a light. Surely we do. Just a hint of a glimpse of a dot of a shine that amplifies within the mind into a massive talisman of hope. There is a ship coming, it has a light above. We peer in hope and anxiety. Down the long fjord we glimpse for real.boat torch

It cannot be an enemy shining one light. Many fires waved would be to intimidate us, but just one would serve as a warning and defeat the objective of the incomer; so this shall be our returning vessel.

One of our brave travellers must have climbed the mast with a flaming torch and is lighting the way. No, the light would guide them very little, it must be for us to see. They are letting us know that they approach. They must be a-feared that they may not make it, they are struggling. “Sail out, they are sinking,” cries Björk-Mari, “Board our vessel here at the harbour and sail out. Just enough to crew the ship, to row to their rescue.

“Yes,” calls Siw-Alfadis, “we may need room for them to board for safe return”.

The one light in the far far distance is standing now, it comes no nearer. “We must hurry, worries Jan-Robert.

Leif-Lasse leaps, “Row, row like the wind”.

“One of you must climb the mast with a burning brand so they know you are coming, to give them hope: for us to see also so we can hope,” Signy Volsungsdottir.man torch

Long is the watching. Long is their journey. Small hands clench maternal hands. Our home ship is slowly nearing the returning vessel. Just in time perhaps we hope. But no. The far light is tipping. Slowly, steadily, heading lower. The mast is swinging. The ship is tipping. They are lost to us in some moments.

The home ship is nearing. Our hands are all gripping. We gasp. We cry out. We clench each other’s shoulders. They are, distantly from us, heading for the ice-cold sea. The nearer ship approaches them, it is traveling fast. They are rowing as hard and as sleek as they possible can. We fear that they will ram.

The one light steers beside the other light. We see the lower light lift. One ship has hit into the side of the other with its fast-incoming flank.

The power of the one ship arriving straightens the other. We see the flaming torch lift till both are the same height.

We can only guess the crew are pulled aboard. It seems that the lightened load of the suffering ship may well be enough to let her ride this stormed night.

There is no blood left in our fingertips, nor in our shoulders, or in our hearts. We can scarcely breathe for the holding of each other so very very tight.

“One ship is bringing both the crews and is pulling the other ship in too,” sighs Björk-Mari.

It is an age and an eon until those two ships near us.

The torch is gone from the mast of the rescued ship and eventually from the saviour vessel.

Our cliff-top warriors cheer.men cheer

Eventually they are home. Their ship is home.

There is much blood.

It was a battle at sea. A swooping pirate of the waters has attacked and followed and attacked again. Our ship, the returner, was valiant and saw their ship adrift and empty. The binding which held them while the crews leapt from ship to ship in battle were unloosed. And the empty ship went far adrift before it eventually would go down.

It may have been better to keep it. For our far-travelled ship was much damaged. It made it as far as it did.

The ship is home. Both our ships are home. The long-journeyed crew are mainly returned. Safe and back and families are reunited.

All is good.

Not so.

This ship which returned did not remove its battle dragon. How could it do so. It is not a trade ship which returns. It is a ship of dragonhead.d head A serpent thing upon our land. Whether intentional or not. It has been accepted here with sign of war. With sign of mystical beasts. Of other worlds. The Díser are enraged. They abandon us. The land is cursed. Cursed. We all are cursed.

The land is cursed. The Díser leave us. All last growth dies. The new growth in the spring of tomorrows will not happen.

Our chieftain must journey to the land of the Vanadís. We burn the herbs. The juniper for the visions.juniper We shall all sleep. We shall dance, we shall tremor, we shall sleep and some of us shall journey to the realms of the Vanadís and we shall tranquil them. Standing with our chieftain as he bravely speaks. He steps forward and declares. He acts for us all and his true heart is read, “We ask of the earth to return to us growth and plenty”.

There is a cost. In old old tales we hear from other lands terrible costs are paid; the life of the first born, the servitude of the next borne or other such heart-wrenching promises. Terrible things. We promise a terrible thing. We promise that one shall go from our midst to ever-serve in the all-time forever as a Vanadís, returning only at will in the when-ever and at times of need and of love and of celebration. Always over there though in the forever of the timelessness.

We shall not choose who will go though. We shall wait till one is willing. We will tell this tale for generation upon generation, the Sami at the topper-most shall also tell. From our midst and perhaps from theirs too shall emerge a chosen one; chosen by their self.

And they shall go. They will be the payment for the return of life to this valley. The Díser shall be welcomed back. The earthy ones who inhabit our realm in a distant way shall be here and the Vanadís shall be in their realm. With our daughter or son. They shall be ever watching through to ours.

That serpent beast-head upon the returning ship has taken a terrible cost and payment shall be forever. (The one who eventually went is still there even in your time as you read this and they are looking down upon us all.)

Lo the freeze times come and there is chanting, throat music, names of old old gods and beings, remembered ones; chanting, casting, renewing.

Hear the visitation from above. Down the goat path they come; the Sami.pipe

Olga-Stina leads the dancing chant for all to add to. “We sing to lead.” “We sing to enchant.” “We sing to mislead.” “We have pipes of metal to suck back our kindred’s brains in revenge.” “Follow us if you dare, if you are of evil intent.” “Look you follower, a sharp drop off a cliff.” “Come with us enemies, we will keep ourselves safe by leading you, come, come, come.” They softly spookily chant, chant.

They come to trade. First. They come to work. They drag and dodge and massively bundled tree trunks dodge and slide and drag; behind, in front, by sides. They, harnessed, bring the wood they need.sami logs

They pile and build and burn and create charcoal, here in the flatter lands of warmer ways.

They bring the wood they need. They pile and build and burn and collect; resinous flowings. Twenty two trees for every trunk needed for wood work.

There had been a huge shadow behind each one of these shamanic nomadic visitations as they traversed down the steep sides in their ancient ways here in Gudvangen; with poles under arms they steered huge mountains to down here, to bring us furs.

There is, before they disappear for winter’s hard of hardest times, a trade, a final trade.

logsWhat can we give them worth their trading, worth their skills, worth their service?

They have charcoal for their forging, resin for their building, praise and thanks for their service to us. They have worked well high above and have aplenty.

Survival.

The crunch and the green and the fruiting of the lower lands. We have lived a summer; they have lived a harshness.

We have a year’s worth of preserves for them. Some still fresh too. Some in sealed leather.

Food up there freezes, here it ferments, when buried (gravved) we dig for them and they guzzle like it is fresh; they chant and then eat more.

Have we a feast for them. “Come join us.” “Come feast”

“Talk of fermented, here is brew you yearn.”

High nethers never yielded such dairy. Milk; they glug. Yogurt with honey they laugh and laugh with joy.yog This is a feast of many things, the largest of which is joy. Joy.

We have pledges to renew and enjoin.

Then.

Then there are bounteous gifts. You from the high lands have done us so much. You are promising so much. We will be united in the blessing of the land which the Vanadís have renewed. We shall be united in the pledged of promise to these Dís. One of you, one of us, will agree to go.

We have a yield to share amongst our two types of humans and a yield to share from our world to another world; the world of Dís. We commemorate this as promise. This is an eternal gift and true true all-world promise.

Boots we have. Bounteous harvest too. Much-folded swords.swords Treasures; Coptic and Islamic. Gold in bent shapes, and coins. Coins with many pictures amongst them. Jasper. Jade even. Dying materials gathered for this trade. They ‘yeep’ at the colours they can make. They almost wee at the thought.

We give them arched strong bows.

We cry now for they return the wool we shared. We have a holy gift for them we have held back, held back. Here first is the return. Wool. Uncarded it went and spun it returns. The Sami they spin.spin

They sit and they spin. They walk and they spin. They talk and they spin. They ride and they spin. They spin.

spin.jpgThem Sami can spin,

We have bounteous return for them. We have worked hard over the years, over the seasons two results. One for us. One for them. We own, we have a result from our shared spinning. We have to give… A blanket.

A blanket.

Thus is the strength of our gift.

It will be spring-time and gone by you know this yet here is the winter gathering. The fire. The mjord. The time of tellings. Of sharings. “We gather now and hear,” declares Poppa la Princesse Une fois.

“Let me tell you of a clear blue sky,”clear sky our Sami friend now relates, “and then of a terrible sudden downpour; from an empty sky it came, till in a blink, well everything was soaked and covered. Then the strange thing happened. In that instant out of the warm blue it froze. Everything frozen. A bush, the rocky mountain side, for I was not quite at the top. The stream, the moss upon the stone. Everything was silver. Completely silver. Even myself; I had to shake, twist, to break free from it and drop thin sheets down upon the ground. In the time it takes for chick to hatch it was gone and everything was wet and damp. The sky was just as blue and clear as ever”.

“I have been down below there, nearer the dim waters – in the almost always dark,” relates Finley Mac with his woman by his side, “As we sailed out I saw things, well, a thing; it was big and it climbed. It climbed so far then it leapt. As slopes turned to crags it needed to leap to gain purchase, but all of this was fast, very fast indeed. I don’t want to know what I think it was, I don’t want to hear myself say it aloud, but it was grey, it had long arms, long legs, a big knobbly head. I almost wish I hadn’t told you”.climber

“Indeed, it was huge…bigger than a tree and then it climbed in no time,” Linnea-Ingeborg whispers, “Hundreds of feet it jumped and he told me late one night in the sleepless dark how he saw the space between land and sky where the dark bulk left the ground…”

“There was something on the way back,” says Olafr-Andreas whilst staring outward.

“Who looked out, we were sinking!” wonders Frederick Steinsson.

“No there was something.”

A few listening shudder and quietly groan; they were obviously looking too.

“It had wings,” continues Olafr-Andreas, “No it was wings; wings of shadow, yet with strength. There was nothing else though. Just the wings.wings They were slow and strong and ponderous, and they were close to the steep stone sides; low over the water. Travelling forever.” “Wings.”

“There was something else terrible travelling back with us!” outbursts Kjell-Toffe, “A man in a skirt!”

“It is a kilt”, proclaims Collum McCull.kilt

“Well, you are from the far north, even norther than the north lands; just below the ice,” spells out Johnson.

“You are Pictish,” points out Patrick.

“It is better than Elvish!” chips in Myrull-Ylva.

“Or silky!” remembers Olve-Daan.

“Or from the realms of rain, begorra,” winks Ragnhild.

“We renamed your Pictish land after us doon forget; Land of the Scots, doon forget that means Irish,” laughs Blathnaid-Brigid.

“Irish? Eh, O, OH, Aye?” laughs Collum McCull.

“Ah yes the land of little men and rainbows,” adds Lars-Eirik.

“The place where the women came from!” Blathnaid-Brigid interjects, “The scribes”.

“That is another story,” adds Add ri An.

“Hex yer, hush noo, ahn look yee tiv the skirt of the monn will yeee,” winked Inga-Idun.

“Take the blame you sailors of all Viks,” declares Hin-Mann, “All the north and all the northern lands are of the Viking in ouradays, look not to stilltocomeadays or longgoneadays I ask you to awaken promptly. All is Norse, deal with it”.

“Kjilt inne Norske Yeh,” laughs Meretha-Silje, “Pleat the material. Look yeh at hoo affluent you look. You are a Viking if you are terribly proud.” “Aifter you.” “Aifter you.” “What yer doing pushin in yer grunta?!”

I heard the dying words of Atle, “it started here”.

Eermm ok… once upon a time”, starts Björk-Mari, “there was a very commanding Viking chieftain named Hrollr. His village was very powerful and other chieftain would travel from afar to pay his respects in the hope that Hrollr and his army wouldn’t wage war upon them. They would bring Hrollr their most prized treasures from raids from all over the world! One day, a Scottish chieftain by the name Glnockie came to visit and he brought with him the most exquisite wool from the Highlands. Hrollr was mighty impressed with the quality and beauty of the tartan and ordered his most prestigious seamstress, Njaela to stitch together a tunic that he was going to wear during a blot and in honour of Glnockie.

Njaela was ecstatic at such honour bestowed upon her and immediately began cutting the fabric, despite it being darkplad – so she sat down by the fire and began her work. As she was almost finished, a tiny spark from the fire caught the fabric and in front of her eyes, half of the tartan vanished before her. She knew that the chieftain would certainly have her blood-eagled for this, so she called upon Loki to help her.

Loki had travelled far and wide in his eagle-guise and had seen many strange things however, he quite fancied seeing the two chieftains at war so he began telling Njaela a tale of how the most powerful warriors in all of Midgard wore “half skirts”. Thinking that this would surely impress the chieftains, Njaela began sewing a “half skirt” and added, bedazzled it, with jewellery and a bag with the most beautiful hide she could find.

The next day, her chieftain, Hrollr, called upon her and asked her to show him the tunic. When he saw the “half shirt” he almost exploded from rage until Njaela was able to explain to him that all the greatest warriors that Loki had seen in Midgard, wore those but that this one was the most exquisite of them all. Upon hearing this, the chieftain put it on and entered the feast, presenting his “half skirt” to Glnockie.

Glnockie was so impressed by the “half skirt” that he immediately asked Njaela to make him one too – which she of course did! Upon arriving back to the Highlands, Chieftain Glnockie became a fashion icon and all the clans in the land followed suit.

The Vikings however, quickly discovered that the cold didn’t agree with the half skirts, so the trend never really caught on here.”

“Or so it is told.”

“I came here from even farther away,” tells Bjorn-Ole, “My family were traders and travellers so I was born and bred upon the road and have never seen my homeland. I learnt of the letters though, and so I have written. chinese 01I sent my ancients letters in a message to be sent to my grandparents in our faraway land”.

“Ah yes I have seen those pictures that you write which are like complicated runes,” adds Nils-Harold.

“They are our letters. I dimly remember how it is done from being a child and Add ri An commanded that I should send word. I will never be able to visit as it is so far away and I am a Viking now. If I could visit I would take sore eyes to my grandparents, but as it is I have sent the letters at the command of the Skald.chinese 02 He said I should say that they could congratulate me on being a good soul who knows their own path and is strong. I told him (didn’t I Add ri An) that I would be too blushed to say so even in writings. Yet he commanded it and Blathnaid-Brigid she also insisted that it be so. Mind you she also suggested I ask them to send us some silk!”

“Let the truth be known at your homes Add ri An told me and I admitted that his command was my command (‘Wise old man that you are,’ I added with a wink)”
“Hahaha he agreed reluctantly what a great honest skilled respected wise man he is who is strong and we are proud of. and he eventually agreed to say. Ah no come to think the wise bit was about me,” laughs Add ri An, “Say that a wise man said, that’s me. He promised.”

“What a noble errand indeed,” is the final word of Blathnaid-Brigid.

“Eh, it’s a good yarn,” smiles Teresa-Linn.

“I recall that when I came here I asked what the white stuff was on the tops of the mountains and now I am sending word of how well I am thought of here.”

“Your grandparents will have sore eyes,” adds Lis-Ravn..

“Wood-smoke fills us, fills this place, it will clear it will clear.”

“Tears are smoke,” acknowledges Tyra av Rafnsblõt.

“Tears are smoke and a sea trip will cheer us,” states Linnea-Ingeborg..

We sleep and as we wake we see the distant Sami climbing. These creatures are fond of welcome; fearful of a goodbye.

So, after feast leftovers are filling us to break our short sleep fast we recall the pledge of line and net to cast.fish

To net and line and catch and gut and clean and work together.

“A fishing trip, a boat outing, a pleasure to cruise among the fjord walls which in places never feel the step of man,” announces Linnea-Ingeborg.

“Lars-Eirik claims to be the only human to have stepped ashore at every one, (he does fish from his dugout often),” laughs Loke-Daan.boat

“Pale skins may have stepped there, but often it is as if my feet are the first ever human feet to stand a being tall upon these hidden inner lands, yes,” says Lars-Eirik.

Skirts are held. Arms are held. Ship bows are held.

And tensions, as we gaily step, are released.

This is a ship trip.

The waves skip.

More coming in than river ripples outwards. They bring a mix of clemency.

And we are ripping out.

A turnabout, we feel the drift, the tide within the turn within the burn; is going out. We row anyway. Sails in fjord waters are for gentle sessions or sheer emergency. We seek wider pass where half-rig will tender bob us on. While we sojourn.

Light twinkling on the facets of the stone sides gives a promise of spring,

“And while we idle,” muses the Johnson, “let me intrigue with a riddle…”

“Ooo yes we like a puzzle,” enthuses Svanvhit Smedsdottir-gjenfødt.

“I riddle…”

 

I am your ally on the hunt

But do not walk with me

Lest I be warning to your quarry

 

Eye glaze and there is quiet for a while.

Some know.

Others will think longer.

“I shall tell my tale,” says Bjarki, “For this journey reminds me of many,” he says as he sits and spins.

“I went to Hildrgard, beautiful Hildrgard,” he glances fleeting to the side, “and I told her – I had made a lock and attached it to my dwelling at the other side of the by, then I untied the key from my belt and offered it to her.”

“He clearly was asking me to move in with him,” chips in Hildrgard from her rowing perch.

“But you wouldn’t would you.”

“I moved in,” she added, “I said I wouldn’t be with you because you had nothing.”

“I cannot help being an orphan; a victim of chance, war and plague.”

In a stirring of mail across towards the prow T’or-Gunlodd asides, “Balder wasn’t there for you was he.”

“No T’or-Gunlodd there was no sense of family for me,” agrees Bjarki

“Never-the-less,” states Hildrgard, “your uncle left you the house, the small house. The blacksmith Svanvhit Smedsdottir-gjenfødt taught you how to make the lock and you still owed her for the iron, not to mention for the lesson.”

“I pledged to pay the blacksmith in the same way I pledged to pay you; a future promise.”

“I wondered how you could ever repay of an equal value to such pledges. Then I learned you had arranged to go Viking.”

“So Hildrgard, you arranged to move in.”

“I agreed to move in on my own, then, when you returned, if you didn’t return dead, I would let you in if you brought treasure.”

Bjarki turns to the crew, “I came back with nothing. Nothing but an agreement to go again.”

“That wasn’t good enough, but I did admire your determination. I couldn’t agree to anything until after your return as you had no skills.”

“I used to watch my mother spin.”

“And on this ship, I asked him, there are times when you just sit?”

“Yes, yes.” Bjarki eagerly nods as if still in that moment.

“Then, I said, take this wool and this spinner and then we will see.”spin

“Few of us returned alive, all of us with nothing.”

“Except you, you returned with sacks of yarn. It was nearly enough for me to let you in, but not quite.”

“Then you had another idea, and I had planned another adventure.”

“I asked, when you are in foreign lands, do you sometimes sit by a fire? You said you did so, so I said, if you return and you have dyed this yarn I will accept.”

Bjarki looked proud, “I returned with blood-red yarn…”yarn sacks

“And treasure as well my love.”

“Armour and two swords!” beamed Bjarki.

“And arrows.”

“I made those.”

“And now you are my beloved Bjarki Famed Fletcher.”arrow

“And father of three!” grins Bjarki.

Everybody spins.

“I am looking forward to the goat hunt in the spring,” smiles Tove-Marie.

“I less so.”

“Why would that be Add ri An?”

“I clambered the old path by the Galda Cave and through the forest came a whole pack of wolves. They were running, running wild for the sake of it. They brushed right past me. One stopped, she was a large silver-grey she-wolf. She hissed breath in and out of her teeth and it sounded like, “Rieka Sølvulven runs with wolfs,” and then they were gone.wolf

Among the very mixed reactions is a sharp intake of breath everyone looks round, they are relieved to look away from Add ri An.

Olafr-Andreas speaks, “As I was about to die upon that tied battle ground at sea I saw a shadow of that famed she-wolf and the tide turned – the tide of the battle that is – I heard the shadow as it fell upon him say, May you feel the burning of a thousand suns as they rise at one upon you. And then I stabbed”.wolf shadow

The eerie silence is broken, “Perhaps once the returned ship is repaired it will be time to build another,” suggests Leif-Lasse.

Myrull-Ylva speaks, “This can be a good opportunity to be a fighter Viking for a big and rich chieftain. Maybe he will allow me to go to Gardariket also. Then I will fight for the big sultans and be rich me too. And then, I can go wherever I want after that. And get my own army of ships and Vikings. I can see me standing there with the big kings and chieftains, with sword of the best blacksmith in our known world.”

“I am a big rich chieftain,” proclaims Freyr-An’ersh.cheif

Happy laughter bursts from all.

“Back to enjoying the boat trip,” Linnea-Ingeborg.

“We are not doing much fishing,” adds Poppa-Varg.

They all laugh and look around.

As the boat gently bobs, their chieftain Freyr-An’ersh adds, “It is enough to know we have worked so hard. That we have enough of everything. To be thankful to those who gave. We move onward in our town in happiness they earned for us. Parties are not the only way to happy. Nor are stories. We are a story. We are taking a boat trip and it is fulfilling. While there is light enough.

Take time to feel the bobbing of the rhythms.”

Poppa-Volva chips in, “Oh look it is time to turn back!”wave

“Hahahaha”

 

“And so we return to sleep till spring,” adds Thorfinn Asmundsson.

“Ha you wish,” musters Tyra av Rafnsblõt, “This is when the work starts”

“Oh I long for spring,” sighs Blathnaid-Brigid, “Where I am pleased to know we will witness little miracles growing all around. I am sure we will, I am sure we will, and am so very excited.”spring

Footnotes and Credits

The element of the story where one ship props up another in a fjord rescue is based upon the real-life memories of my sister-Norn Sigrun watching out for family members returning upon a fishing vessel; hers is an extremely moving tale to hear.

Thank you to my chieftain Georg for the story of the dragon head and the Vanadís.

The traumatic effects of burning the fruiting juniper branch come from the book Legal Highs.

The riddle is the first of a few I shall feature and come from a small book of Vikingesque riddles by highly skilled bone-worker Peter Merrett (and I am sure many of you will wish to add comments below).

Thanks to my good friend Grethe-Irene for her tale of the warrior Viking.

The natural phenomenon of the ice rain in the Rockford area was brought to me by my niece.

Thanks go to Judson, Atle and Holly for discussions on kilts.

 

My Viking ‘Dream-life I

My Viking Dream-life II

My Viking Dream-life III

Storytelling is…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Norns Go Denmark

Three Norns Go Denmark

The best of times the worst of times, this always seems to be the way for me. So it is on this trip to Scandinavia. Yes my health seems to have taken another of its backwards steps whilst I am supposed to be getting better each day a bit at a time.new hat

I have been saying over this ill health year that there are good patches every day (my pal Donna wants to know where I buy these patches) I cannot even say this at the moment; no, no good patches but good people. Good people here every day and we feel like being here every day. So if you never see Sigrun, Alda and Svanhvit again it is because they have stayed here with me in ‘Wolf Town’ forever. Well, either that or their car fell completely apart on the way home. It started on the way here, and quite frankly there isn’t much left – except super glue and Gaffer tape.

I can be ill here and still happy,learning to weave I would be just as poorly if I was at home and I am surrounded by laughs, love and ‘loveliness’ yes.

royalty

The Norns. We are the three Norns and life is only perfect when we are united. Oh no, they have their mum with them! So I have promoted her to the position of Norn – where does that leave me? I guess I am the devoted follower; a bit like the besotted, squirmy, devotee you see with vampires. I am the Norns assistant.3 norns

I got here though – we are back in beautiful Denmark; last year I did a review, with a main feature on Danish design: It is rubbish! Unless it is eggcups of course, they are good at them.

Not that you can tell they are eggcups by looking at them. If you were out shopping for them you would probably pass them right by.

So, if you see something and you don’t know what it is, buy it, take it home and stick an egg in it.eggcup

When I say design what I mean is; if you build a thing you have built it, but if you spend time beforehand thinking not only about whether or not it looks cool but about whether or not it will actually work, or even better finding ways it will work better and in new ways – then – it has been designed.

That isn’t how it works here, well not in my experience last year, admittedly my very limited experience of just one apartment; a grannie flat actually.

Converted from a cellar and retouched recently to be lettable to mugs, sorry I meant tourists.

The loo was under the stairs in a miniscule cupboard where you couldn’t even stand up at the sink,tiny loo yet the bathroom was gigantic. One of those semi basement places where there are huge windows all along the back wall with no nets; this is all over looked by a children’s play area for the people upstairs. Needless to say, the second time I went in there I wore clothes, at least till I got the curtains closed.

The water from the shower hit the back wall of the bath and followed a runnel around under the shower heads. I realised as I got out it was flying to the tiles like a waterfall. I mainly discovered this by stepping into the lake my clothes and towel were in.

The dining area was in my bedroom, the couch and computer desk were in the other bedroom. The wardrobes had been newly painted and were sealed shut as a result.

The kitchen was minute; a short passage with a narrow cupboard by the window. A mismatch of tiny pottery hung on a rack and the one cupboard held the fridge (which ripped your skin off every time you opened it). When you turned on the really high tap the water hit the tiny round sink in such a way that it turned into a geyser which visited the electric hob in torrents, (most of us survived intact).

When we discovered the final straw of opening the window we were almost glad that is was impossible to close again because it was out of reach so at least the owner would understand that fault.

Don’t even get me started on shopping in Velje!

But no it is this year and that is all behind us. The 2017 review. This time it is Ryanair.

The engines are not powerful enough to be able to keep the lights on during take off. If they didn’t make us all sit in the dark we would never get off the ground, well not all the way up anyway. Similarly make sure you turn everything off when about to land or the engines will never get us to the ground.

Magazine racks are an optional extra same as tickets and seats are.

As for passengers, I don’t think it is just my mood but everyone travelling with Ryanair is really irritating. It is urgent to get to the plane as soon as possible. Some race across the runway to get to the back steps before you, even at the expense of a young family member, only to discover she has the now needed boarding passes and is at the bottom of the steps behind everyone. Hah hah hah hah haa.

Hah hah hah hah oh I have to wait until she can bring them till I can get past them.

Yes I know the boarding passes were checked at the boarding pass checking gate before we set off down towards the plane so don’t need checking again now we are all passengers getting on the same plane I know, I know, I know.

They lied about extra leg room, I didn’t fall for paying for extra leg room; it turns out what they really meant was actual leg room.

Flying Ryanair without paying for all the extra extras is like being in a plaster cast – and I had to share!!!

They brought me wine, though things are not what they were, one glass and I fell asleep.

That’s where I got to dream that there were two rival singers running airways; Ryan Adams and Brian Adams. I was lucky to be on Ryanair. Brianair is even worse, “Every breath you take, every move you make, I’ll be charging you.”

Let not my whole review of our holiday in Denmark be critical and bad I shouldn’t poke fun all the time.

The cabin is fantastic – cheap too. Here in Ulfsborg we are in the depth of woods and I am the log man.log pile

There would be no kindling without me without me there would be no kindling. The fires they burn because of me because of me the fires burn.

I have another important job too, that of fire monitor.

It might be worth noting that I have a specific walk for each of these important tasks, so the mere girls know what it is I am about.

I may have failed occasionally, when one of the ‘girls’ points out that a fire is getting a bit low. What they fail to realise is that they real man fire monitor has an inbuilt sensor and was just about to get up and add another log. Chop chop.

The area is beautiful. I admit Norwegians are wrong; whenever you say to one of them, “What’s Denmark like?” They reply in the same way every time, using the one word, “Flat.”

They are right yes, but they are quite condemning when they say it, dismissive, they cannot bring themselves to say more, for indeed there is nothing left to say.flat map

In future I may respond with, “And happy!”

It is not quite as flat as they say, not like in totally. It is beautiful with much nature (Beaches are hard to get to or even see without owning a holiday home among the private dunes) but there is so much protected wildness.

I have enjoyed: thatched rooves, wooded estates, gladioli (so yes it is beautiful), lille frogs, lille cakes, sporadic songwriters, antiks, crafts, fleas, fungi, pagan sacred areas, sculptures, sand sculptures, marinades, free vodka, fish cakes, Asatru forests, carved gods and goddesses, mother goddess shaped sacred areas, recovered long-ships, towers of hope, mjord, home-baking, proper bread, fired steak, thatch dryers, lille horses, bus shelters, everything.sacred me and serpent

We have planned: future trips, future residences, bake houses, barn conversions, Jorvik shows, poodle tales, Hastings, graphic novels, fan trips, London fashion week, TV series, rock opera, Vegas trips, tunics, wood carving, Greek myth shows, book launches, landscaping, stalls, food festivals, story shares, sock making, everything.posing

We look around, everyone looks happy, really happy, as we sit with chocolate Soft Is (not me thank you), they smile, as they pass they are so so happy – I hate them!

This is the happiest place to live in the world – How irritating!

Oh if only we had so much spare time. As we sat in Sandwichvej, Holstebro thinking of our drive back to Klitvej Cabins it wasn’t like we were on holiday at all all of a sudden. We looked around at a happy happy people who have half a vacation’s worth of time off every week of the year (I swear they retire at twenty nine and a half) it as like we were already halfway back to Drudgevej, Taskmadby.

They are so relaxed they don’t even realise bicycles are for exercise, (actually they are not, they are for getting from A to B cheaply and in a hurry, but there is no way on earth they would get that idea) they are a gentle occupation of the ‘occupy your time’ generations of this Nordic land.

They walk like they have those bouncy blades Paralympians use strapped to their feet, but not to hurry at all, oh no.

Slow cycle, slow, we have a lot of time to fill, a lot of time.

They haven’t rushed since they leapt off the Viking long-ships and charged into your land roaring.

Ah, all of those guys stayed in Iceland, Belfast or the Gorbles. These are the descendants of the remainder.

Not a lot of these oceans of spare time are spent on appearance; utility is the only option – and hairdressers for women must only possibly survive if they charge an immense amount per cut to whip it all off. Not one woman in Denmark has long hair. Boy cuts. Dead straight forward boy cuts, but hey ‘we gotta get out there and cycle slow looking happy’.

‘We are so relaxed we can not even be bothered clapping singer songwriters why should we have long hair?’

‘What do you think we are – Vikings?’

Hang on – there’s a fashion statement – there is someone coming up the street in a T shirt – with something written on – it says – it says – Let’s Party and Dance. They even need extra instructions on how to party!

Here on the way home I reflect in a more serious mood on how nice everyone was and what a great time we had.

I sit now with my sandwich of bacon, wettuce and what-once-was-tomato and recall the beautiful scenery. The forest deep in the centre of the country was my favourite part. The centre should be designated an area of outstanding unflatness as it is less like Bonnie and Clyde land and more like Yorkshire with extra wildness. It rolls.

We got lost. All we had to look out for was a particular tree but it could only be seen from the west of the trees and we were driving from the east (I think). My favourite part of the trip, of the whole holiday in fact, was getting lost in the wrong forest. I don’t think the three drivers were as chuffed, indeed I guess, Jonas wished he had come in his truck. It was magical nonetheless; and we did eventually find our sacred forest with its large carvings of the old gods and goddesses.

We will be going there again – by a more direct route.

I almost forgot – I am a Viking Chieftain!

We dressed up – no we didn’t – ‘we became’. Off we went to the meandering magical village of the ancient Danes.

guide
Our guide

This village has been built so well, modelled on dwellings and arrangements of the area and on buildings from other regions of the Viking empire such as Iceland.

The variation added to the natural appearance of the village which rolled and wandered just as if it had gradually developed.

Now, when I go back to Norway I have sailed the sea in many ships over in Denmark as soul command.captain

Christian (Schuetz) the storyteller from Germanythree in hut was so impressed with my interpretation which cannot be described as untrue that he invited me to the long house to sit upon the tall imposing chieftain’s throne. This I did and promptly declared myself chieftain. I can tell you that I addressed my subjects and all those around me obey my every command; wave I command and they wave etc.

In this land where I sailed those ships I had sat as chieftain yes.

And if you want to prove wrong my cheeky descriptions of boring unimaginative Danish people then go to the marvellous Café Sajd in Jelling and their highly exciting Mythological Festival. – http://www.cafesejd.dk/mytologiskartfestival/

That Viking village in Denmark

Gods Bless Ya!!! Our Rock Opera in Jelling

My Viking Saga in a Nutshell

My Viking town link – Gudvangen

thorsmind
Yes these are the things Thor has on his mind

klit

Image from Jelling Mythological Arts Festival:-pixie

tellers hut

All photos by Sigrún Björk Ólafsdóttir

 

 

 

The Door – Skaldic Blog No 14

doorThe Door

Who shall step inside to reside

For many will follow

Visitors all

Yet who is the one

To step through this door

Fierce fighter – Rights protector

Humour-bringer – Party-flinger

One young and one old together

Historian – Asatruan – Christian

Stargazer – Future-dreamer

Wish-bringer – Tomorrow–shaper

Who shall step through now

To allow and condone

Assessed, be enthroned

There is one  man

Who is all things to all of them

It is he,

who shall step through

Strong hunter; a future

See they build a wild door

A chieftain’s portal to another place

The place of visions dreamed

His gathered place for all of you

To be yourself,

Beyond the door

 

 

Adrian Spendlow

Recent blogs include from the Greek Myths, Athene and Pan.

Ales and Tales around York pubs.

and more as the Skald to the Chieftain inspired by Georg and Gudvangen.

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Opening Ceremony 2016 Viking Valley, Gudvangen, Norway; Live!

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Opening Ceremony 2016 Viking Valley, Gudvangen, Norwaytitle box squashed

Welcome, welcome, you are all welcome. So good to see you all gathered here for the opening ceremony of this the 14th Viking Market here in Gudvangen Viking Valley.parade 02

You are safe here, welcome; you can relax and enjoy yourself, even though you will be spending the day among huge, hairy, heavily armed Vikings.stage combo.jpg

barrelWe are glad to have you here eating our food, drinking our mead, looking at our stalls.

stall 02

oski small

Yes welcome, so relax you will be safe here – it is when we visit you that you need to worry.

“And we won’t be emailing, there will be no polite email asking if it is OK to visit. We will suddenly be there but you will know straight away. You will be well aware we are among you.”

poster norge

This is a very special place; there is something magical about this valley. Everyone says so. You begin to feel the effect of being here straight away.

These Vikings here, as soon as they step off the ship they calm down, which is unusual I assure you. All the time they are here they are friendly, easy-going and peaceful – well most of the time.

me solo 02Look at me. When I am at home I am a wild, dangerous, rampaging mad thing.

“Me too.”georg

You will enjoy yourselves! Do you hear what I say, and can you see the shine of sharpness along the edge of my axe. You will enjoy yourselves!axe.jpg

Besides, we have many things on our stalls which we want you to buy. We have been to many lands and learnt many skills; old, well-tried, traditional skills. potWe will enjoy showing you; try not to be nervous when you generously show your appreciation.

Yes, we have sailed to many nations. ship headWe have landed on a wide range of shores, seen people of many types – and robbed them, traded with them, I mean traded with them, yes, traded.

“Can we ask where you are all from?”

“Spain.” “Poland.” “Canada.” “Ireland.”

“Ah, those are the places we robbed.”

That’s where we got all these things we are selling.

“Hey, stall holders, lower your prices.”stall 01

Yes visitors we will sell your things back to you quite cheaply.

“And you will be safe here. Adrian remind them how welcome they will be, and how safe.”

Yes, yes, safe, yes. We have sworn an oath, an oath. We wanted to reassure you so we oathed an oath, and when a Viking makes an oath they make an oath and the oath that they oath is an unbreakable oath which we have oathed; an oath is an oath is an oath. Let it be known that we have oathed.me solo.jpg

“What is an oath?”

A promise; and a promise is a promise and…

“Don’t start that again.”story rc 07 j pic

No, right, of course, but we did; there is a ritual and a belief. To make that oath the first thing you have to do is – spit in a barrel.barrel

“Spit?”

Well we skipped that bit.

“Yes well we are selling lemonade and mead to you. So we thought it best not to spit in the barrels. Or talk about it even…”

No sorry. No spitting. The barrels are fine!

A promise is a promise though, and it has to be kept. We worry about where we will go when we die.

serpent tower.jpgOath-breakers have to walk through a river of gushing ice. This ice is formed into axes, spears and knives – then, you step out – to be kept in a tower made of living serpents. Bitten and sprayed with burning poison for ever and ever and ever and ever.

Or until Ragnarok; the end of the world.

“So we keep our promises; enjoy.”

If, you enjoy hearing of the old mythos – watch out for the ravens…

ravensA shadow will flicker over you. As you look up, the second raven will fly in from the world waters, by you see the third raven it will be too late. There it will be upon the mast of an incoming ship; a ship so terrible you will quake at the sight of it. The Vikings are coming, and they are no ordinary Vikings. These are Njardar. Njardar Vikingslag.warriors

We are coming to you and charging onto your land. Hear the roar. See the gleam. A huge army of huge warriors are upon you. These are the best (the Mayor of Aurland himself said that we were second in exports and visitors and soon to become first, so it must be true). It is like the sky itself is filled, and they wait, with weapons high, only for a command to charge. Step forward the chieftain; Olafr Reydarsson. When he speaks we listen. He is big! Very big!

bigWell, his beard is big anyway. He will give the command; the word and we will all, roaring, act upon that word.

The word is…

“Welcome; you are all welcome to come and visit us in Gudvangen. Everyone is welcome, except those who do not make others welcome. Come visit.”

And so they do, in their thousands, from all over the world.tents drawing

We have had a battle though, a long, hard fought battle – a battle to build.

As you step though those gates into the fourteenth Viking Gathering here at Gudvangen you step back into the past. Now. The long battle is over. harbour.jpgNow. As you step through these gates you are stepping into our future.

By the fifteenth Viking Gathering there will be a Viking Town. It is a two year project with the first row of Viking houses ready by May – I have put my name down for one of these already.hut

Here is the first of the timber being delivered now…timber

You will be able to take part in the Glima wrestling…glimawrestling

With hardly any risk to yourself….dead

Hear Galda upon the holy hill…galda.jpg

Learn leathers skills with Hamish, or buy his bags from Anabelle…leather.jpg

lady shaga.jpgVisit Lady Chaga…

Be warned; slavers are in the area and you are at risk…slaver.jpg

And it is no use complaining, we know that now. male slave one.jpg

But no, no, no, do not worry, as we have promised, you are completely safe here, well, until six o’clock. Once the market closes at six all promises are off!

“Oaths”

Don’t spit when you speak!

Oaths. Off.

Vikings will become Vikings again.

group 02You will be greatly at risk – unless you buy a tunic and a pair of boots and stay here.

Then you will be welcome.

“Welcome.”

Before we actually open the market and get on with selling you your treasures back, there is one rather tricky thing which must be dealt with.

“Don’t tell them Adrian.”

No, we must.

“There is a rumour.”

A terrible rumour.kurs group

“It has been whispered over and over as people come through the gate.”

We are now going to deal with that rumour.

“People have been saying that they have heard that a group of tourists with plastic wrist bands came here to visit and were never seen again.”

Never.

“Never.”

Never

“It is true!”

Never seen again!

They bought Viking outfits and became part of this marvellous experience.mal.jpg

“Now we must warn you.”

This may happen to you.

story one mp 01a.jpg“This valley is such a wonderful, unique place that once you have visited you never wish to leave. Many choose to stay and be here forever.”

group 01

This we must warn you of.

“But there is a greater risk, a great and terrible sadness and yearning which may come upon.”

Yes.

“If you do choose to leave here you will regret it forever.”me solo flipped.jpg

You will always feel that you are not where you belong and will feel terribly, terribly sad that you did not choose to stay.

guilty coloured.jpg

“Terribly, terribly sad.”

“Now, finally, we welcome you with one piece of explanation about what you might expect here, here is the secret – it is all about love.”elf table

“We will be opening the market again tomorrow.”opening flipped

And this worries me greatly.

“I will be wearing my helmet. It was a wonderful gift to me and is an accurate reconstruction of a Viking age helmet.”helmet.jpg

And why does it have a figure of a boar on the top?

“This is to signify that I command a team of specialist warriors.”

What kind of warriors?

“Berserkers.”

And you are wearing it tomorrow? This worries me greatly. I have pledged to always stand by your side. To dress appropriately and be there in the way that you need me whatever you ask of me. What does a Berserker wear?

“A small fur collar.”

And that’s it!

“Yes.”

Right I will have to get my outfit ready then.

“It worries me as well, I don’t think I will be standing next to you tomorrow.”

(“And if you blog about it tomorrow Adrian, do not do a drawing.”)fight

Thinking about it, I will make a great berserker. If you put all the fighters and all the wrestlers in the field ready I will be able to beat the lot of them, I will clear the field.

If I come screaming across to them wearing nothing but my berserker outfit they will scatter. I will see off the lot of them.

They will run.berserker me

“So will I!” “Enjoy yourselves today, because tomorrow is berserker day.”

We now declare the Viking Market open!opening

“This is a marvellous experience, with Vikings and visitors from all around the world, none of the differences you might notice elsewhere matter at all here, all beliefs, all life styles are for elsewhere; here everyone gets along and shares the wonder which is Gudvangen.”

So it is spoken by Olafr (Georg) and this is the world.

parade 03.jpgnaming

Naming Ceremony photos and footage

Aurland Photography

2015 Opening Speech (more moving)

Skaldic Pieces

Future Skaldic Plans

To Become a King

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

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

sign 01I 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’.

Long journeys listening to the sixties and memories.foxglove love

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

meThe 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.)

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.di happy

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.

There are wasps.small wasp

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 waspThis 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 changesThey 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.

Get ready to be stung.big wasp flipped

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

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.”wingedI 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.

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.galda

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.opening

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.

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

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.

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

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

So Spoke the Skald 04 – Wishing You in Gudvangen

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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.

I see you there with me.Image031

The Birth of a Viking Town

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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!

templeharbour

map
Official plan -see link below

http://www.gudvangenutvikling.no/

https://www.facebook.com/vikingvalley

My guide to getting to Gudvangen