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

 

 

 

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LH – Living History characterisation tips for re-enactors

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LH – Living History characterisation tips for re-enactors

Living History is fun, it is exciting, it is valuable, the more we do it the more we want to be involved; to deepen the experience.

As a member of Vanaheim, the University of York Medieval Society Viking group, within the Great Britain-wide group The Vikings, I have gathered together ideas, particularly for Viking encampments. shoppingEncampments which in British groups and in UK attraction / museum work are generally referred to as Living History, and I guess, without properly realising this, I have written this for my mates! Not consciously, but with them in mind.

They say write about what you know, so hopefully I know enough to be of help.

There should be helpful ideas here for anybody making some sort of history come alive for any period, (anywhere and anywhen), so not just Vikings.

To keep everyone else reading this then I guess it will be a lot of fun.

Beside many of the followers of this blog read it cos they want to know the details of my complex life (again mainly for the fun of it).

There is a lot in here, but it breaks down into two or possibly three basic concepts – get a grip of them and you are on your way to being dynamic.

There is also a Golden Rule, well actually there are about six Golden Rules, each of which is the most important one!intent

As for what Living History is…

Well it’s a tent innit.

The front is open and we are in ‘fancy dress’ looking out being hopeful.

Fancy dress is actually a terrible insult and bodily coverings and adornments are generally referred to as KIT.

Bumper stickers are known to exist stating, re-enactors do it with their kit on.

I prefer to think of it as ‘becoming’.

In Norway they have the expression, ‘Naked’ (in Norwegian). Being a Viking in Scandinavia leans more towards being a life-style choice. There is a whole lot more living in their living history in my experience. To the degree that if they agree to meet up without their ‘kit’ they say they will be naked.

For me, if I am caught leaving anywhere in modern day clothing I say I am dressed up as a person.

Anyway…

That tent.

If you are setting up a Viking encampment at a generic festival or a museum event type thing, you tend to be there sort of nine to five. There are artefacts and they are discussed and interacted with. There can also be reconstructions of life-style, often with drama involved.

If you are away for a weekend at such as the Battle of Hastings you will be living in the tent and some will be life-style, some will be presentations of interesting stuff, some will demonstrate skills and some will be selling from a stall. A combination of the lot is also good.

Ah, the other thing one is often doing, is preparing for the battle or for a show.

All good.

Oooo I forgot one, making things. That happens too.staring

I do feeling that we do better at these things if we get there early. If there are a few days to set up and live there before the public come in their proper numbers we settle into it more. This, in fact, is my first proper bit of advice, the longer you have been settled in and striving to live as a Viking where others can see, the happier you feel. There is a feel for visitors when they arrive that this is ‘real’ and you are living there.

If you are living for a week at a time or even for a couple of weeks at one event, or even if you are doing the whole season and travelling from one thing to another, spring to late summer, then you are probably in Scandinavia.

There they have markets, not battles or festivals, but markets.

People live in tents, they run courses, they sell items, they foretell, they hang out, they trade, they cook, they serve, they tell, they train, they watch or take part in entertainments, shows, battles, skirmishes. They wrestle and they scream out Galda.

Ah, perhaps more importantly, they sleep.

I am more accustomed to this environment, as you probably know. Spending a week or two at a time mixing between my shows and activities. I cook for a dozen, I do readings, I mix and I laugh. We learn from each other as we go.

As an honorary member of Njardar Vikinglag (But not Njardar Vikingslag) and as a privileged accompaniment of Bjorgvin Marknad I have lived. But that is all history. Always. History I shall live again and again and again. We are our experiences and we echo through time.broth

I guess the more one can experience this, the better, the settling into it. Once you have been around a bit you can do that anywhere, for any length of time; with a cape and a hat or with an enclave of enticement.

We all learn from our experiences and our repeated experiences. As Skald to the Chieftain at Gudvangen Vikingby in Norway I find ideas can take a year to develop into a reality. I do the activities I did the time before but with subtle additions, adapting to the needs of the environment. Then when we are relaxing over mead new ideas spring from our sharing and the next year they come into being.

That happens to all of us. It happens from listening and chatting with visitors too.

There will of course be environments and activities which I have missed out, do please let me know of these.

leahAs with the ideas and suggestions below. You will no doubt bounce off and adapt – I want to know.

Now here is Golden Rule no. 1 the most important one: be brief.

The first major concept: They are going to want to ask a question.

Golden rule no. 2 the most vital of all: There will be a point to it.

The other major concept: The vast majority of things you are doing, thinking and chatty about are appropriate.

There is going to be a whole lot more on these below and no doubt I will think up a few more concepts and golden rules as I go along in my erratic way. For instance Golden Rule no. 3 the only one you need to know: People don’t buy anything until they have bought something.

Right let’s start with that one, but don’t let it put you off; because I got this idea at a car boot sale (so don’t talk about it loudly in camp!).  There are lots of things of interest, there are lots of things we would like, we are not sure we have enough money, there is a whole weekend ahead. We might come back on Sunday. Then we spot something that we really want and it is cheaper than we expected. The excitement of that purchase means that in the next ten minutes we are far more susceptible to purchases. There will be a bag full, and we will need to buy a proper bag.

Well that was a really bad start because it was digression for the proper topic, before we have even got started too and to make matters worse here is another one. There are a few things on your stall they like the look of but don’t really want. There is one thing they find out the price of and it is far cheaper than they expected. Suddenly all the things on that stall are wanted and we want to grab them. This is a bargain stall, grab stuff.

Right back to Vikings

And tents.

That Golden Rule no. 1 – yes this is numero uno. Be brief.

Yes there are lots of tents and events and loudspeakers. presenter-for-the-rockfestPeople are roaming and trying to get a taste of it all or just trying to find their pal. As well as moving on shortly they have something to say. They are wanting to chat. They are unlikely to join in with the characterisation.

If you say, “You look like the son of royalty, will you marry me?” They will laugh as they approach but they are unlikely to bend to one knee for you. They are more likely to ask about your pommel. (I am not sure what one of those is so I hope it makes sense.)

And that main concept; asking a question. They have one; mark my words. They are an early-retired professional who reads the Independent And they have been thinking long and hard about their question. They brought it with them – on the tip of the tongue. Some might have a few, but mainly they have one that is so good that everyone is going to want to be asked. So that’s where this dialogue is going. Swiftly away from drama. Swiftly away from the many things you want to talk about. Nowhere near all the things you are desperate to show. This is moving directly to The Question. They, of course, did a degree in history or the arts or something and never got to use it in their career so they are trying to make up for lost time by impressing you. So hence The Question.

And now look at you. You are trying to answer that question aren’t you. You are giving it a very good stab. You are honestly thinking that they want the benefit of your knowledge and are intrigued to hear. They are hardly listening. As soon as you finish, they have another question to fire at you – but this time it is a rhetorical question. “So how come they didn’t pick their berries with a…” “So why haven’t you converted to Christianity?” “Have you ever thought that they would have known each other well?” “You do realise they must have buried more in the area too don’t you?” Those sorts of things.

tradeThis is because. They have A Point. Yes the Golden Rule of pointed golden rules; they have a point. Point. And they are going to make it, At every tent.

This is clearly something that is definitely right, (‘It must be’), but nobody in the history of historical researchiness has ever thought of it. (I know this to be true because I do it all the time.)

They will point downwards towards you in a jiggerly way, ‘Ah ha hah hah hah hah hah, ah ha hah har har har.’ They will do this with a knowing look until you nod in forced agreement. You may even have to smile in admiration of their wisdom before they will move on.

So yes, when it comes to the being in character bit, be prepared to be brief.

Take that as a warning, before we move on to the bits that are actually useful at last. Well hopefully they will be.

That other major concept: you are appropriate.

You are there and you are doing it. I’ve been there I’ve seen you.

I was inspired by my pals in their pre battle mode. There was all the when will we meet, where, where are they. Look you can see the smoke from their encampment. It doesn’t take much. Do you see, do you see.

You are the timeless entity that is history and are living it.

Just a little switch.

I saw the sweat and the tension. To be really honest the battle parts of it are not really my thing. But I felt part of it especially the prep. They were tense.table-01

Then they were gone. We don’t know if they will come back. We don’t know if we will be safe. The children watch them go. No one looks back.

Well this is LH let’s not get too carried away.  We got to chatting and living and forgot about them. We were in a summer village in our ship-tent long away from the farm or the winter dwelling.

There was earlier we talked about that. We were calm and not worrying. Purposefully. There had been the panicers and the gossipers and the worriers. “What are we going to do about the wounded?” ”There will be prisoners?” “Who among us will be prisoners?” ”Some will be dragged out in front of the lines of enemy in tearful chains!” that sort of thing. Actually this was the planners an coordinators who make it all happen and look for volunteers. But it doesn’t take much. Does it.

We looked back in that way and busied ourselves. We cooked.

Reality was we are playing. They real cooking would be afterwards, when the dead returned. There would be slices of cured pig which we would grill on the fire, small loafs cut and filled with fat from milk another farmer had churned far far away from battle (hopefully). Right now we played.

The small celeriac we had procured were perfect for roasting, they were hunter – gather size. There was garlic, there were onions, there was Viking Rice. Sorry that is a modernism; it was pearl barley. It was cloggy, I nearly put the fire out by tipping the pan badly, and I needed much supervision. It was nearly ready. There was bread awaiting cutting. The fighters came back.

They were alive. No battle. They had mustered. They hadn’t skirmished or raided. But they were ready. They were tense. They didn’t have long.

They didn’t talk or acknowledge us. They ate. The fervour of battle was upon them and I will never forget. We were providing, fulfilling a timeless wild need. Then. They were gone.

And that. Is why. I am writing this.

It was real. We can take that reality and spread it across what we do. 90% . Maybe 95%, yes 95% of what we do is living history. You just have to realise that. Talk aloud, slightly louder than you normally. Bit of feeling there. And it is alive (until we die).

End of blog.

Ah no sorry, I got carried away, that moment lead to all sorts of ideas and, at last, we are there and I am just about to write a blog on how to bring more characterisation into your Living History experience.

It has started.pan

Well, I digress a little, for instance, what was the other 5% about? Metal.

So.

Moving on to section c, d or is it five, I forget how many there’s been.

These are the bits, the bits section. A breakdown.

The Overheard – The what we are doing part

You are being in yourself. Like what we just said about 95%. We are just doing it a little bit more louder. It only needs to be of short duration and occasional. A bit like throw away humour I suppose. We know they are there and we were going to say this any way so we might as well make it into a bit. (See Lenny Bruce below.)

These are the things that you do turned into statements and vocal displays slipped between things which are real any way if we choose to look at this way.

Start that way.

“I worry about you in your pink leather hat. With this helm I am far safer.”

Then build.

They arrived gleaming and now they are dead and a new foe arrives.

That bishop of St Albans started this, just because we are clean and popular with the women. He stirred them up to kill. Women in pits with dogs upon them, children in the gate hinge. We have to kill and we are here and ready.

Talk about the season, the ritual, the moment of the year.

Preparing for death.

Act drunk, or use other emotions or attitudes.

Be overheard.

Then turn round and smile and welcome them.

“When are we changing into our Berserker outfits?”simen

Activity – The things you are practicing or working on.

You will be training, so do a dialogue. (I hate the word but…) simples.

While cooking ask, “Have you got anything salty?”

Have you any honey from Manuka? No maybe not.

Turn things you do into drama in an understated way. “We shall try this again my son, if you do not react properly and yet again I have to hold back my blow I shall disown you.”

“Watch the way my grip changes as I move.”

“Be careful with those onion skins they don’t grow in the ground you know! Every little bit needs to go in that pot of pee.”

Calling out – just moments that can sometimes lead to an afternoon (or a life together)

Try introducing each other ie have back story.

If we talk about our back story we sound like ourselves.

If we introduce another it sounds more real.

Be sure to have something to say in response mind.

“Let me introduce our greatest fighter, you can tell by the cut of his ‘thingy’ he has travelled far. This bead here; Icelandic.”

Build them, back stories. Try and have items upon you support this. Or the way you do things. Me? I am Hiberno-Norse settled in Jorvik after much travelling as a teller.

“He says there are little people in the mountains” “No in the woods, the ones in the mountains are big.”eric-socks

You probably have one of these built in your imagination, imagine more and build. Then of course ‘share’, so your team know you. Pretty soon the passers-by will know you too.

Get them to sit down. A wonderful Viking woman in Gudvangen Market does this. It should perhaps be a golden rule for it is a very powerful tool if done right. Not as a big thing, almost throws away that invitation. She sits there as part of the scene she is living and being, (because she is enjoying it), she looks around slowly and smiles, for a little too long. Then she pats the stool. “Sit a while.” Thats it, she doesn’t say anything.

They do. They belong.

Try using a reason to get them to sit down, “We will have reason enough to stand against another soon enough.”

“Join us or be against us.”

Act as if passers-by are real! Ask them questions. “Who do you fight for today.”

“Are you the Glima wrestlers we are expecting?”

“We want to make a new hat how should we do it?”

“Come here and settle an argument…”

“What do you know of the situation in Norway?”ritual

Comment as they pass.

“Much strength to your arm.”

“Do you know any good Galda?”

We will take one of your children. You shall take one of ours. The peace and understanding will come from the way they learn. Bring them back though, when they are grown.

If they speak badly of you they will know all the ways into your home.

(They did it then, it was still happening (as a one way only trade) to Roma in the eighties in Norway.)

Quote lines. This is a trick. Think of a line from a movie, a book, a game, a wise person, a saga, one of the clichés you all repeat. Rework them. Vikingize them.

Betrothals. Seeking such agreements from those walking along.

“Today is a good day to die.”

Skol!

Prepare lines in other languages (not Klingon).

Complain about the next tents philosophy.

Set up dialogues with opposite encampments.

Have you got any salt?

Would your daughter be interested in my son?

Insult the person next to you to the passer by.

stage-01Where are you camped?

You have come on the wrong day, talk of what will happen tomorrow or yesterday.

We haven’t got a storyteller, do you know the one about the…. ?????

It is my matrimonial day tomorrow, (pause for congratulations) I just need a partner.

The witch told me that…….

What We Do – The 95%

Talking about what has happened; just slightly louder. You will get in the habit of it. Setting the scene, as if living life live, and remember that is real.

Be there longer than the battle come before. Feel you are living.

Yes Keep it brief, and as they are passing is a good time.

Just be a little louder and be over heard.

Mainly just be because you are actually living it.

And remember they really are only wanting to ask questions so that you will get to listen to their valuable point!

Demonstrate your skills – yes – but also try training a fellow in your skills in a slightly louder way and dramatise. “No! you will be banished if you fail to learn this time my son.”

Props in your pocket: walk forwards from the group as if it is a secret and show them something so only they see.

Remember, your authentics pouch doesn’t have to be fastened (unless there are sharps).

Conversational impressions; doing the other voice,

“I heard the bishop say…”simen-02

“It is lavely to have you all here, I know your king said you would be beheaded if you didn’t join us, and I know all your places of worship have been burnt down but it is still laverly that you decided to cam, laverly.” (The vicar out of Postman Pat gave me an idea for a voice.)

Describing what you are doing, ‘I am bringing forward the sack of gathered barley’. ‘I am cupping my hands into the barl…’

‘Do not invoke the old ways, do not speak in the old style. These are new and different times.’

Research – Go look at stuff. Go look at the stuff in your head.

Many of you will have seen my Hobb character; he is Hobb the Pigman and yet he has all sorts of adventures (see links below), he has done battle and had historic encounters but from his point of view, the view of an ordinary person, never forget it is a lot different than the important person’s record of events, a totally original perspective. You can view ‘your’ world that way.

I had an interesting insight into perspectives recently; German medieval societies mainly drink and fight, but because that is historically accurate. I am not suggesting you adapt this into early medieval living history, but it gives us ideas of ways to be from the known values and behaviour

Gift. Give a gift. This is an onerous responsibility for the recipient, for they must find a way to gift, a gift to you of equal value. If you give then a horse they will be trying to pay you back forever.

So rune readers say. Look at the runes generally for ideas of values.leah-left

Draw runes. Defence; “I give you this sign but I fear it will do you no good”.

Get thinking on this. Contemplation of the runes will bring you many inspirations. (or the bible.)

Magnar I hear spoken of; Far better to have ridden on the dark-side and then decided to ride into the light than to simple have been good all your life. Far better.

Not sure the four horsemen give the same sort of message.

Death, birth, blessings, belief, what are you going to next? – or would have been going if you hadn’t died?

Talk about your death and what will be said of you when you are gone.

Where are you going?

How do such topics of contemplation effect the way you live generally.

(These are the sort of powers which make me the storyteller I am btw.)

There are snippets you know that you can bring alive, like that thing about eating garlic and onion porridge so if you are stabbed it will leak out and smell…. (fill in the rest of the story yourselves.)

Talk about the past. Your forefathers gave you wisdom. They shared stories. Taught you.

Like a bird building a nest you have those inbuilt skills of you past.

Your journey here, give us details. Share and ask.

Look stuff up, traditions, customs, use them. They are the stuff of life which shapes the skull.

Ooooo make cards to hand out secretly to fellow members so it is a game…

Acts against Humanity, barrels of doom.

Talk to larp people and dnd people.

Think of lines from films, books, sagas, change them a little and quote them.

Stones. The power of stones. The Hiberno-Norse came here to Yorkshire and they brought a huge leap in creativity with them. They had mixed and shared and in the mix was the stone carving vision of the pasts that came through the Irish contingent. All that they had learnt they shared with their off spring; the Hiberno-Norse. They came here.

Jelling holds beautiful carving upon a stone, the stone carving these later visitors brought here shared the actual stone. The Kirklevington cross stones share stories and images. They are story Use images to ‘convert’ onlookers.

Think of ways belief, ritual, folklore may have affected the way people act and talk. Note that this bit is not specific; it could fit anywhere, anywhen.

So yes, talk about the season, the ritual, the moment of the year.

Think on them too.

Bits – Like what you have bubbling around inside too

Aim for half a dozen times a day you are doing characterisation.

Draw on your own experiences larp drama etc.

For me happenings in DnD spring to mind: They hated each other but the witch poured a love potion over his sword. He grabbed the sword to kill, he swung it over his head, he fell in love, he dropped the sword behind him, he leant forward to kiss his once enemy, the sword was no long in his hand, he hated him, he grabbed the sword, he swung it over hi… You get the idea.

A bit silly I know, but there are transferable models in everything, everywhere.

Hey, relax and have a laugh, much will spring from it, as ideas burst out of your gob.

I suppose I was a bit glib and critical when I desperately sought to drag humour out of all this and went on about visitors and the points they have to make. They are not all like that. Not by a long way. Many are totally different. They are complete idiots!!!!

Sorry no, the term for them is tourists.

They have very vivid imaginations.

That Viking woman in Norway I talked about. She went for a walk. Not far. Just out the gate of the camp and sat in the sun by the Fjord waters. You can see all the camp but there is a fence around it, this is to keep out the non-payer. Not all visitors realise this though, one of these walked up to her and asked in a concerned voice, “Do they treat you well?”

If visitors can believe you are encamped in a reservation then they can believe anything.

Play on that sense of imagination.enjoying-the-show-with-friends

If I can have ideas so can you. Sorry to sound pompous and patronising, of course you can, all you have to do is let them free. They roam around and pop about in thought and conversation, now there is a place for them.

I mention back story. Mine is Hiberno-Norse, and travelling storyteller, so my kit is eclectic.

I was inspired deep within my heart, (and in my roots?), by the idea of Norse venturing into Ireland, mixing, consorting, (finding and raiding monasteries together), planning, trading goods and power. They came here! (York that is, I live in York.)

They settled.

The other bit: by the gods I am a great storyteller so that is reflected in my back story and in my ‘kit’. – The pinks would have been very expensive, so obviously I told stories to Queens. Either they loved my tales and gave me a gift or they hated them and as I ran I stole them.

My back story was further empowered by a purchase from Swanhildas Sweets (on Ebay). Viking trade route jewellery. A total inspiration. A necklace of stones that reflected my life path.

I have since demonstrated this jewellery in Scandinavia with amazing results.

It makes people who they really are.

I told a Canadian guy that currently he felt he was a Canadian who dressed up to be in the company of his partner who was a ‘real’ Viking as a Norwegian. I pointed out that jasper had been found in digs off the coast of Canada and had proven to be the equivalent of flint and had been used by Vikings. If he bought the necklace he would become a Canadian Viking!!! He bought it and bought it.

A Norwegian lady whose father had been adopted from Thailand when tiny had become a Viking and was interested in materials from the silk routes to help her draw in her real heritage. She looked at the stuff and changed her mind, “I am going to be Irish.”

Real stuff comes out too, a guy told me how he hadn’t told anybody else, even his girlfriend yet, but he had been adopted at birth and given to a Christian family. He hadn’t discovered this till he was forty, when his real mother, (a Roma, found him and told him of the abduction policy of the Norwegian government. They were actively Christianising in this way right up to the late 90’s.)

Real stories come out when you inspire people.

So.

Go out and buy stuff.

Back story stuff.

Being in character may be a way to deal with awkward or critical people. Plan an All Ting.

“We are putting holes in the ground like they do in Iceland to get the same space next year.”

Grapes? Think routes for conversations.

Have you had quirky thoughts lately use them.

Open your mind to the idea of interaction bearing in mind your own interests and deeper thoughts.

There is something you can say that has great challenging depth.

My quirky thinking, I like to come up with possible new understandings of how things were from piecing things together. Recently I found myself wondering what Thor’s second name would be? Thor Odinsson!!!!steak.jpg

Developing Drama – chunks of this stuff could go together

Perhaps there can be plays come of this or a mini drama by piecing bits together.

The highly controversial comedian Lenny Bruce talked of putting bits together. His act would be different every time, as he made his mind up all along. Sometimes though all the old bits would come rolling out in a new order and people would say what a great new set, all highly original. I really identify with this idea of bits from my own stuff (even though I am not funny). Ho wofeyen hbv eyou heard me say, “And now you have an opportunity to see my great acting ability when I say they were…”

You already have snippets and bits like this. They will slot in anywhere. They will bolt to new ideas. They will intersect with another. They will join with the bits of others (“Steady now at the back!”), and they will become something bigger (“I said steady!”). The next thing you know -You have a piece to perform with (I said stop it at the back).

He also talked of the room, less useful here maybe, but interesting. Everywhere he performed was a ‘room’, TV studios (well they never asked him back), stadiums, anywhere. It is the room. The room shapes your material, the room has a personality. You have to know the room. You have to know where to put yourself in the room. The room –wait for it – wait for it – is a field with tents in it.

Be ready to sense and to adapt.

It could be simple – That thing what you do. A great guy I know told me of going to a Wild West ~Weekend. There was a guy booked, (and paid), to entertain and all he did was sit in a hut. A shack, the door was open and you could see him there sitting sipping Bourbon straight from a bottle. Bottle after bottle. All he wore was dark pink dirty all-in-ones, with one button missing at the back so you could see half his bum. He had something laid across his knee. My pal was curious and stepped forward to go towards him. The thing on his knee was a shot gun, it was up in my mates face and his life was being threatened, loudly! My pal ran. He ran to the others. They all came over, and then ran.

That man was a star, and here we are still talking about him.

Allting. Spell it how you like. There seems to be plenty of variants. From land to land. This is governance. We gather. We sit. We hold parliament. Hold one now.

From an unobtrusive circle around the gap between your tent and the one opposite, with a couple of seats missing at each ‘end’. When people walk through pull in stools. They are part of the circle which suddenly comes into being. Announce the topic of debate and let them know they are most important and are invited to join the discussion.

Land and folks will die upon you decision.

Golden rules – I missed a few out

Don’t enjoy it that much you turn clique I am sure you have in jokes.

It is not about costumes and fight skills – or points.

Almost everything you think and say and hear is a role play statement, it just needs reworking a little.

Make your friend laugh by turning things you know into a role play

Ie think about what you and your mates say, and make it of the time.

Hey, we are living it already.

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Living the Viking Way

My Performances at Gudvangen

The Battle of Hastings – this time we win

Hobb and the Normans

From York’s Medieval building Barley Hall I bring you – The Nosegay Blog (My first ever blog)

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We are safe here at Barley Hall, my nosegays will stop you turning purple, and my visitors will keep me informed. Fore-armed is fore-warned and I sought to defend my position with knowledge. There was little need, for every visitor had something to impart. lyndsey and bruniYes I did have plenty to say at the start of my summer holiday stint but this was nothing to the array of facts and anecdotes. Soon I was passing along the wisdom of one to another and I will gather here some of the best of this.wizard

Some of my newly gained knowledge is debatable; this does not mean it is necessarily untrue, just that there will be debate. The very room I am in has become a convoluted topic. Refer to the notice boards for what is perhaps the definitive answer even though many in the discussion would disagree. Even the name, “No, it is not a parlour” – A solar; sit in there in the sunlight and treat this place as a retreat. A place to craft for joy, a place to make all which is beautiful: here you can write and some say learn.

jewelsA few have disagreed that the parlour was a place to receive visitors. Although another interjected that one visitor would be invited in here among the family; the tutor – here we would learn our letters and our lessons. Rhetoric, logic and astronomy are among the topics which would be enabled by this. nasaBut nay, this was not the reception say many who contributed to this on-going discussion. The way in was the proving point of this camp of thought. You entered via the stairs; from there you would be in Lord Snawsell’s bed chamber. Here in, it has been read, was his office and softer furnishings.

candle

Me at Murton Park Viking Village, York (Photo by Andraea)

So therefore this is where he would meet with you. The logic of this is in the access and the fact you would feel you had been welcomed whilst at the same time you would be aware that by being in his realm he retained power. There is logic in the aspect of access too it is argued; from there to get to the parlour one would have to go through Lady Joan’s personal chambers and then get in the way of the busy journeyman all down the long hall.

Not cb 03everything I hear, as I say, is definitely right and some things I hear are definitely wrong.

Barley Hall is loved, many revisit, many discuss, many compliment and recommend, but not all feel this way it seems. A passing hen party definitely didn’t like the look. As I was returning from a visit to DIG my way into the alley was blocked. I stood back to allow the party-wear ladies to leave the alley and they stopped suddenly. Looking up the street, “Oh we’ve been this way” – “We’ve been here before” – “We’ve been up there” – “We’ve been up there” – “We don’t want to go that way again” – “We’ve been this way”. Eventually they turned back and I had a path ahead of me, a slow path.

Barley-Hall window view

The view in the window (minus the peacock)

As they noticed the large window into the hall for the first time there were sounds of disapproval from one of these revellers. “Oh dear, I wouldn’t want to go in there” – “And I wouldn’t want to eat that” – “No, it looks awful in there” – “Ancient!” – “It’s like a museum”

Although most people are entranced by the peacock upon the table, the hen party in search of a meal and another drink were not the only ones to not fancy eating a bird which had been cooked and then repacked in its raw skin. “Never do that” visitors inform me, “Never mix cooked and raw”. “They certainly hadn’t heard of health and safety!”

Nosegays keep us safe, or at least perfumed. Gay meaning ornament back in the day; they were about the smell. Many report on the vast amounts of information on the medicinal, spiritual and nutritional uses of herbs; that is not a major concern when it comes to nasal orientated ornaments. It is all about the smell, the logic I am instructed, is that if the smell carried the disease you didn’t want it up your nose. The miasma must be refused access and to follow logic, if your nose was full of sweet smells then how could the horrid miasma get in! So visitors tell me it was not just about masking the smell, it was about keeping you safe.

If you wanted to be really safe, what better than a plague doctor mask. Fill that with herbs and strap it on. While you were feeling ultra-safe as a result of this constant experience of the sweet and beautiful you might want to go all out and get yourself a job.

plague doc 01 close up

thats me that is

Plague doctors are in demand it seems. An explanation of this which was given to me was that all the doctors were gone – in one way or another. It was a well-paid job I am told – while it lasted.

Not much in the way of skills was needed, according to some, all you needed was a stick, a big stick. With your mask on off you go, and prod people. Then all you had to do was tell them whether they are going to live or die (if in doubt go for the die option). The strange thing is, whatever the answer, they would thank you. I considered these offerings and discussed with other visitors. It is not so strange when you think, as I was asked to do, on the history of medicine. Throughout Europe ‘knowing’ was often more important than helping. ‘How long will they be?’ – ‘Will it be quick?’ – ‘Have you anything to make it easier?’ Another suggested this was still the main focus in many tribal cultures around the world.

pegs 01

These ‘sticks’ are actually hand-made tent pegs found in the woodpile at Gudvangen, (Photo by Tove Gulbrandsen), put you could prod with them

I decided there and then, that once all my visitors had made a nosegay I was off to get a stick; the income would be most welcome – while it lasted.As not everyone wants a nosegay I will be here a while yet. Not that they are to be sniffed at, if you see what I mean. Much a sniffing and a pondering has there been.

me quirky

Thats me sniffing that is, honest

Deciding of what aroma, of what herb one is holding a bowl of. Lavender is spotted by most, thyme only by a few and lemon balm by only one chap. Rosemary is spotted on sight by most, although one or two, including a rosemary grower, thought it was pine. The one which is most evocative is actually a flower rather than a herb as such. Some love it, most are reminded, reminded of something. A Greek flower which is gathered as a healing tea, camomile, just flowers, childhood memories, the bottom cupboard next to the pans; we were taken places. I was put off this bowl for quite a while when a girl said it smelt of hamster bedding. This smell was removed for me a little later by the power of suggestion; a lady said it made her think of her grandfather’s pipe tobacco. Now, whenever I hold the marigold bowlMarigold_AAS_1989_Golden_Gate in front of me I am transported back to my childhood and the hint of sweetness within a heady aroma which would erupt into the room when granddad opened his pouch to stock up his pipe with baccie.

So far there are no reports of the plague coming to me from my visitors. No one has been spotted to be turning purple, well except for Mr Purple himself, but he is upon his bicycle platform out of the way anyway. bike theif 08 14The next edition will feature live frogs, alternative universes and elephants tusks among many other oddities of conversation. Remember when recalling this blog so far, it is all absolutely true – that people have told me these things.

Your tales and opinions can be added into the mix for discussion too. Be in touch.

Adrian

Here is the link to the exciting second half…. Nosegay Blog Too

For bookings and enquiries please visit www.adrianspendlow.co.uk

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God’s Bless Ya 02 – Hel – Ragnarok Mythology Festival, Denmark

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God’s Bless Ya!!! 02 – Hel – Ragnarok Mythology Festival, Denmark

(for bookings visit our site.)

Hel

As part of our show featuring myself with Alda and Sigrun Bjork Olafsdottir and our stunning models we present costume, music, song and story for a Goddess experience.

Here are poems inspired by Lady Hel herself, ruler of the dark lands of the in-valiant dead followed by my narration for the cat walk and the stunning Hel costume designed by Sigrun is elegantly shown for us by our talented model displaying for you to the unique magic of Alda’s composition.hel

The Hel Poems

Warning; Enter if you dare – here is contained the Viking history of belief in death, suffering and hell.

Read on only if you are of strong mind, will and maturity.

Ride beyond Modgud the bandaged and bleeding one if brave enough to cross her chasm path.

See eyes in the dark as growls rumble; guard hound Garm will let you in – yet will never let you out: see fire-eyes, hear blood drip as you slide by.

Hear forever screams from the long long long drop of the worthless as you leap the abyss.studio

Hel Poem 01 – What is Done Can Never Be

Born her of giants,

their shape-changer essence perverted her form

Until she matured monstrous

Living and dead

Rotten and luscious mixed

Yet somehow alluring

Empowering

Attracting you into her power

Commanding in presence

She pulls you into her will

You forever admire

Beg to endlessly serve

Wise Norns spoke of the danger of her

Born of beings of evil

Begatted by badness

The evil pretender god

With the hulking death volva

She was destined toward greatness

Forever to be fearful

hel press

Hel Poem 02 – Kenning

Stronghold-builder

Greif-giver

Tear-bringer

Flesh-rotter

Death-perpetuator

Glad-torturer

Witch-burier

Decrepit-concealer

Beautiful-enchanter

Toxic-user

Hel-builder

Coward-welcomer

Truth-despoiler

Serpent-inflicter

Balder-hater

Loki-daughter

Volva-loin-springer

Deathship-constructor

World-ender

Scream-mother

God-stealer

Light-hater

Hermod-scarer

Wolf-sister

Gloom-harbourer

Harm-danger

Cursed-leader

Misfortune-sleeper

Nightmare-enterer

Corpse-mother

If you wish to share,

Hel is just down there…

door 02 coloured.jpg

Hel poem 03 – Go Now Down

To where the cursed one fell

Ride nine days down

The north beneath the north

The world beneath the worlds

Hel’s citadel in hel,

Her Niflheim

Built forbidding from her mighty will

The darkest of powers of construction

Power out of destruction and death,

Here recreated from dread essence

Built of bitter cold,

The unending nights very core

All that remains of the dust of suffering

These her tools

The falling screams

Welts poisons spray cements and bonds

And builds

Take not your toe nails with you long

Naglfor is rising in the rising sea

To fly to war, to death of all

Oath-breakers island over rivers of spears

Living serpents bind and twine,

to bite the liar encased within

Niflhel her misty hel

Her towering walls are thrusted

Meer strength of will these gates forbidding built

From living witches buried deep

There grows the putrid plants of undead sustenance

Hel built all this

From dastard whim

falling darkness 04 up painted.jpg

Hel Poem 04 – Enter Forever

Doors open for you

To cavernous hall

Countless faces turn to you

Slowly the new dead turn grey face

The rotting and green see you

Further in the darkness,

are the less flesh than bone

Hear a drip drip drip

Watch your footing as you walk

Welcome to the land of the dead

Of the waiting

Lives of the countless

The pitiful, the unanswered,

The resigned and the scowling

Here are the leering, the most treacherous

You are stared at by the murderous

Feel if you can for the agonised

Beyond them the angry

Eyes only for you

Speak not to the dead

For then they can all speak to you

All, all at once

In their many moods and wishes

Many broken sounds.

From her glimmering veils of misfortune

She steps dangerously forward

Mottled and mouldering

Be caught in a tear fall forever to have seen her

Cry now

To be doubt-filled, untrusting, contrary to the full.

This is a testing, so beware her

Let all weep for your passing

Or scream silently forever in living hungry death

Shades in the shades see you

She holds the very god of light and beauty in her power

Weep;

Your tears melt the rime, these are meltwater tears

Beware her lest she summons her father

In his shape-shifter form he will remove all your hope.

She has you under her power

Will feed and keep you, all bedecked in gold;

Except witches,

those of you who see yourselves witches or herbal

Prepare to whimper under deep dark earth buried forever

Enter all

You are summoned

Weep now

Weep till you weep dry tears

Hel Poem 05 – Witch Burier

Rust Red the cockerel awakens the dead

There is one who has not slept

Hel’s Mother

Alive she is buried

Buried by Hel,

Daughter of Angraboda, born in Jotenheim

Here in Niflhel she buried her witch mother

Aware under there

So she Angraboda will know forever

That she is dead

Summon her from the earth if you dare

She will answer three questions

Yet all she wishes is,

to return to her dark earthen misery

She will take you with her too if she can

All she needs to know is your true name

Down you will go

Hel Poem 06 – You Cheater

If you spat in barrel,

and then broke your word

Then yes you shall go to her

Are you a liar?

All oath-breakers travel to her

Worst of the worst is the unfaithful

That is a promise which must not be broken

Meer human you have faults

So hence you will go to her

You know in your hearts

You are unfaithful; a liar

You cheat and you steal

And the tower awaits you

Step now though the waters

The icy waters of the river

The fast flowing river

Forged only of frozen

Each of the ice parts

Is formed as a spear head,

A seaxe or a dagger point

Bleed as you scream as you wade

Do not hurry though

For a torture of forever is waiting there

A tower of serpents

They will bite you forever

They will burn you with poison

Forever is forever

Oh how you will scream

Hel poem 07 – To Dream of Hel as Balder Did

Escape dark shapes in nightmares if you may.

For she will call for you

And oh yes, you will offer to go

As now each night in readiness she grooms

She brings you the despicable. Yes,

Gasp and moan. Be in half light, turn grey.

Whitening to the emptiness of the whitest weed

Feel not the sun’s warmth ever,

even when you walk awake

Seek deeper sleep…

Shadow skulkers shapeless now

Ghostly skull guests creep

Monstrous forms will snuff you

Thrash and kick all you will

Oh hope your screams will wake you

The lingering feelings will remain:

Naked doomed fear has grasped the living

As she was hurled into mist and darkness

You too now yearn for the world beneath worlds

Odin’s curse Hel wishes to share

And you,

are falling and falling

Hel (Prose) Poem 08 – Half Dead She Will Kill US

In her home beyond the sheer rock, she still hears the curse words,

“Share all that you have with the dead, adorn them in gold and feed them your putrid foods”

Her brother encircles the world.

While her other brother above bound to earth howls to be rescued.

One day her father will howl out in agony with hope in his dark heart that his offspring shall aid him, vengeance will be theirs together; Oh yes.

Capable of great structures, dark creation, from dark materials.

She has a ship readying, a dread vessel filling with undead.

Her Man-servant Ganglati and Maid-servant Ganglot they move so slow as not to be seen, until they are upon you; like weeping dark angels of stone.

She eats from Hunger with her knife Famine thinking only of the moment.

Sleeps in Sick Bed, her bed curtained by Glimmering Misfortune.

She dreams of the death of us.

Vengeance shall be theirs, Oh yes.

Hel

The Catwalk Talk

Born of a giantess who loved the unfaithful-one she was taken away because of her monstrousness. Her mother Angraboda was bound in her sleep by the Gods who despised her, and so hated her daughter. Hel is a putrid thing, half dead half alive. They cast her to Hel as her home down below us. As she fell and fell through the misty dark gloom the words of Odin echoed through her. “You are cursed, in your half-rotten half-beautiful self you are fitting only for death, live the forever death building cities for the dead.”

As she fell, as she landed, as she built, she swore her revenge. Oh how the world will end. Her great halls are filled with the myriad dead, only those fallen, who lost badly or while running, none of the brave go there. Die well my friends or you will join her. She looks at you now and feels the lies in your heart, the fears from your dreams and she knows. Your twisted dark desires glow out from you like a punishment, you have it in you to be one with her. For yes Hel is beautiful, entrancing, but once in her power when she turns to her other side there is the putridness you will worship forever. Oh yes, she knows. She knows you will be coming to her, you will feel the call in your nightmares and then forever in her halls hungry and bitter, awaiting the battle, the final battle to end all battles where everybody dies: Ragnarok is coming and you dark ones are ready, to rise up, rise up, rise up.

See also God’s Bless Ya!!! 01 – Skadi the Huntress

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

I am Celebrating – three thousand views since I started blogging – here are some highlights

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I am Celebrating – three thousand views since I started blogging – here are some highlights

The wonderful wonderful experience of my Viking Comics Inc. first publication – The Hammer Fliespic 031b redone

Strange Jobs

I released my first singleam

cloud worldI previewed my Greek Myths CD

I was very pleased to see my pal Georg has started a blogEvening Trail

Viking Comics Inc. Two – The Horned God and the Wild Huntseeress toni

Viking Comics Inc Volume Threeoski light

Model-making Done for the DAyA new regular feature – Grumble Monthly

I declared a Kingsea king

I tried artwild creature

wizardTen years a storyteller

A plan to conquer the Viking worldsnapped zena and meI am going to Gudvangen

I play with toys

Toys

I did poems

I was things

I planned a fishing trip and saw mooseelk 03

(You gotta look at that one, it’s my fave)

I cut out dollies

ade silouhetteI met ghosts

Medieval Historybig hat smiles

best tellerI got wistful

I ranted

I cookedme n amanda

12049342_495805563939884_3566201213765577221_nI got spooky

I opened a festival (on TV)

I discovered whole worlds

News of Faeries (btw I am about to prove that little people exist)

Stay close

There is so much more x

The Horned God and the Wild Hunt – Viking Comic Inc. II – Exciting New Art Input

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