Danger Moose

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loose moose
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a moose
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look at it
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bloody roof
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look look
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told you
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beware
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yes fake
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Saying Thank You

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

$3.00

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

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Opening Ceremony 2016 Viking Valley, Gudvangen, Norway

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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.

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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.

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

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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.”

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.

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

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“Me too.”

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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!

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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. We will enjoy showing you; try not to be nervous when you generously show your appreciation.

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Yes, we have sailed to many nations. We 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.

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“Hey, stall holders, lower your prices.”

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.”

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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.

“What is an oath?”

A promise; and a promise is a promise and…

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“Don’t start that again.”

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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.

“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.

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Oath-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…

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A 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.

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!

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Well, 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.”

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

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

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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. Now. As you step through these gates you are stepping into our future.

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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.

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Here is the first of the timber being delivered now…

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

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With hardly any risk to yourself….

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Hear Galda upon the holy hill…

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Learn leather skills with Hamish, or buy his bags from Annabelle…

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Visit Lady Chaga…

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

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And it is no use complaining, we know that now.

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.

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You 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.”

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A terrible rumour.

“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!

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

“Now we must warn you.”

This may happen to you.

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“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.”

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This we must warn you of.

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

Yes.

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“If you do choose to leave here you will regret it forever.”

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

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“Terribly, terribly sad.”

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“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.”

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“We will be opening the market again tomorrow.”

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.”

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.”

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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.”

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

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.

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They will run.

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

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We now declare the Viking Market open!

“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.

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naming

Naming Ceremony photos and footage

Aurland Photography

2015 Opening Speech (more moving)

Skaldic Pieces

Future Skaldic Plans

To Become a King

Saying Thank You

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

$3.00

Living in America too

Living in America Too. Oddities spotted along the way, and often I think, a display of my ignorance. You will probably enjoy this further glance into our life in Green Bay WI.  Oh yes, and a trip round my mother’s garden back home in Scarborough, Great Britain.

Do forgive my silly approach.

Let’s start with Yard work (that’s gardening to you Brits).

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I made this work table myself.

I love Heidi’s Wood-burner and was real pleased when Dale and Lynn brought us along another stack of logs.

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It might be a bit summery for lots of firelit evenings, but I do get to have a fire sometimes when the weather changes. While clearing out the garage I came across this pile of birch bark, and it crackles lovely.

Of course, hung up in the garage is all the flax, grown to turn to linen to weave to cloth.

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While rummaging about in the garage or basement you do find some strange things.

I don’t quite understand the approach to recycling here.

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There’s at least one thing me and Elvis Costello agree on.

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It has been a good year for the roses.

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And for hedges.

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Not sure what they are, but they are beautiful.

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“What’s that?” – “Ah they are Physiocarpus and Spirea.”

(Notice I am trying to coppice them, so they gradually intertwine. In a couple of years they will be a hedge.)

We bought some fairly expensive shrubs (Aren’t they always).

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And found some old seeds in the garage.

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Some might work.

We thought, lets feed the birds

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And the birds are like, ‘Why didn’t you get one of these in the winter when we really needed it!’

This feller is waiting for me to clear the bed around the now planted shrubs.

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Oh god look, across the street! It’s bin day!

Dwayne and Dian brought us these lovely flowers.

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They brought them along on memorial day, to recall those who fell and those who came back broken.

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This next feller has a tale to tell.

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And see, I did get the shrubs in.

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I told a friend about the above over the phone and I said it was a dwarf spruce in a weeping willy style. I don’t think I got that quite right.

(It looks like a bird’s nest by it’s finished btw)

This next little buddy will grow a bit taller so she will be hiding the gas meter.

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And I am very pleased with my new toy. There is a lot to catch up on, don’t even get me started on buckthorn, so this is a way to catch up. I am hoping, once I am fitter that I can do most by hand. For now though, lets get radical.

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In my sexy boots

And no I am not having a wee in this one.

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I am going to need a big shovel.

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Back to that hedge.

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Shrubs to plant.

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The rhubarb plant cost a small fortune but I feel I have done a good job of protecting it with potting soil, the a topping of cardboard covered in a home made mulch.

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Same with the raspberry canes. they are out the back so didn’t need the fancy mulch stuff. And the rhubarb will serve as ground cover and the leaves as green manure.

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They are supposed to be late fall rasps but they have flowers on already.

Some days you really need to water, and others not so

We didn’t water this day.

The weather is changeable here in America, well OK I only really know about Green Bay. There might be a hint in the name though.

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Now other people’s outdoor shots that have caught my eye.

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This wonderful Norwegian stave church was captured by Rune Lyseth.

I am not sure where I got this beautiful image from. If you let me know I will be grateful.

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I don’t know where I half-inched this next one from either but it is of Njardarheimr Viking Town in Gudvangen, Norway and I feel homesick.

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(I guess Green Bay is my home and my other homes are Scarborough and the home of my chieftain.)

Now come with us now on a walk to the hardware store (among other places).

I think we passed this house with a tower at just the right time, while all the folks with bows and arrows were on a meal break.

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Then just down the road was an example of unrestrained novelty gardening.

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The two big deep-voiced brusque blokes were huddled on the stoop deep in planning. “Do you think we should get another pink flamingo?” “Ah yeah, you can never have enough pink flamingos.”  There is a lesson in life to be learned here.

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We window shopped.

Then I got lost

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The we passed the Hydrant Pizza place.

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Hydrant Pizza!

Come on, you can think of a better name than that. It is hardly appetising is it! And how are people going to find you? Where is that place? Oh it is by the hydrant.

If you need water to fill your hose there is a river nearby (I think it’s the Fox). It currently is in full spate. Spate is a thing you ever in fully, never in a mild spate.

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As for this tree stump

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I just like this tree stump. I have nothing to complain about it at all.

Now here is something I am very happy about. Tea grown in Yorkshire.

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Yorkshire Tea

And no, you don’t ever have cream in tea.

These I was intrigued by.

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(Crackers)

It just doesn’t ring right. either it should be animal crackers or the crackers should be in brackets. Crackers!

Then to my horror I opened them. I had my cheese and chutney ready and my marmite. I was hanging back slightly though because I have noticed very small seashells to throw in your soup being called crackers, so they might not be big enough for my chunks of cheese.

I had after all  heard the song; Animal Crackers in my soup.

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Wild

After asking which animal was which I realised the great bounty I had discovered. I had to put away the cheese and chutney, for these were biscuits! Proper biscuits, like what we get in Britain. Not weird bread you put white sauce on and call it gravy. These were like Edinburgh shortcake. Wow I will be finding custard creams next.

We nearly went in here, for the free gifts.it is impolite to say toilet paper here, so people say TP.  Oh I said it.

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It is wrong to say toilet, but it is OK to say back-side. I am learning, I am learning.

I am not sure saying, you are going to need toilet roll, is a good way to advertise your food outlet.

We passed a jewellery store but I don’t think the decorations outside gave the right level of sophistication.

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Plastic beads instore perhaps.

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I don’t understand how making your religion part of your business sign helps keep the jobs coming in. Might other faiths be put off? And isn’t the main point good roofs?

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The above reminds me of all the businesses in Britain who, as soon as we left Europe, put out England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Island flags. Less than thirty per cent of the voting public voted for it. Don’t they want those people in their pubs and cafes?

Rant over. (Rant one)

I didn’t understand this little garden ornament I saw for sale.

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See nothing, Say nothing and Hear nothing. Or is the middle one Smell nothing?

What so everybody stops? I was stood here for ages.

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Heidi was calling and calling for me to come on, but it said stop.

I told my pal Rob that he was welcome anytime.

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When he heard about Gus’s Gun Bar he said he was bringing all the lads. Having eight pints of beer and then being able to buy an automatic rifle was their idea of a great night out.

(BTW I am thinking of going in this place and criticising their use of apostrophes, what do you think?)

Maybe I should just have a drink of water instead.

Is this outside the Waterpump Pizza place?

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On our way to the hardware store I noticed this.

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On our very first ‘almost’ date I walked Heidi into this. We made it to the store this time.

Now, I get very cross about the fact that it is called Martin Hardware, when it should be called Martin’s Hardware,  but they do have a very nice little history section.

And as for Hardees.

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Come on, are they charred or boiled??

Drainpipes aren’t the same here. They don’t go into the drains. so maybe they aren’t called drainpipes. Lawn waterers or something. I dunno. I do think this is a good use of an old paddling pool (there is one in the garage so I am wondering about digging a big hole).

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We could get frogs. Maybe otters?

While we are on this walk to the hardware store I was wondering if we should get some vodka? For her.

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At first glance she might not look thirsty, but she does come as part of a set.

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Cone-cat survives the raccoon attack.

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“Soon as I get this thing off I am sneaking back out there.” Mr Stumpy considers revenge.

But he does have delicate moments, he is seeking a lot of fuss and support.

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Egbert is happy some of the time. Eggroll! Eggroll!

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Or is he just trying to escape from Bumper-cone?

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He has started using it as a battering ram to move everyone out of his way.

Did I mention revenge?

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(We let him out of his cone for five minutes and he is ready to kill.)

His ‘girlfriend’ Giffa sometimes has to get away from him.

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She stays away from him for a very long time.

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Viking Section

Not sure where I got this pic (So am happy for comments and corrections) but I like these hog back stones.

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The ones in the Yorkshire Museum in Museum Gardens in York are described as burial stones, but I don’t think so. Tell me if I am wrong but I reckon no bodies have ever been found under them; so they are memorial stones.

I will take advice on these too.

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Can I cook them or burn them or anything?

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That’s it for Vikings in this edition.

Artwork

Heidi’s late husband Arnold designed this t shirt (and the album cover too) and I thought a few of you might have heard of the band.

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That’s all the art I have for you this time.

Oh no hang on. I just spotted this amazing piece of art of a hero of mine. Such feeling and character. I hope my wonderful friend Linda doesn’t mind me sharing her joyful skill.

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by Linda Hunter

Now artwork from the family in the Zoom family quiz. We had to recreate some classic pieces of work with only as few minutes to see it and then sort it.

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I pinched this one too.

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Before the distasteful pictures of chicken’s feet etc here is a feature from Scarborough, Yorkshire, Great Britain.

No, before the garden, here are a couple of old family photos. Carefully preserved by my sister.

My Mum and Dad and Ginny my sister. Circa 1957.

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From around the same period, four generations of women. Toddler, (Ginny), mother (Connie), Nana, (Mary) and my great grandmother.

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(Oh yes and a duck.)

My Mum’s Garden

Ah, but first here is a pic I got from the Facebook page I Love Scarborough of way back when a whole hotel fell into the sea.

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Stories are that they knew there might be subsidence so they charged the guests at supper time. Other’s say that guests were eating breakfast and were told the hotel was actually moving and people sat and finished their black pudding and beans etc before running for their lives.

A guy who used to drive me to the hospital told me he worked there and it wasn’t erosion from the sea it was subsidence from above. The beck or stream or creek had been built over and the water went down into the lime stone and eroded it from under the hotel.

Anyway my mum’s beautiful garden which looks up at the castle above.

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I think there is a glimpse of the castle up at the top. There’s my mum’s palm tree behind her roses. This is the top rank and then there is grassland, then woodland, then the castle.

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I am most pleased to see the marigold, I put seeds all over that wild banking and at least this one came up.

Note the bunting all over the gooseberry bushes, this is to keep the birds off the fruit.

These lilies were kindly planted in memorial for my father.

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We get more every year.

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This next plant is doing very well, and I don’t think mum is very pleased about it. It started off as a tiny rock plant when I bought it (For less than a pound.) and it turned into a monster.

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I think we are indoors for this beauty.

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This next one is adorable.

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As is the whole garden (Well done Heidi Two, er I mean Kirsten. Mum gets their names muddled up all the time.) A great job Kirsten.

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And this amazing shot from the Facebook page I Love Scarborough this amazing shot of just along the road from mum’s. the boat is just off shore from fifteen minutes walk away.

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I think this was taken in Scarborough. this is an example of taking social distancing too far. You could never hit the pan standing that far away.

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Below this link – The final section; the food section, perhaps needs to come with a warning. I’ve been trying some horrid food!

For the first edition in the series click here Living in America

Now I am hoping this is just what I’ve been looking for. Back home in the UK I love a Chinese curry sauce. They come under the extras list, and my go to dish is crispy duck with fried rice.

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The hot takeaway deli had some great food, I wasn’t too sure about this ‘ocean going fish’ but I had to try it. It wasn’t worth five dollars.

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We also got these ‘cute’ ready to eat fish in a basket.

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Now what do we have here?

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Talk about feeding the two thousand.

Then on to the wonderful Mexican store, great stuff and real friendly.

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These are caught in droplets and flash frozen. Well that is what I am guessing.

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At last I found baked beans. It was a Pick and Save I think. Look what was in them.

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We had this given by a first nation hunter girl and are unsure what to do with it; it is bear fat.

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(I wondered if it could be used in anything Viking related?)

Have a look on YouTube for Cooking with Lu for some really great recipes; especially Chinese and Mexican related foods.

This is my attempt at her wonderful Crispy Beef recipe.

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I told you about horror food.

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Yes it is chicken’s feet.

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Who star in their own adult themed monster movie.

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And to finish, it is the turn for dogs. I am not sure if I should include this pic. It is the stuff of nightmares. I stole it, I think from Chloe and it is the dog toy to end all dog toys.

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For the first edition in the series click here Living in America

For the third click here

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Saying Thank You

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

$3.00

Norwegian Food with the Sons of Norway

What a great night at the Sons of Norway meeting here in Green Bay. We were thrilled to be asked along and really enjoyed the wide spread of nordic offerings. There is a film below showing all the huge range of delightful dishes, but this blog perhaps ought to be renamed; Gas Station Delight.

When we were invited along and heard that everyone was bringing along dishes I thought I had better think up something which was unlikely to already be taken. Hence:-

Gas Station Delight

Wherever you go in Norway if you were to stop at a Gas Station it is highly likely that the first thing you saw as you walked into the store would be the Hot Dogs. As you are being served your Dog they often ask, “Do you want shrimp sauce on that?” It therefore is a Norwegian delicacy.

So I recreated it. This was all for fun but it turned out to be really enjoyed by many who tried it.

gas station delight

This basically is a shrimp and hot dog salad. I am thrilled that I have been asked for the recipe. So here for the forthcoming Sons of Norway newsletter is the magical ‘how to’ of my new Norwegian tradition. (If you are in Wisconsin and want to know more about Sons of Norway in Green Bay pop in a comment and I will give you contact details – BTW there are S.O.N. groups all over America.)

I bought good quality cooked hot dogs and sliced them quite thin and then I mixed them into the salad. In Britain I would describe the salad as a prawn cocktail and it is easy to make. Mix Ketchup (Tomato Sauce to you fellow Brits) with mayo till it is nicely pink (if it is leading to red you have too much Ketchup). I decided not to use garlic mayo in case there were some there who didnt’ like it. I bought a pound of shelled ready-cooked shrimp and snipped them small with scissors (If the tail is on take it off first) . Actually I snipped them off the tail shell bit and dropped those bits in a bag to freeze to make a later fish stock. I added a little thinly sliced cabbage but you might prefer onion if you are racey.

I told you it was simple. It worked really well.

In a Pickle

I also added a dish of surkal (Spelling?) of my own design. I knew there would be some Rodkal (Spelling?) there, indeed there was a great version on offer. I had seen a celebrity chef show when at my mum’s in Scarborough (check pronunciation) where they made instant pickles so I thought I would give it a go. I will be playing around with other variants using different fresh veg and perhaps herbs and spices now I know it works, but here goes…

I thinly sliced cabbage, and dropped it into boiling organic apple cider vinegar then turned it off and popped the lid on for a while. It really worked

Do feel free to make suggestions of future additions.

Now for the footage and fun photos…

Ah, I’ve found a pic of my pickle, it’s on Heidi’s plate here…

heidi taster with my pickle
There is some Gas Station Delight on there too

Here is footage of the wonderful S.O.N. supper, including Gas Station Delight

My fave Gas Station – Joker in Gudvangen, Norway

veg
Shell og Joker, Gudvangen, Norway

It is a family business…

hylland bargains

A fun and friendly family

geir

Back to Green Bay, and that supper.

There was some jealousy…

dwayne jealous

And some anxiety

dwayne astonished

But back to recipes – and this time proper British!

Here’s a how to…

“Chips! Proper chips!”

chips
Don’t put them in till the oil is hot.

(I snip off a bit and drop it in first, when it starts to fizzle it is time for the rest.)

chips 2
Try not to turn them too quick.

If you can leave them till they are sticking together all the better, but don’t risk burning them.

They are best drained before serving.

chips done
They are best served fresh,

So don’t invite too many people!

You might prefer ketchup or mayo, I do know you must add lots of salt (Himalayan) and ground mixed pepper corns, but the real way is with Maggie (Hydrolised vegetable protein), splosh it on.

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Saying Thank You

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

$3.00

Creatures of the Norse

Creatures of the Norse – Animals of Norway and creatures thought of as mythical are collected on these decorative cards, which one do you identify with?

I created these for Angela, my fellow storyteller at Njardarheimr Viking Valley in Gudvangen, Norway. The idea was that visitors can pick one and be inspired and a selection can be used to improvise a story.

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Saying Thank You

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

$3.00

Goodbye Gudvangen

Look they got marrows!

Being the Skald

How to play Hnefltafl – forthcoming

Your Name in Runes plus a trip around the Valley

Music in the Hall – Forthcoming

The Cheiftain’s Kitchen

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Saying Thank You

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

$3.00

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

dis
ramslork

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. I 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. I 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.

watch fire

Fires suddenly burn along the tall ways. Along 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.

watch-fire.jpg

So the beacons burn. The 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.

weapon pot

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

kids tree

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

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.

boat torch

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.

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”.

man torch

“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.

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.

men cheer

Our cliff-top warriors 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.

d head

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. 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.

juniper

Our chieftain must journey to the land of the Vanadís. We burn the herbs. The juniper for the visions. 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.

pipe

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

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.

sami logs

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.

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.

logs

What 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.”

yog

High nethers never yielded such dairy. Milk; they glug. Yogurt with honey they laugh and laugh with joy. 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.

swords

Boots we have. Bounteous harvest too. Much-folded 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.

spin

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.

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

spin.jpg

Them 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.

clear sky

“Let me tell you of a clear blue 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”.

climber

“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”.

“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.

wings

“It had wings,” continues Olafr-Andreas, “No it was wings; wings of shadow, yet with strength. There was nothing else though. Just the 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!”

kilt

“It is a kilt”, proclaims Collum McCull.

“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.

plad

Njaela was ecstatic at such honour bestowed upon her and immediately began cutting the fabric, despite it being dark – 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.”

chinese 01

“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. I 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.

chinese 02

“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. 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.

fish

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

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.

boat

“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.

“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.

spin

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

“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.”

yarn sacks

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

“And treasure as well my love.”

“Armour and two swords!” beamed Bjarki.

“And arrows.”

“I made those.”

arrow

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

“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?”

wolf

“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.

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

wolf shadow

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”.

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.”

cheif

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

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.”

wave

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

“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”

spring

“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.”

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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Saying Thank You

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My Gudvangen Dream Life as a Viking – Dream-time II

My Gudvangen Dream Life as a Viking – Dream-time II

I am already there, stood beside Bjorn-Ole, in Njardarheimr in Freyr-Anders’ Gudvangen Village of the Vikings. I am there in my heart. I am already there and in this dream.

0175 gud

My Gudvangen Dream Life II sees me already in the Viking-style life ahead of me in Gudvangen where I will be living (and blogging) as Skald to the Viking Chieftain in Njardarheimr Viking Town in Norway. Stay in place as followers to know what happens next; beware, nothing is made up, yet most of this is dream.

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

PS The innocent will be protected until the group decides upon going to war.

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).

0012

Dream-time II

We sun-down sat and shared our thoughts and sometimes-news. We brewed this filling of the horn which refreshes when tipped. We clink and watch the fjord walls as shadows fall. “It is alright to compost guys.”

0095

We are greeted by this as we clink because time is fluid here; both in the moment and within the greater context. We are living Viking-style.

As perfectly as maybe, research however nods its head in the far ahead in when we came from. ‘It’s alright to compost.’

We have gardened and consulted, learned and conferred. In the dream-time reality of a future T’or-Gunlodd relates how a Culinary Archaeologist tells of little gardens; hut-side herbals: Vegetables adjacent and the soil was different. The soil was different.

vine

We pledge, as of tomorrow, to start a compost heap.

We start now in celebration to mark the storage spot by standing there to relieve, (Tove-Marie squats higher up the bank), “Aaaaaaaaah,” sighs Bjorn-Ole for all of us.

Jan-Robert makes a ritual of this by his jocular ritual statement, “We moisten this pit for future growth and state the place to heap”.

As for what they determined was growing in that rediscovered composted hut-side little garden; it was turnip. We will not grow those. (‘Call them turnip, swede, kohlrabi what you will, no’, says Olve-Jeppe.)

This Viking-style reality would be just a bit too gritty a reality if all we had to eat was turnips.

njord.jpg

Eel, we are excited about. (Lars-Eirik and T’or-Gunlodd are the most excited and early rising on this.) Eels we want, and other hunter’s produce brought to us. We will make a stew of pine tips once we are made sure of safe types by Tone-Irene.

For this homely garden though we will start with Olve-Jeppe’s herbal plants.

0141

I am already there, stood beside Bjorn-Ole, in Njardarheimr in Freyr-Anders’ Gudvangen Village of the Vikings. I am there in my heart. I am already there and in this dream.

My tribal associates don’t seem to mind bees, (a part of their modern minds tells them there should be more of them), but not wasps. We run in fear of these. Well, most of us, I don’t. I watch as they jump and dash with hands fast flourishing.

“You must be mad”, Olafr-Andreas sternly tells me, “or not from here.” he laughs.

“How could I be the Skald and not know about the death of Fearie?”

“The death of Fairy?”

0048 (2)

“Of all the Fey; the world of Fearie.”

Nobody believed in them anymore so they dwindled.

I do not believe this myself because I still believe in them and often see them, as does Tone-Irene.

0113 ev dies 01 flipped

Not enough believed in the long-ago though and all Fearie dwindled badly, especially the little cute gossamer-winged stereotypical ones. Gone. Dead.

Or as good as dead.

Their spirit moved on. Lived on. Befitting their wishes went on. Went into another creature.

Every reader knows what is coming next.

A wasp.

Whenever you see a wasp you are seeing what once was a fairy.

sol.jpg

Every morning a pretty little fairy gently wakes. He / she is so so glad to be alive, so happy, quite giddy, excited; Oh sweet plans to fly around and frolic. Maybe paint some pansies, have a dance, – Oh how happy to be a fairy. Wait, there is no longer such a place as faerie. There are no longer fairies. What is this thing I am! It suddenly realises it cannot do any of those things it planned. Not a fairy, no – A wasp – Oh it is very angry.

Very, very, angry, always will be – that is why they sting.

0135.jpg

This all may be a dream but I don’t make stuff up, I hear it from the eons since of old tales.

Kjell-Toffe the rock breaker returns from rolling giant stones into the sweat-lodge. Newly built, it is for him and Lis-Ravn to try it first. We all shall try it in a future dream-time. For now it is the place of the lovers to explore.

0107 kiss - Copy.jpg

As moon-shone silverfish entwine they are star-struck, with their love moments living on in the vividness of all their neighbour’s knowledge, dreams and imagination. Oh how they love.

moon.jpg

The faces in the fjord walls change at night, Blathnaid-Brigid tells us. Things appear which were not there at day. The faces become quite stern and angry in the winter time, but now they are just a little more mischievous. There are caves up there that haven’t been up there before.

night.jpg

Loke-Daan tells us there is a path up that steep side; the goat-herder’s path, but most of us would rather not try it. As he drops his heavy load of chopped logs besides the slowing embers he agrees that we are all probably best staying right here this evening.

augelmir.jpg

Tove-Marie finds the driest and slimmest of the logs to rebuild the fire for supper-time and mentions the bounty in the sack she has besides her.

028 sadlebag

Brinhild opens her wicker back pack and with a proud smile opens a muslin wrap to show an enormous fish, “One of the local fishermen gave me it.”

Loke-Daan tells Add-ri-An he now knows what we are having for our well-earned supper

“More wine?” shouts out Siw-Alfadis.

No, his plans are for us all to share the huge fish given to us by the gods.

Tove-Marie jumps up from her task at the fireside, “You haven’t seen what I have yet.”

A leg from lamb still hung with tatters of smoked meat, the one left from the hanging Fenalår.

0120 sun 04
great feast.jpg

Loke-Daan comments, “You have had many visitors.” The leg of cured lamb which can also be cold smoked to add to its storage duration in these warmer climes of the southern half of this long thin nation, is hung at the tent flap ready to welcome callers.

Each passer by is welcomed to call for a slither of the chewy tasty meat.

“We have the bone now,” says bright blonde Siw-Alfadis raising her drinking horn in confirmation.

Which of these foods would the party rather have, the bone or fresh fish? It is decided to crack the bone and boil it. The thick dark broth will be very warming and filling. There will be more than enough for us all to feel full and still enough left for breakfast. Later there will be an attempt to build the charcoaled logs around it so it is still warm for breakfast, but that is a task which is not always won.

0054 (2)

“What of the fish?” asks Linnea-Ingeborg, “The fat fresh fish”.

I will be delighted to leave it to rot,” exclaims Brinhild.

She shall make Grav Fisk.

It has been gutted to avoid expansion of the juices within and she has rewrapped it in the muslin. “I have a marker over there where the last fisk was buried. I shall bury it there for three months to rot.”

“Lovely” exclaims the whole camp at once.

The previous burial will be ready to dig up and we can dig that out in a few nights time.

Bones tonight, rotten fish at the end of the week, it is a rich time we have,” laughs Bjork-Mari.

So, we shall be digging up some of the older Grav Fisk in the next dreamtime as well as exploring the sweat-lodge and building a Viking Dream long ship, or at least starting upon it, or at least starting to plan for it.

Read on

Viking Dreamtime III

Or start back at the beginning:

Dreamtime I

Here’s some different themes:

Storytelling is…

Viking Gods and Goddesses

Mini-Saga

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Saying Thank You

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Viking Saga in a Nutshell – As performed at Gudvangen Viking Market 2017

Viking Saga in a Nutshell – As performed at Gudvangen Viking Market 2017

See ‘how to’ at the bottom for ways to turn these shortened sagas into performances

038 sig sword up

Sigurd the Warrior

034 sig sword

The warrior thrust his sword – into his scabbard

035 sig horse

Mounted his mighty horse – and rode through the night

009 rode all night

And the next day

008 ride all night

And the next night

036 mountains

Ahead was an enormous mountain

037 cave

In the mountain was a huge cave

038 sig sword up

He leapt from his horse – and strode in

084 up tunl

Up a long high tunnel

087 to enor cave

Towards an enormous cave

010 pile of gold

In the cave was an enormous heap of gold

007 dragon on pile

Upon the gold was an enormous dragon

039 dragon

“Roar”

089 crouch fear.jpg

He crouched in fear, “I cannot kill this thing!”

013 two raven

Two birds landed on his shoulders and whispered,

090 dig what.jpg

“Dig a hole” “What with?”

092 with sword.jpg

“Dig with your sword.” “Why?”

094 leap in.jpg

“Just dig, dig, and leap in!”

039 dragon

The great monster awakes

012 wait in hole

Sigurd the warrior crouches down with his sword

095 d flies out.jpg

The monstrous dragon flies out through the tunnel

096 s stabs

Sigurd stabs, stabs, urg, hu, arg, p,dumph

011 dragon head

The dragon bites, RRRRaphnth!

097 haha 01.jpg

Sigurd slices, “Hahahahahahaha!”

098 haha 02

“Hahahahahahaha!”

Sigurd Awakens Brinhild

034 sig sword

Sigurd the warrior raised his sword

025 neck slice

He sliced right through the dragon’s neck

026 ring

And from its claw he took the cursed gold ring

099 seeks.jpg

“I will go and seek my fortune”

010 pile of gold

“Hang on, I already have a fortune”

028 sadlebag

He filled his saddlebags with dragon’s gold

030 sig rides

He rode away on his horse which was afraid of nothing – nothing

076 man horse 01 flipped

Nothing

029 terrain types

Forests, swamps, mountains

0100 on mount.jpg

Upon a far mountain is a tall tower

0101 in flames.jpg

Surrounded by flames

0102 leaps.jpg

The horse leaps

024 sig leaps

Through the air

031 sig through flame

Through the flames

0103 dismounts.jpg

Sigurd dismounts inside the tower

0104 asleep.jpg

Laid asleep upon a stone bed is…

0105 most beaut.jpg

The most beautiful woman he has ever seen

027 sleeps

She was unclothed

0106 in arms

He took her in his arms

0107 kiss.jpg

He kissed her

0108 awake

She awoke, “I love you”

0109 will you.jpg

“I love you too – will you marry me?”

0110 ring on

He put the ring upon her finger

026 ring

The cursed ring

0111 beginning of.jpg

That is just the beginning of a story – where

0112 ev dies 01.jpg

Everybody dies

For the Love of Freyja – and the Walls of Asgard

054 god war flipped

The big boss god of all the Viking gods?

047 odin 01

OOOOOOOOOOOdin

048 odin 01 flipped

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOdin

049 asgard

His city was in ruins

050 asgard flipped

Ruins

044 h stranger

Along came a handsome stranger

045 h stranger flipped

“I will build the walls of your city for you”

078 hs 02

“And all I want in return is…”

0114 str the sun.jpg

“The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”

0120 sun 04.jpg

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”

069 odin 02 flipped

Odin said, “You want what!”

0115 ev the sun group 01.jpg

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”

070 odin loki heads

That is a lot, I will ask Loki

057 loki 01

“What does he want paying?”

055 odin and loki 01

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”

059 half a year

“Only if he can get it done in less than half a year”

068 odin 02

Odin told the stranger…

0116 sun 01.jpg

“But will you still pay me “Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as my wife oooooo”

046 hs and horse

“And can my horse help?”

060 horse mountain 01

“Hahaha what good is a horse? It was a magical horse

061 horse mountain fly

It flew down and picked up a mountain

065 hs brick 01

The stranger used it as a brick

062 horse mountain fly flipped

It flew down and picked up a mountain

066 horse to hs brick

The stranger used it you get the idea

067 hs brick to wall

He will get it down in time and then we will have to pay him

0118 sun 02

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”

071 loki turns horse
072 lady horse 01

Loki turned into a beautiful lady horse brrrrrrr

075 man horse 01
074 lady horse 02

The stallion followed her

077 into magic wood

Into the magical woods

078 hs 02.jpg

Now the stranger wouldn’t get the job done in time and he wouldn’t get paid…

0119 sun 03

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”

079 off to biff

He threw off his handsome disguise and became the rock giant he really was

0121 goes to biff.jpg

He went to biff Odin

080 odin to biff

But Odin biffed him

081 biffs giant

He biffed him so hard he flew all the way back to the land of the giants

0122 nearly wall.jpg

The walls were nearly finished and Odin didn’t have to pay…

0123 ev group flipped.jpg

“Everybody all at once” “The sun, the moon and the beautiful lady Freyja as his wife oooooo”

Loki

058 loki 01 flipped

The god of mischief

0124 trickery.jpg

Trickery

0125 cruelty

Cruelty

0126 she screams.jpg

“When the goddess awakes see how she screams”

0127 l laughs 01.jpg

Loki laughs “hehehehe”

0129 l laughs 02.jpg

“Hehehehehe”

0130 shape change.jpg

He is also a shape changer god

0131 creatures.jpg

(say to the cast,) “Say the names of four random creatures or things”

056 odin and loki 01 flipped

The gods had had enough of him

0132 throw ch

They threw away his children

0133 throw snake 01.jpg
0134 throw snake 02.jpg

The giant snake they threw into the sea, “Roar, sploosh”

0135 wolf in

The monster wolf into the ground “hoooooowl”

016 hel falls

His putrid, rotten daughter down to the underworld

014 hel

Scream!

0136 poison face.jpg

Burning poison was dripped on Loki’s face

0137 all scream.jpg

“All scream together!”

0138 her ship

“See my daughter fly her ship of the dead”

0139 kill all.jpg

“And we will kill you all!”

0142 haha 01
0143 haha 02.jpg

“Hahahahahaha” – “Haha”

0140 l dies

That is the end of Loki’s story, in which…

0141 ev dies

[Say to the cast] (“All say together, “Everybody dies” on the count of three.) 1 2 3 “Everybody dies!”

Ragnarok

0151 end of world

The end of the world, where everybody dies

0152 gods monsters etc

Gods, Monsters, wolves and slaves

015 all fight

Everyone fights together until they die

0153 dd we ment

Did we mention everybody dies?

0154 cos do

Because they do

033 yg wave

The sea rises up and swallows the land

032 yg lightning.jpg

Lightning strikes the great tree

017 yg falls

The great tree falls,

0155 eek.jpg

eeeke, creeeeak, vrooooompht, budoumpht, budoumpht, budoumpht

0156 bdumpht

budoumpht

019 yg twig

One branch

019 yg twig

One branch remains standing free of the water

018 yg

The bits of the old world gather around the branch

020 lithr babe

Two figures climb down to this new land

0150 l and l

Lith and Lithrasia

021 babe

New life begins, cradled in their arms

0157 old gods.jpg

The power of the old gods rises from the sea

023 yg old gods.jpg

The light of life and hope

022 l and l arms

We raise up our arms in wonder and say, “aaaaaaah”

Njord; the god of the sea

0158 he leads.jpg

He leads us

0159 guides.jpg

Guides us

0160 stare

Stare out to sea with him

0161 under is terrible g.jpg

For under the sea is a terrible goddess

0162 twisted.jpg

Ran! She is wicked and twisted

0163 swings

She swings her net and catches sailors “aaaaaaaargh”

0164 wander.jpg

They wander her home forever

0165 ccold

“I am cccccold.” – “I miss my familyyyyy”

0166 drownded.jpg

“I wish I hadn’t drowneded”

0167 claps.jpg

“Hahahahaha” Ran laughs and claps

0168 sick.jpg

That is how sick she is

0169 good.jpg
0170 guides.jpg

Njord is good; he guides us

0171 home.jpg

This is his home

0172 njard.jpg

Njardarheimr

0173 by sea.jpg

He stands now by the sea

0174 ol.jpg

Bless him with mjord and ol

0175 gud

Gudvangen! Njardarheimr!

Although I wasn’t yet strong enough to face being at Gudvangen this year I was thrilled to be asked by stand-in host Annabelle to allow her to continue my tradition of multi-national stories. So each of the scripts I have published here has been performed in my honour by Annabelle with a gang of pals such as Karin in many languages and dialects simultaneously.

‘How to’ guide:

If you are working with children they can repeat each line altogether after you and act it out; remember, many of the stories from the mythology are quite gruesome.

The multi-national story; you need people who speak different languages (and English) you can also encourage different dialects for a bit more fun. You say each of the lines and one at a time they saying along the row in their own language. It works wonderfully well, it works far better than it should! Prepare to have great fun.

I look forward to be being welcomed back into the fold at Gudvangen next year (or even sooner).

Love

Adrian

OldMan Comics – Cancer Care Capers

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Saying Thank You

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