Way of Living – Words of our Viking Chieftain turned to a poem by his Skald.

Way of Living – From our Viking Chieftain

We have our land. We go raid no more. We here have plenty. Do not take like before.
In our hearts we are Viking. People of Iron. In our town we are Viking. Viking Town.
Shipbuilders come here. In iron nailed hulls. Bringing sightseers to us. They help at the sculls.
Season by season. The world comes stay here. The reason is Vikings. They hold us dear.
Our chieftain welcomes. His word is enough. We stay just as strong. Strong of love.
Chieftain he speaks. “Piracy is gone.” “No need to go plunder” Being here is strong.
Warriors a plenty. No need of an army. You come to us. We have no enemy.
All here are welcome. Whoever the world will bring. All here are welcome. Except the unwelcoming.
Come join in the building. The building of kinships. The skill and the interest. This town equips.
Ancient crafts abide. Use needle and hammer. Clothe us, shod us. Be potter, be carver.
As you sit you are of us. Viking by fire. Cook, drink discover. Be thirsty, aspire.
Remember to believe. Believe in your heart. We have games to share. Here we shall start.
Be in his team. Tell stories that last. Live here in the now. We bring you the past.

Adrian Spendlow – from the words of my chieftain
(NB the R in iron is silent)

Dedicated to Njardarheimr Viking Town in Gudvangen, Norway.

(Check before visiting for opening hours over this winter.)

Just creating a poem and a blog for it can take quite a while to bring about…

Saying Thank You

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

3.00 $

For sale on Bandcamp my amusing yet informative history of the Itchin bridge.

https://adrianspendlow.bandcamp.com/releases

For sale on Amazon my very first book, The Cakes and Tea Collection – a mix of short stories and poetry.

On the US Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FP5NLLK

On the UK Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FP5NLLK

(Also available on Kindle)

Supporters Club; Dwayne, Adam, Sharon, Sigrun, Holly, Georg, Carol, Connie, Sarah, Spee 69, Oyvind, Ginny, Maureen, Sylvia, Lillian, Margaret, Pam, Lucy, Michelle, Obie, Alda Raven and Heather.

A Special Feature for the Friends of UW Green Bay Viking House

You all are welcome to enjoy this blog which I hope will bring many of you to go and click to be a friend of our wonderful project.

Click and like – https://www.facebook.com/UWGBVikingHouse

Keep scrolling down here for all the fun movies.

Those of you who are already ‘following’ and may have been to events in the past will be pleased to see here a gathering of films and photos of our progress at the house.

Things are Happening at the Viking House.

This beautiful place has been awaiting us for so long. Many have asked and are interested in being actively involved. Of course the world has been in lock-down and the house is a very small part of that.

It is the time to start looking at what we can do to re-celebrate the place; to tidy and renovate and to decorate. We wish also to be able have things happen there.

What is the Viking house? There is a whole series of films and photos here in this blog about our house and our plans. Let us tell you now though that it is a rebuild of a house from that age and is in the grounds of UWGB. The university in Green Bay, Wisconsin is the home of this great feature. The ‘Jarldress’ or perhaps keeper of the house is Professor Heidi Sherman who is head of history for UWGB.

When I say that she is responsible we are talking about a budget-free situation. So anything that happens here is down to our Jarldress to make possible. For us to appreciate.

Who am I? And who are the others in the films below? There are lots of groups and individuals who are willing to take part and to arrange events. The three of us in the films below are volunteers.

I missed the house being open over the summer, for as well as wanting to help out, I miss being the storyteller for the house. Here now I can say I am just a volunteer though acting out of good will. I do happen also to be Professor Sherman’s husband which could be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage. We turn to her for guidance, permission and often for funding.

Trodin Hegn (Dwayne) and Di An are two other active participants with exciting hopes for the future.

Dwayne and I

Our Affiliations

Celebrating the Viking house will be timed nicely with the making of shields. Trodin is making shields for decoration.

Sigourney has designed a UWGB Shield image and we hope to be taking her two of Dwayne’s shields for painting. One with her design, and one with Dwayne’s (Trodin’s) own personal image (Sigourney will this be OK and fit in with your plans? – I would also love to see your other Viking design idea and see if we can use them in some way).

Dwayne and I have plans to invite gifts of shields and flags etc to show affiliations.

Njardarheimr Viking Town, Gudvangen, Norway

A Presentation Day will invite people to visit and make a gift as they walk through. This could be a decoration for the Hall made specially for the day or a ‘blessing token’ selected on the day.

We will have selection of tokens to pick from; simple things such as stones, beads and feathers and we would be glad to hear from people who wish to make or offer decorations suitable for the Viking ages such as tablet weavings or utensils. While arranged outside folks can talk about the donations and the work of others.

There are of course severe restrictions and we will plan within these. IE masks must be worn, people must gather with six feet apart in the area of the Viking house and then parade through the hall slowly with a maximum of ten people in there at any one time. This will include the presenters and hopefully a small film crew.

Six feet apart

(Dress for the weather.)

Example of inappropriate attire

This event is planned to take place on Saturday October 3rd A provisional date. from one o’clock onwards. We will publicise once it is confirmed but for now please ‘pencil’ it in and start thinking ahead. Exciting times.

Let us know that you are interested.

As for those affiliations, this will be groups or festivals which we have connections with. We will be glad to hear from you about connections we have with you. To date we are approaching five different groups we have affiliations with.

As Skald to the Chieftain of Njardarheimr Viking Town in Gudvangen, Norway I will be approaching my chieftain (my blood brother) for a flag of the Njardarheimr symbol. No, I will ask now – Dear Georg is it possible that you could arrange us a flag of the town or a banner for the town for our display? I will be glad to pay if needs be.

Da Boss

I am also a member of The British association The Vikings through their group at York University; Vanaheimr. I am a member of this dynamic group from the university and will be asking them for a flag or banner for us to display. I will ask them now too. Dear Jarl please could you arrange a symbol of our affiliations?

I serve Vanaheimr

I say hi to Tim Jorgenson of Viking Connections, the coordinator of Viking events for The Historical and Cultural Society for Clay County.

Tim I am pleased you are ‘cogitating’ upon the idea of sending us an affiliation item. We will be displaying our pride in connection with River Ravens upon our hall walls in the near future I hope.

I interviewed Tim for a project I was involved in prior to the Covid catastrophe. Here is the interview. Although almost everything was cancelled for all of us in 2020 I am hoping that most of the things mentioned will reappear in a new guise in 2021.

Stop Press – I’ve chatted to Tim and we are saving a space for a shield and he will be making us one especially later in the year.

Hello Adrian,

My present title is “Director of Viking Connection,” although I’m also known as a general coordinator of various Viking events in our region, as well as a hobbyist blacksmith and woodworker. Viking Connection (www.vikingconnection.org) is an outreach program run by the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, Minnesota (HCSCC).  We are housed in the Hjemkomst Center, in Moorhead, home of the Gokstad Viking ship replica Hjemkomst, that sailed to Norway in 1982. HCSCC also interprets a Hopperstad Stave Church replica, a reconstruction of the Viking-Age stavkirke still standing in Vik, Norway. Viking Connection is a natural extension of HCSCC’s on-going work to preserve and present Viking-Age folk art in the Midwest.

We invite artists specializing in the Viking Age crafts of Scandinavia to teach and tour in the states of ND, SD, MN, IA, WI, and the UP of MI. We also offer an apprenticeship program to send dedicated students from the Midwest to study their chosen craft with a master artist in Scandinavia. Lastly, we offer a database of international artists interested in networking with each other.

Together with fellow Minnesotan, Kyle Jameson, we started a Viking living history group called, “River Ravens” (www.riverravens.org), largely as a way to have a name for our group when we are hired to provide an encampment, crafts, or entertainment for events in our area. We joined up with UK-based, Regia Anglorum because we really enjoy the authenticity policy they have in place, their research, and their continuous efforts to stay up-to-date with recent archaeological findings. In all, we participate in between 5-10 events annually, the largest being North America’s largest Scandinavian festival, Norsk Høstfest, in Minot, North Dakota.

[Sadly the next paragraph covered plans which were cancelled due to the Covid thing, so I have cut the details, but I am sure there will be another exciting program in 2021 with a Viking skill being brought back to share around festivals and events here. – Ade.]

One of the exciting things to look forward to in 2020, is the Viking Connection apprenticeship. Each year we send a student to Scandinavia to learn from selected artists with the goal of learning new skills or advancing pre-existing skills with a Viking Age craft.

I’m continually being contacted by different organizations interested in creating Viking Age events, or adding a Viking presence to a broader-themed event, so keep an eye on the River Raven’s and VC websites for 2020 opportunities.

Tim

Thank you Tim.

Visit the site for The Historical and Cultural Society for Clay County…

https://www.hcscconline.org/

Here is the River Ravens site…

https://riverravens.org/

We had a wonderful visit to Balagard the Viking age Finland festival in Hancock, Michigan. A great town and a great festival. This is a bi-annual festival so the Covid epidemic probably wont be an effect and then this exciting event will be back in 2021 as planned.

Toby of Balagard was saying to me about the idea of links between groups and how it would be good to have a story linking each shield or item to the group it was from.

I ask now, ‘Hi Toby, can I ask if it is possible to have a shield or item representing your group for our house in Green Bay?’

Here is their FB page – https://www.facebook.com/Balagard-Viking-age-Finland-304102503794434/

The Viking House, University Wisconsin, Green Bay. New era feature.

So yes, my wife Professor Heidi Sherman, as well as being head of history for UWGB, is also the Jarldress for the Viking house. I have never thought of this before, but, wait for it, what does that make me!

Answers on a postcard please.

She has created many events and developments around the house but of course it has all been on hold this year. We are just starting to get the place going again.

There are many who volunteer to help keep the place going and I have been along with a couple of good pals recently to make a start. So here is a feature on the place.

Welcome.

Dwayne is making a shield with his own design on for the display with our collection. We are hoping for donations from other groups and other individuals (you) of samples of their craft.

My groups shield from York University’s Viking group Vanaheimr.

A group planted Hops and I wanted to capture them flourishing so they could see what a good job they had done. Each year they will get more and more prolific.

Raised beds were in lock down.

You can tell the fire pit hasn’t been used in a while.

We need a clear out or a hiding place.

Ideally there shouldn’t be anything modern on view if someone comes to take a photo. The oven needs its cover though to protect all Dwayne’s hard work and we remove it as soon as an activity is preparing.

I can’t wait to get that oven going again and get some cooking done. We are still limited on events of course. Let us look ahead though.

The current wood pile is mainly stuff which was too long for our stove at home, so I guess we will soon get through it and be looking for more.

This is the John

I am thinking we could cut some of the buckthorn to make our little fence out of.

Ah apparently the hawthorn is an invasive so we can cut as much of that as we like.

The box fence is our next project. We are hoping for a bit of help, and to have it finished before the decorations day.

Just down the slope from us is the Frisbee-Golf

The grounds are beautiful

Owen and Elspeth are the lovely couple who made all of this possible.

I haven’t met Harry, but we are all very grateful that he found a way to make a difference to our Viking heritage here at UWGB.

(I would like to know a little more about the cookhouse too)

Maintaining a Viking House can be a Hornet’s nest

We came back again and had a bit of an inspection;

Sorting.

The full team inspection

The Parking situation

UWGB wildlife

After we left today we passed a few Heron, they were standing close to picnickers by the river and I was surprised at how tall they were. I guess at nearly five foot, Dwayne tells me they can reach six foot. The Heron not the Turkeys, or we would be having a good Thanksgiving.

Flax drying will make an interesting addition to the decor.

Then we could process it ready to spin into linen thread.

We have plans for wool too. Insulation.

The return and this time we are equipped.

We needed refreshing.

Refreshments were created by team host Jarldress Sherman

I will catch that frog

Gorrit

Let us be-strim

This is why we were here.

And we got the job done, well Dwayne did.

What’s next boss?

Do follow the Adrian Spendlow blog, and browse the offerings below.

Just a simple blog like this takes me a few days to put together, please do encourage me by clicking the donation button

Saying Thank You

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

$3.00

For sale on Bandcamp my amusing yet informative history of the Itchin bridge.

https://adrianspendlow.bandcamp.com/releases

For sale on Amazon my very first book, The Cakes and Tea Collection – a mix of short stories and poetry.

On the US Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FP5NLLK

On the UK Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FP5NLLK

Supporters Club; Dwayne, Adam, Sharon, Sigrun, Holly, Carol, Connie, Spee 69, Oyvind, Ginny, Maureen, Lillian, Margaret, Pam, Lucy, Michelle, Sarah, Obie, and Heather.

Click and like – https://www.facebook.com/UWGBVikingHouse

https://www.facebook.com/oralstories

Facts & Fiction is a quarterly magazine devoted to the art of oral storytelling. On this page you can find and update events and news between issues.

My blog; some Viking shields – https://adrianspendlowblog.com/2020/03/11/some-viking-shields/

Living in America I

Songs of Odin

I have been asked to repost this to accompany an event which will occur in Njardarheimr Village.

If you look at the powers of Odin; at the songs and runes, you see a different image than you would imagine. His words, his gathered powers, are for the betterment of all.

(Filmed in the Viking town of Njardarheimr, Gudvangen, Norway as I walk towards the ceremonial area.)

Saying Thank You

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

$3.00

Way of Living – (Dedicated to Njardarheimr Viking Town, Gudvangen, Norway)

Way of Living – (Dedicated to Njardarheimr, Norway)

We have our land. We go raid no more. We here have plenty. Do not take like before.
In our hearts we are Viking. People of Iron. In our town we are Viking. Viking Town.
Shipbuilders come here. In iron nailed hulls. Bringing sightseers to us. They help at the sculls.
Season by season. The world comes stay here. The reason is Vikings. They hold us dear.
Our chieftain welcomes. His word is enough. We stay just as strong. Strong of love.
Chieftain he speaks. “Piracy is gone.” “No need to go plunder” Being here is strong.
Warriors a plenty. No need of an army. You come to us. We have no enemy.
All here are welcome. Whoever the world will bring. All here are welcome. Except the unwelcoming.
Come join in the building. The building of kinships. The skill and the interest. This town equips.
Ancient crafts abide. Use needle and hammer. Clothe us, shod us. Be potter, be carver.
As you sit you are of us. Viking by fire. Cook, drink discover. Be thirsty, aspire.
Remember to believe. Believe in your heart. We have games to share. Here we shall start.
Be in his team. Tell stories that last. Live here in the now. We bring you the past.

Adrian Spendlow – from the words of my chieftain
(NB the R in iron is silent)

.

.

Saying Thank You

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

3.00 $

Viking Foods – a collection of handy links n chat

Viking Foods – a collection of handy links n chat

I was sent an interesting link and asked for more. Lots of friends sent me information on Viking foodstuffs, so I thought I would put all the links and chats together in one place. I am always glad to hear more.

I pontificate quite a lot so more rigid findings will be found in the links supplied and the future links and information you send me. Here you will find me ruminating like an ungulate.

Trine at Njardarheimr

I asked around about information of foodstuffs and a good friend Leah mentioned hearing of work by the York Archaeological Trust in York, Britain. Lots of bone and poo. Here are couple of things I ‘picked up’ from the conversation. Professor Terry O’Conner of University of York said that cattle were at the heart of daily lives. Although they were quite small compared to contemporary cows they were used for many things, leather, horn, meat, fat, dairy products and of course bone carving.  

For some great bone carving skills, and indeed leather working, do visit Peter Merrett on his Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/peter.merrett.7

Pete

Old bones is what were found mainly I understand, and this seems to indicate that the cattle were used for labour. They would be hauling things, carts and ploughs and such I guess. Dairy products would also be another reason for keeping the cows longer.

A couple of things came to mind, I would love feedback on these thoughts. Were there young male bones? Did they kill off most of the bulls and keep a few for breeding? Perhaps they hadn’t thought of that. If haulage was so important then bulls or steers would be useful.

I have heard Viking presenters describe the slaughter of animals in the early winter or late fall. They say that you tally up how much animal feed you have for the winter, calculate how many animals that will feed and then work out how many you can keep. So presumably there was a great working of animal materials at this time. Drying and working.

Preservation of food stuff is a thing I would like to hear more about. The communal gathering of wild flora for instance. The ways to keep meat. The equipment used. They must have been a lot of that going on. Where did they get the preservation materials? Lye, smokehouses, salt, vinegar, fermentation, honey boiling. I don’t know but I want to.

They would have course eaten lots of fish. There are remains to show so. I understand millions of oyster shells were found in the Coppergate dig in York. I imagine these were mainly fresh-water oysters. I wonder if they found pearls?

The sea isn’t far away (along the Humber) and Scandinavia isn’t that far away, especially if you think of preserved fish.

Trine Volder

There are two rivers in York. The folks of Jorvik would certainly have noticed them, because they come up to visit you on a regular basis! Eel come to mind, I have seen reconstructions of eel catchers.

Holger’s eel catcher

I have also seen coracles. Again, I want to hear more.

That dig in York found bones of an odd selection of creatures. As well as all the likely suspects when it comes to eating meat and fish there were also birds, frogs and mice bones.

Holger’s pic of Njardarheimr’s chickens

What, I wonder, about the bones of animals which provide fur. There is a controversial thought. They are not mentioned here. Did the Vikings hunt for fur to wear? They traded it yes.

Cooking methods are also pointers, cauldrons, flat stones, griddles possibly, spits and pits.

When it come to the analysis of poo (coprolite?) another surprise food ingredient was discovered. Grit! They ate a lot of that, especially the poor. It got in the flour and wore away the teeth. The teeth were a limitation on life.

Thank you to Fiona for sending me a link to – From Loki to lipids: Using modern biology to discover Viking culture

https://bbsrc.ukri.org/news/fundamental-bioscience/2017/171014-f-using-modern-biology-to-discover-viking-culture/?fbclid=IwAR3Dom5_xqIC8IpXMJWBFjR4UF5BAfFhxRAP5dRdqTJS0lVyQdYUQ4bm_Bc

So the above is looking at, among other things, the residues and fats within utensils. Looking at artefacts to see the logistics of eating.

And an interesting link to Yule in an interview with Dr Ashby…

https://ahrc.ukri.org/research/readwatchlisten/features/festive-food-a-viking-feast-for-yuletide/#:~:text=Dr%20Ashby%20currently%20directs%20the%20AHRC-funded%20project%20Melting,Can%20you%20tell%20us%20a%20little%20about%20yourself%3F

I didn’t notice any reference to alcohol.

I was intrigued by the longstanding connection between Scandinavia and the Arctic.

And here is the Melting Pot site…

https://www.meltingpot.site/

A great links page, and I like their blog the best.

Some other thoughts…

We can also look to the sagas and the stories and poems for pointers.

I hear talk of ballast plants, you fill the ship with stuff to sell, you trade for lighter things, you need ballast. Loads of soil and rock perhaps. This needs emptying out when you get home. So does all the animal waste I guess too. There are seeds in there. Stuff grows. I have been told that oregano grows in Norway because of this factor. So I hear.

Some common-sense thoughts (ramblings).

The placing of settlements, and marker stones point to foodstuffs. What is available in an area and what trade routes could have been established.

The availability of materials. Did the Icelandic people eat rotten food because they didn’t have any trees?

My pal Holger from Germany who I know from working with him in Njardarheimr Viking Town, and his wonderful crafting skills, posted this link to our group chat. This is the piece that got us all talking about other information and links.

https://sciencenorway.no/archaeology-food-viking-age/what-did-the-vikings-really-eat/1706735?fbclid=IwAR3xO_EEyC7AXSpbyowSmMHzC_Dhg3KCMixtOkDNQ60ppt4Llotmo9ZUnf4

Angelica

I can’t help but disagree with the idea that Vikings lived from hand to mouth. You only survive long hard winters if you plan, work hard and work together.

Otherwise it is great.

Sea-leeks is interesting. Odin’s brothers planted them at the beginning of the world! So they must be important.

Mind you, there is also plenty of talk of snakes. Whole pit-fulls. Would that be true?

I would love to see all the veg and herbs we see planted out. The Viking house at Green Bay USA could have a go at a garden from these links in this blog.

Njardarheimr in Gudvangen would be really enhanced by gardens. There is talk here of plots and gardens.

Some of the Gudvangen Vikings hanging out after work.

I am sure I have seen other references to plots and lots. There was mention somewhere of the idea that they improved the land. They must have used compost.

Quite a bit of talk of cultivation too, especially onions.

As for plants Leah mentions someone who is involved in Historic England

https://historicengland.org.uk/

by Chris Evans

Hayley McParland their science advisor. She has written on the findings at the site of the Jorvik Centre ride in York.

The majority of plant finds seem to have been grasses, certainly on a microscopic analysis level; these were most likely oats, rye, wheat, barley and other grain producers. I guess these were mainly for flour, but could also have been for brewing (especially if they found Yarrow?).

Ah, there were lots of archaeobotanical remains which showed the culture, diet and crafts. I don’t have specifics though.

The methods of dying material could be tied back further towards plant cultivation, awareness and gathering.

Dying, Needle-binding and photography by Līga Supantīsaūli Gūlbs

I haven’t so far on this quest discovered any links to medicine, folk-medicine, folklore or beliefs.

Leah suggested that if you were visiting the Jorvik Centre you pre-book a copy of the Jorvik Centre Companion Guide to be waiting for you on arrival. I see you can mail order a copy but it seemed to be way more expensive that way.

Real nice to see a friend in this video for the York Archaeological Trust on our topic of Viking foods.

Viking Food and Cooking with Leoba

Ah thank you Zoe, at last talk of cooperative gathering and preservation.

Beehives?!?

And remember to spit.

It was also nice to see Fiona portraying Wulfruna demonstrating the related topic of pottery.

I have enjoyed spending time with culinary archaeologist Daniel Serra, here is a link to a wonderful book – 

https://www.facebook.com/PastFood/

Please use links above

Let me take you now to University Wisconsin Green Bay’s Viking house.

It was built by the amazing couple Elspeth and Owen Christianson

https://www.uwgb.edu/viking-house/about-owen-and-elspeth/

Do visit the Facebook page for the Viking House which is managed by Jarldress Professor Heidi Sherman-Spendlow with the assistance of Jarldress-in-waiting Mariah, the building skills of Trodin Hegn (Dwayne) and many others.

https://www.facebook.com/UWGBVikingHouse/

The grounds, buildings and events have pretty much been on hold as things have been everywhere.

The future is ahead of us and will blossom deep into the past.

The Society for Creative Anachronism have a group in Green Bay and they are a great bunch of active reenactors of history. They get well involved with the development of ‘the house’.

Now let’s go to amazing star Alda Raven. As well as her work as a singer and creator of Gods Bless Ya! she also hosts the culinary creative Viking Kitchen which features Viking and Vikingesque cookery.

Here is her introductory feature…

And her visit to the Viking Village of Njardarheimr in Gudvangen, Norway where she works with Viking cook Trine Volder.   

We loved dining with the Green Bay group of Sons of Norway. As well as a whole array of wonderful food from Scandinavia they had asked me to bring along a contribution. I realised all was planned so I thought I needed to create a dish no one else would think of; hence – Gas Station Delight!

https://adrianspendlowblog.com/2019/11/23/norwegian-food-with-the-sons-of-norway/

Gas Station Delight

And the wonderful array of delights from Sons of Norway GB…

Here is Trodin’s oven at the Green Bay Viking House…

Then we got the big fire going…

Here Heidi interviews Trodin (Dwayne) as he builds the oven…

He and I cooked up for the wonderfully entertaining Telga Glima…

Now over to Norway to visit the chieftain’s recreated kitchen…

To finish this is not cooking and not just Viking, but this is worth a search for on Facebook; Medieval Makers – re-enacting the medieval daily life; ace site.

That’s episode one of Viking food links and chat.

I am no expert, in fact even worse, I am a storyteller. I am interested, and I am even more interested to hear more. Do please send links and suggestions (Please don’t tell me off).

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

title box squashed

Opening Ceremony 2016 Viking Valley, Gudvangen, Norway

parade 02

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.

stage combo.jpg

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.

barrel

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

stall 02
oski small

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

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

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

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

me solo 02

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

poster norge
georg

“Me too.”

axe.jpg

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!

pot

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.

ship head

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.

stall 01

“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.”

me solo.jpg

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…

story rc 07 j pic

“Don’t start that again.”

barrel

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.

serpent tower.jpg

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…

ravens
warriors

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!

big

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.”

tents drawing

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.

harbour.jpg

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.

hut

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.

timber

Here is the first of the timber being delivered now…

glima
wrestling

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

dead

With hardly any risk to yourself….

galda.jpg

Hear Galda upon the holy hill…

leather.jpg

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

lady shaga.jpg

Visit Lady Chaga…

slaver.jpg

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

male slave one.jpg

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.

group 02

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.”

kurs group

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!

mal.jpg

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

“Now we must warn you.”

This may happen to you.

story one mp 01a.jpg

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

group 01

This we must warn you of.

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

Yes.

me solo flipped.jpg

“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.

guilty coloured.jpg

“Terribly, terribly sad.”

elf table

“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.”

opening flipped

“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.”

helmet.jpg

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.”

fight

(“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.

berserker me

They will run.

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

opening

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.

parade 03.jpg
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

Songs of Odin

If you look at the powers of Odin; at the songs and runes, you see a different image than you would imagine. His words, his gathered powers, are for the betterment of all.

(Filmed in the Viking town of Njardarheimr, Gudvangen, Norway as I walk towards the ceremonial area.)

Saying Thank You

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

$3.00

A Poem for the Viking Heart

In Isolation

We are alone
As we march evenly
Warrior heart
Is individual
All alone in an army
There is the slice of the sword
The waft of the weave
We are united
In this Viking heart
Because we believe
In one thing, one being
Count on him
Be acknowledged by him
Again and again and again
For he is our chieftain
Known across impossible boundaries
There is faith there
Following
They are his
We stretch over,
Reach out, yes
Crisis
We are isolated as of now
No longer the essence of the word
Forward nor backward
We are searching
The word is Viking
I heard the word said
That as Skald I was
In a dark nightmare
That we all were
No longer loved
This is the darkness
The madness, the end
Of all time I guess
Nothing to go to
Nothing to belong to
To reach out to
Sail to
No
We have inspiration
I heard the village had
Said to my chieftain
Begone
There is only one
Times that
By ten thousand
He is the one
The very concept of
Modern world Viking
The sense of being
He is not a village
Or a chair upon a wooden carriage
He is your heart
In a marriage between
A wish of being
And a timeless understanding
Of belonging
We are in union
The Viking empire is sliced by a sword
We are united by one thing
Our chieftain’s word
He calls us
We hear him
Our hearts fight through airways
Our lungs breathe the same air
We are aware
The fjords call onward to us
Become us
We are Viking
Hear the call of the chieftain
It is simple and plain
We are Viking
We are together again.

AS

.

.

Saying Thank You

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

$3.00

Footage collection with Adrian, friends and family

Footage collection with Adrian, friends and family – Yorkshire Culture, UWGB, Lucy Spendlow, Egg Drop Soup, Frode Tufte, Njardarheimr, Alda’s Viking Kitchen, Lamb Stew, Steam Tales, Daily Distraction, Skipping Day, Scarborough, Georg and the Rooster, Sigrun Design, Alda on Top of the Pops, Real Good Time, Latvian Vikings, Dan Webster Band, Nisswa Viking Festival, Society For Storytelling, Jamie Cooper, Natcha Dauphin.

An audio only set first. I was commissioned by Professor Rebecca Nesvet, Assistant Professor of English at University of Wisconsin, Green Bay to create a presentation on Yorkshire culture. This was recorded by Kate Farley, Instructional Technologist at the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

Next I am very proud to show you one of the cookery programs from top chef Lucy Spendlow; Egg Drop Soup.

Here is a visit to the sadly missed Njardarheimr Viking Town in Norway to see our CEO Forde Tufte walking the sheep. I hope we can join you soon. https://youtu.be/TGJBjUIpZII

Alda’s Viking Kitchen presents Lamb Stew.

Snippets from my forthcoming book Steam Tales, written in collaboration with my late father Ronald. This was presented as a ‘daily distraction’ via UW-Green Bay College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. I am proud to be assisted on this publication project by the History team of students while working with Professor Heidi Sherman.

Skipping Day in Scarborough.

My chieftain Georg blesses the God statues while accompanied by the Njardarheimr cockerel.

Top displays at London Fashion Week and very much in demand; Sigrun’s Viking fashions are modelled well, but never as well as now. Here is your chance to see me in my Viking Shirt from sigrun.co.uk

This is Alda with her hit from Top of the Pops revisited

Heidi filmed these two wonderful Vikings from Latvia, Līga Reitere and Zane Danoss, singing to the very essence of nature and the power of the light.

The brilliant Dan Webster Band performing Sand.

The Viking Era Was Brought To Life During First Nisswa Viking Festival, (Nisswa is a city in Crow Wing County, Minnesota) – Thank you to Trodin Hegn for this link…

Members can post events in here, so I guess it is worth a look…

https://www.facebook.com/societyforstorytelling/

Wonderful guy Jamie Cooper with a wonderful rendition of When the Swallows come back to Capistrano

Captivating song from Natacha Dauphin, Je Pars (Poor Patrick). Subscribe to her channel.

.

.

Saying Thank You

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

$3.00