Bits

I am fed up that everything I tile is collected by auto-chicken.

I realise now that my mistake was probably that I tried to type auto-check instead of auto-collect.

But it has been collected.

There is obviously a fault. At least with the auto-correct but possibly worse than that. So while we are stuck here I might as well carry on.

There’s the joke of the year from Edinburgh Fringe by Ken Cheng,  “I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change.”

Well, things were different before the changes.

A previous year Tim Vine won with “I sold my vacuum cleaner, well it was just gathering dust.”

My son in law Spee tells me that Norwegian ships have a bar code on the side so they can Scandinavian.

On to my new look with the curls.

Now that it has grown back the way it has I don’t remember what my hair was like before I had radiotherapy, but I am sure it didn’t make mature women giggle like girls.

One Direction, they went their separate ways.

Away from humour and on to poetry with this corker from Ralph Bear (thank you ever so)

For Adrian

Me pen and paper

Me sword in hand

Me march off to unknown lands

Me get me got

Godspeed I trot

Me pen and paper

Me sword in hand

                        Ralph Bear

Here’s my big lad who has hit the big time…

This popped up again recently, created by Olivia Jayne Newton. As a promotion for the first ever stage production I’ve been in.

And my dream:

I dreamed that in the olden days what people who had excess limbs did is they joned the navy. Navy surgeons are renowned for cutting off limbs so sooner or later it is bound to happen. Neville had three legs so he joined up and a couple of years later there was an incident and sure enough the surgeon sawed one of his legs off. So he was able to come home with two.

When Mervin, (who had five arms) saw him returning looking so well balanced he too decided to go away to the navy. Eight years he was there, then sure enough there was an incident and they sawed off one of his arms. Trouble was, they sawed off the right arm, which was the only one he had at that side and left the other four he had on the left side as they were.

There is a moral to this story, or at least there was a moral to it in the dream.

NASA announced lately that they had discovered a planet that could harbour life, but it couldn’t be guarenteed that there was intelligent life there; of course there is, who do they think built the harbour.

I blogged a collection of poetry recently.

On the 27th of October I shall be performing in Scarborough Art Gallery Hobb the Night Guard and the amazement of museums. Here is Hobb’s recent stories for the Fossil Festival.

Viking Comic Inc rereleases include Oski and the Amulet, The Hammer Flies and the Greek myth of Zeus and Typhon.

There’s my travelogue of Denmark.

Turning Points in Life’s Journey.

My multi-national performances in Gudvangen, Norway; Viking Sagas in a Nutshell.

An dof course my very popular Cancer Care Capers.

For any of you who haven’t heard, I was given the all clear last week.

Feedback on my Discworld Blog;

“And, oh my! what a joy to receive your narrative on and your utterly delightful drawings of the most marvellous place to be in in the entire Multiverse.  (Tho’ I can’t help thinking your portrait of C.M.O.T. Dibbler is just a little too flattering; “unsavoury”, after all, is not just a word that applies literally to his wares, it also applies metaphorically to his person.)” Julie Speedie

Discworld blog

And here is the last magazine type blog I did…

Do buy the guy

guy-link-board

 

 

 

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

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Opening Ceremony 2016 Viking Valley, Gudvangen, Norwaytitle box squashed

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

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

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

stall 02

oski small

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

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

poster norge

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

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

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

“Me too.”georg

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

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

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

“Can we ask where you are all from?”

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

“Ah, those are the places we robbed.”

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

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

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

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

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

“What is an oath?”

A promise; and a promise is a promise and…

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

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

“Spit?”

Well we skipped that bit.

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

No sorry. No spitting. The barrels are fine!

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

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

Or until Ragnarok; the end of the world.

“So we keep our promises; enjoy.”

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

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

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

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

The word is…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With hardly any risk to yourself….dead

Hear Galda upon the holy hill…galda.jpg

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

lady shaga.jpgVisit Lady Chaga…

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

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

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

“Oaths”

Don’t spit when you speak!

Oaths. Off.

Vikings will become Vikings again.

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

Then you will be welcome.

“Welcome.”

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

“Don’t tell them Adrian.”

No, we must.

“There is a rumour.”

A terrible rumour.kurs group

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

We are now going to deal with that rumour.

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

Never.

“Never.”

Never

“It is true!”

Never seen again!

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

“Now we must warn you.”

This may happen to you.

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

group 01

This we must warn you of.

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

Yes.

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

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

guilty coloured.jpg

“Terribly, terribly sad.”

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

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

And this worries me greatly.

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

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

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

What kind of warriors?

“Berserkers.”

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

“A small fur collar.”

And that’s it!

“Yes.”

Right I will have to get my outfit ready then.

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

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

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

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

They will run.berserker me

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

We now declare the Viking Market open!opening

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

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

parade 03.jpgnaming

Naming Ceremony photos and footage

Aurland Photography

2015 Opening Speech (more moving)

Skaldic Pieces

Future Skaldic Plans

To Become a King

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

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

sign 01I am looking at the stories I didn’t tell and wishing I had fitted them in. But there are other times of course and I am thankful of the times, the many times, I was able to tick a tale off the list.

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

Long journeys listening to the sixties and memories.foxglove love

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

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

It might be the water. It is everywhere.

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

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

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

whale spouts

A whale

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

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

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

village

Not actually a photograph of Georg

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

(Sorry I fell off that list.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They are very insistent.

I shall list this visit’s oddities.

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

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

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

slender

Artists interpretation of something completely unrelated to this story

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

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

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

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

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

There are wasps.small wasp

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

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

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

Anders simple says

“They are spirit.”

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

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

“They are spirit.”

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

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

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

It is your fault.

The fairies died.

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

wasp changesThey reincarnated.

As wasps.

Can you imagine how cross they are.

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

Sh*t!

I am a wasp!

I am a bl**dy wasp!

No wonder they are angry.

Get ready to be stung.big wasp flipped

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

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

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

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

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

I felt young.

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

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

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

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

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

And most of the tourists survived.

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

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

We even had a slave team run screaming through.

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

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

That’s it.

No, hang on.

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

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

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

Where We Were – So Spoke the Skald 05

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Where We Were

Walk close to the past

For it brings you who you are

Gives you a place to live

A belonging; A sharing

We walk together with love

Authentically care

Paths chosen

ASAdrian in the Norwegian theatre hut cropped

….

So Spoke the Skald 04 – Wishing You in Gudvangen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I see you there with me.Image031

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

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Vikings May Our Wishes Come True

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

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

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

Because it is orange!!!FullSizeRenderOrange.

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

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

You will then be able to make a wish.

Then my wish will come true –

Vox Pop:-

“Well done Adrian, I will help”

“It is all we could afford”

“Cover it up for godssake”

“I will send the kids”

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

“You are making the world a better place”

“I think it is a Noray Design conspiracy”

“God it will be ugly if not”

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

Steady now

We shall cover it up!

Yes that is my wish. That fence must go!

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

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

I promise.

The Birth of a Viking Town

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The Birth of a Viking Town

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

templeharbour

map

Official plan -see link below

http://www.gudvangenutvikling.no/

https://www.facebook.com/vikingvalley

My guide to getting to Gudvangen