A new heroine enters

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There is so much that is strange in this world. Not least ALL those people who live underneath it. Who live under the earth, hidden in the mountains or by the back door just behind where you live. And you probably know next to nothing about them but the chances are that so very few generations back, round here often just one, they knew. Knew and knew, not a scientific kind of knowledge but a solid and unshakable certainty.
Last year, in Ireland the parallel world sprang to life for me and a group of 17 students of storytelling from Oslo university. In Ireland the earthly king took a wife from the other world as a matter of course and it was deemed utterly necessary for the good of his earthly kingdom. (He also had a wife of flesh and blood.)

Here there are no kings and queens but the large group of listeners who I told to yesterday seemed pretty freaked out when I took them to the other world. Inge Johanssen had just been telling them, reminding them really, of all the litany of rules and regulations which went to plakating Draugen.

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When Draugen appears to fishermen its usually extremely bad news. He looks like a headless man who rides in half a boat. And by the way if you are lost at sea you do get found without your head. If you were a fisherman back in the day stuff had to be right, a false step might be your last. Fatal mistakes include having a rucksack, a waffle, or, heaven forbid, a woman on your boat. I might seem a bit ironic but its just because i have no idea what this kind of danger is like. Someone told me he had a motorbike accident with a fisherman and everyone came crowding round him and asked him if he was ok. He said yes I’m ok but what about the fisherman? They said Oh this is nothing, he’s a fisherman.

Inge was telling about all this but there was no sense of fear in the large room where coffee (this is hard core; no question of tea or even a cup of hot water here) and cake were being consumed by the inhabitants. But when I told them Mary and the seal and the terror of Mary’s mum when she thinks her only chld has been been stolen by the silkies we seemed to go right back to a place or a depth where the other world is a constant threat.

So where is the heroine? Her name is Regine Nordmann. Earlier in the day I had been hearing of this remarkable woman. Born in 1867, by the age of 4, like so many others, when her father died she was placed in another family . A very bright girl she was teaching at an early age, told stories all her life and soon started writing. At 17 she was forced into marriage with a husband who forbade her to write so she hid the manuscripts in a nearby cave. Later, despite his wrath she moved to Oslo (Christiania), to get an education. He followed her there and she finally managed to buy her way out of the marriage with the money from her first book. Her prodigious output was continuously honed through live storytelling in her teaching, and consists to a large extent of legends and fairy tales. They are often framed in the context of the North Norway she continued to love until her last journey up there in the summer of 1939.

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This picture by Kaare Espolin Johnsson appears in the new book of her local stories launched yesterday and is called the follower.

I still don’t know who Huldra is, I get a new explanation nearly every day. Yes they all agree she is stunning with lots of hair, has a cows tail, dresses in blue and usually lives in the mountain. But no, the woman I am staying with promises me she is not the same as the underworldly who live here i Bø. i just watched the News with her in telly where a man in a restaurant nearby was having trouble with ghosts.

It’s confusing but recently I have been wondering if the Huldra people are simply the Sami. The degree of fear or mutual respect seems to have varied as much about these remarkable people as it does about Huldra. You have to be careful with people of the other world, and perhaps also with people who are closer to the other world. People with the gifts of healing, seeing past and future and perhaps also of cursing. But these people are to be found, many, amongst Norwegians too so what am I saying about Huldra really? I must keep looking.

Tomorrow I’m going to hang out with the kystlag. These are the olden day nerds who mend old boats and know a whole enormous lot about fishing nets and Draugen and the sea. It’s not fair to call them nerds, this is what Norway survived on.

Trodde ikke jeg skulle møte Huldra

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Nei det forundre meg. Her oppe i Lofoten og Vesterålen visste jeg lite om det jeg skulle komme i møte. Det var et skudd i mørket. Jeg kunne har forn så mange steder i Norge og har knapt vært her før men det var et velsignet valg allikevel.
Men det var en som jeg overhode ikke forventet å møte, og i hvert fall ikke nesten daglig og det var Huldra.

De siste dagene har jeg bodde hos Hilde Hansen. Hilde er en av grunnene til at jeg reiser akkurat hit. Strålende, rolig, gjestfri, fullt oppdatert på samtid men samtidig enorm kreativt med å bringe kulturen videre. Hilde sa:

“Alma var fra en så fattig familie at hun ble bortsatt når hun var 7 år. Hun ble gjeterjenta og fjøsjenta i en annen familie. Men hun lærte mye og alle sa at hadde hun fått mulighet hadde hun værte en utmerket lege. Hvis det var problemer med menneske eller med dyr ble hun tilkalte og hun fant alltid på råd.
Når jeg var barn en høstdag sprang jeg på isen og rett inn i en gutt og slo meg kraftig og brak kragebein. Det var lørdag og ingen forbindelse til legen eller til sykehuset før til mandag. Da var det bare en ting å gjøre og det var å tilkalle hun Alma. Jeg var veldig redd at det skulle gjøre vondt men det var akkurat som om når hun rørte meg hun viste når det var øm. Hun tok på bandasjen og når jeg kom til lege følgende uke sa han at det var ingenting mer å gjøre og kragebein ble helt bra.

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Alma passet på meg og brøren min ganske ofte når mamma måtte til sykehuset.
Helt til sin døyandes dag hadde hun klokkertro på huldra og fortalte oss nøyaktig hva og hvor vi skulle gå eller ikke gå for å berge oss mot henne. Hun leste folk godt og mente at hun kunne se om det var ondskap i folk. Da kunne vi få beskjed om å kaste glør etter en som hadde vært på besøk.
Hun fortalte så levende at jeg med mine dårlige hofter sprang for livet når jeg kom forbi et farlig sted. Huldrafolk bodde ganske nærme oss og de kunne være farlig for dyrene eller kast sykdommen på meg.
Jeg trodde veldig sterk på Huldra og en dag fikk jeg høre at det skulle sprenges et berg på marken der jeg visste Huldrefolk bodde. Jeg gikk i 3. klasse og jeg gjorde meg VELDIG syk den dagen fordi jeg vil få med meg når berget ble sprengt og Huldra for ut. Det var veldig spennende, jeg satte meg klar i vinduet og så nøye på og var redd for hva som komme til å skje med onkelen min. Og de satt inn sprengstoff og berget ble knust og jeg var så skuffa! Det kom ut ingen Huldra! Og min onkel og den andre karen de bare gikk derifra. Det var da min skepsis til Huldra begynte.
Siste gang jeg så Alma var hun på sykehjem og jeg kom på besøk. De sa at hun var senil og det var umulig å få kontakt med henne. Jeg gikk inn allikevel og Alma sa ‘Hilde, jeg ser det er deg. Men nå må du ha det så bra for nå må jeg et annet sted.’ ”

Bildene er av Kaare Espolin Johnson. Det er hans bilder som illustrerer den nye utgaven av Regine Nordmanns sagn som er utgitt for to dagers siden her i Bø. Jeg synes de er helt fantastiske og det ble fortalt at den mannen var så svaksynt at han var nesten blind.

Ok I’m going over to morsmål for the next bit of the day so my mum can understand. I want to tell you about Eldbjørg who I met today and when you see her in this picture you may understand why.

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I knew from the few words I spoke with her on the phone that I wanted to meet her, I could even hear from the sound of her car when she picked me up from the camping place this morning.
On the table at her house was a massive teapot with a Sami tea cosy plus a load of the most delicious looking bread and buns which I was sadly forced to eat in order not to offend her and her family.
Where to start?
When she was a girl they used to wash the house every Saturday. In every room in the house there was a picture from the bible and as her aunt moved from room to room she would shout out to the kids and they would come in to hear the story that went with each picture. And she told it exactly the same each time otherwise the kids would complain.
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When she was 7 she got a growth in her throat and had to lie completely still to avoid a lot of pAin. They had to watch her even through the night as the growth might suffocate her at any moment. She liked it best when her grandmother took the job as then she told stories nonstop.

This grandmother had a herd of reindeer and she and her sister milked them. They were dependent on their dogs to round them up every day and separate the mums for the calves, quite a hard job you might think but perhaps even reindeer mums like a bit of time away from the kids. In any case they did it every day and after three hours their udders were full of milk and they would milk them. but they only got a cup of milk from each one but it was incredibly creamy. Then they made it into cheese but they didn’t eat the cheese as we would do in a sandwich. no they put it in their coffee like Tibetans put butter in their tea!

Ok only one more amazing story then I must go to bed after the camping people have just given me a delicious sei steak and lots more stories of draugen.
This is a true story.
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here you see the birch trees. They have a disease and the leaves are all eaten up of some kind of bug or worm Eldbjørg told me. Terrible you might think when you see the whole forest brown and lacking in leaves. And then you hear that the leaves fall down on to the forest floor and the bugs eat all the blueberries, a tragedy for berry loving Norwegians!

But actually no. What it means is that the birds get happy. Masses of food for the birds and they can lay two sets of eggs. And this happens regularly, about once every ten years she says.

Skjell og fjell

For en generasjon siden kjøpte man ikke leker til barn. Heroppe, kanskje langs hele kysten, for alt jeg vet, lekte de med skjell.

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De små fløtefargete skjeller var sau, de som var større var ku. Blåskjell var geit. Heliks formete var haner og de små svarte var høne og kyllinger. Gris og hest hadde også hver sin skjell.
Dette har jeg hørt fra flere. Og forresten hvis jeg var diktator vil jeg ha forbud salg av leker fordi jeg tror sånt er mye gøyere egentlig.

Ja, hvordan begynne å si alt som har skjedd siden sist? Kjenner du tegneserien om Micky Mouse der han prøver å gjør jobben lettere ved å bruke magi til å hente vann? Føler meg litt som Mickey, ting er så mangt og har ikke helt kontroll.
Men det er så AWESOME (hvordan sies det på norsk?) At eg klare ikke å la være å prøve å skrive om noe av det. Allerede ved frokostbordet i dag var jeg i lag med en flott forteller. Som forresten påstod at eg snakke nordnorsk nå. Han har rett.

Etter frokost fikk jeg enda en fjell fortelling. For de fleste Nordmenn er det sikkert helt opplagt SO OBVIOUS at fjellene viser silouette og av de blir det historier. Særlig om troll eller ris som de heter heroppe.

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Her er en dame som prøve å holde fast til en mann, eller for at en man ikke skal ta henne, jeg husker ikke. Du ser henne på venstre siden av bildet og hun har en mørk tau som hun prøver å holde fast i. Ja damer der ser vi – det er ikke vert å risikere forsteining for disse gubber.
og her er Øystein fra Melbu med enda en flott fjell historie, du må venter for TV serien for å finne ut hva han forteller.

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Ok I’m going over to morsmål for the next bit of the day so my mum can understand.

Enjoying Serendipity

Here we are in the back of Gert-Jans light green 1972 Volvo. He and Ellen his wife are unusual. They seem to have really decided to enjoy their lives. And a major part of this joy is in serving the wishes and delight of the people round them. These 3 young guys are taking a break here from volunteering at a local eco-lighthouse.

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Ellen showed me her gallery, full of animals. I loved it, she doesn’t sell the stuff unless its finished serving in the gallery. Last night they invited friends around for storytelling cake and chat, and i heard a REALLY good story.
Its the creation of a local man and as its very much his story I won’t retell it here but it’s basically the story of Cod. Told in such a way that you get both a thrilling and graphic tale of being a fish including sex life of the cod, plus a wonderful sense of the bigger picture. THIS is the kind of story that really interests me. You get engaged in the flesh and blood, the daily life and loves of the myriad species. You remember we are all in this together.

Serendipity
Serendipity is from a tale of 3 young princes of Serendip (Ceylon) who, travelling through the world, did not find the treasures they were looking for.. but on their way they continually ran into other even better treasures which they were not seeking. And is this what made them serene?

I heard the story from Gert-Jan, and its a principle which he lives by. At one time he was a highly stressed executive single parent with two kids. To stress down he used to take one day a month where he went out in his car and drove randomly, following his nose to any place that took his interest. He said it saved his sanity.

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This morning I set off walking from Laukvik to Fiskebøl. As i walked along i saw one of the camping vans which haunt the roads here. Before now i have thought they are rather a sad way of holiday, but here on this road which was very empty i realised that if you are in one of these things you will probably spend a lot of time outside. And have a great time.
The road was empty but then guess who was the next person I met on my way? A woman came out from one of those vans and asked if she could walk with me. And it turns out that she and her man are traveling also in the principle of Serendipity. From Austria they know only that they want to go North and that they are interested in Samis and as he is a biologist so plants and animals. they don’t plan, when they get to a crossing if they don’t know which way to go they stop until they get a sense of the right way.
They have been out with the reindeers and Samis in Sweden, Finland and Norway and she says the Sami are very strong now. Every day she writes a diary which she will take back and read to her 93 year old aunt who would have liked to come too…

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This is the last part of my walk today seen from the boat.
OK more proof that I may be slightly unhinged.. Today the long road was empty and I spent a lot of the time walking with eyes closed. To start with I kept veering to the left, then I focused on sensing the left side of the body and managed to keep pretty much straight. Believe it or not it was really good fun. I have learnt this from my kids who love walking blind. But we usually do it with someone there to stop you bumping into things.

Now I’m in the Melbu hotel where they are letting me use the net and gave me a free drink. Its 9.30 don’t know where I will stay the night but it feels fine. Hopefully serendipity will pull me through.

Jeg takker for..

Lomme tørkler. Å ha med en ren lommetørkler er så tilfredsstillende særlig når den er tør for å få alt snørr ordentlig ut.

Hus. Husker ikke at jeg har satt sånn pris på hus. De er en genial oppfinnelse. Særlig mot mygg, regn og et utmerket sted å henge ting opp til tørk.
Buss. Før har jeg synes buss var ok, nyttige ting men de to bussturer jeg har tatt på den turen har vært luksus. Å sitte i en vindfri sted å bli fraktet ditt man vil er gul.
Kompass. Aldri skjønt den før men hadde jeg ikke kjøpt en nå vil jeg antagelig blitt uti ødemarken og helt fri for mat og tørre ting fortsatt nå i stedenfor inn i en nydelig stue.

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Fordi – vandret en nydelig tur nord for Svolvær. Stien var merket, sti forresten er også en av de oppfinnelsene som er alle best. Men en sti der det er nye grønne planker som løfte deg over myrer og nymalte røde prikker på busk og sten for å forsikre deg at du er på riktig vei er så innmari betryggende.
Og det regnet noe som jeg var også merkelig nok glad for. Fargene var så rå og jeg hadde lyst å teste ut regnbuksene mine som har bare vært mot vind og
Vinter før. Landskapet er så ufattelig enorm. Og bakken stappet med bittesmå tidlig sommer blomst i fagre farger.

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Det var en ulempe med superstien allikevel. Jeg var så glad i den at jeg merket ikke at det gikk til feil stedet.
Gikk faktisk til en helt ny turist forening hytte som ikke var på mitt nye kart. Men selv om det var feil retning var det bra å kunne gå inn og lage varm mat. Da laget jeg nype kokt med rosiner og servert med røyket sei og flatbrød.
En ganske uvanlig måltid.

Jakten for lokal mat har endret seg –
Jeg spørre om det er lokal mat og fokusere på det men spiser også det som er norsk og økologisk i tillegg.
Det var tegn til annet liv og snart fikk jeg en entusiastisk vink fra en bli tennåring gutt gjennom vinduet. Han var der sammen med Beste og de fisket. Gutten hadde masse energi og var utrolig glad i å fiske. Han satt seg ned og med engang sova i stolen mens jeg pratet med Beste.

Beste het Willy og Han sa – Jeg har vokst opp i en hel annet verden. Han fortalte masse, blant annet om en gang han fant en ørnunger som hadde falt fra reiren. Det var for bratt til at han kunne sette den tilbake så han tok den med. De første dagan vil den ikke spise men så begynte han å fora den opp med fesk som de kastet fra feske fabrikken. Og han skaut av og til en mosa til den. Den bodde i en åpen kasse på dekk så den var fri men den fløy aldri vekk.
Han kalte henne fpr Laura. Det ble en enmanns fugel, hvis andre nærmet seg så gjør den seg klar til hug. Mens med han ville den kose men hodet intil hans hår. Han kunne ta den under armen og den vakset fort. På fesketur ble den med og speide ut fra taket. Den lærte seg å fly og om våren begynte å ta ærfugelunger så da måtte han binde den fast med en ene kloren til gelenderen. den ble stor, vingespenn ble 2.25 meter. Når Willy var ferdi med oppdraget på det stedet dro han ut til stedet der han hadde funnet henne og slapp den løs. Han fryktet at hun vil følge han for hun var så tam men ørnparet var fortsatt der. Og han hørte senere av folk at de hadde sett henne.
Willy sa som de andre at livet kan umulig fortsette sånn som det gjør i dag .

Neste dagen fikk jeg tips av han Willy på hvordan jeg skulle gå videre, det ville vært mye bedre å ikke ta stien sa han. Ja, kanskje for han stemte det…

I want to stop playing this game now please

I want to revisit this walk. This walk which two days later is still making my body ache. This walk which is the most dangerous and possibly stupid thing I have done so far on this journey.
The day was raining and the visibility was low and the bubbly teenager, his mouth full of cowboy breakfast said if he was me he would wait. Yes I thought but you have no idea how easy I find it to get lost so I need all the hours I can get as its a long walk over steep mountains. His granddad showed me a shortcut which looked easy on the map.
Everyone says that Lofoten is getting overgrown because the animals are no longer grazing and they are right. But it was exiting crawling through bushes in the mist and as you pull back each lovley Birch branch with its lace of gleaming blades you get a cool shower of drops which has been hanging and waiting for you.
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then after a couple of hours it cleared and I saw the little house I had meant to go to the day before. Had to laugh. Because I had seen and photographed it several times the day before without even twigging that it was here I was heading. The only human habitation for miles around. How did I manage to miss the connection.
I LOVE BUMPING MY HEAD INTO THE WORLD! It’s the only way to remember how foolish I am.
So I got over to the little house, by now pretty wet and was able to sit on an old arm chair someone had kindly placed in the porch. Ate breakfast with Lukas’s mosquito hat on.

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Here is the pipe which I followed up the hillside, and I climbed up and found myself balancing along the top of a concrete plank. At the top of the pipe I lost the path again. Steep is the watchword of this trip and blessed is the moment I found the path again and laugh is the result of walking happily back down it the wrong way. So I had now a path, one of the most treasured inventions of the human race for me except of course it was probably sheep or dinosaurs who invented it before us.

Then I lost it again and after hours struggling on into the mist I came to a protruding rock above a drop.

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Too lazy to go up, down was an expanse of steep snow. I got a great idea. Swing the sack around the rock and then balance round after it. So I swung the sack, wet and heavy over the rock. The other side was sloping and I realized that the sack was sliding inexorably down. A moment later I understood that I was sliding too. There seemed one thing to do, go with the flow and let myself fall. Luckily there was a ledge before the snow started or it would have been much worse. However I didn’t seem hurt so I took a picture of the spot hoping it would make me more careful. I do love life and dearly wish to keep alive too but still I’m careless.
OK, The next obstacle was large areas of snow. I seemed to have found some kind of path but you couldn’t see it under the snow and as it was steep and i was getting tired each step I placed tentatively after the last. After quite some time I looked up and to my astonishment saw two young guys tramping fast and solidly beside me. French Swiss, this explained their nonchalant walking style, but they seemed shocked to see me too. Asked me where I was going and when I told them they said – “why?” yes I got their point and wondered really the same thing. what on earth was I doing out here?
But it was reassuring to meet some of my own species on this wild day and to walk in their footsteps. They were going a different way, we walked through a small river and then they went west and once again the path evaporated. By now I was trying to be very careful to keep tabs on it, scurrying back and forth but to no avail. Gone.
. To my left was this large ice lake.

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This was when I started using the compass in earnest. I just decided to walk north. Took me down a valley with snow, I could hear water below and as my oldest daughter nearly disappeared through snow into a river at the age of 4 I realised it would be good to avoid that. At some point around then I had the feeling that I wanted to stop playing this game now. But this was not a game.
I didn’t feel like crying but I could feel that wanting to cry might be an option somewhere down my throat.
The valley of snow stopped being flat and did a sudden dive, you could tell that in a few weeks this would be a waterfall and below a deeeep drop. There was a mountain on either side and trying not to provoke a avalanche I climbed up the one and sat down for a long map read. Below, far down below I could now see the countryside stretching out. I could not for the life of me make out what connection the large expanses of water had to do with the lakes I was looking for. So the answer was just to keep going north and hope for the best. I remembered that this day was my brothers birthday and all the family was assembled at home probably having hot tea and cake.
Here I really should have taken a picture as the panorama was incredible but i was very wet and getting out alive seemed more important.
What was that down there in the distance, was it a house? All of a sudden it fell into place. now I finally got a glimpse of how maps are so fundamentally different to the real world. The lakes I was trying to find were high up, hidden behind a mountain and down there that little house was my goal.
How beautiful it all seemed then. As I squelched in my boots down to some lambs grazing beside an icy lake.

At last after 10 hours I got to Laukvik and called my hosts. The village was dear, with a pub, shop and curiously friendly seeming. I stood in the rain and read the names of the fishermen they lost the last 100 years. The first 3 names all brothers, age 19, 20, 21. Gert-Jan turned up in an old green Volvo with a large plastic sheet on the seat and a towel to drive me the 5mins to their house. I got a hot shower, Ellen took all my stuff, and I mean pretty much all my stuff was sodden, she took it all down to dry In the cellar and lent me pink dry clothes. Then three young guys turned up and made us a great dinner. After two days of music making, philosophizing and eating here we all are beside the massive wind violin which Gert-Jan has made of a mighty steel girder.

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Women and the Fish

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After many hours walk from the fisherman to the viking house Laura stopped her spinning to give me some delicious viking soup in the hall. I was tired it was getting late and the wind was a bitter North. fed up of walking on the main road I thought it was time to take the bus. at last it came but turned out it was only going halfway. I didnt fancy more walking on the highway as there is quite a lot of traffic. so I decided to take the advice of the old people I have met and try hiking. The first cars made a very good job of pretending not to see me but then a little van stopped. There were two girls they stuffed my sack into a full van and I squashed in beside them. One had been surfing and the other had been climbing the mountains. But they had just been to Bunnpris and found enormous mounds of food which was past the date and they got for free. Plus loads of beer which you dont get free but you get money back from. So they were feeling very happy, I think they were feeling happy anyway. Here are they with the fish they gave me.

later in the evening I cooked up the fish for Ranveig, who has been a priest for over 20 years but now makes colourful knitting in a business that is so booming she is still at home working in July. she told me about the many old people she as held funerals for. For example one old woman who at the age of 7 rowed over between these two islands with the milk every day.
I’ve been staying at Rannveig several days which was what I needed now.
Eva Bakkeslett sent me a text a few days back that she would be at Engeløy – Angel island. I’ve heard about this place from her many times so an invitation here was not to be missed. Eva is an artist who celebrates nature and the ways of life which have lived alongside all these centuries and which now is being cast overboard. Eva is a wonderful person to spend time with and I knew she would have many contacts on the island. so although I was desperatly tired I got up before 6 to get the hurtibåten to get over there. Then we sat in the car she had borrowed and ate her homemade bread (one of her many arts). She has been filming an old woman called Sigrid as she spins colours and weaves the wool from the local sheep. So on our way to meet Sigrid we stopped to film some sheep, and I played camera assistant. But would Sigrid be home? And we heard she had lots of guests, but she wasnt answering the phone so we just turned up. Hooray she was home! Only one son was home, but she was baking rolls for the others.

At last I met a woman who was as steeped in the deep contact life as many of the old men I have met, and who was so happy to share it and at the same time so humble. I asked her about mountains. I realised that I have forgotten to ask about these ever present giants towering over us in Lofoten and she answered in a way I would never have imagined. At the same time as she rolled out the rolls, each one a lovely cylindar of dough, she chanted a long long poem. A poem which told the story of the mountains, and how they had been living and how they knew eachother and the great narrative which binds them together. Eva and I were almost holding our breath, watching this feat of magic unfurling before us. Its not really magic its just a human being who has lived in such a way that her capacities are as firm and warm at 87 as they have ever been. She was widowed 30 years ago and has lived here in this remote place ever since. Living a full life, teacher, head of the pensioners organisation, dancing until recently weekly and of course working with the wools. The colours of her wool were like Sigrid herself, warm, gentle harnomious, joyful.

There are a lot of elk on the island and she said that there used to be a female elk who would come down to her house in the hunting season and sleep behind the weaving hut with her calf. Here she knew she was safe. Then one year they told her that they had shot a female by mistake and she never saw the elk mother again. But Sigrid laughed, she was a master at not holding on to old sorrow!

Off to Odd where we heard of his Old Father, who had adopted his dad as a child, and because Odds father had died of tuberculosis acted also as a father to him. Old Father said that he had had two brother who were very troubled with ghosts. One day the ghosts even ripped off their jackets so one of them took a gun and was going to shoot the ghosts. But then an invisible man turned up who then became visible, it was himself Christ. And he said, don’t use that bullet, use one of mine! So he loaded that bullet into the back loader and shot. There was a terrible scream and the ghosts dissapeared into the earth. But after some time the ghosts returned and the two brothers had to go to America to escape them. Old Father lived to the age of 98 and never visited the doctor or became ill.

Then we went to where Eva and her kids are staying with friends. And the kids were planning to spend 3 days on a deserted island finding their own food from the land. COOL! So we gave them some tips of what they might find, not an easy task but very exciting. And the girls took me out fishing. Eva caught a sei (possibly plaice). As she hauled it in I saw its glittering innocent beauty,
it shone in its life and seemed like a prince ready to speak to us.

happily we didnt catch and more, But went into the farm where rhubarb compote and cream were waiting.

NExt day I met a wonderful couple But no time to tell about Them as i have bought a compass and am off for a few days into the Steep Montains again. Rannveig said her husband has done this walk But its quite tough. and the forecast is rain. Here we go!

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En seng til å bli født og dø på

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Her er Svein Kongsjord. Han sitter i huset og på selve sengen der han ble født. Her har hans familie i generasjoner blitt født og pustet sin siste åndedrag. På den sengen i det rommet. Fra Svein fikk jeg hans egenlaget kaviar, den beste jeg noen gang har smakt.

Det var en gård på Lofoten jeg hadde virkelig ønsket å se. Det het Aalan gård. Men jeg klarte ikke å finne det på kartet selv om jeg prøvd mange ganger. Etter jeg hadde fått kaviar sa Svein jeg skulle ta en annen rute enn det jeg hadde tenkt for å komme til Borg vikingsted. Så gikk jeg videre opp den dalen.

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Etter en stund måtte velge retning engang til.
Hver eneste veikryss er et valg.
Noe får man,
noe må man gå glipp av,
og noe må man gir slipp på.
Jeg ble dratt i den ene retning men så på kartet at det var Ysteri på den andre siden så det endte opp med den. Her ble jeg nysgjerrig og banket jeg på men ingen var hjemmet.

Rett etterpå kom skilte – Aalan gård. Nei det kan umulig være den samme. Men det var det! helt tilfeldigvis hadde jeg endte opp der. Det går ikke annen.
De ga meg en hjertelig velkomst, jeg fikk løpstikke suppe som de kalle for kjærlighetsuppe det lokale navn og det var altfor god. Og blåbær saft og myntete fra hagen.
Knuts sin familie brøt opp gården i det som het Bureising rundt 1950. De gorde det selv, før var det riktig gammel skog her. Og Knut snakket varmt og både Huldra og Gobon. Huldra er ikke altid god fikk Knut høre som barn, men noen ganger når geitene var borte en stund og kom tilbake og yrene var ikke betent sånn som de burde ha vært. Da visste man at Huldra måtte ha hatt dem. Men Gobon han var bare god, og han passet på gården og spesielt på dyrene.
Knut sa- Før i tiden visste vi ikke alt, men vi var i daglig og dyp kontakt med naturen. Og der letet vi etter alle mysterier…

Tove viste meg rundt urtehagen. På gården arbeider de sammen med sine barn og sine barnebarn. Det virket en rolig og deilig sted og ostene var fantastiske.

Jeg ble tilbudt overnatting men dro videre. Enna engang får jeg videre og angret på det. Det var en fin tur til Borg og jeg fant et sted ovenfor få å sove. Været var bra men jeg fant ikke roen. Hvor skulle jeg sette opp hengekøye? Ble nervøs. Og ville ikke at det skulle være et sted som kunne sees fra hus eller vei. Nesten alle som jeg har truffet på veien har vært gode og gjestfrie men allikevel ble jeg paranoid akkurat da. Hadde jeg vært i villmarken hadde jeg ikke vært redd. Her er den skumle bakken der jeg sov.

Neste dag dro jeg til posten for å sende ting og tang hjemme for å lette på byrden. Der fikk jeg tips fra Spar damen og til og med fikk sitte på opp til å besøke han Bård Børresen en fisker som er 89 år. Ja sa han jeg kunne komme inn en kort tur. Men en kort tur ble lengre og lengre og det var vanskelig å forlate han til slutt. En sjarmerende mann men sånn som været heroppe ble det en veksling mellom den herlige smilen og en sug. Jeg glemt å ta bilde av han men her er en viking som jeg tipper er sånn som han så ut når han var yngre.

Bare at han gikk ikke kledd i disse klærne men i ull. Alt var ull bortsett fra overtøy som var laget av gammel seilduk.

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So, after a fabulous day I walked for some hours and then got the bus to a small town in Lofoten. I got off and thought, well what I am really supposed to do is to knock on doors and get somewhere to stay. So I saw what looked like a small farm on the outskirts of town. I really didn’t feel like knocking on the door, it was about 6pm but I forced myself to do it as its what I have said i am going to do. It was surrounded by quite a thick little forest but it had some bird feeding apparatus and though it looked very plain and a bit oldfashioned i thought it looked OK. So I rang on the bell, knocked on the door and waited and no-one answered.

I went round the back to check it out and called out and after a bit the upstairs window opened and a man with no shirt called out rather angrily from the window. I tried to explain my project and asked if I could put up the hammock in the little forest. He barked out that it might be possible but only for one night. Yes thats fine I said. But you must clear up all your rubbish and take it with you, he shouted. Yes of course, how many are you living here? Its only me. And watch out for the bulls!

Ok, am I totally mad? This seemed like a totally Hitchockian moment, but for one reason or another I set up the hammock. Well two reasons really. One is that I had decided I should stop hanging up the hammock at midnight when I am really tired, but do it in good time so I can do it a bit better. And the other reason is that Peace Pilgrim had a beleif that all people are basically good, but you have to meet them in the right way. So on the one hand I was wondering if he was peering out through the window and making terrible plans, and on the other hand I was sitting in the sunny field with no bulls and wishing him well. Wishing him peace in his heart. There were a lot of mosquitos so I walked up and down the road quite a bit and then went to bed. Can’t say I slept that well.

Finally woke up and got up 6.30 and walked round the back garden. There he was. Staring intently at something. I said good morning and he seemed shocked, he said he is not used to having ladies in the garden. So I asked what he was doing. Well its the terl baby (a kind of seabird with a long red beak and red legs). Its just come out of its nest and fallen down and I don’t like it. So then he showed me the contraption he has made over the top of the barn where the terls can safely look after their eggs and young. He had put artificial grass there and made a place for them to nest. It turns out he looks after them every year. Some times they make it and sometimes they don’t.

Its so hard to understand that this is the same bloke who shouted out of the window yesterday. He looks and behaves totally differently. He is offering that I can stay as long as I like. That he is making a new kitchen where if I come back next year he will make food. Etc. Another man comes over to visit, he is the chairman of the local ornothological society. Here he is

And while the farmer went off to help another farmer, he told me lots more stories of how local people have always cared for birds. In between we sit there quietly and he notices some or other bird activity in the garden. In the end the farmer returns and they chat about the foxes and crows who are taking so many of the bird babies and their techniques for saving them.

The farmer drives me down to the next place suggested by the birdman.

On the whole people in Lofoten seem very relaxed but still quite a lot of people don’t dare to open the door. It’s natural. I get scared of people so not strange that people get scared of me. Its more than nice when that turns around.