As we arrived in the dark yesterday (around 3.30pm) we saw the view through the big round window at the bottom of the bed for the first time when we woke up this morning. A fjord and snow-topped mountains. Not too shabby.
The big round window has been hit by something - the outside pane is cracked and water is getting in! Emailed the owner. Don't want that appearing on any bill.
We rearranged the furniture last night so that the sofa (and not the dining table) is in front of one of the big windows. That's our TV for the next few days. At the moment - as a result of a blanket of low cloud - the TV is turned off!
The weather has been shocking all day. Heavy rain and high winds. But we ventured out today - planning to have a drive round the local area, to get our bearings.
Coming out of the cabin this morning we walked straight into a massive herd of reindeer. Not sure who was more surprised.
They really are beautiful creatures.
Driving round past Skarstad we found another herd and spotted some tracks on one of the beaches. Still no moose as yet. Though there are warning signs everywhere.
We're in Norway.
And not only that - we're in the cabin, in the middle of nowhere...with one heck of a view.
We arrived last night - landing in Bodø. The fastest airport ever. Land, disembark, grab bags and pick up car - all within ten minutes.
We stayed at a great AirBnb for the first night - on the ourtskirts of Bodø. I was really impressed with the welcome and the lodgings provided.
Today we had a five hour journey - including a short ferry trip. First impressions of Norway...they like their top-boxes.
So today's challenge was finding the red cross on a tree - which marks the path up to the cabin. To be honest - path is a slight exaggeration. Anway - I spotted it and pulled into a layby. And there was a reindeer. Right there. Unfortunately a little worse for wear.
A couple pulled up in a truck at the same time as us. They were collecting the reindeer road-kill. Which it turns out - was a pregnant female. Really lovely couple with a horrid job to do.
Anyway - the path. Or the scramble up a steep rocky hill-side with no discernable marked path. I thought I was going to die and I was only carrying a rucksack, tripod and camera bag. Stu did two suitcase hill climbs.
First impressions of the cabin are good. Though right now I can hear Stu moaning about lack of worktop and storage for cooking. Which is bizarre really as I am sitting in a vast cavernous space with little more than a hammock, sofa and table / chairs. They maybe should have used some of the space on the kitchen.
I braved the electric toilet before. It involves paper bags.
Tonight the weather is a little worse than crap (rain). But we have travelled through lots of snow today. And the temperatures are forecast to drop. Fingers crossed!
But this place is quiet. Wonderfully peaceful. And dark.
Reading back over my musings it appears that my whole life revolves around holidays, taking photos and baking cakes.
I guess that is true in a way.
However I do also work. Though some would argue that I don't work very hard.
I contract. I don't decrease in size (not unless I lay off the cakes I bake) - I work as a contractor. Mainly in Financial Services.
I can't say I ever set out, when I left school, to work in a Banking environment. Not me. I wanted to be a dancer. Or an artist. However, I was merely fair to middlin' at both.
Fair to middlin' doesn't cut it at the ballet schools. Or in art. You have to be superhuman at either of them to succeed.
I won't go in to the whole journey from dancer (which I did manage to achieve for a few years) to Communications Consultant. It would take longer than the thirty minutes I am allowing myself in my cubicle this evening.
Along that journey I lived on a narrow boat, owned two cars that cost the princely sum of £1 each and rode around (precariously) on a Honda CB 125. I never passed my test on the bike - I couldn't work out hill starts.
I had a whale of a time along the way and met some fantastic people - I still am.
At some point I grew up. I think it happened around the time I started doing the contracting. When you have worked somewhere for years - people remember you from way back. That's how it felt to me. I was always just that Debbie...not someone clever who knows a lot about whatever.
When you're working for different clients, on different programmes, in different locations - you grow. Well I did (nope - I don't mean the cakes). Over a number of years I have turned into someone who knows what they're doing. Someone the client will get onboard as an expert in her field. Go me. I almost feel like a fraud. Until I start in the role...and hear myself saying all the right things...see myself producing work I am proud of.
It's taken a long time for me to grow up. And be confident. But I feel like I can fly.
On the other hand...at one time I looked like this...
Breathe in...and relax?
I am now at that stage in my life where I can relax - and breathe out. I no longer need to hold in my metaphorical stomach to look like a size ten (or a professional, experienced communicator). I can relax.
Though I do still suck in my stomach - all day...everyday. It's good for the core (which is in there somewhere).
That sounds a complete load of twaddle. But I know what I meant!
Ventured into the loft today to find the suitcases.
One was buried under the 10 year collection of Christmas decorations and two Christmas trees.
There might just be a few broken baubles when we come to put them up next year.
But I did manage some very fruitful (pun intended) Googling today - I found the recipe for bananas on toast. Which has 4 reviews. So it must be the best Bananas on Toast recipe.
Rooted out the majority of the kit we will be taking with us.
Just need to find the manfrotto tripod.
And give the cameras a bit of a clean!
I was woken this morning by my daughter - 40 mins before my alarm.
So I was up earlier than expected and by 10.30am I had baked a cake and done one load of washing. Neither of which were on my to-do list.
Checking through emails I spotted the car we are due to pick up on Friday is not what I thought I had paid for. So after a couple of calls I cancelled and re-booked (saving £140 in the process). Why the hell Hertz would think we want a 2WD Mercedes - in Norway - in January - I have no idea (an accident waiting to happen I would've thought).
Anyway - all sorted now. But, that wasn't on my to-do list either.
I did manage to go and order some NOK from the post office. And pick up some essential pet supplies. Both on the list.
All in all - a good day.
Tomorrow's task is to sort out the camera kit. And maybe attempt some packing.
I might vacuum pack the bedding and towels. That's got to be fun - right?
Some more random photos today - the first three from the depths of my photo archives and the rest from November 2015.
To be up with the lark - English idiom
To be awake and out of bed very early in the morning.
The lark is a songbird well known for its early morning song.
Collins English Dictionary
Example sentence containing 'up with the lark'
Normally she was up with the lark, but today she had nothing on till late morning and had arranged to drop Mother off at Cherry's at ten.
Richard Francis PROSPECT HILL
So now I have that off my chest. I feel the urge to share some of my snaps from the past few years.
I am not a photographer. I have a camera. Not the same thing.
I also have no clue how to work the camera properly. It is hit and miss.
Thanks goodness for digital though. I would be bankrupt if I had to develop every shot to find those few that I am willing to share online!
All photos are mine - I took them - I own them - I share them. Please don't steal them.
Today has been a struggle. It's been building for a few weeks. But today I understand.
Many years ago I suffered a bout of depression - triggered by two very stressful scenarios / events. Learning my Dad was terminally ill and being bullied at work.
I always thought I was strong. I was bringing up two kids, working full-time and looking after a largish house and garden - and a great dane. It was hard work. But I thought I thrived on it at the time. I managed to decorate, cut 20 foot high hedges, clean, do the ironing, get kids to classes and walk the dog. My husband worked long hours too and we managed to tick along ok.
I guess that's all fine until something tips you off balance.
That was all a very long time ago. Since then I have fought anxiety and panic attacks. But never sunk into a depression.
My life has changed hugely. A downsized house, downsized dog (well...two dogs), downsized hedge, bigger kids (they grew up) and a new hubby (the old one is still a good friend).
I am happy and loved. Life is good.
But - over the last few weeks I have been finding it hard to motivate myself. I always manage fine when I am working - my commitment drives me. But at home - things are different. I sleep too much. But struggle to get to sleep at night. I don't want to do anything. And need to give myself something to look forward to (hence the January holiday).
Today was awful. I won't go into details. But I realised - this is normal for me. For this time of year. Today I have felt the lowest I have felt for years. I wanted things to end. To stop.
Fortunately I have a lot of support at home. Whilst he might not understand completely - he recognises that I am not in complete control. And he makes a mean coffee and pizza (sorry I let it go cold).
Recognising the problem is a start. I have considered it in the past but brushed it off. This time I think I should accept that winter is a tough time mentally.
It hasn't helped that for the past two years I have finished a contract in December / January. I think if I had work to get up for every day I would be more motivated to get up out of bed. I need to make a note - try and avoid a winter contract finish date!
I am trying to hit this thing head on. I have made a list of things I NEED to achieve tomorrow. I will set an alarm. I will get up out of bed early. And I will tick some of those things off.
And I will attempt to do some packing and organising for our Norway trip.
I can. I will.
Pondering life in my cubicle (home office in the outhouse) and listening to some old tunes.
Throughout my life I associate certain songs / albums with different chapters. They are clearly marked. I guess most of us are the same.
For me the highlights / lowlights are...
Doctor Hook - Sloppy Seconds and Belly Up. Both albums take me back to Clifton Avenue. Couldn't name the years we lived there - but it was before I was 11 - so early 70's I guess.
My parents and their pals all singing along - far too loud - fuelled by Boddingtons or the like.
Melanie Safka - It was a Best of Album. Pink cover. Again - early 70's. I also got Garden in the City one Christmas I think. The first album I owned (I think Pinky and Perky belonged to my elder sister so I don't have to own up to that one).
I grew up to these sounds plus the likes of Buddy Holly, Elvis, the Beatles, Barry (bloody) Manilow, Leo Sayer, Neil Diamond, Carly Simon and Carole King to name a few.
Then came Bowie. A fixation for many years from the late 70's and 80's. Play one of his songs and I am transported back to particular moments in my early teens and on into my early 20s.
If I ever have one too many beers (that'll be two beers then) and Queen Bitch or Amsterdam come on the jukebox I am at risk of making a complete dick of myself on the dancefloor or any area large enough to strike a sailor pose or mime bibbity bobbity hat.
Then came Sinead O'Connor. Give me the extra one beer and a karaoke and...well...cover your ears.
In my mid-20s and 30s my ears were 'treated' to a far superior and varied record collection. I learned to love reggae (proper shit...not that UB40 crap), The Clash and a few of Van Morrison's back catalogue. To be honest I loved a heck of a lot more than I have listed...but I as I spent all those years professing my distaste I am not going to admit the other ones that I actually liked.
And over the years...
There are songs that make me cry. If I was ever in a film and I had to fake tears..these are the ones I would need to listen to before I went on set. I can't remember what they are - but my iTunes knows.
And there is one song that I can't listen to at all:
Manic Street Preachers: You're Tender and You're Tired (This is My Truth Tell Me Yours). Just saying the title of this song transports me back to the saddest and toughest few days of my life.
And to be honest - I can only listen to this one occasionally:
Sinead O'Connor: In This Heart (Universal Mother).
And for those who know...
Neoannophobia. The fear of New Year. Or New Year's Eve.
I'm pretty sure that's a made up word.
I can't even explain why I hate New Year. I just get more and more anxious as the day gets nearer. Last night - the last of 2016 - I was in my office at midnight on my Mac listening to music (to drown out the bloody fireworks). And the only reason I was still up was because one of the dogs has Pyrotechnophobia. So once the fireworks started in earnest I moved to the kitchen to sit with her (she was under her 'fireworks tent').
You'd think I'd be glad that it's already Sunday - 1 January. Just 26 more days until we head off to the snow. That's what 2017 is bringing for me. Snow!
I made the momentous decision to book the cabin without waking Stu or waiting until the morning. I was quite proud. When I told him the next day Stu was equally pleased. I just needed to transfer the money and the booking would be complete. And with the modern age of Faster Payment Pigeons it was done in the blink of an eye and a couple of attempts to create an HSBC authorisation code.
And then I got the confirmation email. Yeh! Oh shit.
There's no wifi and we have to take our own bedding. OUR OWN BEDDING. But we were given some very handy links to Oslo shops where we can purchase some if needed. Might be useful if we are actually leaving the airport at Oslo. Rather then simply transferring to another flight.
We also got driving instructions for the cabin and the coordinates. After a couple of hours on two iPads viewing the location on Google street view and satellite we found the cabin pretty easily. But we have no idea how to get to it. There is no visible road.
When we arrive it will be dark. Whatever time that is. But we're hoping it's not very-cloudy dark (with no moonlight). Or we will be tramping up hills and through woods with our iPhone torches.
Stu is, of course, super excited about this prospect. And no wifi just means we can't sync Candy Crush.
Anyway - I have pins and needles now - I need to get up off the floor.
Happy new day.
P.s. Here's a photo of Stu doing ballet.