So we're home. The sun is out. The third load of washing is drying. And I've been through the majority of photos.
The memories are still fresh in my mind - and those that may fade are written down in a little notebook (the only shopping I did at the airport this trip).
The highlights of our Norway experience:
And here's a photo summary of the trip...
Not having much joy with this Weebly app on my iPad. Just sayin'.
Today I mostly concentrated. I drove us to Sweden and back. In snow.
So what did we learn about Sweden? They aren't as good at clearing the snow....and the snow is VERY VERY deep. That's about it.
We drove to a car park at a lake. Got out. Couldn't use the facilities as they were blocked by a snowdrift. We went for a 100m walk to the lake (which sounds a breeze - but believe me it wasn't. I kept sinking in the snow up to my knees. I discovered that if you run you don't sink as much...well...not as often). We made it to the lake. And we could see precisely nothing but snow. On the lake. Falling from the sky. On the trees. On the ground. Snow.
Anyway. It was a great drive...if a little hair-raising at times (try driving behind a snowplough...visibility is about 2 foot at best).
It was dark when we got back to the cabin on the hill. And...the lights were on! The best light show we've seen yet, since Debs and Stu Aurora records began.
It was that good.
But the majority of my photos aren't that good. There must be some special invention for partially blind people to focus the fookin lens on the camera, manually.
Anyway. I have downloaded three.
I overslept this morning - but then I did stay up way past my bedtime last night, waiting for the skies to clear.
The bonus was that when I woke - I sat up, looked out of the round window...and saw three moose - a mummy, daddy and little moose.
We went for a walk today before we drove an hour (to the nearest town) for some milk.
We're so close to Sweden here - a two and half hour drive at most - we want to try and take a day trip there, if we don't get snowed in (the door opens outwards so it's a real possibility).
It looks like the aurora forecast is high tonight - so it could be another late one. Stu has his 'lots of coffee' plan in place so he can stay up past his 10pm bedtime.
Today's photos are from last night's bit of green sky, today's walk and this afternoon's moon / sunset.
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.