Monday, November 19, 2007

Further ruminations

The Aurora Borealis. I can't show you any images as yet. My camera couldn't cope, of course, the DSM has tried but hasn't even sent the films off to be developed yet, and the other Brit on the trip who was an ace photographer with super-whizzo equipment has neither put anything up on his website nor emailed us anything as yet.

OK, use brain, Carol, and JFGI.

This is fairly close to what we saw.

Aurora Borealis

Taken from a Tromso website, so even the right geographical area.

However. The big surprise to me was that is not in fact what I saw, not exactly. Turns out two things can happen. One is that photographs are of necessity taken at a very slow shutter speed and the colour the film records reflects this. The other is that as we have probably realised in other circumstances individual eyes see colour differently. So I didn't see a green aurora, I saw grey. Still magical and fascinating, especially the movement of it, but not the bright green blinding light I had expected. (The other colours are very rarely seen. Reasons for this varied according to the informant, and I haven't checked it out yet!) But I wouldn't have missed it for anything, and to see it twice was a real bonus.

Moving on.


Among other ecological delights, turf roofs were quite common in the far north. Mainly on outhouses, as here, but on some summer cabins and some other buildings, too. It is an old tradition, but is being continued.

Now, my favourite story. Three of us, me, my sister and another British woman didn't particularly fancy the trip to North Cape. At the last minute, we were offered an alternative, to go to a little fishing village, Skarsvag, to visit the Julehuset. We were not quite sure what we were getting in to, but hey, three British women of a certain age were not to be daunted....

It turned out to a lot more fascinating than just the visit to the Christmas house. The woman who runs it was born and bred in Skarsvag. Her husband is struggling, along with a handful of others, to keep the traditional fishing industry going. (One of the things we were offered was a taste of dried cod, which was mush nicer than one might have imagined, and I wouldn't mind a supply for fish soup.) Anyway, the village is depopulating, second-homers moving in, fewer and fewer children to attend the village school. A picture common around the world, sadly. But she has a school-age daughter, who would have to go away to school if the village one closed and her parents didn't move. Neither of those two possibilities looks like a good option to her. So she is trying hard to come up with ideas to draw the tourists, add value to the fishing, anything at all tha might turn the situation around. I really admired what she was trying to do - I'm not sure she will be successful, but she dam' sure deserves to be. And the Julehuset? Warm, glowing, redolent of woodsmoke and cinnamon. We drank mulled wine, ate waffles with cream and jam and ginger cakes. Lovely.

We did the trip by taxi, and that was another treat. Chatted the entire time with the young woman taxi driver about life in the area, moving on to world politics. So nice to have a moment of international agreement about certain things and certain people.......

Polaria Bella 1

This is Bella, a whiskered seal (I think I have that right). I am not usually all that keen on aquaria, animals in captivity and all that, and truth to tell I am probably still not. But Bella was perfectly at ease with her carer, who had a reasonable sounding explanation for putting her through a routine of "tricks" (mimicking natural behaviours, exercise, mental health) And there were some pretty amazing critters in obviously glowing health around the joint.

This was in Tromso, a university city, where most of the teaching is done in English. I am quite tempted, I must say.

I am running out of steam. Spent the weekend at AH, where as well as some new tricks, I picked up a cold from the tutor! I'll blog the weekend at a later date, but for now I need a hot drink and a shawl and my feet up. And I've got the mogs home now for warm furry company, hurrah. Oh, and a pan of cauliflower soup bubbling on the stove. That and a toddy later and I might, just might, live..........

1 comment:

Janet said...

Keep ruminating. I love this trip - and the photos.