Friday, 4 January 2013

Travel Report No 58

Web report no.58.  (See corresponding photos in album 58.)
Written in December 2012 by Stein

I am sorry to admit that this report is long overdue, but here is a summary of nearly one year. It covers our lives mainly in pictures from after our last sail on White Admiral in Feb-April 2011 (described in Report no.  57) until we were back in South America,  partly on the yacht and  partly doing the Inca Trail in Peru, February-April 2012 (to be covered in Report no. 59).

Diana becomes a Pensioner
Diana turned 67 May 1st and was officially a Norwegian pensioner! To get “pay” without working was and is a state of affair she is very happy about. But she did carry on with infrequent locum work until May 2012, at which time she declared that she had seen enough eyes! Her family has benefited from this of course, and with my mother, Eli, living with us, there was always enough to do…
I have, however, carried on working happily, but after Easter 2012 stopped with regular on-call duties and then I also turned the magic 67 in late August  and now only do 2 days of out-patient work per week at Drammen sykehus – unless I am away travelling.

National Day
In May we had trips to Veierland admiring the spring flowers and for the National Day on 17th May drove with Eli to Stabekk, where Tonje and Martin live. In the afternoon they have a tradition there of a Flower procession, so on a day blessed with good weather we wheeled Eli up the hills and admired the energy and artistic talents of the Bærum and Stabekk locals.

Family gathering 17 May 2011
Mojna and Eivind
In June we attended the wedding of Mojna and Eivind. Eivind is Geir and Sissel’s son and since Geir and my parents were two pairs of brothers and sisters that married and Geir and I studied medicine and rowed together in Glasgow, we are quite close. The happy couple met each other while working in Brussels, Belgium, Eivind with Bellona for environmental protection, Mojna for women rights; a fascinating pair of idealists, indeed.

More Family Visits
In June we had a brief visit from Elisabeth and Hugh and their two boys from London. We have also photos from the visit of my other double cousin, Eva (Geir’s sister), with husband Dagfinn and her mother Mysk – i.e. my mother Eli’s sister – 5 years younger than Eli, but also in her 90’s and still going strong.

Petroglyphs with Vandregjengen
In early July our Vandregjengen friends were off to Sweden. I was working and somebody had to be home with Eli, so Diana joined our old group from Kristiansand for a long week-end in Sweden. She says it was a really cultural tour with our musician friends Gun and Günter in charge. Gun is herself Swedish and they have two of their three children settled in Sweden, and may indeed settle there themselves one day. Diana brought me back a tee-shirt with a copy of what is probably the most famous fertility petroglyph in the world, but I do not think I can compete with the guy on the ancient carving when it comes to certain dimensions…

Jim, Susanne and Hans
In July we also had visits from Diana’s brother Jim, all the way from Canada, and from yachting friends from San Blas, the Germans Hans and Susanne. They arrived in a Mini car and had a spectacular drive all around South Norway before returning to Germany via Sweden.

Robert’s Cambridge Party
Robert is born on 22nd July 1980 and had a big garden party to celebrate a belated 30 on 23rd in Cambrigde, England. Diana had been there for a few days already helping him to prepare, but Eli and I and Tonje and Martin left on 22nd July 2011. That date is unfortunately one that no living Norwegian will ever forget, when Anders Behring Breivik killed over 80 people with a bomb and automatic weapons. Still, we were able to suppress the feelings of shame and sorrow, Elisabeth & Co  arrived from London, many of Robert’s friends in Cambrigde came too, and  we managed to have a very successful party.
I had a lot of on-call duty for the Dept of Medicine that summer, but we did manage a few  trips to Veierland with Eli, although her days of trips to the islands in the small boat  were obviously soon over.

Southern Actor
In July I had an evening trip with Southern Actor in Sandefjord. This is an old, beautifully restored whale catcher driven by an incredibly quiet steam engine.  Thanks to my old school mate Arne Haugen, I was invited aboard as the ship’s doctor for a free trip together with paying American visitors. Our trip took us around Tjøme and I was all over the boat, as well as taking a turn at the wheel on the way back. We had flat seas and a beautiful sunset. Quite different from her past working conditions when chasing whales in the cold and stormy Southern Ocean.

French Girlfriend Reunion
In early September Diana met up with her old school friends Sandra and Fiona in Paris, where they hired a car and drove to visit their other friend Liz, a couple of hours further south in the charming French village of Bignet Sur Ouche.  These four girlfriends spent years together in Hutcheson’s Girls Grammar School, and Liz and Sandra were Diana’s bridesmaids when we married in Glasgow University Chapel  in 1968! Liz is a fabulous cook, good wine is cheap and you may guess that they had a great few days together.

World Rowing Masters Poznan
As soon as Diana was home, I was off to Poznan in Poland to compete in the World Masters in rowing and this time I won my race in single sculls (age 65-70). These annual meetings are also a reunion with old rowing friends. As I had some spare time between practising and competing, and with undisturbed concentration in a comfortable hotel room, I managed to compile the last web  report no 57.

Poznan, victory in single sculls
Brief Working Visit to Panama
In October it was obvious to everybody (except Eli, unfortunately) that she was not fit enough to go to Panama with us, but she was only given 2 weeks in Liertun nursing home, so Diana and I had only 10 days on White Admiral. We had her moved out of the security area and lived aboard on the hard while doing maintenance and repair. The port keel had some damage and the hollow structure had been taking in water and had to be cut off and rebuilt with glassfiber and epoxy. The rudder stocks, sail drives and propellers all have important seals and membranes and I replaced and them all. Diana did all the priming and painting as well as a lot of inside work. And we had lovely walks at sunrise and sunset.

Visit to Oppdal and Visit to Swizerland
Eli was upset at having been marooned at Liertun, but things improved when we all drove to my cousin Stein (“Buster”) in early November. He has a great whole-timber cottage in Oppdal south of Trondheim. His mother, Jorunn also joined us for a rare reunion - another fit 90 year old widow.
Liertun offered my mother another 5 days in November and off we went to visit Andrew and Anne in Küssnacht am Rigi, Switzerland. Andrew is a Scot and a good friend whom I first met at Auchendennan Fresher’s Camp on the banks of Loch Lomond in 1964, and whom I have met regularly ever since. After he divorced his Swiss wife he married a Norwegian, so Andrew is a regular visitor to Norway for several reasons. For the first two days there we were on our own while A & A were working, but with Swiss alps within walking distance behind there was not one dull moment! On the special date of Friday 11.11.11. we slowly ascended through the perpetual fog in the valley to the brilliant sunshine above. From the top of Rigi-Kulm, after a hike of nearly 4 hours, the view seemed endless and we could admire peaks appearing like nunataks above a glacier. On our final day, Sunday, 13th Andrew & Anne showed us some of the sights in Lucerne and charming, historical Stein am Rhein before driving us to the airport in Zürich.

Christmas 2011
Dagmar and Christian joined us for Verdi’s  “Macbeth” opera  just before Christmas, when Robert, Elisabeth & Co came over from England. On 22nd most of us managed a trip to Drammensbadet, a new, modern,  indoor swimming center catering for everybody’s taste . Over the next few days we did a sort of triple celebration starting our Christmas on 23rd as Hedda and Johan were to be with their mum Camilla and her family on the 24th (i.e. normally the main day in Norway).  We even had a visit from a slightly forgetful Santa Claus (neighbour Christian!) who first passed by our flat, but came in after the children repeatedly shouted into the darkness that he had not been to us yet! And Finn (3 ½ ) declared he had been a good boy and tidied his room! On 24th we did not have so many children present and the parcels had already been opened, but some of us went for the service in Frogner church, Lier, followed by traditional TV and more good food. 25th is of course when the British have their main celebration, so we had turkey followed by Elisabeth and Hugh’s mince pies and plum pudding with brandy butter. They had built a super snowman in the brilliant sunshine earlier in the day, and he stared in at us with his carrot nose and beady eyes. During the day we also had a brief visit from Linda and Rune, who were over from Scotland to celebrate with Rune’s sister in Oslo. (Linda is Diana’s half-sister and another Scot with a Norwegian partner.)

Christmas Party at Eva and Dagfinn
My cousin Eva, her husband Dagfinn and their two daughters Kristina and Katharina have been the hosts to an annual family reunion now for many years. Their house is situated high up in Holmenkollen, not far from the famous ski-jump, and they enjoy  a fabulous view. Here the sisters Eli and Mysk and many of their offspring  gather a few days before New Year. The food, the cakes, the drinks and the stories are plenty, my only regret is that I always seem to work early the next day and so I am always one of the drivers…
The rest of the winter was a proper Norwegian one with lots of skiing and some skating. I paddled my kayak regularly until the fjord froze, some days later it was safe to skate on the ice and in week-end days in February there were sometimes lots of people fishing on the ice.

Our Family in Canada
Diana again left Eli and me for a few days to go and see her family in Canada. Her brother Jim had recently acquired two grand-daughters. The proud fathers are his sons Craig and Andrew, who with wives Jaime and Karen each had a girl and a boy of about the same age before,and now both were blessed with a daughter each at about the same time. Talk about coordination! All are well and healthy; well done to the four proud parents!

No comments:

Post a Comment