Thursday, November 08, 2007

And now for something completely different - Oslo!

I am going off to taste some winter later today, as I am about to make my first trip to Norway, courtesy of my work. I am on a cheapie flight which does not get in until 23.45, after which I’ll need to take a train to the city centre and then somehow find my hotel. There’ll not be many opportunities for taking photos as it will be dark in the mornings and evenings and in the middle I will be working. Not a very glamourous prospect all-in-all. At least I will be able to meet some more of my Scandinavian colleagues. We (our company) must be one of the few US-multinationals which does some of its best business (sales and profit) in Norway.

I associate Norway with fjords and au pair girls, the latter because we used to have Norwegian au pair girls living with us in the 1960’s when my father would go to the Sahara for three months at a time and leave my Mum, who was in her early thirties, to bring up four rowdy children. There was Ingunn and Inge, both mousey blond, and they both came from Stavanger and they both liked to listen to the Beatles and wear mini-skirts, as far as I can remember. The other one we had from Belgium, Astrid, was more the quieter type (I think).

Other than these au pair girls, the only other Norwegians I know happen to be the partner of my best friend in England, a lovely woman who, amongst other things, introduced me to the stinky brown cheese they seem to eat over there.

Some friends of mine have been way up north (of Norway) in the Lofoten area and made some very beautiful photographs of clean sandy beaches, rocky bays, rounded islands and fishing villages, all under the clearest of blue skies. Looks absolutely wonderful, worth a visit one day, although I read that Oslo is, in fact, nearer to Rome than it is to certain parts up in the north of the country.

In the meantime, thinking of the Arctic Circle and Lappland and so on, we have to hear that Santa is going to have to go on a diet. He is too fat for the modern era it seems, setting a role model for people to become obese. Well, the dear man is very old and maybe he is fat because of his metabolism. We are not allowed to consider this fact and are expected to equate body and substance with fat and unhealthiness. How typical of this new modern world where we all have to conform to what ‘they’ tell us.

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