On May 17 in 1814, Norway got her own constitution. Next year will be a 200th anniversary. 199 as all other years are worthy a grand celebration as well. It is syttende mai and all Norway and all Norwegians are dressed for the big party.
The House in the Woods is decorated with the Norwegian flag. Unlike Americans, Danes and probably a lot of other places, we don´t use the Norwegian flag every day here in Norway. It is for those very special occations.
Like May 17th.
I had a terrible hard time ironing the linen bunad´s shirt last night. Our old iron had broken, and a week ago I bought a new one, a Philips Perfect Care something..... Perfect to iron Terje´s regular shirts, but impossible to get Ingrid and Marta´s bunad shirts smooth (mine was ok, as I have another type of linen)
But after "hours" of struggling, with the help of both girls, we made it.
This video, which I found on YouTube, is from the start of the civil parade (the second parade of the day) taken a couple of years ago.
If you do a "17.mai Trondheim" search on YouTube, you´ll find a lot of interesting stuff.
I had not heard of swifts untill I came to St.Albans last May. I was there with a group working with the Green Pilgrimage Network, and while we were rightseeing outside the cathedral, the English people in the group started to talk about the new swift boxes installed.
Later I forgot about the swifts, until William Fiennes in The Snow Geese writes: .....I loved the swifts most of all.....
Now curiosity got me, and I started to read more about these amazing birds who can be on their wings for years without resting. Even sleep in the air.
Then, on twitter yesterday ARC posted this link from Jerusalem (Green PIlgrimage Network is again mentioned, can you see that? I will tell you more about this in July, when we will host a worldwide interfaith conference in Trondheim)
We have only one type of swift in Norway, tårnseiler, and I can´t remember ever seeing it. But now I want to learn more....... ......and since you always have such great book recommendations, I am asking you again: Do you know any books about swifts?
Spring is always eariler at the cabin than at home. Situated in a southfaced hillside, on the western coast, the snow melts fast, nature wakes eariler. The birds know this, and these days, being in the cabin garden is like being inside a symphony.
I don´t know enough about birds. My father is the bird master, and when he is out here, he can tell the different types by their singing.
My most important knowledge is that I love their songs, their singing. They can wake me up at 3am, when the nordic May day is starting to fill with light. I try to stay awake to listen, but it turns out to be a perfect lullaby. The next thing I know I am awake again and it is morning.
By the way, Hanneke has a lovely blog about her travels in Northern Norway. You find it here.
The Snow Geese. So many different books in one. The author travels from Texas up to the Arctic tundra, following the snow geese. It is about the author´s way back to life after struggling with illness. It is filled with information about migrant birds. It is a travel tale.
I learn so much about migrant birds and their amazing lives. I really had no idea!
By the way, going back and forth between the cabin and The House in the Woods these days, give us spring, my favorite season, twice :-)
Building out here is an old fashioned thing. All the materials have to be carried by hand up the steep hill from where we park the car. All carpenter work has to be done by hand, as we have no electricity.
Everything is done by Terje and his helpers.
Dad, what do you think? Do you like the new cabin look?
Guests were expected for dinner. To make the cabin and the cabin garden ready is part of the fun.
I weeded and bought a few summer plants to give the flower bed some more colours. I picked a bouquet of white anemones. They grow wild around the cabin, the most beautiful spring sign, even from my early childhood.
But what to serve? The kitchen here is simple. No oven, only two old gass burners. For years I have dreamed of a pizza oven outdoors, but this is still way down on Terje´s list of cabin things to do...... Marta and I went shopping, and Marta had the idea. "What about shrimps? I love shrimps, and for me it is the best cabin food I can imagine!"
Perfect idea, Marta. The only preparations needed is to fill the biggest bowl in the cabin with the shrimps. And to set the table.
How to eat shrimps the Norwegian way:
put a slice of bread on your plate add butter take a handful of shrimps peel them and make a mountain of peeled shrimps on your bread add majonaise squeeze a slice of lemon on top
repeat repeat and repeat
and continue to repeat
Some time ago our dear friends Jane and Lanny from California took part in a shrimp party with friends of us in Trondheim. Afterwards Lanny described the "peeling and eating the shrimps" in a very enjoyable travel letter. I have not asked Lanny permission to use his words, but take the chance, and will write him a letter asking for forgiveness :-) :
On the table were a pitcher with juice (lemon and lychee I was told) and a bottle of sparkling water. We had plates with a knife and fork in front of each of us. In between each of the two people seated next to each other was a large bowl. A pile of paper napkins was in the center of the table. Within a few minutes of us sitting and pouring juice, a large bowl, about 1 gallon, of shrimp was served. The shrimp was cooked but cold. The head and shells were on, so we had to peel the shrimp to get at the meat, thus the empty bowls between us and the napkins. Four different kinds of mayonnaise, some margarine, lemon slices, iceberg lettuce and bread were also put in front of us. We all grabbed some shrimp and started peeling. I watched my tablemates to see what they did and followed suit. Very quickly I realized that there is an art to shrimp peeling that I did not have…I got very messy very quickly. Shrimp was put on bread with a squirt of mayo, it was eaten plain, it was smeared with margarine and then mayo, it was wrapped in lettuce and drizzled with lemon. My table consumed four bowls-full of shrimp over the course of the next 90 minutes. Our hosts’ daughter and her boyfriend had the role of waiters. They brought large plastic buckets by in which we emptied our bowls of shells and heads. While we peeled and ate, we talked
Welcome to Norway. To The House in the Woods and/or our cabin Rastarbo.
If you come in summer I´ll serve you shrimps the one and only correct way - the Norwegian way.
All texts and photos by Britt-Arnhild Wigum Lindland
I am living in a red house surrounded by a blue garden near Trondheim, Norway.
I love everydays and post about my steps through life.
Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods is open to everybody. Wecome over!