I just came back from a short foray into Norway; it’s a big country and the drive was long, but the destinations were rewarding. The show was a private one on an island called Svinør on the southernmost tip of the country. I was well prepared with my new EU digital Covid pass, and with that I passed through the land border from Sweden with no trouble. There was a nice break from driving as I took the 30 min ferry across the Oslo fjord at Moss and then on, winding round the fjords and the small fishing villages to the hotel at Båly by the Lindesnes peninsula. The weather was very Norwegian, sunny and beautiful one minute, lashing with rain the next. The punishing 12 hour drive was made an hour longer when a road was blocked by a bad traffic accident.
Next day I had a bathe in the sea by the hotel, the emerald green water was cold, clear and salty. Just opposite the hotel was what claimed to be Europe’s only underwater restaurant; it looked interesting and expensive, but was also always fully booked.
I drove down the the quayside in Åvik and waited for my pick up in a small motor boat. The rain and sun alternated at half hour intervals throughout the day so we timed the trip during a sunny spell.
Svinør is a lump of granite less than 1km long, close to the coast and with a fine natural harbour. It has a long history and was once famous for lobster fishing and piracy, there are no roads and the oldest building is from the 1400s. I met my hosts Tom and Marita and we hauled all the equipment up to a small plateau which was mostly covered by a large tent set up for the party. The occasion was the birthday of Marita, who is actually a bative of Svinør; I watched as boatloads of seafood arrived, boxes of crabs, boxes of lobsters, mussels, prawns, cakes of different shapes and sizes and boxes of bottles and cans to wash it all down. I was pleasantly surprised to run into some people I had met before, even my old friend and Oysterband agent Sten-Olav Helgeland; quite a few others were regulars at the Tonder Folk Festival in Denmark, which I played 12 times during my service with Oysterband.
I played two sets, alternating between cello, piano and guitar, playing some of my oldest as well as newest songs. At times the rain was so heavy, the sound of it on the tent roof drowned out the music and we had to turn up the volume. I was happy to play agin, especially to such a great listening audience; it made me want to come back to Norway and I hope I do. By the time we loaded up the boat and headed back to the mainland the rain had stopped and the stars were out.
Next day I began with another cold plunge, colder this time after all that rain, but just on the OK side of painful, then headed for Oslo. Even that trip took 6 hours on slow roads.
I stayed with my Scottish cousin who is an artist and has been living in Norway for about 40 years. It was great to catch up and next day we took a trip on the Oslo fjord in his vintage motor boat and I was out on the water again for the second time in two days. The weather was fine as we had a great chat as the old diesel motor throbbed faithfully beneath our feet, pushing us through the water at the modest speed of 4 knots. The sea was calm and we were visited by a porpoise that came along to check us out, black and glittering in the sunshine.
Next show is on Sunday and is a local church in Bettna with my friend Gustav. No electric keyboards this time; he will have a real grand piano and the church organ to play.