First a stomach bug, then the flu.......two weeks almost, with helath issues and still a full house of Christmas guests. But when I woke this morning, I felt I had met a turn.......I wanted, really wanted, to go for a walk. Weatherwise we have not had the best Christmas. It snowed on Christmas Eve, but since then we have had rain and wind and rain and wind and....... All the snow in the garden has melted and everywhere is wet and soggy. Still icy and slippery roads and pathways up here where we live, but down near the fjord the walking conditions are better. So while we had a late breakfast, I asked Terje: "Do you want to come with me for a walk in the botanical gardens?"
He did, and soon we were on our way.
When we arrived the rain fell heavier, the wind blew stronger, but we were properly dressed and had a wonderful, fresh walk. Not much to photograph without ruining my camera though, but I managed to shot this lovely Chinese Malus toringoides.
I wonder why the berries are not all eaten by the birds. May be they are poisonous.
Not much winter colours in this shot.
And no birds down near the pond.
I am thankful the sun has turn yet again, and we are walking towards longer, lighter days.
Up in my little den, under the pitched roof, I have hug a map of the world. Today, after a late brunch, I had to stand under the map for a long time, letting my index finger point from New Mexico, to California, to Ohio, Michigan, The Pacific South West, to several places in Canada, to Minesota and South Dakota, then to New Zealand and over to Great Britain and Oxfordshire. All places where one or more of you, my readers live. Thank you for giving me all these great wishes on yesterdays post, and a special thanks for adding where you live.
We are in the middle of the festive Christmas season, with The House in the Woods filled with family and friends, and in the middle of all this I find you, my dear readers. Thanks for the comments left.
I wish I could invite all of you to sit down around our table, to have a meal with us. A few of you say that you will be coming to Trondheim in 2017. Please let me know when you came, and I will see what I can do.
It is lillejulaften, little Christmas Eve, the day before the festive season stasrt. Here in Norway it is the night for seting up the Chrostmas tree, here in the House in the Woods it is also the night of thje traditional lutefisk party. For many, many years now, we have filled the big diningroom table with guests, serving the traditional lutefisk dinner.
Today was supposed to be a bit different though, and it turned out it was, though in another way than planned.
It started with a phone from our daughter Ingrid some time ago. "Will you have your lutefisk party this year". "Well", I replied, "we are not quite sure, I guess so but no plans have been made yet." Then another phone from Ingrid a few days later. "My mother in law is coming down from Lofoten for Christmas. She will come with her car filled with fish from Lofoten, and she wants to invite you to lutefisk in our home on lillejulaften." I smiled for a long time then. Yes, to be invited to a lutefisk party! Both Terje and I simply love lutefisk.
As you already know, last weekend we all got a stomach bug. We are fine again now, but as soon as Ingrid´s mother in law came, she got it too. This resulted in another phone call from Ingrid. "Sorry, my mil is sick and we have no idea how to prepare lutefisk. There will be no party on lillejulaften.
So in the end Terje and I had our own lutefisk dinner for two. And we loved it.
Deck the halls. Now we are ready for Christmas. Starting with a family reice porridge lunch tomorrow.
Winter Solstice. The darkest day of the year. From now on every single day will be a little longer, a little lighter. Here in The House in the Woods we´ve been down with a stomach bug for some days. Today is the first day I feel myself again, which made the dark day light and shiny anyway.
Still, the daylight has been kind of gloomy, never fully light. Then, just when darkness was staring to put a blanket over the world outside my window, everything felt so much brighter. As our house is situated in a hill facing north, we miss the sun for a few weeks during mid winter, so what could this be? I took my camera (cell phone) with me outside. I had to check this a little closer. And there I saw it. The setting sun mirroring herself in the clouds, letting light shine down on me.
With a sunny smile I went indoors again, to take the bread I was making out of the oven.
A sun bread for a sun day, a solstice bread for solstice day.
It is Saturday night and I am working on tomorrow´s post in Vandring gjennom året (A Walk Through the Year). Tomorrow is the 4th Sunday of Advent, the last Sunday before Christmas Eve. To get some inspiration I look though old posts, and here is what I found from "Dirty Sunday" in 2005, my first year of blogging:
From old times the 4th Sunday of November is called Dirty Sunday here in Norway. The name tells that on this Sunday you were allowed to do housework in spite of the day being a Sunday, to manage everything in time for Christmas. And my house is a dirty house today, or a charming chaos as I prefere to call it. I have made (scrapbook style) and written all the last Christmas cards, and I have baked, baked, baked, baked - yes, four different types of cakes. With the three we have from before, our Christmas tins now hold 7 different types of cookies, which was the number a housewife had to have in earlier days.
I sat down around noon for a quiet hour just by myself. Terje and Marta were out skiing, the boys were still asleep, Ingrid was following her boyfriend to the airport bus - he goes to school in Trondheim and is going home for the holidays. I lit all four candles in the advent wreath, I read the forth chapter in A Christmas Carol and I tasted a couple of the Christmas cookies :-)
The first kitchen photo shows the chocolate sweets I made, the second my two first fruit cakes of the year. I usually bake several of them and give away as Christmas presents to friends and family, but this year I am afraid there will not be that many.
I tried a new "krumkake" recipe this year. Had some start problems, the first ones got a little misshaped - perfect for "before Christmas eating" :-) And then the last cookies I baked were also new to me. We call them "coke cakes" - because the taste is a little bit like the taste of coke I think. They are Marta's favorites, and turned out to be quite easy to make.
Well, I am pretty satisfied with myself. The only thing I missed during the day was cross country skiing with Terje and Marta, but sometimes you have to make a choice, and today baking was more important.
I still have a few extra Christmas cards to write - people I've met during my many travels this year, and whom I want to send a few photos or just say thanks for the meeting :-) Writing these cards will be a perfect way to spend the evening.
I am the oldest of four siblings, ,my youngest brother 12 years younger than me. I have four kids of my own, 14 years between the oldest and the youngest. Most of my life there has been small kids around. Though from Marta was a baby till Leander was born, it took almost 20 years. A huge gap.
But a year ago our grandson was born, and all of a sudden there are signs all around the house that there is a toddler visiting from time to time.
I love being a grandma, or a bestemor (best mother) as we say in Norwegian.
Leander is with us this weekend, and today he and I have been home alone. Toys on the floor are the best interior designs imaginable.
Sitting down to read books together is the best of time. And the patchwork elephant Elmer is a favorite of both of us.
Lucky me. On my way from the office to the bus I walk through the Christmas market. Every day :-) And every day I see something new, though I seldom buy anything.
Today I walked through the Christmas trees section. Spruce and pine in all sizes for sale. People have start buying their Christmas trees now, though it is still a week till we set them up indoors and decorate them. Christmas is still a week away. This is advent.
I loved the smell of real trees as I walked around. Due to my sinus problems we bought an artificial tree a few years ago. I cried when we sat it up the first time, but it turned out to be a beautiful tree, and now we don´t need to throw the tree out after just a couple of days.
But.......real or artifical, putting up the tree is still one week away.
A day trip to Oslo, with one hour till the meeting start when I arrived. I had already visited the main Christmas market, but knew that there was another one in another direction from the train station where I arrived with the airport train. I never got there.......or actually, I got there only to run through, after I had had another stop. You see, I passed a book store on the way there, a book store I had never visited before, a book store with the sign "Norway´s biggest book store".
Of course I had to go in.
But unfortunately I had no time to sit down. Not on this visit.
What I did manage though was to realize that I have to be back,
and to buy a bag full of Moleskins, and Susan Sontag´s The Volcano Lover.
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. Welcome over!