Today I traveled to Fjordgård chapel for a funeral. It’s located over an hour drive from Finnsnes on the north of the island of Senja. It should have been a spectacular journey, with the possibility of a mountain walk after the service, but once again it snowed (in fact it’s still snowing now). I did manage to get a few pictures and I’m returning there on Sunday afternoon for a service, so perhaps I will get some better shots.
The church has a modern(ish) harmonium. The manufacturer did make some with electric blowers, but this one is foot powered, so you pump air with your feet, control the volume using knee paddles, and play. This requires some coordination – you have to remember to pump (or the sound stops), play in time, and move your knees in and out to control the volume. If you want to see if you are cut out for harmonium playing, try rubbing your tummy, patting you head and sticking your tongue smoothly and slowly in and out, all at different tempos. Unfortunately this instrument builder must have used someone with very short legs during the design process, so my knees banged on the underside of the keyboard as I played, which isn’t too bad during a hymn, but playing for 20 minutes before the service got quite uncomfortable.
I came part of the way back with the funeral director and had comic a language moment. She speaks excellent English, and we had been discussing the dangerous wildlife in South Carolina. Then I mentioned that this morning as I cycled to work a large moose had run across the road – which I had never seen before, and it was at least as tall as a man. I did not realize that here a moose is called an elk, and Norwegians tend to pronounce the English word mouse like moose. The end result was that for a while she thought I was ‘seeing’ a giant mouse roaming the streets of Finnsnes. I can imagine the next headline – New Kantor facing drug tests!
Pictures below include a panorama from the chapel car park, a view from the head of the fjord, the view from the organ bench (not many organists get a view like that), inside the chapel, and the instrument of torture.