It’s been a rather hectic week with 17th of May (constitution day), Pinsedag (Pentecost) and Andre Pinsedag (the day after Pentecost, which is also a public holiday).
The 17th of May is a national and much enjoyed holiday in Norway, when they celebrate the constitution which came into existence in 1814. Many wear the traditional Bunad (folk costumes – different for each area, but you wear the one most significant to you), there are processions, brass bands, speeches, and (in our case) lots of church services. Last year I got to see the procession in Finnsnes, but this year Sarah and I played for 5 services and Susanna played in the Finnsnes Band, so we didn’t get to see much. However, there was lots of very good cake.
Pentecost day saw Susanna in a new role leading the Sunday School, whilst I played for Pentecost ‘hoymesse’ (traditional service) in Finnsnes and Sarah played for a confirmation service in Bjorelvnes. In the evening we held a Salmekveld (hymn singing evening) which is popular with many of the older folk, and was once again a test of both our Norwegian (can we understand the requests) and then our sight reading (this time there were over half the hymns I had never heard / sung / played before).
Monday was Andre Pinsedag: that’s the day after but still with church services. I played out on the island of Husøy. Husøy is now reached via two tunnels and a man-made causeway, and on the way back we stopped between the tunnels for coffee overlooking Øyfjorden, with the community of Fjordgård in the distance:
The weather has been amazing the last few days (T shirt and shorts weather with temperatures in the sun reaching the mid 30Cs (90f+), although cooler in the wind. We’ve taken the opportunity to get out for some walks around town, including down to the beach. Unfortunately the beach is not a pretty sight since many young people gathered overnight on the 16th of May to ‘celebrate’, leaving a lot of rubbish, and broken glass in the sand and sea which will render the beach useless to children and families. Sadly the police say they turn a blind eye (a useful phrase to remember in the event of any driving offense?). Last year a volunteer group from church cleared up the mess, but I haven’t heard anything for this year.