Stonglandseidet is a village on the south coast of Senja. We have driven through several times before, but never really stopped. However, on Friday I was asked to play for the funeral of a well known and well loved man (teacher, author, cultural leader, historian, politician, publisher . . . ).

It was my first opportunity to play the organ in the church, about which I’d heard mixed reports. It turned out to be ‘interesting’. It was built by a Norwegian company, Vestre, who are well known for their harmoniums (our parish has several), but not so respected for their organs.  In this case the console looked like a modified hamonium, the stops were really stiff to operate (one of them required full body weight!), and the whole instrument apparently is a little too flexible so when the wooden church moves slightly with both the wind and changes in temperature / humidity some of the pipes come out of their mountings and either don’t sound at all or are badly out of tune!


Oh, and you can’t see anything from the console, necessitating a crude periscope arrangement. Apart from that, it was OK!

Organ enthusiasts can read more on the specification here.

The building itself also has some ‘quirks’, including a gallery which is so close to the roof that you have to duck under the rafters to reach the pews (which have no view), and a rather over-sized model ship.

This is a 360 degree view of the inside of the building:


After the funeral I popped into the only shop in the village (Joker) to buy a cup of coffee. Most such shops act as a meeting point for locals, and routinely sell coffee. I asked the assistant where I could get coffee, I was initially directed to bags of coffee, and then after clarifying I wanted a cup of coffee, it turned out they didn’t sell any. However, the young man turned around, popped into the back room and came back with what was clearly a cup from the staff supply. Full marks for hospitality. Thank you Joker!

This is a 360 degree view of the village centre, and there is a proper panorama here:



And the weather was miserable – for a change.

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