Monthly Archives: February 2015

Walking On Water

This week is Vinterferie – winter holiday / ‘half term’ – things are a bit quieter at work, so been opportunity to ski everyday, and twice yesterday. With temperatures hovering around freezing and no new snow mean the prepared ski tracks are getting quite icy, so the last two tours have been off the ‘beaten track’. In fact they weren’t even on land – a frozen lake is an excellent place to ski if there’s a bit of snow on it.  So, here are some pictures which would require a boat in the summer!



Rise Of The Machines

Not much in the way of pictures at the moment, so here is a story I found on the Norwegian nation broadcastering website (NRK).

It’s a report from Swedish researchers saying that over 50% of current jobs will be replaced by computers by 2035, together with a table of those most at risk. It makes interesting reading. There are some surprises (librarians, models, hunters, blacksmiths and agents).

Photo Models 98.0%
Bookkeeping and auditing assistants 97.0%
Machine operators in wood industries 97.0%
Library Assistants 97.0%
Checkout Employees 95.3%
Assistants in agriculture, forestry and fishing 95.0%
Other machine operators and assemblers 94.8%
Sellers in retail 94.4%
Street and market sellers 94.0%
Other office staff 94.0%
Cleaning and recovery workers 93.0%
Office Secretaries and data punchers 92.2%
Installers 91.4%
Operators 90.2%
Machine operators in rubber and plastics industries 89.8%
Train drivers 89.6%
Administrative Assistants 89.3%
Process Operators of steel and metal 89.0%
Kitchen and restaurant assistants 88.6%
Food service and restaurant personnel 88.4%
Furniture and model carpenters 87.9%
Blacksmiths, verktøysmakere 87.1%
Butchers, bakers, confectioners 87.1%
Machine operators in chemical industry 86.2%
Coarse Workers in construction 84.8%
Welders, casters 84.1%
Agents 81.7%
Machine operators lithographic 81.1%
Turners 80.6%
Drivers 80.1%
Forestry Users 79.8%
Storage and transport assistants 78.8%
Postman 78.6%
Delivery drivers and couriers 77.9%
Painters, sweeps and refinishers 75.5%
Process Operators, wood and paper industry 75.0%
Janitors 74.6%
Printmakers 74.5%
Construction workers 73.0%
Mining and quarrying workers. Stonecutters 72.2%
Sellers, buyers, brokers 71.2%
Other service workers 71.1%
Hand Packers and other factory workers 70.3%
Biomedical analysts 68.7%
Hardware and engine repair 66.7%
Tailors and paperhangers 65.5%
Security Staff 65.4%
Cleaners 64.4%
Operating Machinists 63.7%
Fishermen and hunters 62.4%
Electricians, telecommunications and electronics repairers 57.2%
Engineers and technicians 56.4%
Archivists and librarians 50.4%
Tanners, leather workers, shoemakers 50.3%

Thankfully there is no mention of musicians / organists / kantors.

One can only wonder toward what sort of world are we headed? Maybe the researchers have been watching the Terminator films.  Do they foresee some kind of universal ‘personbot’ that can find you a book, check out your shopping, shoe your horse, shot your next meal, and pose on a cat walk? Will the same device also clean your toilet (esepcially the hard to get to bit round the back), fill in your tax return (hopefully having washed it’s hands first), then redecorate your home? And will it try to kill you if you want to switch it off?

And how reliable will it be? To quote the much used worst oxymoron: Microsoft works!

Hmm . . . .

Old Lights

Due to some not very arctic weather (+6 degrees and everything is melting) there’s been a bit of a shortage of good photographic material. So, here are some northern lights from about a month ago. There was rather a lot of ‘interference’ from street lights, but they were probably the best we’ve seen here in town, including some white, which is quite unusual:

Spiral Ice 2

Since the original spiral ice post, the photographed icicle has now developed a conventional ‘tooth’.  In addition, there are now some new twisted icicles. I’m curious about what’s causing them – could it be the electromagnetic field from electricity substation from which they are growing?


After a full Saturday, we followed up with an even fuller Sunday. We replaced skiing with morning services in Finnsnes and Rossfjord, then retraced our steps to  the confirmant camp and Botnhamn for afternoon services.

On the way back from the camp, the sky lit up:


Compare the first picture above, with the same scene the previous dayØ


Saturday – On Tour

This weekend has been particularly busy, but great fun.

Yesterday (Saturday) began with just enough time to have another go on my new skis. Here are some pics from the tour – the clouds were amazing.


Saturday_On_Tour_08 Saturday_On_Tour_09

I was amazed and slightly worrying to see the ski tracks running down the steepest part of kistefjell (see the track almost immediately below the giant TV tower): in the summer it’s almost 1000′ of hands and feet scramble!


After a quick sandwich it was off to the confirmand camp at Tømmeneset for a sang timer – an hour of singing and learning hymns and songs. They did well – especially the boys, although in the end the lure of lunch became a bit distracting (risgrøt – rice pudding is traditional Saturday food here, and is used as a vehicle for butter, sugar and cinnamon – rather like grits in the US!). This was the view over the frozen lake, before and after it snowed:

Saturday_On_Tour_15 Saturday_On_Tour_16

Finally it was off to Botnhamn, (via Husøy to collect some equipment which got stranded last time the road was closed). It was  a couple of hours drive in the snow, so no scenery pictures for this segment. We had another confirmand ‘job’, this time as the entertainment for a fund-raising evening. Our parish supports about 100 children in Congo so that they can go to school. Great coffee and cake.

Spiral Ice

How do you make ice curve or  spiral?

Curvy_Ice_01 Curvy_Ice_02

New Skis

We’ve had skis since our first winter in Norway, but have struggled with smør. This is a multi-use word meaning butter, to spread, or the wax you put on cross country skis. It important to understand the context – especially at meal times!

The problem (in skiing terms) is that you have to have the correct wax on your skis for the conditions. One buys a set of 4 – 6 ‘colour coded’ waxes’ and then tries to determine which one to use, based on temperature, how fresh / old the snow is, whether there is ice, etc. The wax is then applied to certain areas of the skis in order to get good grip. This is usually done before you set off, but changing conditions can mean stopping to re-wax en-route. And then there is klister (literally adhesive), which you use if there is a lot of ice, especially towards the end of the season. Klister is messy, sticks to everything (skin, clothing, even snow)  and is very hard to remove. Learning to smør correctly is the study of a life time.

Living here means that in theory if one has a spare hour, it should be possible to go skiing. However, the waxing issue often precludes or deters. So, today I invested in wax free skis. What a liberation! The purists are of course correct that they’re not quite as fast, etc, etc, but they’re fast enough for me, and definitely better than not going at all!

This afternoon Susanna and I went for our first trip:



Home Safe

Just a quick post to say I’m home safe after the concert was cancelled.

In the end I set off straight away and made it over the bridge and over the mountain pass before they were closed. The last couple of hours were a white out so it was pretty difficult driving.

Not sure what tomorrow holds as most of the roads on Senja are closed, and much of the area is without power, so difficult to hold services.

Meanwhile, here is a rather dramatic picture (not mine):

Konserten Avlyst – Concert Cancelled

The police have told people have told people to stay home and the church authorities have said they wont be responsible if anything bad happens, so we have sadly had to cancel the concert today.

Hoverer, because the weather wont improve until after the concert should have finished, I’m stuck in Vestbygd!