Monthly Archives: August 2015

A Day In Oslo

We rounded off our main July summer holiday with 24 hours in Oslo (the capital city of Norway). We relatively frequently pass through Gardemoen (the largest of the city’s airports), but this is the first time we’ve had a family ‘tourist’ visit.

Oslo is relatively compact, population 650000, and with good, if rather expensive, public transport. There’s quite a bit of free stuff to do, so we did.

City hall (rådhuset) is a colossal building, with a vast main hall, built to fully underline Norway’s full independence early in the 20th century, and celebrate it’s heritage and people. It was a long time in construction and decoration, interrupted by the Nazi occupation. It even has a fake organ! Every day there are free guided tours, lasting about an hour. During our visit the building was being prepared for local elections, which seemed involve closing most areas to the public, and removing the majority of the furniture. However, guided tours were given access. It was very informative. There’s a 360 degree view of the main hall here.

A_Day_In_Oslo_003b A_Day_In_Oslo_004b

Next it was on to see the palace, which in contrast to Buckingham Palace appears to have zero security: you can walk right up and knock on the door! We were treated to the king’s band too, as they marched the length of Karl Johann Gata (the main thoroughfare leading up to the palace) and did something akin to the ‘changing of the guard’. This being a small country, Susanna even knew some of the musicians:

By then it was heading for lunch time, so after a quick visit to the cathedral (rather small and full of paraffin fumes from hundreds of tea lights), we found a place to eat, just outside the main station, with a railway feel to it:

The afternoon was spent in the Vigeland sculpture park. Vigeland Park is the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist, and is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions. The park is Gustav Vigeland’s lifework with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron. He was also in charge of the design and architectural layout of the park, mainly completed between 1939 and 1949. Read more about it here. Despite wind and rain, it is an amazing place! These are just a fraction of the sculptures:

Aurora And A Full Moon

This evening is the first time we’ve seen proper northern lights since we lost the midnight sun (so the sky is dark enough to see them). If the weather is good, this is a fantastic time of year. During the day, clear blue skies and glorious sunshine. Rose and gold sunsets. And after sunset, the sky running from a golden band looking north, to blue-black with an orange ‘harvest moon’ in the south. And this evening, the aurora lit up most of the sky. Very special. However, it took a few minutes to organise the camera / focus and ourselves, so the pictures only show the tail end of the display.

A Euphonium & An Aquarium?

When people here heard that Susanna is going to study in England (Birmingham Conservatoire), we began to get requests for a concert. So next Tuesday (1st of September, 6pm), she is playing a kind of farewell concert in Finnsnes Church.

We want the concert to be family-friendly, so some of the pieces are fun, and to give Susanna’s lip a bit of a break, I’m going to interject some short organ pieces. A very good friend waxed lyrical a few weeks ago about a suite called Aquarium, by a contemporary German composer called Willscher. I really like them. If you want to know what a sea cucumber, dolphins, and sea dragons sound like, you’ll just have to come to the concert!



The music will include:

  • Concertino – Rolf Wilhelm (Mvts 1 & 2)
  • Sonata in F minor – Telemann (Mvts 1, 2 & 4)
  • Sonata No. 1 in A minor – Galliard (Mvts 1, 2, 4, 5)
  • Brass Bangles – Floyd O. Harris
  • Gabriel’s Oboe – Ennio Morricone
  • Unresolved – Jon Blamire
  • Copy Cats – Jon Blamire
  • Akvarium – Willscher

Afterwards our children’s choir parents will serve yummy cake and coffee.

The concert is free, with a collection  toward the choir tour next year.

Acomb Methodist Church Organ

When mum and dad relocated back to York, Acomb Methodist Church became their church family. I popped in to play there when we visited in the summer.

It would be hard to find an instrument more different from the majority of organs here in Norway, in every sense! Apparently when the church building was first built, they had lined-up a reconditioned instrument, but before they could transport it, it’s original home burned down, destroying the organ. So, the present instrument is it’s replacement. Divided into two chambers to the left and right of the communion table, it’s rather large and overpowering for the space. But despite showing signs of age, it was pleasant to play.

The specification and more pictures are here.

There is also a 360 degree interactive view of the sanctuary here.

English Traditions

Still catching up with last month’s trip to England . . .

Whilst in London, we also enjoyed a couple of English traditions: pie and mash, and meeting the royal family (well at least their Lego stand-ins):

Back, ‘up north’ we had another trip over to York, on the way taking in the latest eco-freindly military hardware: the wind-powered early warning radar near Harrogate (we’ll be OK as long as IS don’t figure out how to stop the wind blowing . . . .):

We also saw some other things we are ‘ikke vant til’ (not used to). For example tall trees, and a windmill built on a roundabout,



dry stone walls, fields as far as the eye can see, and wide roads,

houses with clocks, and old people with a giant umbrella,

and all the Blamire women together in one place (first time in 6 years). The bearded one is not a lady:

Much of the holiday  was spent planning and executing Ruth and Jordan’s wedding blessing (a ‘not’ wedding, for all the Europeans who couldn’t make it to the  US last year for the ‘real deal’), and gearing up for Hannah and Kris’s wedding next year. Sadly I don’t have a single picture of the wedding blessing, but I’ll obtain some from others soon I hope. Meanwhile, here are some pictures of Hannah’s ‘wedding team’ and the venue:

London – Art & Flowers

It’s taking rather a long time to get round to updates – partial business and partial holiday (trying not to be screen-addicted)!

Here is another bit our summer trip, including London.

We packed the ‘younguns’ onto a hop-on hop-off bus tour, whilst we took in Buckingham Palace (outside only as Liz was unavailable), a park and the natural history museum (unbelievably hot and noise with school parties), and the National Gallery:




London – Art & Architecture 1

I’m hopping around a bit with date order now.

As part of our holiday in the UK, we enjoyed a few days in London with Ruth and Jordan. It was an opportunity to do some of the tourist things which we never did when we lived there.

We had a visit to the Tate Modern, housed in the an old power station. They are in the middle of doing some renovation work to the main turbine hall, but there was still lots to see. There’s a 360 view of the huge entrance hall here. And here are a few of the exhibits – I just don’t understand why I wasn’t famous, aged 4!?):

Later on we wandered the south bank (360 degree panorama here) and then to Tower Bridge to watch the sunset: