Posted by: jeanne | June 11, 2017

sea men’s day in olaf’s fjord

on saturday, it was seamen’s day in iceland.  friday saw a bunch of people decorating their yards and houses with penants (a red section and a blue section, perhaps a rivalry of sorts) and mannequins.  people went door to door with cut flowers, and there was a plant sale that i missed (drat).

the artist staying downstairs decorated the back yard with his laundry.  i thought it was funny to see that everything on the line was black, especially since i had just done a load and needed to hang it out.  my laundry is quite multicolored.  the fashion here is shades of black.  all my laundry is upstairs in the spare room, drying on a rack now.  it was a laundry kind of day, with blue skies and a fresh wind from the north.

we went swimming early, because the pool closed at 1pm, due to the festivities.  the boys got done dressing before me for a change, so i found them in the lobby playing swords with the shoe horns.


while we were hanging out in the house after lunch, we started hearing noises outside, and when we looked out the window they were having a tractor pull on the main street.  they’d blocked off the road with cars (how are people supposed to get from one tunnel to the other?), and a good chunk of the local population were gathered in the square at tjarnarborg to participate in festivities.  in this case, two trawler crews were teamed up against each other.  they were doing a truck pull, with a very large ship’s rope tied to the front of a dump truck.  first one team, then the other, and then all the kids in town got in line and pulled the truck too.  it’s a long line, so i couldn’t actually get the truck into the shot.


then everybody gathered in the square and the organizers handed out ice cream in one line, and seafood chowder in another.  and people waited for the relay race between the two trawler teams.  i’ve never seen anything like it.


the first guys in the relay came up and bobbled soccer balls for a moment, then ran back and tagged the next guys, who ran up to the table and put bras on over their clothes, struggling with the unfamiliar bindings.  then the next guys ran up, blindolded themselves, and applied lipstick to the guys in the bras.  after that, two more guys ran up and threaded a large sinker weight onto fishing line.  when they were done, they ran back and tagged the next guys, who got into 2×6 boards with foot straps, and tandem-skiid up to the tables.  they shouted back at the last two guys, who then ran forward and jumped into barrels of ice water, jumped back out spluttering, and ran back to finish.  it was bizzare.  they did this for two rounds.  the wet guys just stood around in their wet clothes after this.  fishermen are hardy souls.


i spotted two of the artists in residence watching.  we were pretty bemused by it all.


the boys, of course, found their own amusements, and joined a bunch of the other kids rolling down the very steep hill.  fortunately, human bodies don’t roll straight down, but always curve to the side and stop themselves.  otherwise you’d have that scene from princess bride


shortly afterwards, the opening of the nature museum was scheduled, and we joined about 20 minutes later.  the building was recently a hardware store, and looked like it, but they worked all day and night on it for awhile, and it was actually ready to open on schedule.  an immense task.


but when we got there, it was jammed full of people, and there was a music recital going on.  the boys were so not interested.  they couldn’t get to the polar bear in all the crush.


so we went to the local pocket park, next to the church.  there are bunches of pocket parks in this town.  very convenient.  on the way, we passed thru the church parking lot, and i discovered a bunch of icelandic poppies, as well as violets, dandelions (a very sturdy stem on the dandelions, because of the wind, i suppose), and other wildflowers.


the boys liked the ‘busy train’ as connor calls it.  avery corrects him – dizzy train.  the bearings on it are so good that they found it easy to go really fast and get really dizzy.


next to the church is this adorable little house that was for sale the last time i was here.  it seems they’re doing some renovation now, so perhaps it has sold.  i’m so upset – i wanted to buy it with spare change.  but it seems it’s taken.  and i’ve been told prices are rising very quickly around here.  so even the oldest fisherman’s cottage is now $150k.  i guess i missed my chance to dispose of pocket change.


after an hour, we returned to the museum.  tommi has printed up posters on very short notice, because two of jim’s paintings were included, and he only finished them a day or two before that.


superman, who doesn’t look like jim, and the flying machine, ditto.



locals gathered to enjoy the concert, and to chat with each other.  normally people give each other a lot of space in such a small town, but there are occasions when everybody gloms.


leonardo da vinci, now that looks more like jim.  jim always makes the men he paints look like himself.  it’s completely unconscious.  his women always look like some unidentified mystery woman.  even portraits look like someone else.  it’s funny.


the museum is mostly about birds, but they took advantage of the old features of the building, like this way cool heater.


the other non-bird item was the famous polar bear.  while the museum was being readied, it was under a tarp in the corner, so the boys were very excited to see it actually displayed, and quite annoyed that it was behind a chain, indicating they weren’t allowed to touch it.  or climb on its back…


this is the diorama we saw being worked on when we first came into the museum last week.  the artist was flicking bird pooplike paint around the rocks with his brush.  that’s when i volunteered jim to help – he can flick bird poop with the best of them.


the entire back part of the building is given over to dioramas, models, screens and drawings explaining flighted creatures, including a hilarious compilation of early flight disasters.

the boys found the tray of goodies, and helped themselves (gorged themselves) on brownies and soft drinks.  then they went back to the playground to make themselves thoroughly ill, and when they started complaining they were going to barf, i took them home.

we had dinner – leftovers a la stirfry – and then went for a walk down by the dock, looking at the big ship, peering around the breakwater to gander at the ocean – water all the way to the north pole – inspecting the newly repaired fishing boat belonging to the fish factory guy, whose name i am unsure of, but it might be aski?

alice is now gone to bergen, and so the boys can make as much noise at night as they wanted to.  so they went up to bed, and straight to sleep.  ah well.

today is murky and cloudy, but we want to hike up to the snow line in the closest of the hanging valleys, up past kleifar.  so as soon as i finish this we’ll make some sandwiches, get the boys into their waterproof pants, pack the gloves, and head out, jim and i with our walking sticks, everybody in their boots.  should be fun.


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