Monday, March 31, 2008

Nykirken - The New Church

It may sound a bit weird, but this New Church ("Nykirken") as it is called, dates back to 1621. It was so named since there were already many several-hundred years old stone churches around the harbour (Bergen was officially founded in 1070, but a trading site were located there before that). Several of them still exist. It might also be said that it deserves it name since it has been rebuilt and restructured several times - the last time after major destruction during WW2.

The church was built upon the foundation of the Archbishop's residence. Some of these walls are still visible. The second shot is from part of this.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Of stones and sheep

In yesterday's post I mentioned the use of stones as a building material for fences and walls out in nature. The first of the present pictures shows a small stone cabin that was used for keeping cattle. As you can see, it is mostly built of the stone found ambient in the area, but it also has a roof made out of turf. Roofs made out of turfs were very common in Norway at the time when this cabin was built.

This one is restored and is at situated at Lyngheisenteret (at present without its own WEB-site) north of Bergen. It is dedicated to displaying and preserving the nature and cultivating of the moors that once dominated the western part of Norway.

Outhouse Capital of Canada asked yesterday if we kept sheep in Norway. We do - in the summer somewhat more than 2 millions of them graze the Norwegian grass. Here represented by one of them.

Considering that Norway has about 4.5 million inhabitants, that is not too bad.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Norway - a stony country

Norway is a country largely made up of mountains, boulders and stones. In large regions the farmers have always had to clear all patches used for cultivation for stones of all types and sizes. One use of these was to make the fences necessary to demarcate the different farms and fields. At the same time the fences would keep their animals in their intended areas and give them a degree of protection.

The quality of the stones varies very much, but one had to use what one had. That meant large stones as a basis with smaller ones to fill up the remaining gaps as best as they could. Utility first - beauty second. However, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder": This old stone wall is not far from where we have our cottage - another example of living history.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The spring has been announced - tomorrow...

This is what it looked like in my driveway half an hour ago. The new snow has changed to rain and is now on the point of freezing.

Too much for this machine...

A window in Sky Watch Friday

Reflection of an early Easter

PS More about Sky Watch Friday at Wigger's World

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ABC Wednesday - J is for Jackknife

According to Wikipedia, one of the definitions of a Jackknife is as a Pocketknife, and this is defined as follows:

A pocket knife is a folding knife with a blade that fits inside the handle and that is small enough to fit in a pocket. Blades are typically no larger than 3 to 5 in. (8 to 13 cm) in length. Pocket knives are very versatile tools, and may be used for anything from opening an envelope, to cutting twine, to slicing an apple.

The one in the picture above is mine and is technically called a Swiss Army Knife. It is made by Victorinox, and the knifes exist in more varieties than you can imagine. I think this one is somewhere in the middle of the range - it has to fit in my pocket, for instance. I am not quite sure what every tool is supposed to be used for, but they are not finicky. They'll withstand just about anything. At least I know the use of some of the more obvious ones.

BTW, this is my third knife from Victorinox. I bought the first one in 1970 and it lasted until the fastening ring finally gave away when we were on vacation in Denmark in 1993. I bought a new one in the nearest city at once.

I would still have had that one if I had not visited Barcelona in 2005. After having checked the luggage at the airport on the way home, I discovered that my knife was still in my pocket. I slipped it quietly into my backpack and hoped for the best. Nothing doing - the courteous people at the Spanish Security persuaded me that I had better leave it behind or stay behind. So Barcelona got one pocketknife richer and I one poorer. It belongs to the story that shortly after take-off, KLM served us food - with a steel knife and a steel fork to go with it.

But there is more: Last October we were on holiday on the island of Crete in Greece. What do you think I discovered in my pocket? Right - my pocketknife - only now I was in the plane, off the ground and on my way home...

As you can see - I still have it.

PS For more about ABC Wednesday, please visit Mrs. Nesbitt's Place. It is well worth the effort.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Back to normal (?)

Then I'm back more or less to a normal situation - that is, taking a s morning stroll if I can fit in and hopefully get a picture in the process. If you look closely you can see that there is still snow on the ground, even though I am standing on a quay.

This bridge has featured in many of my pictures, taken from different angles and with different lighting etc. I think it is the first with snow on the ground

Some will say I could have spared it for the "Bridges project" or for SWF, but I have of course something up my sleeve. Now I'll just have to follow up an idea for tomorrow's J i ABC Wednesday...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Back to winter

Easter has been cold around here, but we, at least, escaped most of the snow that fell in other areas of Norway. That is, until yesterday afternoon when we got all of 5 cm. However, today we got the most beautiful weather imaginable, so I'll give you a bit of the view from our cottage taken before the snow melted.

Now it just remains to visit everybody who have been kind enough to visit and leave a comment on my blogs while I have been away. It may take a day or two before I can finish that job...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

An Easter greeting

I found this crocus in the garden around our cottage this morning. To me it looks like a decorated Easter egg with a chicken looking out at its first glimpse of the sun.

By adding a few words, I'll make it into an Easter card for meant for anyone who might drop by:


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I is for ICE

I suppose that there will be dozens of Ices in this week's I-theme, but never mind: This is my way of doing it. Wikipedia defines Ice like this:

Ice is the name given to any one of the 15 known crystalline solid phases of water. In non-scientific contexts, it usually describes ice Ih, which is the most abundant of these phases. It can appear transparent or an opaque bluish-white color depending on the presence of impurities such as air. The addition of other materials such as soil may further alter appearance.
The crystal below ought to fit in nicely here.

As you can see, then, Ice is plain old H2O in a frozen phase. This transition takes place at 0 degrees C, and that is in fact why Celsius decided to start his scale here. In addition, as long as both water and ice are in contact, they both are at 0 degrees. (It is of course unnecessary to mention that boiling water - the next phase transition for water - is at the other end of the scale, at 100 degrees).

There exist many types of ices since ice changes properties when things like pressure and temperature and other variables are changed. Ice XV was mentioned by Wikipedia, but as far as I know, that exists only in theory. The others has been produced.

This getting a bit a bit esoteric, so I'll get on to something that ice can be used for. Skating is of course an obvious choice, but I don't seem to have any proper picture of a skater, so you'll have to settle for another little fellow who can walk on the ice without any artificial support whatsoever.

Happy Easter!

For more about ABC Wednesday, please visit Mrs. Nesbitt's Place. Is well worth the effort.

PPS I'll be away for some days, so it may be some time before I have the opportunity to visit all of you.

PPS If you did not find me registered with Mr. Linky at Mrs. Nsbitt Place - it was because it did not show up! Now closing down.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lost(?) today - one spring

When are we going to learn - March is still March around here!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The start of a new season

We are the lucky owners of a small cottage about an hours drive from where we live. It was originally built by my father and have as such formed a large part of my life since I was about seven years of age. We use it for weekends and holidays from about this time of the year until September/October.

However, a cottage does not only bring pleasure, but also work - also known as maintenance. Today we opened for the season, and was of course punished for our lack of maintenance the last few years (I'm born lazy). For instance - this gate has to taken this year:

And worse - look at what the frost has done to our fence:

Oh well, at least the crocuses were in full bloom!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Living walls

Many people think "a stone is a stone is a stone is a...". Not so. Walking more or less the same roads many times a week, one discovers that each wall, each stone in the wall, each pattern of laying them, has its own story to tell. And the story varies with the lighting, the weather, the time of year, etc etc.

Many have been carefully placed. One can imagine the hobby-mason having fun when designing his creation. Maybe he thinks: "I wonder what they make of this?".

Here are a couple of examples:

The top one is taken in the morning with the light coming in from the left, enhancing the natural contrast, and showing the fine natural pattern in both stone, concrete and moss.

In the second one, it is almost possible to hear the cry: "Hey - I'm not a square!"

Friday, March 14, 2008

A foggy sun in Sky Watch Friday

An old subject revisited.

PS More about Sky Watch Friday at Wiggers World

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

H is for Harris Hawk

This week's choice for H is described by Wikipedia like this:

The Harris's Hawk or Harris Hawk, Parabuteo unicinctus, formerly known as the Bay-winged Hawk or Dusky Hawk, is a medium-large bird of prey which breeds from the southwestern USA south to Chile and central Argentina.

It is the only member of the genus Parabuteo. The name is derived from the Greek para, meaning beside or near, and the Latin buteo, referring to a kind of hawk; uni meaning once; and cinctus meaning girdled[1] , referring to the white band at the base of the tail.

I took the picture at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England in the summer of 2006.

For more about ABC Wednesday, please visit Mrs. Nesbitt's Place.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Nature awakens

Eight degrees C above zero and the sun is out. Something is being awakened, both inside and outside.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Urban birds

According to Wikipedia,

Urban culture is the culture of cities. Cities all over the world, past and present, have behaviors and cultural elements that separate them from otherwise comparable rural areas.

In the US and UK, "urban" is often used as a euphemism to describe hip hop culture or subsets of black culture; being these defined groups as a type of urban tribe. Hence names for cultural artifacts like urban music could be seen as a new term for "Race music". It can also refer to the greater availability of cultural resources (such as art, theatre, events, etc) as compared to suburban or rural areas.

Since I am not very urban myself, I went looking for some representatives of this somewhat imprecisely defined culture. As you can see I found some. These are all dressed up in black & white, so they should at least fit in with the latter part of the definition and be ready for the most advanced cultural events.

My first daffodil of the year

The spring has stopped around here, and we have had a return of bad weather. "Everyone" else on the net are posting pictures of their daffodils - and I have none! So I have to resorted to a bit of "fake". I found these mini-daffodils in an urn outside the Aquarium in Bergen, and they will have to do for now.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Perfoming seal

We have an aquarium in Bergen. It is not the world's largest, not even Norway's largest as far as I know - but it is ours. One thing they have is performing seals.

Here is one of them.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Sky watch - or the other way around

How to watch the sky - and be watched at the same time? Follow me on a little trip:

We will be starting at Bergen Airport Flesland with this SAS Boeing 737. There is even a bit of blue sky in the background.

Just after take-off there is of course something highly interesting to watch on the ground: Part of the city centre of "my" town Bergen. Looking to the North we still see some sky.

After getting up to the cruising height, we fly towards the East and pass over Hardangerfjorden. In the background is Hardangervidda (a large snow covered mountain plateau) and we can see that we are approaching the clouds in the distance.

And while we are landing at Oslo Airport Gardermoen, we can see the tower where people are really watching the sky - and us.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A bridge of life

Do you wonder what this is all about? Have a look at my other blog to find out.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Blogging flowers

I have been taking part in the planning, running and have also chaired a small workshop that was held on Thursday and Friday. I have talked nothing but English since Wednesday.

That has left little time for Blogging. No follow-up of ABC-Wednesday or participation in Sky Watch Friday. I hope to rectify some of that during the week-end.

Until then, I have posted a picture of the flowers I received after the event. I was very grateful for those and I'll share them with you.

PS Next week will be even worse - I leave town on Monday around lunchtime...