Wednesday, April 30, 2008

O is for "D/S Oster" in ABC Wednesday

Today's post is a tribute to a real veteran - "D/S Oster". The ship is an example of the archetypical coastal steamer that sailed along the coast of Norway in the late part of the 19th century and well into the 20th. Oster had its base in Bergen and was for many years the largest of the vessels that connected the Northern part of the county of Hordaland with the city of Bergen. The two first pictures show the ship moored at the quay in a small place called Bjørsvik.

The ship was built en 1908 and is thus 100 years old this year - a fact that will be heavily celebrated. It was built at Christiansands Mæk. Værksted (in Kristiansand in the Southern part of Norway) and had initially these specification:

Length: 106,1 feet
Width: 21.7 feet
Deep-draught: 9,7 feet
Gross tonnage: 167
Passengers: 265
Engine (coal): Christiansands Mek. V. trippel expansion 54 nom. hp.
It was also built more or less like an ice-breaker, since the fjords in the inner part of the county always froze in the winter and the people became isolated. In 1915 it was extended, so that the length became 118,6 feet, the gross tonnage 191, and the number of passengers it could carry was increased to 312.

The ships carried all sorts of goods - from cows to cereal and post to planks. It (and is smaller siblings) represented the main artery for the whole area. Along the coast of Norway all connections had been via the fjords. However, by 1964 the time had caught up with "D/S Oster". New and more modern ships, and not the least - more modern roads, cars and buses had taken over much of the work that "Oster" had done. Despite a large local action (including the song "Dar kjem dampen" by Ivar Medaas, which became a classic Norwegian song), the ship was sold off, rebuilt as "M/S Vaka" and disappeared from history - for a while.

However, in 1996 some enthusiasts managed to get hold of the old ship and have since then done a marvellous job with the restoration. They had to get a "new" steam engine from England (alas, not coal) and they are steadily getting closer to the look the ship had when it was a "proper" steamer. Below the ship is moored in Bergen during the "Norsteam 2005" festival.

I am old enough to have travelled with this ship. I have my roots in the area in which it sailed, and I can vouch for the importance that these ships had for the district. Since it was fired by coal it was never difficult to see where it was. Nowadays it is fired by oil, but as you can see - it can still send up a bit of steam. Here at Ostereidet.

The sound of the steam-whistle close by used to scare the wits out of me as a small boy. It still has the same sound. If you have a couple of minutes to spare - please watch and hear this little video showing the ship entering and leaving Ostereidet last year.

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

Monday, April 28, 2008

About "Bridges between"

Just a small reminder that the next round of "Bridges between" is Monday the 5th of May. You can find the rules here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Make my day

When you are a tourist in London, a visit to Covent Garden on a Sunday is a must. There are lots of people, stalls, shops, music and street performers of every variety and quality. When your feet are tired of tramping around, you can of course sit down and enjoy whatever you want to enjoy.

While we were doing this, we found this "little" fellow, who literally made our day.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The sun always shines in Sky Watch Friday

Let's have a ball!

PS More about Sky Watch Friday at Wigger's World

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

N is for "N 28/11"

I have a suspicion that I will be the only one with this solution to what N might be. Even I do not know, but I'll show you the pictures and maybe come with some suggestions.

This is close-up of a stone in which someone at one time scratched "N 28/11". To me it looks obviously like a date. Maybe N (again obviously not Kilroy) was here on November 11 of some unspecified year? Some old time graffiti? Maybe a boy declared his love to a girl with a name starting with N?

In any case - where is this stone?

The stone is part of a wall. Maybe the wall was finished by N on November 11? In that case the building should be pretty young, for the surface of the scratch looks fairly new to me. Much less weathered than the rest of the stone. Here is the building:

This is as you can see, obviously not a new construction. It is located on an old quay where the the local traffic ended in 1971. It may have been connected with that or with nearby local industry. Today it is some kind of workshop.

So it is probably just some schoolboy with too much time on his hands or too little paper in his bag. However, since we'll never get the whole solution - it is up to us to invent one...

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back home again

Then we are back home again after a week-end visit to - another country ;-) . The trip was purely for pleasure, which of course meant walking, shopping, eating, theatre, photos(!) and so forth. It seems that I have a lot of catching up to do in my blogging, so bear over with me if it takes some time to visit all who have commented in my absence.

As you can see from the above, we have been revisiting the site for the picture of my former post. However, I have now included another structure even more well known than the other one. BTW, the picture in the former post was taken in 2001.

Now I have just got to find a nice N for tomorrow's ABC Wednesday...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Around and around and around.... in Sky Watch Friday

Bye, bye for now...

PS More about Sky Watch Friday at Wigger's World

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

M is for Mushroom in ABC Wednesday

According to Wikipedia:

A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source
As far as I could determine from another place in Wikipedia, the mushroom I found were of the type
Birch Bracket (Piptoporus betulinus - also known as Razor Strop) is one of the most common polyporous bracket fungi and, as the name suggests, grows almost exclusively on Birch trees. The brackets burst out from the bark of the tree, and these fruiting bodies can last for more than a year. Technically, it is an edible mushroom, with a strong, pleasant "mushroomy" odour but a bitter taste. It is said to have medicinal properties, and the velvety cut surface of the fruiting body were used as a strop for finishing the finest of edges on razors. Dried specimens have also been used as tinder, and this fungus was carried by "Ötzi the Iceman" - the 5,000 year old mummy found in the Tyrol.
We seem to be in good historic company here. And it is also evident from the pictures here that this particular mushroom is very fond of birches.

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Activity at a quay

My walks often end up at a small quay, almost under a bridge and close to a factory complex where they among other things make talcum-powder. When the cargo ships are in, there is usually a lot of activity. Here it is M/S Wilson MO that is in. I couldn't quite determine whether the ship was being loaded or unloaded, but so what? I got the picture - that's enough for me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Geology must be fun

Many years ago I thought about studying physics and related subjects. For various reasons this didn't come about. Maybe if I had, I might have continued into geology. It would have been fun to combine such an interest with my hobby of photography.

Since I live in a country primarily consisting of mountains, rocks and stones of various sizes and shapes, I would never lack an interesting subject for the camera. I would then also have been able to tell you what these interesting layers are, what happened millions of years ago to make such a thing as this.

What I can tell you now isn't much beside the obvious fact that these particular structures saw the light of day when the road was cut through this piece of rock. Since the road has been made wider several times since it was made I cannot tell you precisely when this happened.

The first picture shows the cutting more or less from top to bottom, with the various layers clearly visible.

In the second one the more detailed cracks are showing. Whether it is from the making of the cutting, from the action of water and ice or from all three together, I can't tell.

The only thing I can tell is that the moss has managed to make a living on these rocks.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Saturday trove

Today we tried an other stroll than usual - one that we should have tried long ago. Walking along (wet!) forest paths and climbing over this and that in the outskirts of town, we suddenly found ourselves facing this contraption. Any guesses?

Here is another tip:

And so the final picture:

We were standing on a small dam at one end of what was once part of the water supply to Bergen. This was apparently a mechanism for regulating the overflow of water or the supply to certain pipes. Apparently not quite in tip-top shape any more

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another mirror in Sky Watch Friday

Reflection in and about an old factory window.

PS More about Sky Watch Friday at Wigger's World

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

L is for LEGO in ABC Wednesday

For a father with four children LEGO is as logical an L as can be imagined. I think he in many ways had as much fun playing and building with these bricks with his children as they had. Maybe it was because they were launched when he was a small boy and he remembers his own pleasure from that time?

According to LEGO's own hompage:

The name 'LEGO' is an abbreviation of the two Danish words "leg godt", meaning "play well". It’s our name and it’s our ideal.

The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen. The Company has passed from father to son and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder.
And about the brick:
The brick in its present form was launched in 1958. The interlocking principle with its tubes makes it unique, and offers unlimited building possibilities. It's just a matter of getting the imagination going – and letting a wealth of creative ideas emerge through play.
I think all children in the Western world must have some kind of relationship with this little, almost indestructible brick. They could be made into everything, and after a while they where produced in all kinds of types. But for children in Scandinavia there were more: There was LEGOLAND in Billund, Denmark! Nowadays there are several of them around the world, but it started in Billund. We had many holidays in Denmark, and that often included a visit to LEGOLAND. Denmark isn't the largest country in the world, so it was often possible.

LEGOLAND is of course an amusement park, but there is more: there is all the sculpture, figures and houses made out of LEGO-bricks. Most impressing is the small copies of various sites and structures from around the world. Close by each other you can find a small wharf from Lofoten in Norway

and then some windmills from the Netherlands.

According to Wikipedia, 70% of the company was sold to a US-based company in 2005. Let us hope that the positive attitude to children and their play and welfare will continue. According to their homepage it certainly looks that way.

Let us hope that it avoids a fate like this:

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

Monday, April 07, 2008

A woodpecker at work

We have a couple of birches close to our cottage. A sure sign of spring is when you can hear the rat-tat-tat-tat as they are making new holes for their nests.

Here is one of them in action.

The rainbow - The bridge of the gods

The rainbow with its beautiful colours and magical appearance has always fascinated people. It is not without reason that many religions have given it mythical characteristics related to gods and other supernatural beings. Since this is a Norwegian blog, it is only natural to look at how the rainbow appeared in the old Norse tradition.

In this tradition it was called Bifrost and was one of the connections between the humans in Midgard and the gods in Aasgard. In Aasgard the god Heimdal watched over the bridge and the world. The other end had no constant end in Midgard and could not be located by humans. At the the end of the world, Ragnarok, the bridge would be destroyed.

The rules of the game are here.

For comments, please use my other blog.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Flying high in Sky Watch Friday

Geese going North

PS More about Sky Watch Friday at Wigger's World

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

ABC Wednesday - K is for kilo

K is for kilo, but what is kilo? Kilo comes from Greek and means one thousand - 1000 - 10 raised to the third power and so on. One of the most common uses is a as a prefix in the the word kilogram - the standard for Mass. According to the international body BIPM,

The kilogram is the unit of mass; it is equal to the mass of the international prototype of the kilogram.
Now, it is obvious to everybody that these two weights shown here cannot be the prototype. The prototype is kept in a vault with six copies at BIPM in Paris and and can be seen to the left. The prototype is also made out of a platinum/iridium alloy which my weights most definitely are not. In fact, they are each only half a kilo (five hekograms) each, but 1/2 plus 1/2 make 1 - right?

The real reason is of course that I couldn't lay my hands on a one kilo weight in time for the picture.

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

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Soon "Bridgeday"

Just a reminder that the coming Monday - April 7, 2008, is "Bridge-day"! You can find the rules here.

The post-links and comments must be made to my other blog, Runes TX-Blog