Life, the universe and ... oh, whatever ...

Monday, November 27, 2006


I was lying in bed last night thinking that this is my typical luck: when I first find a pub that I like so much I would really like to call it my favourite – and it also is a place where I could see myself sitting and writing during the day or afternoon, this place is in another part of the world.

When I moved to England one of the things I said that I really wanted to do when I got here was to get my own local pub where I could go and meet people that I would come to know – you know, kind of like in the series “Cheers”: “Where everybody knows your name”. So far I haven’t done that. I haven’t really been going out that much, but I have visited a local pub called “The Bell Inn” quite a few times and it is a very nice typical English pub and I enjoy going there for a beer, but it’s not the kind of place that I can see myself going to during the day to do some writing.

“Dunes and Tunes” on Playa Del Ingles how ever, that’s different. I found myself thinking about it several evenings there that it would’ve been so great to come in early one afternoon and just sit there for a couple of hours writing. It’s on the beach, so while sitting at the tables there you can actually see the ocean, and I love to see the ocean – that is something that always inspires me. And I was wondering what it would’ve been like to live down there, and to go to this place to write during the day or afternoon. Bringing my notebook and a good pen, ordering sparkling water (actually in my mind, when I picture this, I drink coffee as that seems more right, but as I’m not a coffee drinker that’s not likely to happen so…..) and just sit there and write while I watch the people that do pop in during that time of the day or if there are no people I can watch the ocean. And then, when the afternoon turns into evening and the people start coming in for the entertainment I’ll close my notebook, it’ll be getting too dark pretty soon to see the ocean anyway – and I’ll head back to the bungalow where I’m staying - in a more quite part of Playa Del Ingles but within walking distance from the beach.

And now you’re of course wondering, if this was my vision, why didn’t I just do it when I was there on vacation. Well, first of all, I think it must be my Scandinavian genes, but it’s impossible for me to go on a week’s vacation to Gran Canaria and imagine for even one evening going back to the hotel early and not actually being out partying and drinking beer. It’s just what you do you know, with only one week of vacation – so afraid to miss out on anything – so afraid I’ll get back home and think “damn, why didn’t I go out that evening as well when I had the chance?” Secondly, going on a one week vacation to Playa Del Ingles, it’s not a “writer’s holiday”. That much alcohol and little sleep doesn’t inspire me at all, and I actually almost get a bit stressed because there are so many things I want to do and I worry so much about the time passing by too quickly – it’s impossible for me to sit down for 2 or 3 hours to write. I would not be able to focus and concentrate, my mind would be elsewhere, worrying about all the other things I could be doing.

If I had lived there though, it would’ve been different. I don’t drink that much alcohol when I’m home, and if that had been “home”, well then I would not have been drinking and partying in the same fashion I do when on vacation. Then I would find the peace and quite to be able to focus on my writing. I would not be so worried about missing out on things because time would be on my side and not working against me.

So, as I started out saying – it’s kind of typical isn’t it – when I finally do find a pub where I could probably get some writing done, it’s just too far away to be useful for me for that purpose. And I couldn’t really move to that part of the world just because I like a pub there either, could I?

Sunday, November 26, 2006


It's been a while since I've shared any of my creative writing with you, so here's a very short story that I'm working on this days. This is about the 3rd draft of it, so it is a work in progress, and I'm still not sure if it will be anything more than this or if this is all it will be, but I'll share it with you anyway:


I look at the watch; four thirty am, and step from the light inside the bar into the darkness outside. The hot intense wind immediately surrounds me, wraps me up, plays on my skin, tries to seduce me with its warm insistent touch. I wish it was you.

For the last two hours I’ve been listening to everything you’ve been willing to share, cherishing every sound passing over you lips, drinking every word like a thirsty traveller would treat water after being lost in the desert. At one point some chairs blew over outside the large windows. It startled us. Broke up the conversation. Your eyes warily sought the scene outside, looking for…. I wouldn’t know, you didn’t say. My eyes reluctantly let go of you and followed your gaze.
“It’s the wind” you said, “It’s picking up.”
Then you named this hot dry sand-filled wind blowing in from the Sahara.

Standing in the street alone, being touched by this wind I search for the word again. Sirocco. Warm. Dry. Intense. Suffocating. Sand. It has the power to drive people mad this wind – or so I remember being told once anyway, in another life so far from this. If you commit a crime when it’s blowing you’ll be judge more lightly. I wonder if the same goes for love. Would you more easily forgive me for falling for you if I blamed the Sirocco?

For two hours I’ve been staring at your lips willing for them to kiss mine, at your hands wanting for them to touch me, caress me – drive me insane. Looking into your eyes for some clue or hint that this might have been on your mind as well. They never revealed anything, your eyes.

The fingers touching my skin and driving me mad are the fingers of the unseen, the stranger blown in across the large ocean. When I step into the street and start walking it is all around me, outside and inside. My dry lips long to be moistened – by the touch of your lips – but my only lover this night will be the one who’ll drive me mad for the next half hour . Insistently by my side all the time while I walk to the hotel. Stroking my skin. Touching my lips till they crack open from dryness. Blowing sand in my eyes till they’re sore and red. I wish I could cry but it won’t let me. I want to scream for help, for someone to give me water, but it’s there as well. When I open my mouth it forces its way down my throat and the only sound allowed out is a croak, a strange and desperate sound from a woman touched by a lover she does not want. I stumble, searching blindly for my way while it teases me, roughs up my hair and just won’t leave me alone.

Thirsty. Dry. Warm. I need... you wouldn’t know, I didn’t say.

I force one foot in front of the other inside this madness that is and walk away from that which will not happen. Walking and waiting for the heat to drive me insane.

Another one gone…

My mother told me on Friday that they had on Wednesday taken one of our three cats to the vet’s and had her put down. This was not really unexpected. She was becoming an old cat now, our Dorthe, born in May 1993 – and a couple of years ago there was a tumour in her belly. At that time the vet took it out but said that at some point the tumours would probably be back that we should let her live as long as she was a happy cat. The tumours returned this summer so we knew that at some point we would have to let her go, and now I guess it was time.

At one point we actually had as many as six cats, all of them of the race Holy Birman.

The first one was Fremon of Ysatiz. He was born in November 1992 and I bought him in February 1993. He lived with me and my ex-boyfriend in Oslo, but my parents also loved him so much that they always asked for him to come stay with them on “vacation”. So for their 20th anniversary in August 1993 I bought them Karete’s Dorthe. I did take Fremon to some cat shows and at some point I thought that I might actually start breeding kittens myself, with this in mind I bought Karete’s Ellinor in January 1994. At that point in time my ex and I broke up, and I moved into a very small flat in Oslo that was not suitable for cats so even though I hated to let them go I realized that Fremon and Ellinor would be better off with my parents in Solör so they moved there. In June 1995 Fremon and Dorthe became the parents of three lovely kittens: Minas Tirith’s Darwin, Daisy and Dahlia. The plan was of course to sell the kittens. This is normally done when they’re around the age of 3 months – but this is also when they’re the most beautiful and we found we just could not sell them – and that was the end of my kitten breeding adventure!!! After all, you can’t go on breeding cats if you’re unable to actually sell them!

Well, since then we’ve had to put four of the cats down because of illness. This is unfortunately something that might often happen to race cats. There has been so much in-breed to bring out the perfect cat, on the outside – what they look like, that they’re not always very healthy.

Ellinor actually was crazy. She was always a very moody cat, but as she grew older she became more and more vicious. We kept taking her to the vet asking if there was anything we could do for her, because we could she that she was very nervous and that not a happy cat – but in the end there was nothing more to do – so we had to let her go, this was in 96 or 97.

Then one of our kittens Dahlia got tumours in her lungs and three years ago we had to put her to sleep.

Fremon was the next one to go, also because of tumours, this was last autumn.

And now Dorthe has left us as well, and we only have Darwin and Daisy left. They’re 11 years old now and so far they’re healthy and might go on to being 20. But when you’ve lost so many cats in such a short time you keep looking for signs that the remaining ones are ill as well. This is of course worse for my parents than for me. I love our cats, but sort of loving them from a distance. I come home and cuddle them and think it’s great seeing them again because I really love cats but I’m not by far as close to them as my parents and grand-parents (who live in a flat in the same house) are.

Still even though it is sad when animals die, what’s the alternative, not getting attached to animals because it will hurt when they die? Oh no, I can’t go down that road – because if I was to do that – well, think of how much it truly hurts when people you love die, and if you won’t love an animal because it will hurt when they die – then, what are you to do with people, stop loving them as well?

So, I’m sad for the loss of Dorthe, but I still have all the memories of the all good times she and the other cats have given us, so I’ll never regret for a moment having any of them in my life!

Playa Del Ingles

You might have thought that I’ve gone and died on you all with such a long time between each posting on this blog – but I’m back – and I’ve most definitely not died! I’ve been on vacation – again, to Playa Del Ingles – again! And those of you who read my blog regularly might remember that I had a really great time there in April, and that when I got back from my week in June I said it was enough, and even though I had had a good time I wasn’t as excited as in April. Now – completely excited again – maybe it’s the time of the year that does it? April is a not a very bad time in Norway but it’s still spring and you’re longing for summer, and then coming to a warmer country is amazing. Walking off the plane into the heat, love it. June is a summer month in Norway and at that point being in Norway is really not such a bad thing, so I guess you don’t miss the warmth so much. The autumn is always bad in Norway, it keeps getting darker and colder, and then the snow arrives…. and you know it will be getting darker, colder and more snow till Christmas – and after that it’ll remain dark, cold and snowy for another couple of months. Now, of course, this autumn I’ve been very lucky, as I’ve been in England since September with rather excellent weather – so I can’t really complain about that. But I guess I’m Norwegian at heart, so autumn always brings out the blues in me, how everything dies or at least goes to sleep and you have to put your summer clothes away, and you can’t go to the beach, and you have to put on layers and layers of clothes for a short trip out the door and next summer seems years and years away. Even though I’ve not had a bad autumn when it comes to weather, the blues has still been a bit in me I guess.

We landed on Gran Canaria about one hour after schedule, at half past 8 in the evening. Got into our cab to the hotel Barbados at Playa Del Ingles, and at about half past 11 we again walked in the doors at “Dunes&Tunes” (“D&T”) Irish bar on the beach – it was the beginning of another awesome week. The people working in this bar are as I’ve mentioned before, great people, and the singers…. Archie goes on at around 8 – 9 every evening, he plays a lot of Irish songs and some other songs as well, and it is always a lot of songs that you will recognize when hearing them and that are great to sing along to, it really puts everybody in a great mood. John goes on around 11 most evenings of the week, and he plays a lot of rock/pop – and he does requests, which is excellent. Of course he does not know every song in the world, but usually if you do have a request and he does not know that particular song, he will know another one from the same artist; he really is a great singer. Some evenings the bar is full and on other evenings it’s not so crowded, it’s a great place to be either way. One of the cool things we did was to go down to D&T at 11 in the morning and get them to put the World Cup Cross country skiing from Gällivare on their big screen so we could drink beer and watch the competition. There were no other people than us there – but it was still a special occasion, sitting in an Irish bar, at 1130 in the morning, in 25 degrees, drinking cold beer and watching the biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen kick the crap out of the best cross country skiers in the world!!

The week did of course go by much too fast, but we’re already planning on another trip in the beginning of May when my lectures/workshops come to an end – and then we’re planning on staying for 2 weeks!

And now I’m back in England stressing a bit to get my things together before Thursday when I’m going back to Norway. I’m moving out of the flat where I’ve been staying for the last two months when I leave, and will have to find another place when I come back in January. This means that there’s a lot of packing to be done. Fortunately, a friend who lives here will store a couple of suitcases for me here in England till I get back on the 8th of January – so I won’t have to drag all 80 kilos or something back to Norway now.

Being back I do miss Gran Canaria a lot – but you know, I’ve also missed writing when I was down there. For some reason, too much drinking and too little sleep doesn’t seem to inspire me at all. I did write a couple of very short pieces but that is also all. Now I really have to focus on getting on with my English novel “Dreamland” and while I’m home for Christmas I’m also hoping on doing some editing on my Norwegian novel “365 days”. I have as you all know had problems doing this editing ever since the publisher told me they like it but I need to shorten it down some – and even though I have managed to push it out of my mind at times, it’s always there in the back of my head begging me to work on it. And last week when I woke up one morning, I suddenly knew what part of the first 20 pages of the novel I should move up to be the beginning of the novel – and when I sat down and wrote that it gave me such a good feeling – I’m hoping it will last through Christmas – and that I will find time to work on it. Obviously my work for the MA will have to come first. I’ll have to write a 4500 – 5000 word piece for both modules, and then a 1000 – 1500 word commentary for both pieces, the deadline for handing the work in is in mid-January so there is quite a lot of time. I don’t expect it to be easy though, and I really want to do well on this course so I will have to put in a lot of work.

And that’s it for now I guess. I’m back from my great vacation – I’m back in business!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I had a great time in Worthing this weekend.

On Saturday evening we visited a football club in Arundel where a firework show was arranged. I think it might have lasted for 15 – 20 minutes and it really was a good one, I enjoyed it a lot. Especially since in Norway you only see fireworks at New Year’s Eve.

Sunday evening we went to a pub called The Half Brick in East Worthing. To me, the foreigner from Norway, I’d say that this pub looks pretty much like a typical British pub – and I like those. A band was playing – and they were just excellent! The band’s called “The Desperate Dan Band” and the owner of the pub is a member, and being a writer I shouldn’t run out of words, but I thought they were rather awesome and that’s the best way I can describe it.

My friends’ house is directly on the beach and we also found time to go for a walk there. I took some photos and those are the ones I’m sharing with you in this posting.

I do feel that the end of the semester is drawing closer now. It seems like every week there is even more work to do, and I keep thinking about all I have to do for my final assessments for both the modules that I’m doing. I’m not really worried though; I think I’ll be fine, it’s just a lot of work, that’s all!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Something about squirrels

I’ve been back in England for 5 days and this week’s has gone by with an unbelievable speed. The journey back to England on Monday was a good one, everything on time and no problems at all. I guess I was fortunate to travel on Monday, as I’ve been told that on Tuesday morning the first snow of this winter really hit southern Norway causing chaos on the roads and at the airport, and there were major delays everywhere – I guess I “got out” just at the right time!?

It’s been a busy week, mostly because I’ve been doing a lot of shopping. My trip to Playa Del Ingles is drawing closer, and of course I need lots of new clothes for this trip. Why you might ask? Because I’m a woman, that’s why! I couldn’t possible go on vacation only bringing clothes that I’ve actually at some point used previous to the trip – nope, I need to bring clothes that are so new the only time I’ve had them on was in the fitting room at the store. And I have been able to find some tops, a pair of jeans – I’m not all happy yet though, I still need another pair of blue jeans, so I think I’ll be heading to either Portsmouth or Brighton one of these days to see if they’ve got stuff there that they haven’t got in Chichester.

I won’t be doing this on the weekend though. I’ve been invited to stay with one of my classmates from Saturday till Monday, she lives in Worthing, and I’m really looking forward to that. I’m guessing this might involve pubs and beers as well, and that’s always a good thing – I do know we’re going to a local pub on Sunday evening which is Guy Fawkes Night, and this involves fireworks and BBQs. I’ve never been in England on this occasion earlier and I think it will be a nice experience.

I’ll be ending this posting with a question: where do squirrels go during the winter? I saw a woman feeding squirrels in Hotham park today, and I stopped and chatted with her for a couple of minutes about how adorable they are, and she said that she took the opportunity to feed them now because when it gets colder they disappear. This made me wonder as I walked on, what do squirrels to at winter, grow wings and fly down south??? Probably not, but are they the kind of animals that hibernate or what? I could of course just do a search on the internet to find out, but I guess I’m just to lazy for that, and it’s so much nicer if some expert on squirrel were to stop by on my blog and tell me all about it!

Happy weekend everybody!