To Croc or not to Croc…….

IMG_0629Holy Shit…….. I seem to be suffering from what I can only describe as ‘Croc envy’. How this happened is beyond me. I hate the things…. or at least I thought I did.

Anyone who is not British is probably reading this and thinking ‘Whats the big deal?, they’re only crocs’. WRONG!!! They are plastic looking clogs filled with holes that people feel the need to decorate with things called ‘jibbitz’. Seriously who in their right mind would buy a pair? They neither look nice or sound nice. And in my opinion on a par with wearing Jesus sandals and socks!!

But yet I find myself staring at a pair of navy blue size tens … imagining what they would look like in a petite size 5 in either a red or green. I watch as they walk across the kitchen, out the back door and notice how they seem to be cool, calm and in control on the slippery decking. I mutter under my breath ‘these bad boys would handle any terrain’.

When no one is watching, I do the unthinkable….. I slip my right foot in and feel the bounce below, these are not plastic! The traction  under my feet does not only act as a grip but also seems to be massaging the sole of my foot, is there no end to their talents?. I mess with the strap, test out whether it looks best resting on the heal or on show up front and start to day dream of how nice it would be to have their comfy spring below. I hear someone and  quickly take my foot out, look around and walk away.

The next day they are sitting by the back door. I feel this is to tease and  convey that they are not only a sturdy outdoor shoe (that take two seconds to get on and off) but also an indestructible slipper. They still look as new as the day they first entered the house and yet they have been used many times to play different roles.

  • A Quick dash to the shop in the car.
  • A Trip to do the recycling.
  • A quick clean up in the garden.
  • Taking the bins out.
  • Fetching the post from our restored postbox.
  • Cooking a meal – they seem perfect for messy cooking.
  • Sitting in the garden admiring the view.
  • Chatting with a neighbour on front porch.

The list is endless…… So my question is: To Croc or not to Croc?

Posted in Blogs | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Beautiful people.

One of the many things that stand out about Bergen is the beautiful people. These are the laid back but organised, friendly yet aloof people you find smiling around the City. They walk with an air of confidence that the English would wrongly diagnose as arrogance. They are a nation that do not feel the need to be overly polite but will happily point you in the right direction with their perfect English. They do not want to know your life story nor do they feel the need to tell you theirs. They are comfortable with just simply being.

And when I say beautiful, I really do mean beautiful. Not the beauty you see in magazines or on TV, (although, you wouldn’t need to walk far before you spotted someone you believe has just walked out of a fashion shoot) these people radiate. Go into the City during the day and you will find many a people walking, jogging, cycling and street skiing. On their way up the mountain for a spot of cross-country or merely a wander. The outdoors is part of their existence and you can’t help but follow. You want to be the lady who runs in cycling shorts with such strength (well, maybe not in cycling shorts) or the bearded man who has just come down from climbing a mountain. With their healthy glow, strong legs and smiles you start to question why every country isn’t the same.

So its not surprising when last night while peering over Mr Handley’s shoulder I found him looking at this little gem.

Image

I believe he has opted for this one….. apparently it will give him the right level of masculinity he is looking for, while at the same time say to people “I climbed a mountain today”!!

Image

Posted in Blogs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I love Bergen!!

IMG_0834

We are lucky enough to have the City of Bergen within driving distance from us. Being the 2nd biggest City in Norway it doesn’t disappoint. This weekend was the perfect time for a visit. With temperatures hitting as low as -5 and snow on the ground the scenery would be amazing and it was. The landscape consisted of mountains covered in blankets of the white stuff, dotted with houses of reds, yellows and blues… looking down from above to a City buzzing full of beautiful people.

What I love most about this City is that it feeds my “feeling cultural” days. These are days when I wake up want to put on a pair of brogues, pop my reading glasses on, find a bohemian cafe and pretend to read. I also have “continental days” but thats another story. I like to think I’m not the only soul who has these days …. in fact I know I’m not. Mr Handley has a flat cap, thick framed reading glasses and a man bag for such occasions. (although he wouldn’t admit to it)

So today, to my delight was a “feeling cultural” day. So I showered, donned my knitted wear, found my book and headed for the City. After a little wander, a visit to the Nespresso Shop (the bag always adds to the effect and says to the world “I drink real coffee!!”),  the consumption of a reindeer burger from the Christmas market, we headed to ‘Krok og Krinkle Bokcafé‘ for a varm sjokolade (hot chocolate). This is a tiny vintage cafe with walls filled with books and quirky art. By what I could see everyone there was having a similar day to myself, so we sat as one soaking up the atmosphere while crossing our legs and pretending to read together.

On the way back to the car park while travelling up the escalators I noticed Paul was  staring at me.

“Are you ok Emma?” he asked  ….. “you look really deep in thought”.

I looked at him and gave a little sigh.

“I really need a poo”……… I think this answer was a sign that my ‘cultural day’ had drawn to a close.

Posted in Blogs | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The blushing foreigner….

Image

While writing this I am looking at our collection of ‘learn your self……….’ books. From where I am sitting I can see:

  • Learn yourself Norwegian
  • Learn yourself Italian
  • Learn yourself French
  • Learn yourself German
  • learn yourself Spanish

Ben has an unhealthy obsession for anything Japanese, so I’m sure it won’t be long until ‘learn yourself japanese’ will be up there. We don’t just have one of each either. These come in a variety ways:

  • Learn italian in a day
  • French for dummies
  • Learn Italian in a week (they must have realised they were pushing it in a day)
  • The complete phrase book (we have this one quite a few times)
  • Conversational Spanish…..

It just goes on and on….. and to add to these we also have around 20 audio cds to accompany the books.

I know what you must be thinking…. impressive. Emma can make herself understood in the native tongue of what ever country she is in. Nope, unfortunately not. I do not speak a word of any other language. Before I came out here I said I was going to make an effort to learn Norwegian…. and I will, but I am under no illusions that when I leave here I will speak it as well as my English language, because I won’t. This won’t be from want of trying. Norwegians speak perfect English. Walk into any shop, cafe, restaurant and speak slow drawn out English so they can understand and they will smile and reply in a confident American accent. They almost look excited at the thought of being able to speak in English.

But none of this is bothering me. The fact that I don’t speak a word of any other language isn’t the problem, my problem is that I am struggling to speak English.

Ever since I can remember I have always blushed. Not slightly where my cheeks go a little rosy, no… this is full on crimson red. This starts in my cheeks then works its way around the whole of my face, neck and I’m guessing (I can’t be too sure about this) but my body too. It usually happens when I am embarrassed about something, if I have tripped over, said something stupid, knocked several cans of beans off a shelf. But since moving here the blushing has gone to a whole new level. I now seem completely incapable of going anywhere and communicating with folk. Just the other day Paul and I were queueing in the local supermarket and I noticed that the lads behind us only had a bottle of pop to pay for, where as we had a huge basket of items. So in long broken English I told them to go before us, of course they understood me perfectly smiled and said thank you. I then stood there glowing like a big red beacon…. Paul took this opportunity to take the piss leaving me going even more redder than I thought possible. This has happened to me several times….. its got to the point where I’m faking illness’ just to get out of entering a shop. So the other day before we went shopping, I gave myself a talking to. I then proceeded to walk around the supermarket looking like Spud from Trainspotting.

So before I master this beautiful Norwegian language I seriously need to get a grip and learn to speak English again.

Posted in Blogs | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bread

At around 40 nok (4 quid) for a loaf of bread… I am very happy to report that the bearded wonder has produced a sublime version of his own ; )

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spot the English folk…….

 Spot the English folk……

Image

As far as I know, we are the only English family living in our little space of what is known as “The Green Island”. We briefly met a man when we first moved here who was also English, but he had married a Norwegian woman and had two Norwegian children, so he doesn’t count.

There are many reasons why we would stand out.

To name a few……

There is an on going issue involving cats which I will talk about in more detail another time, but basically I have become (to my satisfaction) `The cat lady`. Another was the `postbox` incident. This involved 4 days of repeatedly stepping out of the house, looking at the spot that once housed our postbox and looking around perplexed as to where it had disappeared to. One that probably stands out the most is my need to say hello to everyone I meet, I think this comes from four years of living in a small village…… I did this up until Paul was told by a colleague that there are four reasons why a stranger would say hello:

  1. They are drunk
  2. They are insane
  3. They are American
  4. They are all of the above

Needless to say, I am trying to curb my enthusiasm.

But today has bought a whole new reason why we stand out….. the snow!!!! 

The English love to obsess about the weather. We build every forecast up into a frenzy and then feel let down when it doesn’t provide us with a reason to stop life and just enjoy. Well today I got just that!!

It has snowed here all night and most of the day. I would even go as far as saying I cannot remember ever seeing this much snow…. But it doesnt only bring me satisfaction, I am also feeling a little anxious. My experience of snow is short lived, it involves a brown slush-like substance, not fields of beautiful white glistening sheets. So because I am convinced all this will be gone by the morning, I have made sure that I have proof that this day really happened. I have taken photos….. oh so many photos. Photos of the snow from every angle possible, of every view from every window in my house, a photo of the front of the house, of the back of the house, I have stood at the end of my garden wearing nothing but my pyjamas admiring how the snow goes above my ankles and taken photos, I have taken photos of the cats getting lost in the sheer depth of it, how the wind makes it look like a mini snow storm….. I have paused waiting for it to begin snowing again so I can take more photos. And I know that while I am doing this, my Norwegian neighbours are sitting in their warm houses watching the strange English woman…. but I don’t care…. because its really snowing!!!!!!!

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Shoe Street

Skostredet.... roughly translates in English to The Show Street. By far one of the coolest streets in Bergen.

Skostredet…. roughly translates in English to The Shoe Street. By far one of the coolest streets in Bergen.

Posted in Blogs | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment