Lament and Sorrow for Norway

What started out as a wonderful day with the sun having finally returned to London after weeks of heavy, sorrowful rain, quickly turned into sadness when news broke that central Oslo had been rocked by a bomb blast.

As Norwegian police and emergency rescue personnel fought to help those injured in the attack, the world media and social media erupted with reports from Oslo. Horrified by the sights and stories, I felt an utter sadness that the peaceful country I have grown up in have now had its innocence taken away.

However, no-one knew the tragedy that was to come…

Waking up this sunny Saturday morning to the news that over 90 people have died because of one man is almost impossible to understand. What appears to be the actions of a political extremist who is still alive – is it just me or doesn’t this show off his sadistic self? – will take a while to digest: for those directly affected; for Oslo; for Norway; and for the world.

Like London and the 7/7 bombings  this, the deadliest attack in Norway since World War II, will now forever be part of Oslo’s story.

My thoughts go out to all families and friends directly affected, the people of Oslo and all Norwegians.

“Oslo is a small, small town…”

Happy 17th May! Celebrating Norway’s National Day in London

Again I find myself abroad on 17th May, Norway’s Constitution Day. Not to worry though. Despite not having a flag to wave with today, I lunched at Scandinavian Kitchen, where I also picked up a Freia Melkesjokolade for later (A little piece of Norway…). Bliss.

*Waves imaginary flag*

Fastelavnsris

Today was Fastelavn in my home country of Norway. For me that equals cream filled Shrovetide buns – Fastelavnsboller – but as I’m a) on a very strict diet at the moment and b) not in Norway, head over to Nordic Nibbler for a recipe and scrumptious images!

Fastelavn has roots in the Middle Ages and comes three days before Lent – you’ll have Shrove Tuesday here in the UK this coming week, when people will be feasting on pancakes. But for me this is all about Easter being just around the corner!

Growing up, one of the best things about Fastelavn for me was Fastelavnsris – an old Pagan ritual – where you twine birch branches together and decorate them with brightly coloured feathers (faux of course!) before placing them in a vase. They can be re-used as cat toys if you happen to have a furry creature in your home.

Sadly I have not made any Fastelavnsris for years. Not since moving away from my childhood home come to think of it…  I might just have to revive this tradition next year – it really does brighten up grey winter days!

Here’s a little collection of Fastelavnsris I came across online

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<Bagatell on Flickr>

<Solinari78 on Flickr>

Scandinavia Show 2010

I first read about the Scandinavia Show 2010 in a copy of Scan Magazine which I’d picked up at the Wild Swans shop in Islington. And seeing as my annual summer holiday back to the home country had been scrapped due to various events, I was really excited about the idea of going to a show all about the Northern countries to get my Scandi-fix. And it was also a great chance to introduce my all-British Boy to my non-British background.

Bright-eyed and bushy tailed I met with The Boy, and off we went to Kensington Olympia where the show was taking place. In to the conference centre we went, in the lifts and *ding* were met by the Rekordelig Cider by Sweden stand. Hello Scandinavia! Walking around taking in the food stands; Finlandia Vodka, Norwegian waffles (yum!), Freia melkesjokolade, Danish red sausages, yummy sweets by the Scandinavian Kitchen and much more, I was overwhelmed with a sensation of home. It was the scent of reindeer (too strong of a smell for The Boy’s liking), waffles and getting to speak my native language with others than my family.

We walked around the venue looking at the amazing design that has come out of the Scandi countries – Bang & Olufsen, Nordic Elements to name a few, as well as entering a couple of mini-break holidays to various destinations (pick me please!). I even got a free dvd showcasing the best of Norway by Visit Norway – perfect for the days when I feel a little homesick. And the Moomins were also there. Coming to a 3D screen near you soon.

We also had a in-depth chat with one of the ‘vikings’ present (all English from Leicester, who are part of a Viking warrior reenactment group) – oh my their chain mail is (was) HEAVY – before re-visiting the Rekordelig stand prior to departure.

With perhaps a little less money than what I came with, I left with a much increased Scandi love level. It was good to be Scandified for a little while.

Until next year. In the meantime, I’ll be heading over to the Scandinavia Kitchen more regularly for my fix.