I am sorry I haven’t published for a long time, but I have finished my first book.
It is a history book about traditional fishing boats in northern Norway. And “draugen” which I have written about in Troublesome Darkness earlier. For now it is only in Norwegian, perhaps we are going to translate it to English. We try to come back to normal while we wait for all the books.
Midnight sun has arrived, we are just waiting for the rain to stop.
As another person said – I will be back – even better.
My grandfather was a fisherman. He owned several boats. One of them had the name “Liljen” which means the Lilly, a beautiful boat, all his children loved it. Boats often get a special position in fishing families and my mother and her siblings were proud of this boat. Accidently it was hit of another boat and sunk. The next one was called “Solbris” – perhaps it can be translated as the wind blowing gently in the sun. But it was not of the same class of “Liljen”. My mother use to say; they turned their heads another way when they passed it, they meant it was too ugly. I grew up with that boat and felt familiar with it. I used to join my grandfather when he went to maintain the boat. We rowed to and from, checked if there was water inside. I was younger than five. We had a good time, me and my grandfather.
This boat was placed on land around 1990
He died suddenly when I was at the age of eight. Nobody had told me he was terminally ill with cancer. I was going to see him that day, but my mom told me he was too sick, I had to wait till he got better. There would be another chance. They left me home alone; some women in the neighborhood were going to look after me. I played around; I remember the weather was bright. It was not winter. They say it was in April. But for the most I remember me jumping up and down in the sofa, having fun, and the sound that appeared when the others returned. I did not understand it; I had never heard it before. My grandmother was crying in a terrible way. They told me and my world as I knew it fell apart. I did not get the possibility to say goodbye.
The boat’s name is “Laksen” – the Salmon
The grass has germinated through the years
I love boats. Sailboats, wooden boats, small boats, big boats, ships, rowboats and so on. One of the coolest things I see is when fishing boats dock. It is cool when they do it gently; it is cool when they are in a hurry. Looking at handling boats, and ships, make my heart beat. Deep inside my dream is to dock a really big boat.
When I see boats standing on land, I get curious. What happened, who owned them, what where they used for? As a historian I can do research about that. Now I am also photographing them. I think they are beautiful. I really want to capture them, and I want the world to see their beauty. They have been workhorses as we call it in Norway. The relationship between men and their boats are in my interest. I have done some research about that. How does this kind of relationship develop when they are fishing or hunting in dangerous areas? For example polar areas with special strong storms and ice? I am not going to tell the answer, yet. Now I am searching for the story about this little boat.
We are all heading to the sunset of life
It is standing on land not so far from where I live. I visit it quite often.
The outer coast are not far away
When I grew up I always dreamt about a house by the sea. If I ever should buy myself a house, it should be with the wide ocean right in front of it. Behind the house there would be mountains. The best place, I thought, would be Lofoten. Not so far from where I grew up, on the other side of the fjord exactly, laid a shore where I could see myself living. I longed to sit in front of a house, my house, at the stairs, and see the midnight sun touch the horizon. It was the openness which attracted me.
I finished school, got jobs, moved several places in Lofoten, one of my favorite regions in Norway. The houses were all of them placed on the inner side of the archipelago with the view South, South West. But in the north, North West, the big ocean laid. Waiting.
I moved again this time to Tromsø and I have stayed here. I live in a house between trees. My view is great; I see mountains and a little fjord, and the sun when she appears. But it’s not the same. Every time I visit the outer coast and I can see the ocean, I feel ease. I can breathe easier, the smell is wonderful and my heart speaks of joy.
Dreaming of a house like this
The openness still attracts me. The outer coast is not far away, I could go more often.
We have some wonderful artists in Norway singing about life and living in the north. One of them is called Moddi. He sings a song called House by the sea.
You can listen here
I love these small houses along the coastline, often red or with traces of red. The oldest ones have no paint at all. And they are not all the same. Some places in Norway there is sort of a common style and architecture, but not in northern Norway. The main reason can be the Second World War. When the Germans withdrew from northern part of Troms and the County of Finnmark, they burned nearly everything, all houses, barns and boathouses disappeared. After the people was poor and they used what they could get, and just started to build the houses they needed.
A small boathouse built after the Second World War
I try to find new angles when I take photos, but standing there it’s like they look right into my eyes, and they often happen to be placed right in the center of the photo. Slowly I try to move around them, perhaps there are new things to see?
In Norway it is not allowed to build huts or houses near the shore, the rule is to avoid the 100 meters closest to the sea. The red boathouses are popular to use as huts, standing so close to sea as possible. You can see some of them have got new facilities, their owners trying to avoid the rules.
Boathouse in early morning light
These boathouses are traces and echos of a long lasting culture of fisheries which made it possible to survive under these harsh conditions. Every man and some places also women fished for food and income. They took their boat out every day, rowed to the fishing area, fished and then rowed home again. The fish fed the people, in wintertime even their animals. You can see it as an underlying main pulse of these areas. Boats, boathouses, fish, rowing and sailing forth and back. Perhaps you can think of that when you see those boathouses lying there along the shore.