Tag Archives: forest

For a brief, lovely moment, I had my babies back

Last night, I had a dream that I was in a forest somewhere. Not a dark, wildernessy type forest, mind. Deciduous trees, vibrant green colours, a leafy glade if you will. The kind of place you go for a walk on a Sunday when you and your partner have guilt-tripped yourselves into doing some exercise, but don’t want to commit to anything you will regret later.

I was on one side of grassy clearing, and on the other side was a medium sized fire pit. In the middle of it was a big stack of wood, arranged into pyramid shape, burning nicely. There was a young man sat on a log by the fire; I was there with him, but I couldn’t say now who he was supposed to be. He was very blond… I think my brain had made him up by splicing together 3 or 4 different people from reality, as it does more frequently with places.

Also there with me were my two cats. That’s worthy of note because a) we were in the middle of a fucking forest and b) they both passed away between 3 and 8 years ago respectively, and I have never dreamed of either of them before.

Harvey and Dylan

Life was just so hard for these guys

They were just wandering around in the clearing, doing their own cat stuff. You know; sniffing things in that deeply feline way that that makes their whole upper lip area flex, eating grass which I know damn well was going to get thrown up in the middle of night for me to tread in, trying to catch out the ghosts that were ruffling their fur every time the wind gusted…

Suddenly, they both moved off in that paws-blurred, ears-back, slinky trot that cats do when they really want to get away from something, but don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they are shitting themselves. Upon investigation it turned out that a grizzly bear had appeared a way off down the path and the cats had, quite rightly, cheesed it.

As so often with the world of dreams, things got a little weird after that. I think I ended out squaring up to the bear, with a burning branch in each hand, because there was no way that either Blondie or I could have run away fast enough to get to safety. I don’t remember how it ended, but I am going to assume that it was not triumphantly – for me at any rate.

Wildlife confrontation aside, and regardless of however briefly, it was really nice to be back with my cats again. Just chilling, having a nice time.

I miss them.

I guess I understand now why some people like to believe there is a heaven.

Dylan interested

“I see you are playing World of Warcraft. Allow me to offer you some derisive remarks on how out of date your kit is. N00b.”

Oslo is made of Win – 29th August 2014 (Day 2/5)

I woke up on Friday morning in Oslo, and felt very pleased about it. Granted, any time I wake up a) on a weekday when I don’t have to work or b) anywhere that isn’t home, I am pretty happy regardless, but that is beside the point.

It was another glorious day, weather wise. Back at home, it was grey, and windy, and wet and I was unutterably smug about waking up to this;

Just look at it.

Just look at it.

As a rule, I tend to avoid sunshine wherever possible, with the net result being that I have the same approximate skin tone as the creepy cave-dwellers in The Descent.

A fairly accurate representation of me, before the application of makeup and copious amounts of coffee.

A fairly accurate representation of me, before the application of makeup and copious amounts of coffee.

Contrary to what many may believe, I don’t avoid the sun because I am a massive goth, but simply because I am really sensitive to increases in temperature. My internal radiator is permanently jammed onto the highest setting; I live in shorts pretty much year-round, I hate wearing coats and shunned shoes and socks as a child, and even relatively light activity on my part makes me sweat. While people in the office complain about how cold it is and wrap themselves up in blankets, I have a fan on and stare longingly at the window, trying to use my Jedi powers to open it without anyone noticing.

Every time I have been to Norway – and quite possibly one of the reasons why I like it so much – it has been bright and sunny, but it’s either been Winter and knee-deep in snow, or Summer with a cool breeze, keeping the temperature down within a tolerable range. It’s really nice to be able to go out in the sunshine and not melt.

Morten suggested taking a mini BBQ tray into the woods with a couple of beers and cooking up some food. What a perfectly splendid idea! In fact, it’s something I definitely need to more often. I am sure that there has to be a nice bit of woodland somewhere around Northampton that isn’t full of chavs, doggers, shopping trollies or burned out cars…

First things first, food shopping. I am always fascinated by going shopping in different countries and seeing how things are done differently. Simple things like 330ml cans of beer will entertain and amuse me for an inordinate amount of time. Also, what is the deal with all the sausages, Norway? Don’t get me wrong, the resulting ‘meat’ and ‘sausage’ jokes are totally worth it, but that’s seriously a lot of wieners. Snigger.

With food and fire-making implements purchased, we made our way to Eiksmarka T-bane station and headed off into the woods. I love trees and forests, even fake forests like the ones in World of Warcraft. Bugs and wildlife are fun too…which in this instance included the high number of crazy-arse dogs running around off leash. I was secretly hoping for a moose, but given the circumstances I was happy to settle for an overexcited spaniel. I don’t scare easily, but at one point on the way back later on, a dog burst out of the undergrowth on the bank just off my shoulder, and I fairly near shat myself. My brain was of course trying to tell me that it was Gmork from the Neverending Story.

Terrifying.

Terrifying.

Anyway, eventually we climbed up a slope and onto a concrete walkway along one side of one the most beautiful places I have been in a long time. I have retraced the journey on Google maps and this place is marked up as Østernvann, though what it is actually called I cannot be sure.

Fuck me, that place was stunning. It was so gorgeous that I lost the ability to speak at points. I curse my poxy camera-phone…and the fact that in my complete ineptness, I forgot my actual camera. Noob. Anyway, crappy quality aside, check this out place out.

Seriously. Just sit and look at this for a bit.

Seriously. Just sit and look at this for a bit.

Although I am utterly frustrated at how badly these pictures came out, I am going to share them anyway because I think you will still get the point.

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The trees around the edge of the water were growing on top of the rocks, with the roots spidering away around them. SWEET.

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Dodgy fading on the panoramic picture, but still amazing.

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The sun playing across the top of the trees as the clouds swept by was beautiful. Salcey Forest, you need to sort your shit out.

I could have stayed there forever. The only way that it could have been more perfect is if there had been a few extra beers, and if the ricocheting sounds of heavy gun fire were absent. Yes, I said gunfire. Although, even that added something to the experience. You could track the sound echoing in a loop around the surrounding hills and it gave you a real sense of the space you were in.

We were beset by ducks pretty much as soon as we sat down, being all cute and hungry. I didn’t quite manage to get one to eat out of my hand, although there was a point where I thought she was just about to…until one of the sausages popped and hissed on the barbeque tray and scared the crap out of her.

Incoming.

Incoming wildfowl; actually a little bit sinister.

We ate the sausages wrapped up in lomper, which is a round flat bread made of potatoes and it is really tasty. Add on top of that the fact that the ketchup bottle kept making farty noises, and I was in heaven.

I cannot remember how long we were sat there for, but it wasn’t long enough. Any and all reservations I had had the previous day about Oslo being a contender for where I would like to live were knocked right out of the park by this one place alone.

As we walked back into town later, I was struck by two somewhat linked observations; the freshly turned soil in the fields was a different colour to back home… and the horseshit on the paths was a different colour too. It’s important to note environmental differences…leave me alone…

Also, I noticed this thought-provoking piece of graffiti.

Singular.

Singular.

Later that evening, I went to one other place that solidified the idea that Oslo was a desirable place to be. The actual over-arching reason for coming – besides scoping the city – was to see a gig; Catharsis were playing a venue called Blitz. The band had split up many years before, and you could feel the buzz of excitement from all the people who were finally getting the chance to see a group of musicians who they never thought they would ever get to see (or see again for those lucky enough to caught them in the past). Here’s a link to the whole of the Passion album, which I think formed the large part of their set that night;

Catharsis were great; the energy and the passion (for want of a better word) that fizzed out of – in particular – Brian D. the frontman was electric and infectious, and the response from the audience was explosive. For such a small venue, the pit and sheer number of crowd surfers was impressive.

That wasn’t what truly got me though. It was the venue. As soon as we walked in the front door and up the stairs, my heart did a little skip in my chest. The walls were painted black and covered in posters and stickers. The volume and variety of facial hair on display was breathtaking. There was a little stage in the front room and a bigger one in the back. There was graffiti on the ceiling, and the toilets looked like an absolute last resort. It was dark, and dirty, and HOME.

Back in the 90’s, I used to work in a club called Macbeths. It was a weird shaped little place on the end of a row of shops, at the conjunction of two streets in the centre of Northampton. It was obviously many things before I got there, but it was Macbeths first and foremost to me.

Lil bit of history

Lil’ bit of history

It became known as the Cookie Club, the Black Sheep and latterly the Black Cat Jazz Bar. It used to be dark and smelly and LOUD. I loved it. Of course, it closed, along with the Soundhaus and pretty much everywhere else I used to enjoy going to in Northampton. There is still a venue called the Roadmender, but that had a makeover many years ago that stripped the soul out of the place. I even miss the fact the purple ceilings were so low, when people started sweating and breathing heavily, the moist air would hit the roof, condense, and drip back down on your head. Blitz took me straight back to those days and it made me feel so happy. It made me nostalgic for the days when Northampton was a place that I actually enjoyed living in.

I didn’t get any photos of the inside, partly because I was too busy enjoying myself and partly because there was a fuck off great sign saying “No photos”. I am not entirely sure what was going on that wasn’t above board, so I will add the disclaimer that this was definitely not a beer that was either bought, or drunk, in the venue.

Hur hur. Slots.

Hur hur. Slots.

We finished off the evening by going to the bar where TrollfesT shot the video for Trinkentroll, except now it’s called Maksitaksi. It’s not as dark, but it’s dead comfy and they were playing a lot of wubby bass tracks (which is another fondness of mine). Even better, it was pretty much falling distance away from the Smarthotel.

There was not a Single Thing Wrong with the whole day.