Thursday, April 14, 2011

Back to my Roots

My early April week in Norway was deeply satisfying. It has been far too long since I've been. The brilliant new [to Britain] cheap airline got me there and back for under £100, and into Gardemoen rather than distant Torp. Anne-Ma met me in Asker, and we drove straight up into the mountains: suddenly we saw the Bitihorn starkly white, flecked with black shrub and trees. Her cabin just as warm and welcoming as ever; we also visited Eiliv's hut, and it was just the same, lined with books and paitnings. I found curious mementoes not hung before, perhaps Folke hunted them out: a portrait of me that my mother must have paitned secretly, i can remember the photograph, and one of Peter in the sixthform at Ardingly.  She must have sent them to Eiliv before I found out about him after Cambridge. I took pictures of them, and of the paintings. And of Eiliv's chair, still there in the corner of the room. It more than anything reminds me of him. I told Anne-Ma how much I'd wanted his typewriter but had been too shy to ask when they asked me what I'd like. She must have told Folke, as when we saw him in Oslo, he said he would hunt in the attic and see if it was still about. They are so kind to me, so straightforward and easy to talk to. I really ought to try and learn Norwegian. New resolve to translate Eiliv's Skotsk jord og norsk himmel (1946), written the year I was born, and the story of his time in Scotland, kicking his heels after crossing in the Shetland Bus.

Ski-loping was more satisfying than it has ever been. Perfect conditions, blue sky, slow snow, and once I could glide along without needing to think every step, it made thinking about the Ransome Book's structure, as I needed to do, very productive. Being away from home always makes my mind work more creatively. But there's no place better than my study once I'm on a roll.

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