Monday, 8 May 2017

Stratford on Avon (and a whistle-stop tour of Norway)

We were up early on Friday to get to Stansted airport by 8.30 as we were visiting Marie’s parents for the first time and they had kindly invited us to stay with them in Tonsberg in Norway.  On the way to the airport we stopped off at Wendover to pick up a couple of months’ worth of post from Ann, Karen’s mum.

We flew into Oslo on the way out so that we could spend Friday with Matt and Marie who live in the city.  It was unseasonably warm and we had our first barbecue of the year at a lake near them.  They went for a swim but Karen and I weren’t so foolhardy – the lake hadn’t thawed out from winter until four weeks ago.

On Saturday morning we had train journey of an hour or so down to Tonsberg and were met at the station by Steinar, Marie’s dad.  He gave us a tour of the town showing us its boatbuilding heritage etc. and then took us home for lunch.  It was such a gorgeous day that we all went out in their boat for the afternoon for a trip around the islands.

Leaving their bay

The boat – a bit like home from home really

The daffodils were in full bloom and the tree blossom had only just started so I suppose their spring is about four weeks behind ours.  As it was the first really warm day of the year it seemed everybody was out on their boats for the day.  It was a pleasant change cruising out in the fjords rather than narrow canals and Steinar had a great knowledge of the history of the places we went past.

Beautiful blue sky...

…and to the front

Marie’s mum, Anne Mari, and their dog Casper

Casper was quite a character and one of its party pieces was to howl/sing when the piano was played.  They had found that he only reacted like this when the tune played was in A minor.

It was still warm in the evening so it was perfect for another barbecue and we sat outside on the roof terrace.

The weather had completely changed by Sunday morning; it was drizzling and the temperature had more than halved from the mid 20s to about 10 degrees.  Anne Mari had got up first and raised the Norwegian flag in the garden as an honour to having guests!

Flag raised in our honour

We went for a walk around their part of town in the morning before setting off back to our current home in Stratford from their local airport at Sandefjord.

Looking across to where we had stayed

When we got home we realised that it must have been another dry and sunny weekend in England as many of our plants had wilted but at least it meant the solar panels had kept the batteries topped up and the fridge and freezer had kept going.

Sweet peas now planted out – it’ll only be a few weeks before longer sticks are required

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