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After doing this for a year now I am yearning for extremes so I couldn't believe my luck when I got two emails asking me to come north to Norway.

I left Kiel for Bremen airport, as had I missed the opportunity to sail into Oslo by one day, so I had no option but to fly. But here's where not having a map really caught me out. I had failed to realise that to get to Bremen I had to pass back through Hamburg, in Friday afternoon traffic. Uh-oh. I have never had to drive so fast through road works that pushed one car so close to another it was nothing short of nerve wrecking. I have never missed a flight in my life, and after a lot of sweating; this wasn't to be the first.

I was really looking forward to this gig as, our host, Jeff, is also musician (http://www.freeradikals.no/) and there would be empathetic stories to tell about our chosen vocations. Or maybe they choose you, who knows?

He and his wife, Heidi, live in the small city of Sandvika, a rather bizarre mixture of traditional Norwegian architecture nestled within the countryside, and regretful modernism. In the winter of 1895, Monet's interest in the Norwegian winter light pulled him to Sandvika. The mountain ridge of Kolsås, which we could see from Jeff's house, was featured in a number of his paintings. 112 years later, someone decided it would be a good idea to build Norway's largest shopping mall a few km's away.


Jeff had packed 40 of his friends in for the concert, into the house he had mostly built when he arrived in Norway. He played his first house concerts back in the US thirty years ago, but like most of the other gigs in Europe, for everyone else, it was their first experience.

Sandvika house concert

The day after, we walked up Kolsås. It was wet with more rain to come as we climbed 200m (over a distance of 1km) to the top. But we carried on anyway until it would have soaked us through if we hadn't stopped under a tree. By the time we reached a ledge almost to the top, we saw the rainbow that spread itself across Oslo and it's Fjords. 5 minutes later, it was gone.

Oslo Fjords

30 May 2011

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