Two years of frustratedly hunting around in shops has lead to the realisation that ordinary brown sugary (i.e. not demerara, just normal) does not exist in Norway. I can’t even find it in the small independent ethnic shops in Oslo. What do the Norwegians have against it? I can understand them refusing to have anything to do with marmite, but surely brown sugar is fairly innocuous?
I’ve been meaning to post about some of the strange things in this country – one of them is how they have a hairdresser on every corner. I mean, within a 5 minute walk from my flat there are at least 4 I can think of, probably more. B and I get uneasy if we don’t see one on a street we’re walking through “Are we still in Norway??” we say to each other in mock alarm.
Anyway, so I got an email from my work (the University of Oslo) explaining it was stopping all physical lectures and lessons – ‘fine, probably sensible’ I think. Get told we are cancelling our international workshops and that all the schools in the country are closing – ‘oof, but still it’s probably necessary’, you know? But you know things are serious when they close the hairdressers, which is apparently the latest measure. Yikes!
Yesterday it hit 18 in Oslo, and as is completely usual here everyone around me threw off their clothes, stripped down to their underwear and spreadeagled themselves in the sun (yes when it first happened I was extremely surprised). I should have taken a photo of myself too – I was wearing jeans and a fleece and got some very funny looks. Anyway, a few hours later a friend of mine in Cape Town sent me a message complaining of how cold the winter was. I checked yr.no and CT was 1 degree warmer! There’s a lot of variation in body’s tolerance of heat/cold I suppose.
I don’t like posting personal things on this blog, but I’ve had one of the most stomach droppingly horrible times of my life in the past few months, and I am struggling to put into words everything I want to express. I sort of feel like I should write something. I’ve had this blog since I was a teenager and I regret not having written something about the most momentous events in my life which have happened since then. But I just don’t seem to be able to, I’m not one of nature’s tweeters or bloggers. So instead I’m posting a couple of pictures, and they’ll have to stand in for everything I want to say about sadness, love, isolation, the spirit of adventure and restlessness.
I went on a trip to Victoria Falls recently. One of these days I will get the hang of doing proper travel writing and actually say stuff, but in the meantime here is a baboon and his bag which I saw at the falls:
Late last year I had the privilege of collecting field data for my Conservation Biology MSc thesis on Nightingale Island. I kind of shot myself in the foot a bit with that because it meant I had 3 months less time to write up than all of my classmates. I have little to no experience writing up scientific papers, and although I have good writing skills in general I’ve learned that scientific writing is a peculiar beast which requires weeks of sweat, blood and tears (oh, so many tears!) to wrestle into submission for those who have not encountered it before. I’ve had to get an extension for my write-up – I am very lucky that my supervisors are so kind, supportive and helpful – but living on Nightingale and working with the penguins was worth all of the trouble a thousand times over.
As far as I can tell this is absolutely impossible if you are in South Africa because the form validation on the natwest internet banking website rejects the Nedbank SWIFT code (NEDSZAJJ), the capitec SWIFT code (CABLZAJJ) and the Nedbank clearing code (198765 Or 109509).
It seems hard to believe that I am the only person who has encountered this problem. Has nobody else ever tried to use Natwest online banking to transfer money to a Capitec account?
I’ve been on a trip for a few days to Hogsback in the Eastern Cape, to help out with some fieldwork for the Cape Parrot Project.
“Can’t make the woman out at all, myself. Know what she said to me this morning? Asked me if I’d slept well, and when I told here that it beat me how anyone could sleep at all, with a dashed lot of cockerels crowing their heads off, she said that rural sounds exhilarate the spirit, and do something or other to languid nature!”
“Cowper,” said Kitty, in a depressed tone. “‘Restore the tone of languid nature.'”
“Well, it’s a bag of moonshine!” said Freddy. “What’s more, I always thought so! … It’s my belief, Kit, the woman’s touched in her upper works.”
“No, she is merely addicted to poetry,” explained Kitty.
“Well, that just shows you!” said Mr Standen, reasonably.
Oh Freddy! For you I’d give up my favourite most comfortable pair of pyjamas with the holes in and wear nothing but the most uncomfortably and beautifully tailored clothes forever. Continue reading