After many hours walk from the fisherman to the viking house Laura stopped her spinning to give me some delicious viking soup in the hall. I was tired it was getting late and the wind was a bitter North. fed up of walking on the main road I thought it was time to take the bus. at last it came but turned out it was only going halfway. I didnt fancy more walking on the highway as there is quite a lot of traffic. so I decided to take the advice of the old people I have met and try hiking. The first cars made a very good job of pretending not to see me but then a little van stopped. There were two girls they stuffed my sack into a full van and I squashed in beside them. One had been surfing and the other had been climbing the mountains. But they had just been to Bunnpris and found enormous mounds of food which was past the date and they got for free. Plus loads of beer which you dont get free but you get money back from. So they were feeling very happy, I think they were feeling happy anyway. Here are they with the fish they gave me.

later in the evening I cooked up the fish for Ranveig, who has been a priest for over 20 years but now makes colourful knitting in a business that is so booming she is still at home working in July. she told me about the many old people she as held funerals for. For example one old woman who at the age of 7 rowed over between these two islands with the milk every day.
I’ve been staying at Rannveig several days which was what I needed now.
Eva Bakkeslett sent me a text a few days back that she would be at Engeløy – Angel island. I’ve heard about this place from her many times so an invitation here was not to be missed. Eva is an artist who celebrates nature and the ways of life which have lived alongside all these centuries and which now is being cast overboard. Eva is a wonderful person to spend time with and I knew she would have many contacts on the island. so although I was desperatly tired I got up before 6 to get the hurtibåten to get over there. Then we sat in the car she had borrowed and ate her homemade bread (one of her many arts). She has been filming an old woman called Sigrid as she spins colours and weaves the wool from the local sheep. So on our way to meet Sigrid we stopped to film some sheep, and I played camera assistant. But would Sigrid be home? And we heard she had lots of guests, but she wasnt answering the phone so we just turned up. Hooray she was home! Only one son was home, but she was baking rolls for the others.

At last I met a woman who was as steeped in the deep contact life as many of the old men I have met, and who was so happy to share it and at the same time so humble. I asked her about mountains. I realised that I have forgotten to ask about these ever present giants towering over us in Lofoten and she answered in a way I would never have imagined. At the same time as she rolled out the rolls, each one a lovely cylindar of dough, she chanted a long long poem. A poem which told the story of the mountains, and how they had been living and how they knew eachother and the great narrative which binds them together. Eva and I were almost holding our breath, watching this feat of magic unfurling before us. Its not really magic its just a human being who has lived in such a way that her capacities are as firm and warm at 87 as they have ever been. She was widowed 30 years ago and has lived here in this remote place ever since. Living a full life, teacher, head of the pensioners organisation, dancing until recently weekly and of course working with the wools. The colours of her wool were like Sigrid herself, warm, gentle harnomious, joyful.

There are a lot of elk on the island and she said that there used to be a female elk who would come down to her house in the hunting season and sleep behind the weaving hut with her calf. Here she knew she was safe. Then one year they told her that they had shot a female by mistake and she never saw the elk mother again. But Sigrid laughed, she was a master at not holding on to old sorrow!

Off to Odd where we heard of his Old Father, who had adopted his dad as a child, and because Odds father had died of tuberculosis acted also as a father to him. Old Father said that he had had two brother who were very troubled with ghosts. One day the ghosts even ripped off their jackets so one of them took a gun and was going to shoot the ghosts. But then an invisible man turned up who then became visible, it was himself Christ. And he said, don’t use that bullet, use one of mine! So he loaded that bullet into the back loader and shot. There was a terrible scream and the ghosts dissapeared into the earth. But after some time the ghosts returned and the two brothers had to go to America to escape them. Old Father lived to the age of 98 and never visited the doctor or became ill.

Then we went to where Eva and her kids are staying with friends. And the kids were planning to spend 3 days on a deserted island finding their own food from the land. COOL! So we gave them some tips of what they might find, not an easy task but very exciting. And the girls took me out fishing. Eva caught a sei (possibly plaice). As she hauled it in I saw its glittering innocent beauty,
it shone in its life and seemed like a prince ready to speak to us.

happily we didnt catch and more, But went into the farm where rhubarb compote and cream were waiting.

NExt day I met a wonderful couple But no time to tell about Them as i have bought a compass and am off for a few days into the Steep Montains again. Rannveig said her husband has done this walk But its quite tough. and the forecast is rain. Here we go!


3 thoughts on “Women and the Fish

  1. “All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matetr. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett

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