fredag 22. august 2014

Bygda Rant

Ah the idyll of moving to the countryside. No more queue on the  ring-way , no more tailgating, no more crammed public transport. No more overly ambitious bosses and sniping coworkers. No more anonymity  Alas the bid rounds on houses we couldn't afford even at first asking price never materialised because we just took fright and moved out of the big smoke that is Oslo. It's a bit of a dump anyway. Nice fjord, nice hills and woods but Carl Johan and the red blaize at the palace? A lot like Birmingham.

So we moved to a place a lot Cornwall. We moved to a small town with unbelievably low house prices and low rents so we could 'suck it and see' does actually suck a little bit. The bigger decision was not to follow a corporate career, to go out and spend time with our children...a running cliche. Usually people sell up a city "hybel" or two and move out to be the new gentry, flush with wonga and bling. Not us quite in that cliche nor the other bug bear, the MBA clever clogs who gets to run the local business much to the murmuring of the yokals.  ....actually I ended up with a promising corporate career anyway for a while after giving up on the local job market.

The local yokal job market. Yes. That is exactly why house prices are so low, despite pay being relatively high in that ratio. There is just no competition for buying houses over 1.8 million krone ( about a hundred and eighty grand). The plus side for the lucky in a good job in a local firm is that they can pay off their mortgage, remortgage in their late 40s and get a big yacht or a mountain cabin secured on the value with the new spondoolics. They tend to have safe jobs because the companies here are canny and either bumble along or squeeze productivity out of their workforce in overtime, multitasking and making them manage sub suppliers for excess capacity and risk ventures!

This last year I have been looking for a job within 40 minutes commute, because that 40 minutes becomes an hour on snowy days anyway, and it means I can do at least one side of the school-walk , yes walk, not run, not in a car, walk up and back in 20 minutes. There have been two or three jobs I was maybe qaulified for or could have retrained and although I got interviews for two of them, no job resulted: better qualified candidates. Our region or 'fylke' is the worst in the southern half of norway, and per capita it must surely be the worst in the whole of the country for job creation. Or at least advertised job creation. Many jobs go internally by shifts, often the old , lower position is not refilled. So there is an element of dead mans shoes. This week it has hit an unexpected all time low in advertised jobs: the two main cover-all sources list 112 from the employment service and 60 on the meaningful private web site On the NAV web site around half the jobs are in the public sector, and you can bet that most of those have sitting employees and just have to be advertised due to EU rules. I have looked at the job market and that is lower than it was after the 2008 finance crisis.

Also our three local councils have just had a reduction to employer's stamp contributions, presumably to stop them downsizing because the three or four largest and the next tier down have not advertised a sausage : a couple of smaller companies have, but they are growing or have staff leaving anyway.

The idyll of being here is not completely broken, it is just the economic reality of being a double immigrant: just like anywhere, you are an outsider, an alien when you move to small town.

I thought about this a lot; I come from a small town which has the exact same cliquey, snobby, inverted snobby, do gooder, do nothinger, family centred stuff as here. I must be mad methinks, but I would rather my kids grew up in this environment I convince myself. And they dont really get to play with the old families and they get discriminated against by the old collective circles. They are in, but only just.

I am out, I am so out. I just cannot get on with this type of cliqueyness. I tried, I really did. In fact I tried far too hard and that is all the problem. Softly softly catch a monkey when you want to get a tacit acceptance from the Cosa Nostra, our thing, we ourselves, Sinn Fein.  It is a bit like a criminal or terrorist organisation. They don't let you in. They have their suspicions about you. They talk behind your back. Worse they plan little avoidances behind your back, or more often some individuals take opportunities to exclude you or your kids when they are deciding who gets to play. This extends to jobs unfortunately, but luckily most jobs here are advertised so at least I get a stab at it all.

It sound bloody awful eh? Well it is just the same as a white settler would get moving to Cornwall or Wales or Argyll or Orkney. There are welcoming figures who take you under their wing, some with ulterior motives, but some just busy bodies -  I remember my mum was a bit like that with the English navy wives who were on rotation to the naval yard near us. I think it wore her out, but gave her a breath of fresh air in the stifling village hall atmosphere.

About a year a go I stopped making any effort what so ever with locals who had not really taken me in, and stopped bothering to ask them the one sided question "how's it going?" . Their curiosity about me was satisfied after I'd been here three years. Helped by a local gossip who knows the wife, they think I am a tad arrogant and riding on my high horse. I can't undo that.

Whether this small town thing is a natural consequence of size I do not really know. I suspect it is easy to find much more friendly small towns around the world. But there is a culture here which has a critical mass and a large degree of pass it on, in the negative sense. Kids learn to group themselves around the known families, to be stand off to the 'others'. That is something they take with them through life, it is a kind of feeling: like the "bad smell" guy at the surf camp: a perfectly decent guy, he was just a late comer to the group, and a bit too good looking for many of the guys.

Worse in fact I find are the other one time immigrants from other parts of the country: they also pass it on, and I presumed many of them were dyed in the wood yokals: they have managed to come in to a limited social circle , 'krets', and remember when they were stung or how long it took them to eak their way into that now treasured social circle. They pass it on , and in a more vehement snobby way than even the worst locals. Also they are the most curious often, because they want gossip ammunition: they need just a few micrograms of Semtex to blow apart your fledgling social life.

The whole thing was getting on top of me, but we made a new friend, and my local ex pat friend moved back to his house half an hour away this week. Also a half expat woman I like is looking to move back here. I can also work here for a good thirty percent less than the national average and be much better off than we were in Oslo. Now the kids are a bit older I can also go back to weekly commuting while I wait, or take some education perhaps next year. However the centre of gravity is back here and I am even thinking of going back to some of the "verve og dugnad" volunteering I used to do and some new.

I would say that if you are going to move, then don't do it blind and dont do it because one of the wives' pals lives there, you being the expat that is. Even for Norwegians an Oslo boy husband often struggles with the culture I hear. It is best to look before you leap into a move to Bygda. Spend time socialising there before you move. The key is to ask more questions than you answer! Then you can gauge if they are closed, and just curious about you or if they are friendly and open to new comers. Also you may want to spend weekends and holidays making a point of having an acitivity you can join in with the yokals, like the ski club, or the local DNT, or the sailing or motor boat club. See how you get on.

I have to remember also that I am in that phase of life people used to enter at a much younger age: tied up with two kids and a mortgage. When I were a lad...people had the decency to get married in their mid to late twenties and be of child, 2.4. by age 32. Now it is all ten years later, which means we are even older and have given up on even more pals from our 20s when we do settle down. So we limit our own social lives doubly by being "old" or rather now "modern average" parents. In our town, the vast majority of people fall into three life phases: retired, 50 something with kids leaving the nest, and families with the preverbial 2.4, average paretn age 42. That means that people just do not have the energy for new people nor even that for keeping up much with their own good friends. Social circles become a bit ever decreasing and there is a bit of a Koselig Nostra which keeps others out of those precious, fun, and well bonded out of family relationships. The lobster or elg filet supper, the poker circle, the Lions club...and so on and so on.

So take these thoughts with you when you first consider to move out to the sticks, to Bygdaland and go carefully, not like us!!

torsdag 21. august 2014

On A Cycle Path to Nowhere

Business took me to Tvedestrand and as I am on a sporty-fatty diet with 2 hour training sessions on the cards, i flung the bike in the car in the knowledge that most of the day could be stolen for training purposes.

I know the area pretty well for driving and cycling to some extent, and had notice that a long stretch of the E18 was under road works for over a year it seemed. I suspected this was the first of the dual carriageway which Hoyre and the Borgerlig talk on being rolled out everywhere faster than the last lot of lefties. However it proved to be the connection between two fine stretches of cycle path, long out in the country and away from the evils of suburban dog walkers and their effing extender leads and bad attitude to 'sharing' ie they get space at everyone elses expense. Rant yes.

The bigger rant though is that as with so much of the road system here, the cycle path is simply not joined-up-writing.

I chose not to start in Tvedestrand where the cycle route splits from the road routes along the coast and up to the E18 main cycle artery as it could be. This is because there is a bloody dangerous 600 m or so of twisty, narrow road with a nasty 1:8 gradient for the return trip. The road is so narrow that you cannot in dire emergency pass a cyclist without going over the white line. Howevver the cycle path , or cycle-pedestrian-bridle path as it is by signage, is a nicely engineered 3m wide route with only a few tight bends and a couple of garage forecourts to cross with caution.

I had done some of the route before on another chance occaision, using a little under two hours. So I wanted to extend this over to 2 hours by exploring further into Arendal. I had presumed that the cycle path was at the side of the road, marked off, on the old E18 route into Arendal north. However it becomes a twisty road where you are in traffic again, with a steep hill. It is wider though.

So the ends of the beast are not joined up properly to the centres of population who may care to utilise the route for commuting, which is healthy, or going out from the front door with the family for a sunday doddle on the bikes.

This shows some of the stupidity with planning here and local councils versus the region and the state. The other example which springs to my mind and probably many a Norwegian who travels often to Larvik or Kristiansand from Oslo, is the stretch past Torp Airport in Vestfold which remained resolutely single carriageway and accident strewn until a couple of months ago. Like a non mans land of idiocy in regional planning versus local sloth and inaction, it was bounded by dual carriagway on either side, while it runs in fact through gentle rolling farmland ripe for four lanes and a central reservation in stead of subsidy per acre for Farmer Ole Giles.

The idiocy is amoplified when you learn that the council areas who were so sloth like were Hoyre FrP controlled and that now there will be more toll stations on the route.

The thing is like the cycle path island cut off by a moat of being in traffic, things can be agreed upon but only when the money is agreed upon doth work start. And that can mean that it starts despite it being a waste of money, or an alternative plan being better, or a down sized plan being better, or an alternative virgin route being more cost effective.

Same in Oslo" at one point in Furudalen the E6 north and south consists of a total of eight lanes wide, yet it feeds into by in large the ring way which is a joke from an east european country in 1981. Now the Swedes have egg on their faces because the final stretch of E6 from the continent to hamar which is not four lanes is over som boggy moors on their manor.

Britain, German, France can all build a national network of roads and then of course completely overload them because new motorways are a magnet for cars and drive the commuter belt house price boom. That is not going to be so extreme in Norway, with most Oslo Akershus dwellers not being interested in pressing flesh outside their own solar rectum. They fly. Apart from the Kragero and Lyngor crowd who shoot down to their properties in southland for a meagre few weeks in the summer and cause traffic chaos.

Now there is a big focus on the E39 from K'sand to Stavanger. It is a pretty lightly trafficed road compared to any European motorway, and is maybe on a par with the A9 in terms of lorries, hard to say, there never seem to be that many on it really. It has some major engineering challenges for four lanes, but that is the promise. Currently K'sand is still enjoying an oil equipment boom, very little of which gets shipped to stavanger, but they want to have a service rub off loing term as building stuff leads to fixing the same stuff eventually.  However how long will it all last ? Is the investment to show off ' we have four lanes Oslo-Stavanger' such a brag when everyone who is anyone of importance uses SAS or Norwegian Shuttle on the short flight  from Gardemoen. Howevver it is agreed upon in the borgerlig more or less, so now it is only the money to agree on...ahem, well they want to be able to raid the international investments part of the Oil Fund in order to pay for it. The inlands investment fund is a poor country cousin and would hardly pay the Oslo parliaments civil servants pensions let alone make huge, toll free road investments.

If it does go ahead then it could be a white elephant within 20 years if oil prices fall. I am not against road improvements and bypasses and some stretches of four lane and crawler lane on it. Will they not see their folly or are there just too many blue tinted votes  in it to stop the ball rolling now?

søndag 17. august 2014

Norges Rart Forholld til Tyskland og Utland

vNorge har et litt merkelig forhold til Tyskland. Forsatt er det hat rettet mot nasjonen og noen stakkars turister som bes;ke dal og fjord. Det viser seg ogs[ i hvordan politiker henviser seg foran det norske befolkning dvs landets diplomatisk og handels- forhold til den mektige rikmans tomt ved enden av det skandinaviske koselige rekkehuset. Det er synlig ved sitt fravaer, dvs at de ta et labprofil over de store avtalene og posisjoneringerer som foregar med Fru Merkel og sine.

Men sterk er Norges langvarig forhold til det germaniske kjempe som jeg oppdaget ikke f;r jeg flyttet hit. Saa sterk en paavirkning og forbindelse at det har overlevde andre verdens krig forferdeligheter s'rlig blant kunstner, artisaner og Herr og Fru Teknikker Nordman. Jeg var veldig overrasket aa faa vite at saa mange av mine bekjente hadde tatt utdanning, gjerne mastergrad i tekniske fag, i Heidelberg, Munchen eller de andre store byene. Jeg hadde trodde heller at Norge hadde en mye sterkere forbindelse med "England". dvs Storbrittania (merk irritasjonen min Ole og Bente!) pga vikingtider og andreverdens krig, da i 1941 Storbrittania stod alene mot den tyske krigsmaskinen og Kong Haakon fikk asyl i London. Ja,. han var en assylsoeker delux!

Det er sant at de faa folk som jeg har truffet som var i motstandsbevegelsen eller de som var barn under krigen og hadde foreldere som var i den tapre gjengen, har et respekt og kjarlighet for Storbrittania, og oftest med Skottland hvor de fikk opplaering i krigsfaring og forsyning fra Shetland. Saa er det sant at mange fra Stavanger og Bergen saerlig tok utdanning i Newcastle og Skottland p[ universitene paa 80 og 90 tallet og snakker varmt om vennskap, immotekommende folk, og mest av alt det som var mest viktig for vi Briter, pub-kultur.

Men ellers er det ikke slkit har jeg oppdaget. I snitt er det en viss netalende skepsis til England og sine snobbete beboere. Verst er noen i Nord Norge som vil ikke severe britiske turister paa utesetedet, grunnet vaer at de folte seg forraeret av aksjonen i Knarvik,. som var bare Churchills maaten aa gi kjaere adolf, mobbegutten,  en blodig nese som vi sier. Det var ikke en invasjon som kanskje noen i motstandsbevegelsen trodde,  eller som var en del av det spillet med hva ble kommuniserte til dem. Saa er det noe som er helt banal : aa faa en tau (skjoete) som laase seg selv paa vinsjen om bord en seilbaat heter "Engelskman", dvs noe som er litt uonsket ombaard.

Skotter faar litt bedre respekt heldigvis for meg, men ofte det er med en tonefall som er "aah ja, Skottland, ja vi glemte det var en del av England eller hva som helst erobring dere var ofre for, stakkars". Men det er som om korn blokaden under napoleonisk krig fastbunder England med negativit som perioden 1941-45 aldri helt gorde opp for.

Alt dette skulle ikke bli overraskende til dem som studerer norsk historie og spraak (skriver dette paa en ikke norsk bokstav testatr uten spellcheck og i mitt middelsmessig nivaa) Det norske spraaket er mest paavirker av germaniske spraak , rett og slett en form for enkelt gammelt tysk. Norron er kanskje fra en enda tidligere spraak men det ogsaa spre seg nord over med vandring folk fra det frodige skogsomraadet som vi kjenner som tyskland i dag. Saa har man keiser vilhelm og sin kjaerlighet for landet i de tidene naar Norge endelig reiste seg og tok grep i det som hadde blitt skrevet p[ Eidsvoll i 1814. Tyskland sikkert ble det storste handelskunde for alumina og andre norske vare etter firgoeringen i 1905.

Det er de som er intellektuelle og med hoyeste utdanning som venner seg mest til opphold i Tyskland og det tyske spraaket. Dette maa vaere pga av to faktorer> f;rste var det en tradisjon i Danmark og Sverige for aa ta fag iTylksland som var sett paa da som naa for en senter for teknisk kvalitet og politiske filosofi og makt. Kunsterne ogsaa ta gjerne reise til Berlin og Munchen i stedet for Paris og Barcelona kanskje fordi spraaket er enklere men kanskje mest fordi norske kunst og grafisk er mest paavirket av tyskland. Gothiske, baauhaus, romantistisk, middelalders selv om kitsche. Det virker som de genrene beunderes mest frem for det franske og latinske som er paa verdensbasis sett som av hoyere verdi enn det fra tyskland. Kanskje det er mest fordi nazisitnene misbrukte saa mange av disse genrene i alt fra propagandaplakkat til militaer uniform og offentlige bygg. Kanskje det er fordi Tyske kunst foeles litt strammet , litt formulaeisk, litt stygt av og til.

Det nye tyskland gjennomgaar enda en blomstring som det mest vellykket okonomi i Europa gjennom finanskrisen.  Berlin stiger fram som enn av verdens store byene for kunst og kultur, ikke hindret med snobberi mot pop kultur som tyskland har alltid tatt med seg i etterkrigenstid. Norge er lite paavirket av merkels taff okonomisk medisin for Eurosonens 'sviktere' . Norge naa har en sulten energi 'partner' (les melkeku) og nordmen flest taaler tysketurister og selv om la seg ikke blir saa veldig pissa med bobileene. Men neida Ole og Bente vil ikke ta feirie saerlig i Tyskland, og vil ikke faa maskin produserte der- altfor dyrt og altfor mye styr rundt hvem som har nok autoritet aa ta ansvaret, er du  viktig og utdannet nok for micht sprekken mitt  og en obsessjonn med kvalitetssikring, dokumentasjon, plannlegging og enighet. Ja takk tyskland for MSc utdanning, takk for at duholdt EU sammen, takk for at du kjoper vaart miljovennlig, dyrt strom men nei takk, vi er ikke saa glad i deg allikevel.

fredag 8. august 2014

Høyere Looking For Problems With Solutions In Mind

The sitting right wing coaliation government in Norway had in their pre election amble, school education as a target for change.

It seems now that this is actually change-for-the-sake of change and picking a fight with the unions. Already they have done a cowardly bit of teflon politics by heaving responsibility onto the employer's organisation such that the fight the FrP and Høyere picked, gets fought out in the playground by the janitor. The gorvernment can then sweep in to claim some form of victory or let the country become tired of strikes.

On their strategy side it looks to me like they are trying to offer a solution to a problem that doesnt exist. It comes down to two elements which in my opinion are red herrings: firstly international league tables and secondly the supposedly unacceptable numbers of youngsters 'failed by the school system'.

My first comment on the latter is actually a right wing one: it is not the school system which has failed them, it is them who have failed the school system. In britain and other countries this type of student recieves remedial literacy and practical skills, both available here, and are the candidates for cleaning jobs, refuse collection, shop work and so on with the best becoming practical engineers. A few in any free society will drop out into criminality and especially narcotics. Fact of life. The remedial literacy exists here, while unfortunetly some practical apprenticeships and HND level courses once suitable for semi literates are now demanding maths, computing and often some knowledge of written English. That is a problem not for school teachers who try their best individually and as a system to pick up illiterate pupils and help them.

Secondly there is all this panic about league tables: why? Worried about korea and china beating kids into performing, while the private sector of course still denies access to some courses for the "thicker" pupils in order to keep their scores higher than state schools? 

League tables are a poor measure of productivity and utility out in society, because they measure the outset - the academic system- and not the outcome - the economic value generated in society.

On this point, Høyere are just worried about very little in fact and the sabre ratteling is more ideologically motivated than based on fact. I could spend a couple of hours looking up facts but in my own experience and with some scant facts here is my take:

Norway seems to train far more university, college and apprentice-hnd engineers than other countries per capita. Also in the building trade. In terms of other vocational non university careers, there is a very large focus on "fag" - qualifications- for example in estate agency, sales, health and safety and the care sector. Being qualified is most often taken infront of actual experience and personal ability, where the reverse is often true in my experience in the uk.

Further more, of those who go to University, many more take master studies and leave with a higher standard of education within their chosen career area.

Coupled to national-service, which many youngsters see as an advantagous as a "gap year" often with practical training, work experience and character building. Then you see Norway produces a very well balanced bunch of productive young adults who can demand their high starting salaries. That Norway also produces a small percentage drop outs and wasters is not a real central political issue.

In terms of benefit cheats, the right wing would be far better off going after single mothers or rather run-off daddies and making them pay, or means testing "single" mums who have gone over to incapacity benefits while actually living with a well to do oil worker. The system is too easy to get into and with three kids can amount to an annual pretax equivalent income to over 500,000kr. Also capping households on invalidity benefit to a maximum income under that level too, many have a two person income of 580k with terribly bad backs but seem able to sit on a plane to Gran Canaria.

The trouble there is that the majority of those on invalidity benefits who did vote, voted for FrP: they want less tax, no road tolls, cheaper fags and booze. The bastard offspring of the socialist system blame the same system for pinching money from them. Here come FrP with threats to make them cut grass, clear snow and so on, but not for their core swing voter, the fifty something mildly incapacitated Mercedes owning hipocrite. They are leaving them well alone, and will probably blame the health system for failing them in due time, that is their way not as in proper right wing politics which blames the individual and puts the onus of them to adapt and find work.

Back to education: the government has found some evidence of lazy teachers who skyve off early and do not deserve such lon.g holidays on grounds of time in lieu. The fact is their parties are largely devoid of teachers in their ranks. I live with a teacher, and they work long hours with marking and preparation in the evenings ,often a 9 hour day as standard four days out of five, and sunday late evening orientations. Not to mention bending to those awkward parents who in their consumerist, frp - høyere way demand to discuss issues outside normal school hours. It must be the only service sector provision in norway open after 4pm. All you get after that from the private sector is telesales.

The government won on a mannifesto and sound bites which seemed to then capture the nations pre election, bored with Labour coalition feeling: down with road tolls, up with road building, do something about benefits scroungers, drop taxes.

Now they are instead prioritising ideological fights with the teachers and soon the health workers. Here in lies a dangerous fact:  a key area of swing voters for them have been such workers, tired of road tollsc and also that the Norwegian double income model is very much daddy works offshore /onshore engineering, mommy works in nursing or teaching.  Many families i know voted the new alliance in, and they will be the same ones voting them out when they see that tax cuts are not worth cuts in working rights.

Also the FrP in particular are constantly double communicating- using high ranking party members to set a propagandic tone while then the parliamentary party either tone down the intention or contradict the assertion. This irritates those academic types from labour who present a pathetic argiuement about this on tv, while the real dammage comes from both the milder voter who sees the threat of the extreme policy suggested outside parliament,  also the core voter who is confused and will be dissillusioned. More extreme frp voters will also get tired and find or form more right wing parties as is the norm here.

The coalition also stand against a largely left of centre media here, who have though been pjicking up on the out of parliament sabre rattling until now, it makes for headlines, but are already tiring of the right wing trying to set the political news agenda with sound bites and posturing which bare little resemblance to policy making, and seems only to be media space grabbing in order to appease the far right voters.

Also in the last two years the immigration issue has moved centre of gravity away from "stop the tide" to more about law and order: in particular the new bug bear for the population is romanian gypsies stealing their way through Norway and psychiatrically disturbed asylum seekers: both a police issue in fact, in the background of no reversal in the cuts of "bobby on the beat" and the over reaction to terror.

The only big issue tackled with a right of centre politic in the last ten years has been pensions and the shortfall even Norways hugely successful oil fund has in liability to pay outs over the next thirty years. And that was tackled by the labour lead Stoltenberg government.

søndag 3. august 2014

Bursdager Forbli Hjemmelaget!

Årets store milepælen for meg var i går. Grattis. Hipp Hipp. Happy Birthday. Slik gikk det fra midnatt med en "plunk" lyd fra mobilen mens jeg vil heller høre på Spotify på min kongelige balkong. Hyggelig var det og mye bedre å få miljøvennlig FB hilsen i stedet for kort i blekket papp med en like kort hilsen for det meste allikevel, slikt vi erfarte sneglepostens tiden. Plutselig blir bursdags hilsene flere i sterk motsetning til det som begynnte å trappe ned gjennom våre tjueårene, når tante tenkte det var upassende med ti pund og et kort til en voksen mann. Det også reflektere at venner ble til bekjente så ble til de glemte.

Sirkuset av bursdagsfester, først gele og iskrem så øl, og så sprudlende vin er dempet og en ny fase er begynte : jeg vil at barna mine får feire bursdagen min like mye som meg og at det er bare en fest for fire.

Vi befant oss i Risør, på kanten av fellesferien som dagen alltid faller selvsagt. Risør er på noen viss også litt ut på kanten: en halvøy som er litt for langt fra Oslo for å oppnå statusen som den store sommer-hytte-by og Nabokommunen Kragerø. Litt for seg selv er dialekten i byen fordi de ikke snakker Sørlandsk. Faktisk de snakker 'riksmål' med en litt  Østfold-aktig nuanse og en litt teit langsomt avslutning på setninger som er enten påstander eller spørsmål med tunge vokaler som tjukk gummistrekker. De snakker slikt her fordi de har alltid snakket sånn, eller så lenge det har vært en by å snakke om, mens en sjapp biltur eller enda sjapper skjærgårdsjeeptur over fjorden til Sundeled og omegnen innenfor Risør kommunens grep, snakker de "få sjå om aure" med en litt Telemark uttalelse.

I følge en lokal gutt som er nå professor i historie,  UiO,  var det med riksmål viktig for byen som hadde status som postkontor til det Danske konge før selveste Kristiansand var etablerte og frem for datidens selv erklærte topp kandidat som embetsmanns by, Arendal. Risør ligger lengst ut i havet av alle byene langs Skagerraks fin kystlinje. En drøy ti minutter for en skute å finne le av vind og sjø fra innseilingen fra en bra slørkurs fra Danmark. Dermed ble postkontoret til en tyngdekraft mye større enn en for slik liten byen skulle ellers beherske. Og riksmål ble foretrukket. Deretter var det også effekten som Porsgrunn var påvirket av, nemlig arbeidere fra Østland som kom for å jobbe på verft i Risør.

På det siste nevnt kan vi se at tradisjonen er viktig for mange særlig i denne første helg hver August da Trebåtfestivalen er en fast arrangement. Vi har besøkte det tre ganger før og er litt "we're so done" med det, jeg skulle sjøl skipper en klassiker i en kappseilas et år. I år slapp vi inn kun barna med venner og deres foreldre for et hyggelig beløp, mens den 500- tilgang lappen for vi voksene ble vurderte bortkastet. Det samme skutene stiller opp år etter år, men festivalen fortsetter å trekke mange særlig på lørdagen tydeligvis da en tur til 'polet ble total upraktisk med bil og tungvindt på sykkel.

Ja tilbake til bursdagen, hvordan skulle det feires i litt fred for fine lakkerte skøyter og tusenvis av ruslende dagsturister? Ja i Risør, men et helt annet Risør: Sjøfart legger et annet merkelig preg på kommunens grense som er at for å komme fram til Håpe og Sandnes sørvest over fjorden må man kjøre bil gjennom ytterste delen av Tvedestrand kommune. Området her øst for Gjeving er mye letter å nå med båt og derfor er det en del av Risør som om det var en øy.

Formålet var å overraske barna våre med årets andre besøk til Sørlandets Feriesenteret som har to oppvarmet badebassenger med fine omstendigheter, kafe og utsikt utover fjorden. Anlegget er av ypperste kvalitet og trolig nyter den varmeveksling fra fjorden som er også en pluss for meg som "miljøvenn". Men først måtte 3 flasker vin kjøpes , litt bortskjemt jeg med bursdag penger fra svigerforeldrene, og så måtte lunsj spises etter egen ønske - i en liten våg et steinkast lengre ut enn feriesenteret.

Kommunen hadde lagt til en av de fineste frilufts området for picnic i det hele av Sørlandet etter min oppfattning. Stødige picnicbord var plasserte med godt mellomrom. Sandmannen av de mest prof' typen hadde forsynt den lille vågen med sin vare til gleden av barna som begynte med å lage demning i bekken og da svømme ut i den noskå trygge og  grunne innseilingen. Rekkesalat med ekstra reker på kneip-rundstykker smakte vidunderlig og luften kom opp i hele 25 grader igjen, tross en mer lunken værevarsle.

Vi måtte gjør vårt ypperligst for å overbevise barna at enda mer glede var å få ved å rustle opp til Sørlandets Feriesenter. Oppvarmet vann var ikke så fristende i sammenheng med en god stemning ut i naturen som vi kosde oss med i en time. Men overbeviste var de etter hvert og vi hadde mye gøy og litt trening i badebassengene. Kaffen var fersk og god også. Maten giddet ikke vi prøve.

Egen laget mat er høyt på listen for bursdagen min i Norge fordi å spise på utested i fellesferie er noe å unngå. Ellers utsetter man seg for et trippel slag av dårlig service, middelmådig mat og ren røveri når det gjelder porsjon-pris beregningen. Jeg husker bare store skuffelser når jeg tenker på de få middagene i Norge som vi har feiret bursdagen min på restauranter.

Litt bedre er det utenfor fellesferie og som bedrifts kunde, klager vi bestandige hver gang vi får små porsjoner, kald mat eller treig service. Som turist i eget land er Nordmenn tydeligvis utrolig dårlig til å klage, merkelig nok når det gjelder egne penger og ikke sjefens lykkebudsjett! Det er litt av en "doublethink" som vi tidligere må det sies, holdt oss til i Storbrittania. Bedriften bør får valuta for penger! Gjester og ansatte skal ha det hyggelig! Men for familien og bestemor, ikke lager bråk, de gjor sitt best siden de har det travelt i Juli.  Lunsjen dagen før i en tidligere helt vidunderlig bistro gjord meg nesten rasende : burgeren i en Ica, dritt billig burgerbun, ekle, grisete  standard pommes frites og et fattig lag av salat som man kunne forventer og bli skuffet av for halv prisen ved en motorveikro . Men samboeren svarte at det var "veldig godt" . Jeg stemmer med lommeboken og holde meg unna alt av norske bistro, restauranter og kafeer med tilbud om mer en 20kr boller. Det suger. Alle vet det. Ingen gjøre noe med det.

Men uansett jeg elsker å lage mat og særlig når det er litt eksperiment og prestasjonspress. Middag var da grillespidder for barna i ytrefilet av biff, forrett bestående melon for barna og melon med salat, oliver, geitost og spekeskinke for vi med midtlivskrise. Hovedrett for oss var da en italiensk stil blåskjell i kremsaus: litt laks (200g) for å gi den tyndge med en kilo blåskjell, og en halvdel av innematen fra en krabbeskall. Styr unna my hvitløk, to store båter kuttet i fine skiver med knallskarp kniv holder. Bruk ikke løk enn gang: mildere smak fra litt vårløk og to stikk seleriestang. Miniplommetomatoer er helt tops, hvis en vanskelig substantiv for spellsjekken! Fire per person. Oliver, svarte, i samme mendgen. Vin, ja, hvit , bortkastet litt men ja men bruk helst en Soave eller Sauvignon Blanc eller krafig fyldig vin med litt sødme frem for den tynne mest overvurderte av hvitvinene, Chablis. Jeg har hatt nok av nordmenn som vil imponere med "en fin Chablis jeg kom på mens 'en France'" - som for sin  nordfranske kusine og sprudlende overpriset hore, Champagne.

Lett stek hvitløken, vårløken og seleristanget med noe finhakket gulrot samt litt estragon or timian i god oliveolje men ikke fra det øverst hylle dvs ekstrvirgin 45 kr flasken holder. Når de er litt gjennomsitkig og myk da kast blåskjellene (vasket og sorterte for dem som er åpen og vil ikke lukke seg med en liten bank på skallet) oppi og skru opp varmen. Rist hele pannen. Da legg 2cm terninger av laksen på toppen, stek i to minutter med lokken på, og da hev over to glass vin (c kvarter av flasken) og ta maks varmen på komfyren med lokken av pannen. Kast inn tomatoene og oliver nå og. Når det ikke lukter særlig alkohol i dampen etter circa et minutt eller to, hev inn 300 ml kremfløte eller med en halv del av den hjertego til 150 ml kreme. Ta av varmen og skru det ned til trefjerdedels maks, og da skli pannen tilbake på og koke helesaken i ytterligere to til tre minutter.

Dette er bra med en god baguette, kanskje loff, eller ris eller som jeg foretrekker med linguine som kiwi og sin "eldorado" har selvest nå tatt på hyllene og godt nok er det !! Jeg hever inn linguinen til grytten i det siste minutt og man kan ta litt av kokevannet med også, bare pass på det er ikke veldig saltet. Det er italieneres liten triks for å få en litt mer fast konsistens i sausen og at det holder seg til pastaen. Men hoved triksen i Norge er å kjøpe blåskjell til 60 kr, krabbe til 25kr og lære å lage slikt sjøl og da til å ikke bruk 200 til 390 kr på utestedet per person!