Olafsfjordur, Iceland

Olafsfjordur, Iceland
Olafsfjordur, Iceland

Monday, 22 February 2016

Dark Days are over

The Dark Days or Skammdegi are over - or at least the Skammdegi festival is. 






The end of the long dark days in the north of Iceland is certainly coming to an end. 




But winter and snow will be here a good while longer.




The Skammdegi Artists who have been exploring the dark winter are sad that their time here is coming to an end.




Because to us the dark winter has been positive and enlightening. 




A chance to make work 




A chance to make friends 




An opportunity to enjoy the amazing landscape 




A lot of Icelanders find it dark and slightly depressing even, probably because their summer times are so long and fantastic, not temperature wise but lightness wise.




But for us we find so much in this dark winter, not just through nature, but through the people and their culture and way of life.




Yes we have only skimmed the surface, and everywhere can have both positives and negatives to it. But we have loved it and are sad to leave and hoping to return. 




Some left today but struggled to get the bus on time.




Others were so sad leaving today, but look as though they may have come to terms with their departure by drowning their sorrows in Reykjavik.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Love is in the air



There was so much love in the air and not just because it was Valentines Day. 




Liz opened the museum. 




There were flowers - even ones made of ice 




Some lovely people came 




Hanna and Jon.... there is more to his name - anyway they are lovely ! 




Lenka who is lovely she invited Liz to her house that afternoon for her daughters birthday party. I went instead and had a really nice time in their beautiful house with some lovely people and  tasty food.




There was so much love the museum stayed open the whole day and 
Ida and her family made the Artists a special meal at the Kaffi which was really great and the Artists enjoyed themselves and played outside for a bit. 




All in all as Astridur Iskleif likes to say ' it was a lovely day' 


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Why am I here ?

This is a question I need to answer because in this day and age everything must be justified




Here are some answers 


1. To make Art. 





2. To experience and take part in Skammdegi ( dark days ) festival.






3. To find space to think.






4. To create something small here that will feed into other work at home. 




 

5. To engage with the local community.






 6. To explore how characters I bring work with people from another place and possibly culture and engage in a way that works for them.






7. To start to heal a few things.






8. To start to engage in what my future could be. 






What I have found is that people are essentially the same wherever you go, and it's that sameness which is the best part. A wish to communicate,engage and connect on a level that goes beyond the superficial. Of course people are different culturally but that makes it all the more interesting for everyone. To find both the differences and the similarities. 

Living surrounded by such amazingly beautiful nature it's easy to feel calm and a part of it. Let's hope some of that will remain with me when I return.




I think I've done well with most of the things on my list. 


Monday, 15 February 2016

Happy Öskadagur





Óska dagur or Ash Wednesday is another day for celebration particularly if you are young or young at heart.




Traditionally small bags filled with ashes would be hung on the backs of unsuspecting folk. So now much like Halloween where tricks were traditionally played on people, Óska dagur is a day for dressing up in costume visiting shops and singing in return for sweets. 




Rita Carload and her new friend Astridur Iskleif opened the museum especially.




There were plenty of visitors, all dressed brilliantly and all of them sang wonderfully, in return for small gifts that Rita had prepared earlier. 




Later there were games at the Sports centre for kids, teenagers and anyone who wanted from both    Olafsfjördur and Siglufjörðor.
The main attraction was a big wooden barrel that had to be bashed by each child in turn with a stick until it broke and the sweets inside could be eaten. This took some while. 




Rita made a very sophisticated pin the tail on the donkey game, it was enjoyed by many and was great fun. 



Just like the day which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Particularly Winnie the Pooh who enjoyed dancing to the music most. 




And Gudrun, Astrid and Rita. 



Friday, 12 February 2016

Death Part 2


Death is back - it never really went away ! 




It's not directly back for me, but I am writing about it for the 2nd Festival of Death that we are organising in Scotland this year. A Festival of Art, Exhibitions,Performance and fun which will celebrate death and commemorate loved ones passed.




This morning a friend's loved one passed away, it was expected. I think they were all as ready as anybody can be, and as it is for many it was a peaceful release. 
RIP M x 




Death is always hard for us, the ones who are left, but we should take comfort in the fact that for the dying it is often the peace they need.




To think positively of death we can embrace it by speaking of it and our loved ones, not thinking that it is the end, there are huge changes which take a long time to get used to but we can still continue to enjoy the legacy and love that they have left us.






And for ourselves we should learn not to fear it.






And in doing so embrace every moment of life that we can. 


Obviously if you were in Ölafsfjordur today that wouldn't have been hard. Today was an incredibly beautiful day and the sun shone above the mountains.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

A somersault of 9,000 kilometres to you !


Happy Chinese New Year to you ! 





It's one celebration after another






It is the start of the year of the red monkey - this little fella ( bit blurry I'm afraid ) certainly enjoys a somersault. 
What a great greeting ! 

' Yige Jindou shi wan bagian li ' which if it had all the right accents would sound like ' a somersault of 18.000 li to you ' in Chinese. 



In Iceland there were also celebrations of a kind with Bolludagur (Bun day ) the idea is that children wake up before their parents, seeing their parents in bed they hit them with colourfully decorated bolluvondur ( bun wands ). Parents must then give them Bolla ( cream puffs ) - one for each blow they receive, this sounds pretty dangerous to me. 
But they are tasty and everyone was eating them - I've not polled any parents on how many hits they received or seen anyone limping around yet.




Don't worry the knife was for sharing purposes not warding off greedy children.






Today in Iceland it is Sprengidagur  - Explosion Day 
You eat as much salted lamb and pea soup as you possibly can until you burst ! 

Well it is Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Carnivale around the World today - everyone is celebrating, eating and over indulging before they all calm down again until Easter !!

In Venice they have Carnivale and celebrate for a week by dressing up and wearing masks.







In Brazil they celebrate big with Carnival - Samba schools compete against each other with amazing eye-popping floats, dancers, music - the partying happens for a week.
The Rio carnival is probably the largest in the World.




In Spain they celebrate similarly with floats, costumes and music always 
with regional differences.






And in Britain - well we celebrate with pancakes 









We really know how to push the boat out ! 

Happy Somersaulting wherever you are 

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