blogging, Travel

Friendly Friday – Meet Olav in Norway

Back in 2004, I jumped on a subway train in Norway. It was my first time visiting the country that was to steal my heart. I had little knowledge of where I was going that day, or what would happen, other than I was headed for a ski jump outside of Oslo, which had panoramic views and a ski museum.

oslo
Oslo, Norway

Meeting Norwegians

You know that feeling of confusion you have when orientating yourself on a public transport network, in a new city. I felt like that. With the aid of some young Norwegians, my young son and I found the platform and the unmanned train – a curiosity for us, as there are no metros in Australia.

Without station reminders or announcements, we sized up the young passenger sitting opposite for advice on when to depart the train, in order to go to Holmenkollen station and ski jump. The passenger was not only keen to help out with the required information, but offered to take us home for dinner and to meet his family! I politely declined the invitation, but thought how open and kind Norwegians were. Albeit a little too friendly towards strangers.

Believe it or not, that summer in Oslo was hot, especially after walking for several kilometres up Norwegian roads with a laden backpack from Holmenkollen station. It may have been a bit of jet lag, but I was tired.

Walking to Holmenkollen Ski Jump

After walking those few kilometres, or so it seemed, I spotted the ski jump ahead, and also the road to it winding round and round the mountain for another kilometre or so. If you have traveled with kids, you’ll relate to questions like: – Are we there yet? How much further etc. etc. My son was a stoic, but I feel sure he was making plenty of facial grimaces behind my back.

It was with that thought in mind that I spotted a narrow walking track up a grassy slope on the side of the road, that appeared to lead directly to the ski jump, I thought a short cut would save us time and energy.

With only a slight hesitation, my 11 year old and I took the track up the grassy slope.

Photo by Jens Johnsson on Pexels.com

A little over halfway up the hill, with images of mountain goats flitting through my mind, I pondered what I, as a 41 year old Aussie Mum, was doing. I wasn’t young and fit anymore. No sooner had I thought that, than I had to reach my hands forward to the ground, as I climbed, just to maintain balance.

Oh uh, Mum. It is getting steep, really steep.” I heard from my son.

Don’t stop now, we’re so close to the top; just keep going,” I urged him, not wanting to lose any of my forward momentum, lest the slope become too much, for me.

At that moment, ‘Olav,’ who had, in all possibility, been trained during the Nazi occupation of Norway, appeared at the crest of the hill, standing feet astride, hands on hips, in an authoritative stance.

He boomed out at me, in English, “You can’t come up here. Go back!”

Oh, wait – Why not? I said as I scrambled the last few steps of the slope. “I mean, I’ve paid already. I have an Oslo Card,” fumbling in my pocket for the 48 hour tourist card that allows a visit, to any tourist attraction in Oslo, for one pre-paid charge.

Olav, his name emblazoned boldly on his badge, in ‘Arial black font’, glared at me.

I prattled on, stupidly thinking he had misunderstood. “Oh – you Norwegians. I thought you were all so nice and welcoming….” I stopped mid-sentence thinking how silly that sounded.

To which Olav repeated his intimidating mantra a little louder this time,

“GO BACK. YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE COME THIS WAY.”

A sickening feeling of guilt crept into my throat as I realized that the short cut path we had taken, that would save us some time and energy, had NOT led us to the entrance of the ski jump, but had in fact, led us inside the museum itself. Olav thought we were trying to gatecrash, without paying.

A quiet Aussie accent reached my ear. “Let’s just go back, Mum.”

I turned to my son, “Yeah okay, I made a mistake; we’ll just go down again and walk the long way around.

I took a few steps off the edge of the slope and was shocked to see just how precipitous a slope, we had scrambled up. I nearly lost my balance, just looking down.

It dawned on me that going down was not even going to be difficult, it was going to be downright dangerous, especially carrying a heavy backpack. I could see that one of us would surely slip and potentially break a leg or something. Any alternative was better than that.

Gathering courage I didn’t know I had, I turned back again towards Olav, his implacable face and overly muscular body still blocking my way into the ski jump museum.

“Look – I’m really, really sorry, I just can’t go down that way. I’m more than happy to pay a second entrance fee, if you want. I never intended to avoid payment or do anything wrong. I am from Australia, I didn’t know.” I was blabbering quickly now, like a child caught with his hand in the candy jar.

“I am more than happy to buy another ticket. I do have an Oslo card, so it’s all paid for, already.”

I hadn’t explained myself well, as Olav remained unconvinced.

“Then why did you come up this way?” he spat.

Because, I thought this path was a short cut.

He looked bemused. I started to consider whether the phrase, “short cut,” might be lost in translation. So I continued:

It is so very hot today and I thought it would save us walking in the heat.” Olav’s face showed no indication of relenting.

Mum, c’mon let’s just go.” My son started walking down the precipitous slope again. I wavered.

What should I do? It was clear that Olav was not ‘feeling the love,’ the other Norwegians had shown us, so I made a bold decision. Fight or flight must have taken over.

After muttering under my breath to give myself courage, I said:

Look, I’m not going to potentially break my leg going down there, when I have already paid to go into the museum,” I said with as little nervous emotion as I could muster, at that moment.

So, I’m just going to run over there to the ticket office and thrust my Oslo card at the attendant, cos I can’t, I just can’t go back down that slope.

Why not?” – Olav again.

I’m terrified I will fall.”

Okay, then,” was his final response. To my complete surprise, he turned his back and walked away.

I literally ran over to the ticket office, to show them my Oslo card, my heart beating wildly for the next ten minutes, or so.

There was an awkward moment when we spotted Olav again, in another part of the exhibit, but he remained silent, a serious nod to us the only acknowledgement of our previous terse interaction.

Travel Note: The Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Museum has been renovated and is in a slightly different location than 2004.

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Meet One Person

This is not my typical travel story, but as this is Sarah’s first week hosting the Friendly Friendly Blog Challenge, I wanted to post an interesting story of someone I had met in my travels.

Have you met someone interesting on your travels and wish to share a story or photograph about it? Someone who might be a little friendlier than Olav?

In her post, Sarah writes about her guide in Senegal, called Cheikh.

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge

Sandy and I would love your support in welcoming Sarah, the new co-host of Friendly Fridays.

I will be back hosting the challenge again on Friday 13th August.

poppies in norway against a rock wall
blogging, Environment

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Wildflowers

Keukenhof is spectacular in bloom, Toowoomba is stunning during the Carnival of Flowers, as is Japan in Cherry Blossom season, but right now I’m thinking of Wildflowers, especially those that grow in the most unlikely or unusual places.

To say, I was initially surprised, to spot blossoms hard-to-grow-in-Australia, growing spontaneously, by the road in the coldest of countries, was an understatement!

These beauties were busting their glorious blaze of colour beside a street light in Helsinki, beside a bridge support, or vacant hillside in Norway, or idly cheering up an industrial lot in Denmark; their location was a mere afterthought of nature, thriving as they were, with ne’er a green finger or hint of fertilizer, in sight.

Knowing their time was short, these blooms took full advantage of the extended summer sunlight, exploding into intense hues that had me gawping at their vibrant intensity. Even simple grasses and weeds seemed aesthetic.

Enchanting architecture and backdrops increased the aesthetic appeal of the wildflowers.

Wildflowers on the roof in Sunnfjord, Norway

What are these flowers called? Does anyone know them? They were almost buried in a patch of grass in a disused paddock.

Here in my country, the native flowers are showing their best winter coat.

Unusually for Australia, parts of our country are in a snap Covid lockdown and due to that fact and it being winter, it’s more difficult to get out and appreciate the world, but not impossible, and there’s always the archives, isn’t there? The native blooms such as Banksia, Swamp Mahogany and Xanthostemon put on a display.

WordPress has added a feature in the image photo block where by you can add a tonal colour to your photos, using shadows or highlights. Why not try this out this fortnight? It is a blogging challenge is something in which both hemispheres of the world can participate, no matter the season.

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Prompt – Wildflowers

Breaking News – Third Host for the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Team

Sandy and I have been having a ball hosting the Friendly Friday Challenge, we’re really excited to welcome Sarah from the blog, Travel with Me, to our Blogging Challenge team, as host, every six weeks. Sarah is a blogger who loves landscape, architecture, wildlife and street photography. Here is a little more about Sarah:

Those of us with the means and inclination to, [travel], are rewarded with amazing opportunities to learn about different cultures, different landscapes, different environments. And in seeing those differences I think we discover something very important, which is that however different our lifestyles, at heart people have more in common than you might think. We learn to value diversity, to respect other viewpoints and to rejoice in our similarities ~ Sarah

www.toonsarah-travels.blog/who-am-i/

Sarah will be posting the next Friendly Friday prompt in two weeks time, ie. Friday 16th July, over at her blog, Travel with Me. She will concentrate on a particular theme for her prompts. Are you curious to see what that theme might be? Sarah will be posting clues on her blog, next week, so keep an eye out for that post.

Find the next challenge at: toonsarah-travels.blog/

Instructions for Joining the Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge

  • Write and publish a post inspired by the prompt, remembering this is a challenge not restricted to photography only. It can be a recipe, story, (fiction or non-fiction), or art in visuals or words: For this prompt it might be a snippet or anecdote of somewhere you visited or even an image of a pressed wildflower you may have received long ago. You are only limited by your imagination.
  • Please remember to Tag your post – ‘Friendly Friday.’
  • Include a ping-back* to this blog post adding a comment, (with the url of your published post), here on this post.

*NB. You must ping-back to this WordPress post itself, as link or ping-backs to the home page of a WordPress blog doesn’t trigger a notification to the host blogger. That’s why posting a comment here is good practice, so that your hosts can always find your post.

This Friendly Friday Wildflower Challenge runs until 15th July.

Friendly Friday Challenge 16th July – Host Blogger Sarah at Travel with Me

Friendly Friday Challenge 30th July – Host Blogger Sandy at The Sandy Chronicles.

Further instructions on joining in are found on the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Page.

delft blue porcelain
blogging

Flashback Friendly Friday – A Journey to Delft

DELFT

Delft is a Dutch city renowned for its history of painting. So well preserved since the 17th Century, Delft is also famous as the birthplace of the painter, Vermeer, and home to the exquisite ‘Delft Blue’ earthenware.

I took an English speaking tour at the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, the Delftware factory dating back to 1653,considered the Dutch Golden Age.

Unassuming building given the treasures that lie inside

Not only did I see magnificent Delft Blue antiques, (even in the ladies toilets), but I got to watch the artists at work, painting new earthenware plates and vases. It was interesting to note that prior to painting, the artist traces the designated pattern in carbon, using strategically placed dots, made through holes in the tracing.  

The designs are painted in black paint, and the firing process burns off the carbon dots, and changes the black paint to the familiar Delft blue colour.

The official Royal Dutch Delft website has the following visual to explain the process:

The Netherlands’ vast legacy of decoration, both on earthenware and wood is a wonderful inspiration to contemporary artists. If you wish to purchase a hand-painted souvenir, take plenty of money with you, as it is expensive. But it is truly magnificent!

It is useful to delve back in history examining all the various influences that facilitated the development of Dutch folk art. For it is not only the Indian and Oriental world that inspired Dutch painters, but also the Scandinavian world with whom the Dutch were vigorous trading partners.

Linking to Sandy’s Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Flashback

You may also find Sarah’s Flashback post on Bletchley park interesting.

 

blogging, Painting, Traditional Art

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Time Capsule

Swedish church in stockholm
Tãby Church, Stockholm

Almost a decade ago, I was wandering around the backblocks of Stockholm’s upmarket outer suburbs and discovered a place of significance in Viking times. A living Time Capsule.

Rune Stone Causeway in Stockholm

At around 100 metres long, the so-called Jarlabanke’s bridge, in Täby, Sweden, is a causeway or bridge, lined with ancient Runestones.

It was designed to be an extravagant reminder of the power and prestige of a Viking chieftain named Jarlabanke Ingefastsson, who owned much of this area, way back in the 11th century.

It is presumed that the purpose of the runes is to catch the eye of passing travellers and impress them. This site must have been especially significant as it was also the place where three Viking families, battled it out for supremacy of the area.

Wooden Viking Scultpure

Four remaining Rune stones line the causeway as some were moved to other locations. One Runestone was taken to Greece by voyaging Vikings who worked as mercenaries for the Varangian Guard.

Another stone stands at the threshold of the church and depicts two serpent creatures enclosing a Latin cross. This was considered to be evidence of Chieftain Jarlabanke’s wish to ensure his entry to the afterlife. Perhaps he was undecided about which religion to follow and chose to hedge his bets honouring both Christian and Pagan practices.

Symbols of the old religion and Christianity are often found together on rune stones, evidence of transition in belief systems.

Wikipedia

Rich Medieval Ceiling Decorations in Swedish Churches

The Church adjacent to the Runsetone Causeway has a rather plain exterior which belies the treasures hidden inside. Here you see but a glimpse of the richly decorated ceiling.

Older churches in Scandinavia often have frescos, or traditional art, decorating their ceilings. They were painted in the day when many members of the congregation were illiterate and this pictorial representations of bible stories was used as a way to communicate religious teachings.

Norwegian Rosemaling in Churches

At times, Lutheran Priests lamented the striking beauty of the frescoes and decorative art, especially that seend in Norway and known as Rosemaling. Certain priests ordered for the rich decoration to be painted over in plain colours, or whitewashed. This was, presumably, to stop the congregations’ mind wandering over the artful decorations and allowed them to focus instead on the Priest’s words.

The art within Scandinavian Churches gives but a glimpse into the past, a Time Capsule of historic Times.

The ceiling, walls, pews, and altar inside the Church in Lesja, Norway, and the fresco near Trondheim are yet another example of a time capsule.

Student Time Capsules

When my sons started high school, they buried a box of items – a piece of writing, some questions to their future selves, and some small object of significance to them in a box to be opened on their graduation day. Another snippet of the past in the form of a Time capsule.

What would you put in a Time capsule?

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Theme

The theme for this fortnight’s blogging challenge is

TIME CAPSULE

Document what you might put in your own time capsule in words or photographs, share a snippet of your local area’s or chosen point of history, somewhere you visited or something of interest that has been swept up in time.

Remember that this challenge is not restricted to photography. It can be a recipe, story, (fiction or non-fiction), or art.

Instructions for the Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge

Write and publish a post inspired by the prompt, tagging your post Friendly Friday.

Include a ping-back* here and also add a comment below, pointing the way to your own blog post.

*NB. You must ping-back to this WordPress post itself, as ping-backs to the home page of a WordPress blog don’t trigger a notification. That is why a comment here is good practixe so that we can find your post.

This challenge runs for two weeks after which Sandy will post a new prompt over at her blog The Sandy Chronicles.

Further instructions on joining in are found on the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Page.

Blog challenge Friday
grotto at the sea
Australia, blogging, Travel

Friendly Friday Challenge – Road Trip

Over at The Sandy Chronicles, my Friendly Friday co-host Sandy has thrown out the challenge for me to participate in the theme Road Trip. Not just with the usual written post, but with a custom video presentation via Canva.

So, I know a little about Canva, but I’ve only used the trial version. Ah! This was a challenge. However, with a little bit of time invested, I have pulled it off, I hope.

Thanks Sandy for stretching my IT skills a little wider!

Road Trip along the Great Ocean Road

What do you think? Would you want to visit there?

Update: I have slowed the video shots a little and uploaded a new version.

Blog logo on transparent background
blogging, Community, Photography, Travel

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Mountain Top

Kakani 1988

It was a perfect afternoon on a perfect mountain top, 30 km west of Kathmandu in Nepal.

We’d travelled in the back seat of an ageing and dusty Black Toyota sedan to Kakani. The lack of seat belts in the car might have given an inkling of the car’s advanced age, but it was mainly the dark exterior that prompted our Nepalese guide to label it, “the Mafia car” suggesting with a hearty laugh, that our driver looked “criminal!”

nepal guide
A young Amanda at 6500 Feet at Nagarkot with Nepalese Guide Madhav

Thirty odd years ago, the road to Nagarkot Mountain Top and Lookout was narrow, winding and precipitous. Dirt tracks, barely one car width wide, that would be better suited to goats, twisted their way sharply around steep hillsides with never a guardrail to be seen.

Despite this, I was focused less on my safety than on the countryside itself. It looked alive and thriving. Almost every hill no matter how steep, had been heavily terraced and cultivated with crops. Quaint mud-brick farm cottages clung to 80 degree slopes and the mountainous backdrop grew ever more spectacular with each and every bend. I pinched myself.

Was I really here at the top of the world? I marveled at how the puffy white clouds perched high up in the sky were not actually clouds at all, but the Himalayan mountain tops tinged with snow!

Every few kilometres, or so, smiling school children appeared on the roadside, waving enthusiastically at our car, as we passed by. Our Guide informed us that many of the chuldren walk several hours just to reach the nearest school. No School of the Air exists in Nepal. A very different life to Australia, where schools are located in every suburb and in remote areas, lessons with a teacher are given over radio communication, (now, presumably skype), each day.

nepal mountain road

Nagarkot Lookout

On reaching Nagarkot Lookout, we were invited to sit on a deck chair at the cliff’s edge. I actually couldn’t stop smiling. I have never seen anything so extraordinary. It is a cliché, but the air was palpably clean and pure. Hauntingly beautiful flute music played in the air adding to the mystical atmosphere.

Sitting and looking out upon the highest mountain tops of the world brought me feelings of tranquility and material needlessness to my head. In those moments, any yearning for material objects and acquisitions completely vanished. Even my materialistic other half, the Moth, agreed that afternoon. We struck up a conversation with another traveler. He was from – wait for it: the Australian Gold Coast. Thousands of miles from home and I meet a stranger who lives less than 60 minutes from my home!

Meanwhile Mudhav, our smartly dressed guide, complete with pristine, ‘Mrs-March” bleached shirt, stated he never gets bored with the mountains. He reads Wordsworth, Keats and other romantic English poetry. He says his presentation as a guide, is different with ‘good people,’ like us.

Again, I smile!

We didn’t anticipate the final surprise that was yet to come.

Nepalese Women Carry the Load

As we sat on that small area of level ground surrounded by precipitous cliffs, enjoying the view at 2200 metres above sea level, two women appeared from below the cliff face, casually climbing up and over the rock incline directly in front of us.

Such was their physical strength they were able to scale an almost, I guess, 80 degree vertical slope, as if they were taking a light stroll.

There is no photo of them, but to our shock we noted they carried large straw baskets down their back, laden to the brim, with potatoes. The basket was held by a narrow rope tied around their forehead. You can imagine our astonishment and our incredulity at the strength of their necks under such a load!

Amazing Women!

Nagarkot and Kakani can get very cold as night draws near, but the view of  Mt. Annapurna, as well as the other mountains that make up this part of the Himalayas: Machhapuchhare, Ganesh Himal and Langtang, are in a word stupendous Mountain Tops. It is very easy to sit and watch those mountains for hours, so mesmerizing is this special part of the world.

My photographs are showing their age and the quality is not so good so I have included two videos to enhance your impression of the area.

Join in the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge

Every other week we post a topic to inspire a post on a particular theme. This week the theme is Mountain Top. Your challenge is to feature a story, photo/s, a recipe or anything else that captures your imagination.  

You can post once, twice or as many times as you’re inspired by the topic.

Sandy and I take turns in posting challenges.  Keep notified of new themes by following both our blog’s at  Something to Ponder About  and  The Sandy Chronicles

How to join the Friendly Friday Challenge

  • Write a post titled ‘Friendly Friday – ‘Mountain Top’ and add a tag: ‘Friendly Friday’
  • Include a link to this Friendly Friendly Challenge within your own post.
  • Optionally, you can include the latest Friendly Friday Challenge logo. Download it here.
  • Comment below, on this post so that others can read your post.
  • Remember to include a url link to your own post in your comment below. This will guarantee a visit, in the event the automatic ping-back does not work.
  • Visit other Friendly Friday entries by following their links. It’s fun!
  • Follow the host blogs to see future Friendly Friday Challenges

The Benefits of Joining Blog Challenges

  • Increase your exposure in the blogging communities
  • Inspire and be inspired by diverse blog articles
  • Challenge your creativity
  • Make new friends and keep in touch with old ones

Are you joining in with this theme?

Where is your favourite Mountain Top?

How do you feel when you reach the summit? This motorcyclist loves the countryside too.

Blog challenge Friday
blogging, Environment

Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge – Something Different

Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge

Sandy set a Friendly Friday challenge to come up with Something different and I was convinced I’d failed to find anything noteworthy until I read Ally Bean’s Rudolph Framework which she’s adapted from a marketing analysis by author Ann Handley.

reindeer encased in glass bubbles art
Not ‘Rudolph’ but quirky namesake

The Rudolph Marketing Framework

The Rudolph Framework “helps you understand the actual problem you and your business solve for your customers– not the one you *think* you solve.” Click HERE to be taken to her fun explanation of this framework.

thespectacledbean.com/2021/02/23/applying-a-business-framework-to-this-personal-blog-to-tell-a-tale/

Most know, or will quickly find out, I am no blog business guru and to be frank, StPA is purely self-expression via my own mindful meanderings covering a multitude of topics from the environment to photography.

Therefore, you might, as I initially did, think this Rudolph exercise holds little relevance in the blogging world and is akin to writing one of those verbose, but glib ‘mission statements.’ [Groan]

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

Those two words, ‘mission statement,’ is enough for me to tune out and yet, reading further, I quickly realized that I did want to know where I might be headed blog-wise, and that a little blogging self-examination may indeed be useful, at least to me. Add to that, Ally mentioned that she was curious to see where the framework would take other bloggers. Thus, I’d dive right in. I may have taken it in a tangent way off the original intention, but it IS an experiment so who knows where we will end up.

Following are the Framework questions. One fills in the blanks for how it pertains to your blog. Like one of those grammar exercises back in school. Easy, right?

Something to Ponder About Blog’s Rudolph Framework

  1. Once upon a time, there was a blog focused on information important enough to share with others that promoted open, independent discussion called Something to Ponder About.
  2. It has the capacity to question, to inform, to frustrate and possibly to validate aspects of environmental change, in addition to various other topics.
  3. Some people doubt it because they’re sure technology will be the saviour in any environmental disaster and the blogosphere is merely filled with rank amateurs who not only ignore contradictory information and opinions, but seem hell-bent on locking up the planet, subverting business progress or fixate on their own capitalistic endeavours. [which is incorrect].
  4. But one day, the earth shouts at ALL its people so loudly that heads turn and deaf ears and closed eyes open.
  5. Which means that more folks become interested in environmental change and start to connect with bloggers and others who recognize we all live on one heavenly body.
  6. To help the awareness of planetary health and survival for all sentient beings.
  7. And that matters because the global population needs access to independent information and different opinions, from many diverse sources which results in an informed global community, who might be more proactive about positive change, mindful of equity and respectful of differences.
  8. In the process, you help coalesce a community of global cohesiveness and egalitarian understanding with blogs being one small catalyst.
  9. The Planet gets a kiss!

Applying the Rudolph Framework to Your Own Blog

If you wish to try this writing experiment with your own blog, check in with Ally. Blogger etiquette would suggest you cite Ann Handley and include a pingback to The Spectacled Bean.

reflecion in glass ball
Something Different

If you wish to join in with the Friendly Friday Challenge, check the instructions, or visit Sandy’s Friendly Friday post.

I will be back with another Friendly Friday challenge theme on Friday 12th March, 2021.

Amanda

stpa logo
blogging, Photography, Travel

Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge – On the Way

Even though few people are currently travelling, most of us have travel stories about our global adventures, that we can re-visit through writing and photographs.

Welcome back to the Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge, where I challenge you to create a post and share your stories, photographs, or memories, that you experienced ‘On the Way,’ to, or from, somewhere. It may be a shop, airport, workplace, historic site, residence, or whichever place you choose.

Friendly Friday Challenge Theme

On the Way

Instructions on joining the two weekly challenge is found here.

If you prefer an abridged form, you will find that further below in this post.

Now let’s take a trip through photos and a story:

In addition to the above photographs, I’m sharing a story of Just another person from around the world from 1986 that fits with the theme.

On Our Way – to the Airport

It was steaming hot and humid, as only Thailand can be. The vacation was over, but with our well-cured suntans and fond vacation memories lingering softly in our minds, the ‘Moth,’ (ie. Man of the House), and I were ushered into the rear seat of a Mercedes, by two young men who would drive us to Bangkok International Airport.

This older model ‘Merc,’ clearly nearing its use-by date, was the Taxi Airport Transfer our Travel Agent had kindly arranged, which meant we’d avoid navigating Bangkok’s public transport system in the oppressive, pea soup-like heat that had surrounded us back at Pattaya Beach.

Thankfully, the Mercedes was air-conditioned; mind you, the cooling unit was working extra hard to reach anywhere near the back seat and in reality, a vintage metal blade fan spewing tepid air would have been more effective than this car’s cooling system and I smiled a wry smile to the Moth, now seated beside me.

Photo by tom balabaud on Pexels.com

My hand reached across the numerous cracks and wrinkles in the sweat-caressed leather upholstery and touched the Moth’s hand. He’d been a tad nervous about travelling in South-East Asia and was clearly relieved he’d soon be on a plane heading home, to Australia.

Then something happened which began to make that look a little less likely.

We’d already been stuck in not one, but two, traffic jams and to pass the time, our Thai guide and his young driver would repeatedly push the ‘eject’ button, on the 1970’s era cassette player, and laugh uproariously when the ageing cassette plopped out on the floor. Added to this it seemed that absentmindedly switching the windscreen wipers on and off, and on and off again, despite the sun blazing outside, was an additional source of mirth for these two young guys.

Was this their first city job, I wondered? They looked like they were still a bit wet behind the ears.

Glancing over at the car’s instrument panel, I noticed the temperature gauge was spiking ‘hot,’ while the petrol gauge’s needle now flickered on ‘Reserve,’ indicating the fuel tank was close to empty. I raised an eyebrow and felt a slight tightening in my chest.

Cautiously, I asked the Thai Guide how much longer it might be before we’d reach the airport? In broken English, the reply came that it would be around half an hour, more or less, depending on traffic problems around the airport. I raised my eyebrows and looked again at the Moth.

Should I say something more about potentially running out of petrol?

I hesitated for a moment and crossed my fingers, but remained silent.

traffic jam Bangkok 1986
A Bangkok Traffic Jam in 1986. After two hours, we had travelled 100 metres.

Minutes ticked by and I began to calculate whether we could still make our flight if we did get stuck in another of Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams and whether the car would run out of petrol before we reached our destination.

I decided I should speak up.

“Won’t you need a little more fuel, soon?” I finally said, in a polite, suggestive way.

Both the driver and his offsider looked at each other, befuddled. After a moment, they shook their heads firmly. It seemed I might need to clarify a little more what I meant.

“The fuel gauge,” I said, gaining confidence and pointing.“It is showing empty.”

“Ah, hah,” the young Driver said, with a gentle laugh.

Temperature,” he said smiling and tapping the petrol gauge with a knowing nod.

Umm. I don’t think so.” I offered. I was shaking my head but in those days, I had a soft voice and hadn’t developed any kind of authoritative tone, so the driver easily shrugged me off with a quick, “No problem,” and flashed that broad and innocent Thai smile, that can charm almost anyone.

I sat back in my seat thinking there was no way we’d catch our flight if we ran out of petrol. I looked at the Moth, imploring him with my eyes to say something to the driver. His eyebrows were knitted together, yet he remained silent.

Would you like something to eat?” the driver then piped up? “A bowl of rice? You have time,” he said pointing to his watch.”

I thought a detour may use up even more petrol and remembering his questionable skills in reading gauges, I wasn’t confident we had any time for food. Declining politely, I advised him we’d eat at the airport, adding under my breath – if we ever get there.

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on Pexels.com

Several minutes later, the frenzied finger-pointing and gesticulating towards the car’s instrument panel, accompanied by feverish Thai mutterings between driver and colleague, suggested something was amiss.

Without warning, the Driver stepped hard on the Merc’s gas pedal. We sped off at high speed through the traffic. I suspected it wasn’t the pressures of time that had prompted his change of heart. He must have realised his mistake in reading the gauges and surmised fuel was now perilously low.

Falsely thinking that accelerating and reaching the airport faster would prevent the car from running out of petrol, meant we were now overtaking every car on the highway, at breakneck speed. I gripped the armrest tightly with one hand and the Moth’s hand with the other.

Just hold on! the Moth mouthed at me silently.

After what seemed like an eternity, I saw the terminal of Bangkok International Airport loom ahead of us through the windscreen. If anyone had been listening in at that moment, they would have heard four very audible and loud signs of relief from both the front and the back seat of the old Merc.

We had arrived.

Join in with the Friendly Friday Challenge

Do you have a story or photograph or two to share?

Compose a post, be that photograph/s, story or recipe, with the theme, ‘On the way,’ somewhere – and include both the tag, ‘Friendly Friday’ and a url linking back to this post.

After publishing your post, return here and leave a comment with your post’s url. That way other visitors can find your post and visit.

Do Follow the Friendly Friday Challenge blogs: The Sandy Chronicles, and StPA for future prompts.

Remember this challenge runs for two weeks and you are encouraged to post once, twice or as many times as you like.

Sandy will be back on Friday 26th February with a new challenge.

blogging, Photography

Friendly Friday – Special Treat Challenge

We are in the midst of a casual baking challenge in a (time-unlimited) bake-off with Sandy, Moon and Ju-Lyn. Sandy has issued a counter challenge for me to make a Dacquoise ( See Sandy’s pic below). I have to summon up a little more courage before making that. All in good fun though.

Dacquoise dessert from The Sandy Chronicles

Whilst it is somewhat of a cross-cultural event, spanning Canada, USA, and Singapore, my Pavlova recipe was very traditional, originating in the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook.

If you are curious and want to try this – here is my version of the Australian Pavlova recipe.

The Pavlova was my Special treat for Friendly Friday

Pavlova

Read more about how I made this particular pavlova here.

I will be back in week’s time with a new theme for Friendly Friday. Come visit StPA then.

rosemaling fabric
History & Traditions, Photography

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Red and Green

Origins of the Traditional Christmas Colours of Red and Green

In many parts of Europe during the middle ages, Paradise plays were performed, often on Christmas Eve. They told Bible stories to people who couldn’t read. The ‘Paradise Tree’ in the garden of eden in the play was normally a pine tree with red apples tied to it.

whychristmas.com/customs/colors-of-christmas.shtml

Final Photo Prompt for 2020

For the final Friendly Friday Photo Challenge of 2020, show us your version of photos of Red and Green.

Join the Friendly Friday Challenge

Write a post of your own celebrating ‘Red and Green,’ and ‘ping’ or link back to this post, leaving a comment below, so we can find your own Friendly Friday Post.

There are more detailed instructions on how to join in with the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge here.

These photos are taken in Japan in 2019, during the Crimson leaves season. The final two photographs are taken with #No filter.

The Friendly Friday Challenge team will be enjoying a well earned break, from weekly Friendly Friday posts, over the festive period. The challenge will resume in the New Year on Friday 29th January, 2021.

Friendly Friday

Friendly Friday Challenge in 2021

Your Friendly Friday Hosts Sandy and myself, (Amanda) will post a new format for Friendly Friday, going forward in 2021. One that we hope will encourage and support those wonderful bloggers who have been posting Friendly Friday posts throughout this, a most difficult year for the world. Of course, we also welcome new participants to the challenge.

All are welcome to join in.

God Jul til Alle Sammen and Merry Christmas

Christmas tree
europe
Photography

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Whilst Walking

“Photography helps people to see” ~Berenice Abbott 

Janeluriephotography


The above quote is taken from Jane’s blog, where you will find photographs that are something special. The natural world is displayed in its incredible beauty by Jane’s skill, as a photographer.

It is a delight to walk in forested or rural areas, in cool, shady glades, in big sky country of cattle grazing lands or scenic vistas away from the inner city. Use arrows to see more images below.

  • pond water
  • bridge through a garden in japan
  • rural australia farm

Whilst walking with my own camera and observing the world, I try to channel that atmosphere that Jane creates, in her photography.

“Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.” 

~ Susan Sontag
fjord norway with jetty

Friendly Friday Challenge Prompt – Whilst Walking

This week our challenge prompt is to post a photograph you have taken ‘Whilst Walking.’

[N.B. If you are in lockdown, archival photography is quite acceptable].


Walking Photo Challenge Brief:

Photograph what it is that draws your attention.

Do you spot something unusual?

In urban areas, we can still pay attention as we walk. The colour of vehicles, the signage, the expressions on people’s faces, the rain hitting the pavements and gutters. It is there waiting for our attention and our camera lens.

Whilst walking.

Join in the Weekly Friendly Friday Challenge

Are you a blogger or photographer interested in joining the photo challenge? This challenge runs until Thursday next week. Link back to this post, leave a comment here and other bloggers will find your Friendly Friday post.

Full Instructions on engaging with the Friendly Friday Blogger community are found here.

Sandy at the blog: TheSandyChronicles will present a new Friendly Friday prompt to you next week.

May I suggest that you follow both our blogs if you want to catch the weekly prompts for Friendly Friday.

bridge effects
blogging, Photography

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Smoke and Mirrors

Elise Davies was writing about mirror photography on her blog recently. Apparently it is quite a trend on a nefarious app, that one that imitates a clock! Yes, that one.

Elise likes how using mirrors in her photography:

diverts or reflects something else within the image whilst keeping focus on the models also.

Elise Davies

Mirrors can reveal something different or be a reverse reflection of the chosen subject.

Friendly Friday Challenge Prompt

The challenge this week is to post photo/s of, “Smoke and Mirrors.”

It might be a magic illusion, a symmetrical reflection, an accidental or deliberate set-up shot, or an image within an image.

It is really up to you how to interpret the prompt.

illusion-street performers

Trondheim river
Trondheim, Norway
Credit: pixabay.com

How to Join the Friendly Friday Challenge

To join in add a linkback, (aka a ping-back), and a Friendly Friday tag to a new post or link, addressing the prompt, then return to this post and leave a comment with your published link, as pingbacks are notoriously unreliable.

If this is your first challenge, there are more detailed instructions on how to join the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge.

My Friendly Friday Challenge co-host will provide the prompt next week, at The Sandy Chronicles.

Friendly Friday
Hallingdal Golfjellet- sheep
blogging, Mental Health, Photography, Travel

Friendly Friday Challenge – Quiet Places

The world can be a stressful place at times. Often there is a need to step back and re-energize our tolerance to stress, pressures and worries.

Certain places in the world can be restorative to our spirit. These places may be somewhere in your own region, in your own street or even in one’s own backyard or a quiet city street.

Such ‘Quiet Places,‘ may bring solace and a settling of the nerves.

norway
Dalen, Norway

In the year of Covid confusion, I re-visit quiet places in my dreams. Photo archives bring those memories to life again, if only for a transient moment, in the present time.

Like the time, I stayed up in the mountains of Norway..

Or on the banks of the Tauber River in Germany.

light

I am drawn to locations by the water, presumably due to the calming effect of the waves gently caressing the shoreline.

What about you?

Where is your ‘Quiet Place?’

Create a Friendly Friday Challenge ‘Quiet Places’ Post

To join the challenge, simply add a ping-back link and a Friendly Friday tag to a new post, then come back here to leave a comment with the published link, so visitors can find you and visit.

If this is your first challenge contribution, there is a full set of instructions on how to join the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge on my blog header.

Friendly Friday will at StPA, in two weeks time. In the meantime, next Friday, you can discover the next prompt at my Friendly Friday Challenge Co-host’s blog, The Sandy Chronicles.