It is mid summer in Norway and the temperatures hovers around 16 celsius (60f). Not bad for the arctic circle especially given we are only 200 kilometres or so away from the most northerly point of Europe. However, we are engulfed in cloud, which is exactly how I left Manchester yesterday, no surprises there then!
Sadly, during my visit to the UK my friends husband passed away. Graham was diagnosed with secondary cancer only a few weeks ago and despite everything Graham remained a positive and jovial character until the end. When visitors came, Graham could draw himself up and present a model of determination and fearlessness. Susan his wife remained strong but inside, her heart was braking. Their two children and 3 little grandchildren, shocked and devastated. Their son flew over from Australia and on Thursday, his daughter, Laura arranged a special license to get married. At a private and personal ceremony, Graham gave his daughter away. He carried himself with courage and love but most of all pride. On Saturday, Graham passed away with Susan by his side.
Two years ago, I supported my sister as she nursed her husband, Russell. He too had cancer. It is a horrid and cruel disease that not only takes lives but leaves a trail of devastation and heart break. My sister copes remarkably well but inside, I know she misses her husband so much. My visit home was emotional in more ways than one, as it brought back the memories of Russell’s journey and the heart ache my sister still feels. The only relief for both Susan and my sister, is the relief that their husbands are no longer suffering and in pain.
For me, I am just so glad I was able to be there for both of them and help in my own tin pot way that I can. I am hopeless with emotions (I am the sort of person that gets tongue tied, says the wrong thing and just cries) but I am good with practical financial stuff. Give me a task to sort out money and I am in my element, minimise outgoings and maximise incomings, I can do! Helping them to organise and access their finances and pull together a simple budget to guide them over the next few months is something that is second nature to me. I feel very lucky to have two amazing friends that have let me in to their lives at the most sensitive time, thank you. Remember, I am only a phone call away.
After 10 days in the UK it was so nice to see Craig and the dogs. Craig was all smiles and big hugs and the dogs, well they went bonkers. A full on boogie night special with plenty wiggles and loads of whimpers of excitement. A complete change to when I left them in Harstad – low mood with a broken motorhome, a pending huge bill for the repair and living in and around an industrial zone with two dogs who want to roam free. It was not a highlight of our trip but fast forward and here we are with Vin repaired and everyone eager to get on the road.
Today, however, we took things easy and just enjoyed our time together. Time to unwind, collect our thoughts and just simply chat about anything and everything. We took Mac n Tosh on a long walk to the beach. There they ran around like crazy, chasing peddles and munching on seaweed pods. I could watch them run free and chase each other all day. As they darted in and out of the long grass it reminded me of their flea and tick treatment, which we sorted as soon as we got back to Vin. We give Mac n Tosh Brevecto, a new chewable tablet that we administer every 12 weeks. It is a little more expensive than the conventional flea drops but it seems to do the trick. Mac n Tosh haven’t had any ticks or bites despite the long grass and occasional swarms of mosquitos. Tomorrow, I will also give them their Milpro monthly worming tablet.
Time to catch up on the emails, website etc etc. Boy there is a lot happening, what with Boris Johnson elected at Foreign Secretary (shocked and surprised), the Nice lorry massacre and now Turkey’s coup. The world seems bonkers…time to catch up on some happy stuff, travel blog news! Vin felt like a bit of a sandwich with Our Tour just above us and Charlie the Chuckle Bus below us. Good to know we are not the only mad ones doing this!
Then just as we were starting to chill 2 German motorhomes pulled up and a Dutch van. Everyone piled out, had a good chat before setting up the fishing rods. Not long and the reel was spinning. They hurled in a beauty. We are no good with fish but we are reliably told it is a cracking halibut.
By the end of the day, everything started to feel like normal again. Its been a crazy few weeks but now looking forward to life on the road and exploring Europe but first, crack open the duty free. I forgot to mention before I set off, we registered with motorhome fun forum and what a great website. The people were really helpful when I was looking to get from Harstead to Tromso. A treat for Craig Oozo and a nice bottle of red for me. See you tomorrow folks!
Our wild camping spot tonight, nice, quiet secluded bay.
GPS position N069.986705 and E023.306063
Weather: Low 5 and high 16, overcast with drizzle spells