around the winter Pole

Golden Boy on the East Lyn, Exmoor
Devon, Norway, Finland, Norway, Devon and then Norway, are you getting my drift. Somewhere in the 7 weeks from the middle of December and the end of January, it was a a blur of snow, Christmas eating, airports, cold days on the river and more snow. I often recall what my mother once told myself about time, and as indeed, the older you get the faster the clock appears to go. Is it that you are simply busy, every day and all the time, thus have no time to look at the clock? Probably, however the alternative, the longing to be able to lazily look at the clock, and see time slip by slowly, squeezing seconds amply by. Alas as the lack of blog posts indicates, I have been in the hyper time travelling modern lifestyle mode. Still a holiday, might be appealing, but I am not one to sit around, action and activity are my only mantra.
At Dartmeet ready fo the off
Jack Butcher at Euthanisa on the Upper Dart
Christmas in Finland was white, snow on the lake, snow on the roof, snow on my boots and snow in the air, white and snowy it was. An excellent time was of course had, dining on the very excellent Vänskä salted pork shoulder that is roasted very, very slowly. Covered in mustard, the Finnish Christmas pork is melt in your mouth, perfection, and as my wife is a vegetarian, the treat of meat is always welcome, but the Vänskä Christmas pork is a once a year treat. Satu and I hit the snow on fjellskis, which are more traditional skis, wider and longer than normal skis, and you wear a normal type of boot, something to do, straight out of the door at the Vänskä Summer cottage near Tampere. Trying to beat back the Winter fill, we hit the ski tracks, although the -30˚C at night certainly meant the day time temperature would not too much better. Within a few days, we were back in Øyer, Norway.

New Year’s was going great, I drank whiskey like it was water, and by a few minutes past midnight, it was a very rare sight for my drinking partners, a rather sick Mr Westgarth. I clearly blame Colin, for his poor whiskey choice. The following day was a right off, everyone else went skiing, and myself I stayed in bed all day. The following day was a lot better, and normal service presumed with operation sparrow leg no more in action, with more nordic ski training.
WWS&R Live Bait practise on the Erme
Within days, back to work, and finally a wet Devon awaited. This past paddling season, has been poor, margin amounts of rain, and not the westerly rain bands of a normal Autumn come Winter paddling in the UK. Still, we had the best of it, 10 days of fine action, all the runs covered, fun on the East Oakment, high water Upper Dart, every day something fun to do. There was also lots of work on the river too, in fact this past Winter was Gene17’s busiest yet, lot of paddlers, no recession in sight. Well, January was a fast month, along with all the work, paddling, riding my road bike ( operation sparrow leg no more in action), I managed to sell my UK car, my last one I hope, and get everything shipped to Slovenia. Also had a week at Palm, getting excited about 2012 and beyond. A quick visit to my Nan, a grandson’s duty, and then Norway again. I leave you with a shot of my van in the sun, started first time, after 4 months of resting in the sub-zero temperature in Øyer, that’s why you buy a Mercedes Benz……
Norsk Winter and my van

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