Sunday, 21 February 2010


It is the night before the day of rest. I shall post this on the actual day of rest, and then have a day of rest, or two. Frankly, both blogger and bloggees could probably do with a day or two of rest, and I never promised I’d be showing up here EVERY day, I only said MOST days. I have a life to lead, you know, and some Unspeakably Norsk Things to be getting on with.

What’s more, my staff here at HQ are slacking. The place is a tip. The housekeeper has gone on strike, the butler has stopped butling, I have no idea where the cook is, and the dhobi wallah’s gone skiing.

At least that’s my excuse. There are various heaps of outdoor winter equipment lying around in every room, there is a minimal and deeply unappetizing supply of food in the house, very few clothes are currently in a wearable state, and the ironing pile is high enough to form a very respectable ski slope. So, what with the day of rest and the skivvy-ing that needs doing, I’m checking out of here for a day or so.

I’m going to ‘slapp av’. This excellent Norwegian phrase, with its splendidly onomatopoeic suggestion, describes the thing we should all be doing at the weekend. ‘Slapping av’ is what weekends were invented for. To ‘slapp av’ is to ‘chill out’, to relax, to seek sanctuary, comfort and rest all in order to restore one’s strength, sanity, and peace of mind. And eat chocolate.

So, I shall be finding a suitable relaxing station, a big comfy armchair with one of those springy things that shoot out for resting the feet of the sitter. This chair will be placed in front of a first-class view, preferably of a fjord with an absolute stouter of a big mountain behind it. . The armchair will have wheels because I will start my ‘slapping av’ session outside on a balcony beneath a heap of furs...when it becomes too chilly, I will wheel myself inside to the warmth of the fireside. There will be a selection of coiffable beverages of an acceptable vintage available within arm’s reach. The TA will peel me a grape. And secreted beneath a cushion, in order to prevent theft, a stash of chocolate will lurk.

I do feel mildly guilty at this level of indulgence, mainly because to enjoy a really decent ‘slapp av’ session, one should no doubt have scaled a mountain or two first, or maybe even secured yet another gold medal at the Winter Olympics for one’s nation. A little effort would ensure that the 'slapping av' is not only pleasant, but richly deserved and tinged with a good dose of self-congratulation.

Oh well, I’ll do that later. The best bit of all is that I get to choose which book to read from the heap of Scandinavian literature piled up behind my chair. With time for reading at a frustratingly miniscule level, this is the real and most delicious treat.

So, I’m going to ‘slapp av’, and from my reading selection no doubt pick my current obsession, Nansen. Although, come to think of it, Nansen and ‘slapping av’ don’t really go together too well. I might have to stagger up and go skiing, dash it. If ever there was a man who makes me feel like I’ve never lifted a finger, if is the Fabulous Fridtjof himself.


  1. Jane, I am really enjoying your blog, the pain of packing for the Hytta and the pleasure of being there come rushing back, and yes the average Norwegian man certainily is not average (brings back memories of running arround Stokka and happily being over taken by the norwegian male runner and having one's view considerably improved!). Just about to go slapp av with a fizzy white beverage myself.
    ps apart from the ridiculousness to think it was a good idea (and that you might even have space),for you to pack a collapsing canoe, who really would think it was a good idea to be in one with hundreds of meters of freezing fjord water beneath you!!!!!!

  2. oooooooops that comment was from me vicki!

  3. Anon, or is it Vicki?
    Do you realise, when running, which I find excruciating, I am thinking of you? I will try to remember you at more pleasant moments instead. Or as well.

    Lykke til med loping.(Norsk keyboard out of action)

  4. "slappe av", "takk for sist" and "takk for maten" - some of the best expressions in the Norwegian language.....