Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Hold onto your hats...we're here. Big Ed, my Unforgiving and Hideously Pedantic Editor, has been sitting on my shoulder like a nagging ghost, pestering me to get going, so, if you can stand it, let's carry on from where we left off.

How long does it take, once physically landed, to feel properly at home? Whatever the returnee anticipates is of little consequence, because sure as eggs is eggs, the road home is bound to be littered with unavoidable surprises, some pleasant, some less so, and some about as thrilling as finding mouse droppings in your ski boot. Oh, and place your bets on how long it will be until I feel 'normal' again. I didn't expect to experience 'Return Shock' but apparently it's a common syndrome. One slight flaw...nobody ever pretended I was 'normal' in the first place.

However, the time has come to end this wimp-ridden procrastination, to stop finding excuses like 'the equipment sucks/cable is fried/ desk is all shooglie/mad hair day/brain tired from providing hitherto unheard-of summer hols entertainment for the youths around me'. Enough. A few 'posts' are in order...maybe not every day, but often enough to offer You, Precious Reader, something to do other than twiddling your thumbs while waiting for the kettle to boil/bus to arrive/sun to come out/brambles to ripen/jam to set/fish to bite/dreamboat to appear. It's time to take note, to see how Scotland has been getting along without us, to see what has changed, what is better, or worse, what works, what stinks, how we are and how we are shaping up for the future. Nowhere is perfect, as I have already pointed out, but there are plenty of folk who still believe, despite endlessly depressing news stories, that we Scots have enough fuel left in our individual tanks to make a decent stab at things. It's not very fashionable, but I'd prefer to concentrate on the positive.

Upon arrival in this fair land, the initial impressions were startlingly vivid. Casting an eye down from the plane window, I realized it could take months for my vision to readjust to the non-norsk colours. The city of Aberdeen was doing that Grey Thing it does so expertly. Surrounded by a neat patchwork of green fields, the city itself was relentlessly grey...grey buildings, grey roads, grey water, with a grey sky overhead just to top it all off. This Grey Thing has a habit of hanging around rather more than some of us might wish. I recall a German friend who arrived to stay in Aberdeen and was astonished at this Grey Thing....'Vy, ven zee sky and sea are so grey vould anyvone ever zink of building an entire city of grey houses as vell...if zis is some kind of Scottish joke, it's not very vitty.'' I tried to explain about the granite, but she was having none of it. And I couldn't blame her. Until you have experienced an Aberdeen 'haar', you have no concept of what it means to miss the sun.

However, upon leaving the airport and quickly driving through summer fields, the Grey Thing turned green. Very, very green. A profusion of lush, verdant, abundant vegetation burst from the hedgerows onto the roads, swathes of foliage cast gargantuan shadows across the tarmac. (That would be grey tarmac.) Everything looked wild, overgrown, in need of a bit of a trim.

And that has been the main theme so far....coping with the greenery. I find myself living in a non-tropical jungle where all manner of wildlife and vegetation, both desired and unwanted, has been having a field day. So the return home has been fraught with 'where are the clippers, the extending loppers, the trimmer, the strimmer, the chain-saw, the mower, the tractor, the petrol, the axle grease, the boiler-suit, the ear-defenders and the hardhat? Oh, and where is the handy-man to help me with all this?'

Ah, there's the rub. The TA (Technical Assistant, you will remember) is still sunning himself in Norway for now, his guilt at not being here eased by a temporary return to the pleasures of bachelordom. But that's the Oil Industry for you....partners parted and apart for weeks and months at a time. However, despite the technical setback, from now on, I'll show up here - if you will. In between perfecting my edgings and neatening off the topiary, I'll be reflecting upon what it is to return to the land of one's birth....I'd be delighted if you check in from time to time.


  1. Welcome back!(to the greyness!) From Vicki

  2. wish you were still on this side, school seemed empty without you! Glad you are back here though. Take care xo Ann

  3. Thanks for the warning. Return shock syndrome...I shall be wearing rose tinted glasses. Julie

  4. Jane. Its great to have you just around the corner. Joanne

  5. Hey Gals, where 'ere you may be...I reckon rose-tinted specs are always an excellent idea, whichever part of the northern hemisphere we may happen to inhabit.

  6. Delighted to see you back home and blogging. Looking forward to your adventures!

  7. Yay! You're back! I was thinking you'd figured out what a grind blogging is, having been spared the pressure to produce for a few weeks, and sensibly taken the opportunity to abandon it altogether. I'm glad that's not the case.

    And return shock? Oh yeah. It's a close cousin of culture shock, and for me in some ways was harder (I spent 3 years in Ghana in the Peace Corps). I expected to feel out of place etc. When I went, but sorta figured I'd feel right at home when I came back, it being home and all. But it wore off, and I got comfortable again. And it's interesting to see one's home with new eyes, as you are demonstrating.

  8. Freda and Addofio...so glad you didn't give up on me completely, and checked in just to see if anything had happened. My only excuse, apart from moving country, is the endless organising of family...time to blog has been a little thin on the ground.
    Excuses, excuses, hey?

  9. Just moving from Stavanger to Oslo is enough to set off a return shock. But, I'm back reading your blog. I see I have a lot of catching up to do.....