~ One Year of Sparkles ~

After an initial flurry of activity, it has been an age since I last posted here! Work has been absolutely hectic lately, but I see light at the end of the tunnel now (and I don’t think it’s a train).

This Wednesday marked one year of me wearing my sparkley engagement ring from my lovely Mike. We celebrated with a sunny walk on Sola beach, followed by a home-made meal of breaded fish and potato wedges – the same meal we ate on the evening of our engagement (except that time, Mike had actually caught the fish himself)! Mike bought me some gorgeous flowers – stargazer lilies that are currently sweetly scenting our whole apartment – and Mum gifted us some beautiful table decorations to make our meal a little more special.

On the day Mike proposed, I was keeping a journal; we were on holiday in Norway and staying in a little place called Gjermundshavn, on the banks of Hardangerfjorden. This is my entry for 10/09/2014:

Safe to say that today has been the happiest day of my 24 years on this earth. This afternoon, as M and I sat on the palisade of our balcony, watching the herons fishing in the fjord and the water underneath the huge mountains on the far side of the inlet gently rippling in the breeze, M asked me to do the honour of becoming his wife. I said yes, of course! He had picked out an antique ring for me, just like I wanted; a platinum band with a princess-cut diamond in a beautifully classic setting.

We’d started our day with breakfast outside, but when I’d popped in to make some extra toast, I’d heard a commotion from where I’d left M. I ran back out to see my coffee spilled everywhere and M looking sheepish. He’d heard an animal of some description rattling through the undergrowth, making its way toward the cabin. Expecting a mountain lion, a bear or perhaps both, he’d leapt up onto the table (there goes my coffee) just as the tiniest, fluffiest, most unthreatening Pekinese dog you’ve seen in your life emerged from the brambles. How I laughed! Our new friend stayed until we’d finished breakfast and fed him the bacon rind, then made its way home to its owners.

After we’d eaten, we spent a while picking brambles on the waters’ edge. We filled a big ice cream tub, and later in the evening I turned our hard work into a rather delicious crumble. Nam nam! Later, we took a drive into Gjermundshavn for some groceries, then decided to take our wee boat across the fjord to Rosendal. We potentially set the bar a little high for our 6-horsepower-beast… It took 50 minutes and sounded like a hairdryer the whole way! It was a lovely journey, though, and we even spotted a pod of dolphins! When we arrived we had kaffe og kaker in a gorgeous bakery (Pedar Baker) before having a wander round the other 4 shops on the main street and deciding to head back home for a Hansa or two. I drove the boat some of the way home and gave myself a fright by crossing the wake of one of the ‘fast ferries’ that run between islands – it was much bigger than I expected and I hit it at full speed. I screamed and M laughed!

When we got home we sat outside and listened to the radio for a while, before M disappeared inside and came back with my new sparkely diamond ring and the Big Question! We decided the best way to celebrate would be with a can of beer in the sauna, swiftly followed by jumping into the sea from the end of the marina – although only I was brave enough to do that! We had M’s big cod from yesterday for tea, breadcrumbed with mashed potatoes and peas; it was the best ‘fish supper’ I’ve ever tasted!

Going to bed with excited butterflies in my tummy, a new diamond on my finger and a sets of happy parents back home getting stuck into the celebratory wine (they swear they wouldn’t have been opening it anyway)!

10/09/2014

A year on, and we are now happily living in Norway full time. We’re planning our wedding (317 days to go!) and I think all our guests have now received their Save the Date cards. My Dad did a fantastic job of designing them. I asked him to paint us a watercolour, but left him to choose the colours, layout and style… He incorporated a heron for us, as the cabin in which we spent our holiday in Gjermundshavn was populated with hundreds of them. The text was overlaid digitally, and the finished product was printed on thick card and sent out in a pearly golden envelope. The picture here doesn’t do it justice – it’s just an iPhone snap of the one we have stuck to our fridge – they are so beautiful in real life.

Will try to post a few more updates from the last couple of weeks…

K

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~ Engangsgrills and Jelly Stings ~

With all this gorgeous weather we’ve been having in Stavanger (it’s been 30+ degrees every day for 4 days now), Mike and I decided we’d head to the beach after work on Tuesday. We picked up some burgers and an engangsgrill (a disposable BBQ), drove to Hellestø beach and had a brilliant couple of hours relaxing by the sea.

The water at Hellestø is super clear, and the sand banks mean that it’s shallow for hundreds of metres from the shore – which makes it both safe for kids and warm. I love to swim; Mike, not so much. He does enjoy a wee paddle though! I had a dip while he got dinner going, then we both went in again after we’d eaten. It felt like we were on holiday! Warm water, most of the population of Stavanger in their bikinis on sun loungers, the smell of BBQs and the happy shouting of children. We came home salty, sandy, freckly and with crazy-beach-hair (OK, that was just me) – what a lovely afternoon.

Yesterday Mike was working a little later than me at the office, so I decided to do a repeat performance before I went to collect him in the car. As soon as I got in the water, my leg was itching and burning – youch! Only then did I remember that on Tuesday we spotted a jellyfish on our second swim, and after we got out the water my leg was a bit stingy. I think I probably had a little jelly sting on Tuesday and hadn’t realised until I was back in the saltwater! Still, it didn’t spoil my swim – I spent absolutely ages in the water, floating back and forth and diving under the swell that was rolling in. Bliss. No BBQ this time, though – I just picked up a sandwich and a big bottle of water which was enough to keep me going until Mike and I bought a couple of ice creams on our way home!

Tonight I’m going to Gladmat with a couple of the ladies from work – a food festival in Stavanger that’s eagerly anticipated by all the locals. I’m looking forward to trying some tasty morsels and hopefully getting a few people-photos to upload here later.

K