Thursday, December 31, 2015

Iceland, sunsetting


The last Iceland post and the last of the the year. 

I spent my birthday on the Golden Circle tour, in a comfy minibus driven by a charming, funny, knowledgeable man named Thor, in the congenial company of a dozen or so others. Mid-morning, still in pitch darkness, we visited a town sitting on so much volcanic and seismic activity that they baked bread in the ground, grew peppers and tomatoes all year in geothermic greenhouses, and where one of the sights pointed out was a big hole where a house had fallen into the ground one morning. After that is was golden waterfalls, churning geysirs, the old site of the Allthing, and a lake so deep and clear that there are three separate species of Arctic char each evolved for a different depth of water, and scuba divers get vertigo. And much more besides. 

The following morning another minibus picked us up early and took us to the airport, where security waved through our souvenir heavy metal horseshoe complete with spiky nails when we said we wanted to keep it because of the wonderful time we'd had with the horses. We spent our last krona on miniatures of Schnapps, and as I was going through passport control the dour young man frowned at me as he looked at my passport.

'Did you have a good party last night then?'

Was I looking that rough? I wondered, then twigged; I'd been having such a good time for the whole time I kept forgetting about it.

'I had seawolf with lobster sauce, a candle in my ice cream and some very nice schnapps,' I replied.

We landed late but comfortably at Luton in the fog, and went through an hour or two's insignificant but anti-climactic hassle trying to get on a pre-booked bus to Stansted. Once on board, the comparative dreariness and the excruciating easy listening station (I never knew there were so many profoundly mind-numbing cover versions of already mind-numbing smoochy ballads...) was alleviated by exchanging text messages with my lovely niece and her chap waiting to pick us up at Stansted, so neither of us worried about the others too much, and with Glenn here at home, who reminded me that the day, December 13th, was St Lucy's day, and Radio 3 was playing some lovely music from Nordic countries.

I promised myself to look this up on the i-player when I next could, and found it was part of a whole Northern Lights season (most of the programmes are still available to listen), which I'm still relishing discovering, including the 20th century Icelandic composer Jón Leifs

I took so many, often rather haphazard and blurry photos of the Golden Circle and its sights and a few videos too. There is so much to photograph and so much to be said about it but so little perhaps that hasn't been photographed or said before or better, so I thought it best to stick them all together into one montage video, and was able to track down the Jón Leifs Requiem piece to put with it. I'm quite pleased with the video, but especially want everyone to hear the music; it's about five minutes long, so if you have the time, please adjust the volume, put on headphones etc as necessary, and maybe even view it full screen? 




~

So it only remains to wish everyone the very best for the coming year. The difference between my own blessed state and that of so much of the world can never be reconciled, I know, I've no new platitudes to shed on the matter. 

But I'd share my happiness and good fortune if I could. Happy New Year.



25 comments:

Rouchswalwe said...

Getting close where you are, sweet Lucy ... so I'll wish you and Tom a happy Rutsch into the new year for now! ♪ ♫

und Prost!

Jean said...

I've been loving Leifs on Radio 3 and your video is perfect - THANK YOU and Happy New Year!

marja-leena said...

Magical slide show and music - thank you!

Wishing all the very best in the New Year to you and Tom!

Zhoen said...

So lovely, thank you. You have shared, eloquently.

Blessings aren't to be compared, only enjoyed with gratitude. Misery is never helped with further misery, only with joy and beauty and blessings.

Thank you. Getting to enjoy the purple circle scarf this winter. So good.

Catalyst said...

You and Tom are such a lovely couple. I'm glad I found you. May 2016 be a great and good time for all of us.

Ellena said...

Magnifique dear Lucy, your work and the Requiem.
May the coming Year be good to you and Tom.

marly youmans said...

Lovely gift!

And some wisdom for us: "The difference between my own blessed state and that of so much of the world can never be reconciled, I know, I've no new platitudes to shed on the matter." Doesn't that sum up so much?

Have a wonderful 2016!

Roderick Robinson said...

I find I'm listening to music - your music in this case - in a different way. Trying to imagine a hallowed time after the singing lessons have had their effect and I'm there standing up as part of your choir singing to you and anyone else who cares to listen; delighted by Jón Leifs in that the words of his Requiem are on the beat all through and I'm not having to stretch single vowels over whole bar lengths; losing the thread and getting lost in time. That there's the possibility I may utter a sound and it could - if I'm lucky - cause pleasure to someone, abstract unarticulated pleasure a long way from words. It wouldn't matter if I remained unidentified, merely contributed to a choral noise. It won't happen, of course, there isn't enough time left, but I can pretend. And anyway there's personal pleasure in tiny improvements in which definitely bad rises to almost mediocre.

Thank Jóhn Leifs for me and thank you for conveying Nordic experience in this self-abnegatory way to your readers and (something different) your hearers.

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday Lucy!
Have just watched and listened to your magical film. Thankyou. The Alchemist pricked up his ears and asked about the composer, so we now have the Requiem (via a well known online music store)!
Wishing you and Tom a happy and healthy 2016.
Susan (HHB)

polish chick said...

a belated happy new year to you both, dear lucy and tom!

Jeff said...

Wishing you a happy 2016!

P.S. My eloquent and prolific friend Nancy Marie Brown, who writes about medieval history, is also an expert on Icelandic horses and wrote a memoir about them: A Good Horse Has No Colour. Worth looking into! We're hoping to go on one of her Icelandic pony tours one of these days...

Avus said...

Thank you for a wonderful post, Lucy. Also for introducing me to Jón Leifs, who I had not come across. That was a delightful video accompanying the Requiem, which I now know was written for his daughter who died young.
You and Tom are a delightful, happy couple and I wish you both continuing happiness.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Lucy, your video and its music are majestic, perfect as the golden light you captured caressing the sombre, noble, mind-churning landscape. As for you and Tom standing frozen,awestruck, humble and fully aware of everything around and within you, all I can say is...thank you so much.

Zhoen said...

Found this today,

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap160103.html

Pam said...

Mustgotheremustgotheremustgothere before I die...

Happy New Year.

Lucy said...

Thanks all, glad you liked, once again, happy New Year.

Zhoen, fantastic picture, thanks!

HKatz said...

Have a happy New Year. I love the Iceland posts. My parents went there this past year, but in the summer. It's definitely on my list of places I hope to visit some day.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Thor is a bus driver!! Only in Iceland can such miracles occur.

Lucy said...

Hila - yes, do go! Thanks for stopping by.

Natalie - His full name was Thorste(i)n, I think; he chatted a bit about it and said 'Thor' was an element in a lot of Icelandic names, and reminded us of the English name 'Thora'. He was very nice and very knowledgeable, though not as colourful as Runi who ran the Northern Lights tours, very shaggy and vikingesque and rather unwashed, sauntering about in just light leggings and lopi pullover in sub-zero night temperatures.

Which reminds me I'd better give Thor's tour company a link to the video. If he were Welsh I suppose he'd be called 'Thor the tour'...

Anonymous said...

This is Javier from GeoIceland.
Thank you for the video, I really liked it, and I have posted it on our Facebook.
And now, reading your blog, you got me laughing silly with your description of Runi :)
I'm glad you enjoyed your time in Iceland.

Best regards

Javier

Pam said...

Yes, in answer to your question, I haven't mentioned to our friend that I knew about the adoption, but I did reveal it to his wife, also our friend. I didn't mean to - I was just so startled, and blurted out that I had known for years. Then I wished I hadn't said!

I once had the wife of Charlie of the Proclaimers as a student (in FE). I said, foolishly, that the twins looked extremely like each other. Then she said, "Do you know what a guitar looks like? "(Me: yes.) "Well, the one holding the guitar is Charlie," she said. Simple!

tristan said...

like the last sentence ... XXX

Sheila said...

Late with so many things, I've just now read this and seen the video. Which I'm so glad to see after reading Tom's post about Iceland and its liminal quality. I'm tempted to say his post is so much clearer now after seeing your images; but in a way not intended to make artificial lines and categories, the images really do shed light on his words. Absolutely beautiful.

Belated happy birthday and happy New Year!

Laura Frankstone said...

Finally, I take the time to really immerse myself in your Iceland wanderings. I think I was too 'homesick' and envious before. The video with music is wonderful, dear Lucy. As are all of your creations, varied and bountiful as they are.
Belated happy new year to you and Tom. I still hope for another visit someday soon or not soon, just someday.

xoxo
Laura

Lucy said...

Thanks again all.

Laura - that's very touching and honest! Iceland seems to evoke these feelings of longing and indeed of envy, of a good kind I think, more that anywhere, it's surprising how often the word comes up when people speak about it. We only really had a taster, just three whole days, you surely know the place much better. Now we long to go back, though we're torn, since there is Norway and Austria and the mountainous regions of Greece, and the great old European cities all still to be discovered and rediscovered, and only so much time and money to do it with, as well as a parallel longing for another dog in our lives, which would also preclude other ventures... Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words, and all the best for 2016.