March 26th 2006
Up a little too early, about 6.30, but I figured that I may as well get going and then I wouldn’t need to panic about being late. I shoved all my stuff in my bag and arranged the things I may need near the top. Clearly still in my very sensible and organized traveler mode. I checked out the hotel with no effort and walked down to central Oslo with the intention of getting a bus from the centre to the bus station as I wasn’t convinced I would find it again.
One last walk through the park, trying to absorb as much of it as I could and stuff it into my head do that I would be able to recall all of the stillness and the ice and the beauty of it when I was home. I was also quite shattered and kept having to stop and rest.
I got back to the central square, one last look around it, one last stroke across all the memories that were formed here and around here. Then focus on getting home.
It was too early in the morning for the buses and trams to be running, and so I wouldn’t be able to catch one to the bus station. I was going to have to figure it out on my own. Sensibly I thought that my map may have something as touristy as the bus station marked on it, sadly however that was clearly far too obvious a thing to mark on there. Zen navigation it would have to be then!
Wander wander wander…ooo woolly jumpers…that green frog one is still winning the ‘most hideous’ competition…yeah it should be kind of this way… the pavements in Oslo are odd, they look all broken up, I wonder if that is the freeze thaw erosion, or if they are like that because the broken surface stops sheet ice forming… Ice and pavement management in the CBD wow that would be a fascinating project… ooo tram lines I bet if you stuck your tongue on the metal it would be cold enough to stick…yeah this way I suppose…wow look at all that water melting through the slush, it makes little sparkly cave structures, why little snow dragons and ice fairies could live there… ooo pretty blue tiles along the walls… they are familiar…oh wow that would be the bus station then woot! Go Toria!! And with half an hour to spare haha how good am I?!
I bought lots of water and some chocolate because the only other things they were selling were rather nasty plastic looking hotdogs. I sat munching hungrily as this was the first thing I’d eaten since the salad back in Stanstead airport. I was going to save the Snickers bar for later, but decided that was a silly idea and that I wanted to eat it now.
The silver bus pulled up and I got on, he didn’t say anything about putting my bag under the bus, so I just took it on with me. I sat at the back as that was where there was most room. There were too many people to be able to fit everyone on, so I was glad I’d got there early as I couldn’t really cope with finding an alternative route. I do hope those people managed to go on the train or something and get there in time for their flights, on the basis they didn’t seem too upset at the time I guess they had another plan.
I decided to listen to the gig from the night before, though had to spend nearly half an hour fast-forwarding through all the pre-gig chat. Not helped by the fact I kept slipping so it would go to the end of the ‘track’ and I’d have to start all over again! Argh! Way too tired to be patient enough for this!
We went to the airport a quick route as the bus was too full already for it to be worth going the long route via all the stops. The journey was noticeably shorter and I didn’t fall asleep this time. I did have to resist the urge to wave goodbye to Oslo as we left the last bits of the trailing docks behind us. I was so sad that I had to leave, I wanted to stay. I liked who I was here.
That sounds odd I know, but with everything that has happened surrounding me leaving Bryan it’s been a while since I felt entirely together and myself. But here a lot of the pieces had come together. There is this person that I see in myself and I strive to be like that always. It’s very hard to define in words but it is the person I regard myself to be at heart.
In short it’s the kind of person I am when I’m with Adam or Jonathon. The comfortable mix of serious, intelligent, thoughtful and observant laid alongside confident, funny, caring, sexy, strong and together all wrapped up in this sparkly excitable magical imaginative way of perceiving and understanding everything.
I’d achieved that here and it was nice to remember how it feels inside when I’m like that. It is a very comfortable and perfect way to feel. That is how I am meant to be, that is how I am when I’m happy.
I lay back in the seat of the coach and let the gig wash over me, it was a decent recording, not bad for a first attempt, and such a precious little thing to own. Going to gigs is almost always part of a whole big adventure, so they aren’t just music they are a soundtrack to the wider tapestry of life that surround them, I suppose that’s why I like going so much.
The bus got to the airport quite early, so I was sat there for quite a long time, I just sleepily sat listening to the disc and trying to keep awake. There was a group of American lads heading back to the UK. I followed a little of their conversation, they had been up in the mountains and were all going over their adventures that largely seemed to involve trying to snowboard and all the inevitable falling over that goes along with it. It was really sweet.
Then it was time to queue up, I sleepily stood there, there was a lady with a very big bright green bag in front of me and a girl with a set of skis taped up with brown parcel tape, though she also had a flowery strap round them, very pretty. All checked in I had a quick look at the little shop, I had thought about buying Alex a troll keyring as they were scary and hideous and he would probably love it! But then I got distracted by these amazing posters of Norway that they had. There was one of the northern lights green and rippling in the night sky, I had hoped I would have been far enough north to have seen them but I hadn’t been, so this made a good substitute!
Then over to the x-ray machine, it did make me laugh the comparison between the big fenced off section for this that there is as Stanstead, compared to here where you just kind of wandered up to a glass doorway and you were there. Remembering to shove my mobile in the box this time I wandered through the metal detector, and set it off! It was my belt that had tripped it. In retrospect it is quite worrying that my belt didn’t trigger the one in the UK, as it does actually have an awful lot of metal along it!
Then through into duty free, which it has to be said is a lot less nauseating when opposite is a massive wall of glass looking onto a forest draped in snow…add in Steve Hogarth beautifully and evocatively singing ‘I still dream, of Arganon’ and believe me you are sorted :o)
It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t bought any ‘Smile’ pronounced smeel, very tempting to do that in a Gollum voice hehe! It is a type of chocolate that all the boys had told me I would have to try, along with brown cheese which is apparently traditional Norwegian food. Lucy Jordache (Marillion’s manager/ PR person/ I have no idea what!) got totally addicted to it last time she was over, the idea of that along with all the boys rolling their eyes at the cliché girl, made me want to try it! So I bought that and shoved it in my bag so I wouldn’t eat it till I got home, and so I could share it with everyone.
I then wandered up and sat on the floor by passport control waiting for it to open- hehe teeny tiny airport! When it did I queued with everyone, and then as I went through I asked the man if he could stamp my passport for me. Technically now we are in chummy border free Europe he didn’t need to, but I think that is incredibly boring, and that actually the whole point of a passport (aside from giving away your origin when you play the guess the nationality game) is to collect stamps from all the wonderful places you visit! This rather spiffing chap with sparkly blue eyes (who I think rather viewed me the way he probably does his grandchildren) seemed to agree and gleefully stamped my passport, still brandishing his stamper he asked if one was enough, giggling I said thank you one was just perfect! At the same time thinking I will get a second when I come back!
Then a little wait, more marveling of the gorgeous stylish clean airport, wistfully looking out on the dark heavy snow laden sky and wishing I didn’t have to go. Then boarding, I was glad there wasn’t a connecting bridge this time, it gave me a last few precious moments in the air. I stood at the foot of the steps up to the aircraft just letting the cold breeze run through my hair, and just breathing. I wanted to be able to take it home with me, somehow bottle this air so I could breathe it all the time.
Up the steps, stood at the top of them, the poetry of repetition drawing a suitable close to the adventure. I can’t leave this air, I want it to feel like this when I breathe all the time, its been too long since it was this easy to breathe, and since I felt like my lungs actually worked, and them having air in them was a pretty thing and not just hard. So so hard to tear myself away from it. One last breath, sharp and crystal in my lungs, pure cold oxygen in my blood. Wow. I will have back soon. I will come back.
Into the aircraft and down the cramped isle into a window seat! Definitely having a window seat this time! I stayed awake for take off, and kept my face pressed against the glass so that I could drink in every last second of Norway and all her snow. Then up and into the dark grey clouds which swirled misty around us. I fell asleep before we broke into the blue sky above.
My sleep was patchy and broken but distracted me from feeling rough in the nasty pressurized airless cabin. I finished the gig, and decided that because Steve had been talking about it I wanted to listen to ‘This Strange Engine’ but I fell asleep half way through it. Then I woke up again and we were over London and nearly home.
I felt really quite unwell when I got off the plane, and my bag was very heavy, and it was a long walk down to the terminal building. I did think that I may actually collapse which would have been rather annoying, but thankfully I didn’t. I got to passport control where there was a massive queue, this time I did decide to pull the sickly card on the basis I was quite sickly.
The people at the front were a bit miffed with me, but when I, rather breathlessly, explained I wasn’t well, they looked horribly guilty and apologized. I said it was OK they weren’t to know. They had been on holiday in Italy and had, had a lovely time, which thought was very sweet.
Then through nothing to declare, singing the obligatory ‘Nothing To Declare’ song in my head. I always find this bit a little odd, after all the checks, and gates and traveling you are suddenly through the last barrier and just left to your own devices in whichever country it is you have just entered. I always have the unpleasant sensation that I am miling like a sheep!
Down to the coach terminal. I walked outside into the February drizzle, and I could hardly breathe. It was really warm, over sixteen degrees, and the air was thick and muggy, it was like breathing treacle. Usually England isn’t quite this bad, and it was just an unfortunate coincidence that it was horrifically muggy and humid, but it did leave me with the overwhelming urge to just turn around and find my way back to Norway by the quickest possible route.
The bus wasn’t due in for nearly an hour, so I went to the little waiting to room. It was quite possibly the most dirty dingy little place I have ever seen, I was upset to think that on the frontier where people enter our country this is one of the first impressions they must get of us. Who ever manages that place should be utterly ashamed of themselves.
While I was waiting I called my mummy and told her what time the bus would get back to Luton and to ask if she would mind picking me up. I had meant to save my adventures till I got home, but I couldn’t wait so I told her then! Besides which I know it annoys my dad when I get excited and talk too loud, so if I told her now it would be out my system before I got home.
Eventually the bus came and I got on, I fell asleep quickly and didn’t wake up till we got to Luton. It was weird; I had got so used to going through airport procedure I felt like I should have to show someone my passport before I got off the bus.
Then after a little while Mummy and Alex arrived and took me home.
Mmm definitely want to go back – Norway beautiful magical place I’m in love :o)