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Cottage country

Here in Iceland we have a groovy system: labour unions buy summer cottages that their members can rent for a nominal fee. [That’s pretty much every salaried employee, because if you work for someone, you belong to a union]. It’s a pretty cool deal. I’ve been going to a cottage belonging to the journalists’ union every year since 1995, except for last summer when I just could not fit it in, being busy visiting Portugal, London, Cyprus and the West Fjords, all in the space of three months.

This year we’d already booked a cottage before EPI’s mother died and since nobody would trade dates with us, decided to keep to our original plan rather than forego our stay there completely. This meant driving into town twice, first for the open casket ceremony and then for the funeral [an hour and a half each way]. We did it gladly, though, because that cottage is one of the most fantabulous places for R ‘n R in the entire wide world and tomorrow I shall tell you the main reason why this is so. But in the meantime, here’s a pic of the next cottage and the mountains beyond:

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[Sadly I have NOT YET been able to access imagecave, which in spite of everything does provide much images PLUS the possibility of enlarging them by clicking on them… and these are so small that they really don’t do it justice and frankly I don’t know why I bothered, really… humph!]

In any case, if that image looks a little dark, it’s because this pic was taken at 12.30 at night and the light meter on my camera was a little mfuddled.

One of the greatest things about being there is the beautiful scenery. My favourite hike takes about 20 minutes and starts with a short trek down to the river:

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Once there, I hop across on these rocks, being supercareful not to fall in…

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… walk about 10 minutes more along an upward-sloping track in the midst of an Icelandic forest*, until I come to this:

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I could spend ages [and indeed I have] sitting on the ancient bridge from which this picture is taken, dangling my feet off the side [albeit with the railing in front of you because you WOULD NOT want to fall in, both on account of the freezing cold and the scary rapids:]

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… and just looking at it. And thinking of everything and nothing.

Incidentally, those pics were also taken around midnight. On the way back, EPI and I crossed this field, where three times in the same evening we made a particular golden plover exceedingly nervous, so that it peeped and peeped and flew ahead of us and even pretended to have a broken wing in the hope that we would rush after it – and hence leave its nest alone. It being late in the evening, a mist was creeping in across the valley, and it looked like this:

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MEANWHILE, BACK IN REYKJAVÍK
The weather continues to be gloomy: overcast and showery, although reasonably mild. Today’s temps reached 14°C and the sun came up at 03.26 and went down at 23.38. And now I am so thoroughly frustrated with my picture-posting exploits that I’m going to chuck this laptop out the window. So if you don’t hear from me in the next few days, you’ll know why.

* The terms ‘Icelandic forest’ is a bit of a misnomer, consisting as it would of birch trees usually not more than 1.5 metres in size, as per the riddle Q: What do you do when you’re lost in an Icelandic forest? A: You stand up.

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