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A bit of history, a dash of grammar, a pinch of tradition, a swish of serendipity

Got an email from my uncle this evening, assuring me that he had cast his vote for the Weather Report [last chance, everybody!] and also reminding me that I have some pretty significant ties to the captain’s quarter noted in the last post. Which, as it happens, I had not forgotten, but had simply omitted because I didn’t have a photo of the particular house central to those ties – the house that my great-grandfather built, and where both my father and my uncle were born.

My great-grandfather on my father’s side was a sea captain who graduated from the Stýrimannaskóli in 1912. Like all the other sea captains he built a house in the area, on Öldugata, which – if you remember your lesson from last post – means ‘wave street’ and is a derivative of alda [it’s alda in the possessive case, in fact] – as well as being a woman’s [given] name.

My great-grandfather named his only daughter Alda [well, Guðrún Alda, actually, but she was always called Alda], which probably says something about his strong ties to the sea. And because it is common here in Iceland to name children after their grandparents, I wound up with the same name as my grandmother – Alda, meaning ‘wave’. When I moved back to Iceland nearly 14 years ago, the first apartment I bought was on Bárugata, which – you’ll recall – also means ‘wave street’ and happens to run parallel to ‘Öldugata’ – ‘Alda’s street’ – where my great-grandfather built his house, and where both my father and my uncle were born. In fact, I looked down on both ‘wave streets’ from my window – Öldugata from one side of the flat, and Bárugata on the other.

And thus concludes the story of YT’s ties to the captain’s quarter.

Because today totally takes the cake in the miserable weather sweepstakes. It was awful. In fact I decided to white-knuckle it through my endorphin withdrawal today, despite the fact that I was desperate for a run, because the weather was so damn ghastly. What was it, you ask? Blizzard, snowdrift, freezing rain? Hell no, that would have been fun. This was the coldest mutha of a wind we’ve had for years, a mean wind that blew through in violent spasms and just sounded bad. There was not a single bit of humour in the weather today – it was just nasty. Right now we have -8°C but feels like -18, and that’s 18F and feels like 0°F. [Yeah yeah, I know you have it worse in Minnesota, and believe me, I sympathize!] Sunup today 10.13 am, sunset 5.10 pm.

PS in case anyone is interested in knowing where this captain’s quarter and environs are located, here’s a map.