- Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:27 pm
I met a really nice Norwegian guy a couple of weeks ago.
We have this ride sharing thing here, Blablacar, and we had lent our own car out to a good friend who wanted to take the kids on holiday. So, needing to get down to Bayern, and having no need for a mota once there, I booked a Blabla.
On a good day, it's a five hour schlep and, because of the random road works and hailstorms, we were a good six-plus hours on the road.
If you are of that disposition, Blabla can be great. It is almost always quicker than the train, certainly quicker and less hassle than flying and you get to meet all manner of people. Ships in the night, as it were.
Young Andreas is from the north of Norway, way up and in the eastern uplands across towards the border with Sweden. He is the first of the family to have gone to uni and is now a software developer, living in Gothenburg, Sweden. That is impressive stuff in its own right but there is, quite naturally, a visceral pull to the frozen north where the clan have been sheep farming for generations.
Quite why Norwegian lamb should be a new concept to me is another matter entirely but, apparently, this meat is the stuff of legends. As soon as the beasts are born, they are off scampering up the thawed hillsides munching wild flowers and the lush green vegetation which is irrigated by melt water in this pristine outcrop of Europe, close to the Arctic Circle. That makes sense. The meat must be incomparably good.
But things are looking bleak. Day after day of high-20s and often higher temperatures are blitzing the balance out of everything that sustains these communities. The pastures are already turning to hay, the streams are running dry and the lambs don't have the energy to do much more than seek shelter under the few trees that dot the landscape. The harvest is failing and the outlook for the autumn market sales is bleaker than bleak.
Worryingly, the local bank manager is nowhere to be seen.
Of course, Norway has more layers of sovereign wealth fund fat than you can shake a stick at and they can ameliorate a season of climactic anomalies. But what about next year? And the year after?
Jack believed in the inherent goodness of humanity, and felt a deep social responsibility to protect that. Through us all, Jack marches on.