May Miscellany

Looking through my photos from May, I found several that I thought you might enjoy seeing. They don’t really fit in any category except miscellaneous.

I have been to several concerts in Friedrich’s Church in Toftir, at the southern end of Eysturoy, about 25 minutes drive from here. This was the Mozart Requiem, and the music was wonderful.

A few months ago I showed you pictures of the wind. Here are two more – photos of a house trailer tied firmly in its parking place along my street.

I was in Tórshavn last week and took just a few pictures. Then I put my camera away and forgot about it.

This is the time of year when it doesn’t ever get dark. Now there is an hour or two of twilight. I noticed last week that the streetlights don’t come on a night any more, because it isn’t dark enough. I subconsciously wait for it to get dark before I go to bed – not a good idea, because it starts getting light again without ever getting dark.

Wildflowers

When wildflowers start blooming, I think it must be spring. Some of the flowers are similar to the wildflowers from home, but quite a bit smaller. Flowers are starting to bloom in gardens and fields all around the town. Did you know that it is very hard to focus on a small flower when the wind is blowing? For some of these pictures, I had to go back 2 or 3 times, and then quickly take a picture when there was a pause in the wind.

Little by little, the brown hillsides are turning green, and the green first shows up in the gullies where rainwater runs down the mountainsides. I just realized that there is a dusting of snow on the peak of Borgin across the bay from me. I thought it was fog, but the fog went away, and the white on the mountainside remained.

Lambs, Kids, and a Dog

The weather for the past few days has been lovely, with a lot of blue sky and hardly any wind. I almost feel like I should apologize for complaining about the storm over the weekend.

With the nice weather, I decided to walk down the road and visit the sheep grazing in the nearby fields to see how the lambs are doing. I know several people who lost lambs in the storm over the weekend. The sheep recognize their owners, and even their owners’ cars, and they come running across the fields to greet them.

On another day, I walked around to the other side of the bay and along the harbor. Most of the ships had gone back out to sea, with the good weather, but the seagulls were still there.

The small beach at the end of the bay is a great place for kids and dogs to play, and there are several benches for sitting and talking. Kids play with paper airplanes here, just the same as they do at home.

January in May

I considered saving time and re-using some of the photos that I took in January of the high winds and blowing snow, because the view from my window (what little I could see) was just about the same. However, last night and this morning the wind died down somewhat, so I got out and took some pictures. There are actually subtle differences between pictures of snow storms in January and pictures of snow storms in May. In May the days are very long, and I can take pictures of mountains at 10 or 11 at night with no problem. In fact, they sky (when it is visible) is still light at midnight, and by 2 a.m. it is getting bright again. Also, in May the lower fields (the ones that are not covered with snow) are very green and lush. The photos from January show a lot more dried brown grass.

For two and a half days, the wind did not stop blowing. The rain was non-stop, except when it turned to snow. From the comfort of my dining room I could watch the small whirlwinds whipping up the water as they travelled across the bay. Then, I could feel when they hit my house, because everything would shake for a few minutes, and the driving rain and snow would block the views from my windows. I noticed that the rain doesn’t exactly “fall” in the Faroe Islands, but it blows horizontally, sometimes from left to right, and then from right to left. Often it blows in circles around my boat house, as I can see from the blowing grass.

According to the internet weather forecast, this storm is winding down, and the little picture for tomorrow’s weather shows the sun peeking out from behind the rain clouds. I, for one, will be glad to see the sun again.

Choir Festival

Once a year the Faroe Islands has a choir festival, and choirs from all over the islands get together for a long weekend of singing and eating, ending with a concert and a banquet. My choir, the Gøta-Leirvík Choir hosted the event this year, and the festival was held in a large hall in Leirvík, a ten minute drive from my house.

The festival started Thursday evening and ended on Saturday night – or actually Sunday morning in the early morning hours. Friday was a Faroese and Danish holiday of some sort. The choir director was a man from Sweden, and he spoke in Swedish all weekend. This was no problem for the Faroese people, since they could understand his Swedish and he could understand their Faroese. I speak mainly English, and it was quite a struggle for me to try to figure out what what was going on all weekend.

To end the festival, we had a concert at the Gøta church. The combined choirs sang the music we had learned over the weekend, six or eight choirs sang 2 or 3 numbers each, and Eivør performed several numbers. She is a well-known Faroese singer, and since she is from Gøta, she came home from Denmark to be a part of the festival.

After the concert, we went back to Leirvík for a banquet, which included lots of good food, a lot more music, a Faroese chain dance, and dance music by a small band. When I left the party at about 2 a.m., it looked like winter had returned in full force, and I had to scrape snow off of my windshield. After a week of warm weather, we had a snow storm in the middle of May.

Lambs

Early May is lambing time, and we see ewes with newborn lambs in fields and along the roadsides all over the islands. It’s not uncommon to see them grazing along the side of the highway or crossing the road.

Bjørghild and Jørmund’s ewes have been grazing in the lower fields near the bay, and during lambing time, they check on the ewes several times a day. I went with Bjørghild and Hallbjørg (her sister-in-law) to check on their sheep this afternoon. The weather has been calm and mild this week, so visiting the sheep is a pleasure.

The Faroese sheep have wool that is white, black, and brown, or a mixture of any of those colors. There was even one unusual grey ewe.

Intermittent Spring

The seasons of the year seem to get all mixed up together in the Faroe Islands, and spring seems to come on gradually, with many starts and stops. We have had several days of calm weather, lots of blue sky, and sun. Last weekend we also had lovely weather for my birthday party. In between there were storms with high winds and rain. The rain was as though someone in the sky was dumping a bathtub full of water over my head.

On Tuesday, I stood at the window of the school in Gøta during our break in our choir rehearsal and watched the waves crashing on the cliffs and sending spray high above the roads into town. The view was mesmerizing. I should note that the spring storms are 5 or 10 degrees warmer than the winter storms, though the cold, wet winds still blow right through you.

Yesterday morning was a warm, blue-sky day, and a coat wasn’t even required. By afternoon, I saw that clouds were coming at us from all directions – clouds along the cliffs of Blábjørg, fog pouring over the pass from Gøta, fog and clouds coming over the pass from Hellur, covering the mountain ridge, and more clouds and fog creeping around the headlands of Borgin. I went to Toftir in the afternoon for a concert, and when I returned in the evening, the Fuglafjørður bay was filled with fog. There is no picture of this, because when you are inside a bank of fog, you can’t see very much.

This is the time of year when the days are getting noticeably longer and the nights shorter. There is still light in the northern skies after 11 p.m., and by 3:30 a.m. the skies are starting to get light again. I find it a lot easier to get up in the morning when sunlight is streaming into my bedroom window, than I did in the winter when the world was always a little dim.

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