From my window I can see the opening to the Fuglafjørður bay, and across the sound to the mountains on Borðoy. Just behind this mountain is the city of Klaksvík, the second largest city in the Faroe Islands. Often the weather is different in the sound than it is in the protected bay. Here are some of my favorite views of Borðoy from the past three months.
Today is the first day of winter, officially; but we have had winter weather here for a while. There is a lot going on in the Faroe Islands in December. I sang with two choirs this fall, and each of them had a concert on a Sunday afternoon and also sang for a few other events. Every weekend there is a choice of concerts to attend in half a dozen churches or performance halls
Good news! Tomorrow the days will start getting longer, even if it is only a minute or two each day. I find that it is hard to take many pictures when there are only a few hours of daylight. Sometimes when it is stormy, even those daylight hours are pretty dim. I noticed that the streetlights on my street are on all day long when the weather is dark and stormy. Here are a few winter scenes in Fuglafjørður from the past few weeks.
Yesterday I received very good news. I met with the editors from the company that publishes school books, and they have agreed to publish my book next year. The book tells the story of finding my family in the Faroe Islands eighty years after my father left, as a young sailor. It also tells the story of his family during the early 1900’s from their letters to him. It looks like I will be back in the Faroe islands again next year.
For the last leg of my flight I made sure I had a seat by the window. During the two hour trip from Copenhagen to the Faroe Islands we flew over clouds and more clouds, with a rare glimpse of the deep-blue ocean far below.
“Please fasten seat belts.” The announcement was in four languages – Danish, Faroese, French, and English. English was always last. The plane descended through dense clouds, darkening the cabin. Like shadows through the fog, I saw sheer cliffs, then green hills, a narrow bay, a few small villages, and finally a very small airport. After years and years of wondering about these remote islands, I had finally arrived in my father’s homeland, all alone and unannounced.
In my luggage I carried a packet of letters that I hoped would help me find out about my father’s family. The letters were dated from 1917 to 1924, and each included the town of Fuglefjord on the dateline. They were in Danish, which I couldn’t read; but several had been translated. One of these letters included a name that I hoped would be a link to the past, a new baby named Poul Jacob Hansen, born to my father’s sister in 1922.
Hans Nils Peter Sofus Jacobsen, my father, was born in the Faroe Islands in 1896, the youngest of seven children…
The working title of the book is The Missing Son – a Faroe Island Saga, and it should be available in October or November 2008.
Here are some pictures from November that are finally making it onto my website. For a couple of weeks my energy has gone to getting the book of paintings out on the market and battling some unfriendly virus. I think I am back to normal, now.
I have no television in my house, so for entertainment I look out of the window. This may not compare with your favorite sit-com, but often I see things that I think are interesting. One day I noticed two ships who seemed to be doing some sort of a dance, going back and forth and then around again. The larger of the two seemed to be having trouble docking at the right place along the wharf, and it looked like the smaller one had to get out of the way. The larger ship was Mar Cristina from Tenerife, and she sailed close enough to my house that I could read the name without binoculars. To identify the smaller ship, I drove around the bay to get a good look. It was Havborg from Leirvík.
Here are also a few pictures of Fuglafjørður from the rocky shore below my house and some of Nolsoy and Argir taken from Tórshavn.
I’m a little late in my reporting, but I will show you anyway. The first day of December was the day that the sun almost rose over the mountains, but didn’t quite make it. The morning was beautiful and clear, but the mountain was too high. My house and most of my side of the bay won’t see the sun for a couple of months.
The two rams who had been living in the sheep house next to my basement left a little over a week ago. The rams and ewes are kept separated until the end of November so that the new lambs will be born during the last part of April and in May. These two rams joined six other rams and 260 ewes up in the high fields. They have a lot of work to do before they are brought down from the mountains again in the middle of January. By the middle of January there isn’t much for them to eat in the high fields, and they are brought down near sea level where there is still some grass. During the winter months, besides the grass, the sheep are given extra hay and other vitamin and mineral supplements. They will stay in the lower fields until after the lambs have been born.
Heðin’s new art book is officially launched with the book signing at the Ribarhús exhibit hall in Fuglafjørður. We borrowed about 18 paintings from the book from friends and neighbors in Fuglafjørður, and they are on exhibit for a week. There was a nice crowd of people there for the whole evening. I even signed a few books myself (mostly for my relatives), since I am credited with “book design,” and “translation to English.” I even gave a short talk in Faroese about making the book and the incredible hospitality of the Faroese people I experienced during the process. I actually wrote the speech in English, and Bjørghild helped me translate it to Faroese.
The past week or so has been very busy for me. I have taken books to various shops in town where they either buy them or sell them on consignment. One day I went with Sigvør to Tórshavn, where we put them in all the bookstores. I have also been organizing the exhibit, hanging the paintings, adjusting the lighting, etc. In short, I have been doing all sorts of things for which I have no training – but it has been fun.