Saturday, November 26, 2011

No News...

I walked with my daughters down to the fjord last weekend. It takes about half an hour. We had a fishing rod with us and tried to cross onto the pontoon from which we sometimes try to catch fish, but the ladder had been taken away for some reason. Next to us, sitting on the harbour wall, were two ladies looking out over the unruffled water towards a misty autumn view of rocky mountains and the distant waterside town of Tau. They seemed to be celebrating something, eating sandwiches and drinking a bottle of pink champagne.

I walked with the girls a bit further up the coast to where the shoreline has been built up so that there is less seaweed to tangle the fishing line. Like most of the coast around Stavanger, the rocks at the shore here have been rubbed smooth by glaciation and slip, like the humped backs of whales, into the sea. Beside us, on the railway line that runs along the coast, electric trains zipped past occasionally, grey and sleek.

At the point where the shore becomes suitable for fishing, we met two quite haggard looking men. They were both tall and thin, their faces creased and worn in a way that suggests a life of survival and hard labour. Their bicyles lay on the grass, very rough and weather beaten objects. I greeted them as I passed and they shyly said hello to us. We fished for a little while, casting the lure far out. But as always, we caught nothing. It was getting cold and so we did not stay long.

Passing the men again on our way home, we stopped to watch one of them gutting a fish he had caught. I think it may have been a wrasse, it was quite bright on the belly slightly orange and blue speckled. As he cut it open it made an unpleasant burping noise. In his bucket he had three more. When the other man caught a fish, he took it off the hook and dropped it into my daughter's net. My daughter looked at it, then shook her head. The man laughed and threw it back into the sea. We spoke a little with them. They were Polish, with only broken Norwegian and no English. I thought they were like a pair of boys that had grown old while fishing and playing outdoors on their bicycles together.

We walked back to where my wife was waiting to pick us up in the car. The two ladies were still there, huddled a little more closely in their fur-hooded parkas, the pink champagne nearly finished. The sky was also just beginning to turn pink, and they had not moved, despite the chill in the air.

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