It’s nearly time to say – Happy New Year! – and a quick embarrassed look around shows that ambitious plans have turned into months of silence. There are no good excuses, but I can try to blame a period of unusually big, real news headlines, starting with the startling decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama.

No peace without conflict

It’s hard to tell whether this was motivated by a desire to big up Norway and show how a little country can make huge waves, or just to annoy the hell out of Sweden yet again – they surely must be wondering how Norway got to do the Peace Prize, and how it got to be the show-stopping centerpiece.

But there is a lot of truth in the excuse that I have been silent on my blog fronts due to accumulating massive amounts of material for both. Since the Peace Prize, Norway has been voted the best place in the world to live yet again, and even the best place to visit; they have tried to claim the Northern Lights in retaliation for ‘Finland stealing Santa Claus’; made international headlines for gingerbread vandalism; and proposed state-backed porn for youngsters. (Those are all real news items.)

So, as warm up for a new year of absolutely reliable and regular blogging, a quick Christmas grab-bag of news from the Arctic fringe.

First, those of you who may have been dismayed at the passing of the makers of the original ostehøvel, there has been some good news. In late September the firm Gudbrandsdal Industries (GIAX) said they would take over the venerable company of Thor Bjørklund and Sons, and their patented cheese slicer. GIAX now add the ostehøvel to their business repertoire of military equipment, windows, and garage and shed doors. Seriously.

I have discovered another blog that will probably be of interest to readers here, with regional and homespun Norwegian news in English, this one is based on news from Østfold County. It also has the word ‘moose’ in the title, a sure sign of quality: Elusive moose can be found here and it seems to have started about the time I became temporarily comatose.

Finally, no comeback would be complete without some moose news. Just before Christmas, police and military went on alert along the Norwegian-Russian border near Pasvikdalen in Finnmark County in northern Norway after mysterious footprints were found in the snow. Cars driving in the area were stopped and people driving out of the Pasvik area to the town of Kirkenes were questioned in an effort to find the possible Russian intruder, local newspaper Finnmarken reports.

After  a few hours the operation was called off as the footprints were confirmed to belong to a moose ‘as we originally suspected’, Jørn-Erik Berntsen, head of the border patrol, told newspaper VG. Berntsen said that the reaction was a matter of routine, though he confessed that could see that others might find the situation amusing.


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