Monday, September 29, 2003

Stefan's Florilegium: "Vikings used cow's urine both as an antiseptic and to whiten fabric. In the
middle ages, a vessel was kept in the guarderobe (latrine) to collect the
human version. This was allowed to evaporate or was boiled, and the resulting
substance (very high ammonia content, you can imagine) was used. "

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Kjøbenhavn - Copenhagen map in 1898 (BIG) (811 KB)

This is part of a map of whole of Denmark published by the newspaper POLITIKEN in 1898 and republished in DJVU format by the Royal Library, Copenhagen Denmark

I am keying in the Copenhagen census for 1860 Undebys Klædebo Kvarter
which includes Brumleby, the old estate where I lived in Copenhagen, and looking for aids like lists and maps.

The Royal Library, Copenhagen one of my favourite places.

The Royal Library - Theft
Warning: Map Thief
"During the early part of 2001, several European libraries were visited by two map thieves of British origin, who specialised in cutting maps out of atlases. Following the issue of a warrant by Interpol, one of the thieves - Melvin Perry - was arrested in the UK"

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Viking Range
sitting at my kitchen window drinking tea I reflected on the childhood of a viking - to a man all grew up on farms, with a direct view of nature, form age 7 they would be expected to work alongside the adults including slaughtering and cutting up animals for meat and so they would not faint at the sight of blood.

In the Faeroe islands today, when the family's sheep are slaughtered in about October, their legs are bound, they are laid on a table in the cellar of the family home, and the artery in their throat is opened to drain them of blood which is collected in a bowl. A fiev or six year old child might be asked to help grandad by stirring the warm blood as it runs down so it does not clot into lumps.

After the sheeps intestines have been washed, blood sausage will be made. The Faerose recipe is with added sugar rather than pepper as in the north of England.

The URL is an "I'm feeling lucky" hit from google where the search machine opens the first page automatically for you, so in USA "range" means a big gas cooker or kitchen stove bit like an AGA
The vikings had big central hearths below a smoke hole in the hall roof.

Historical / viking.jpg

is the same form a longer search string
viking jpg

A load of rubbish the top figure is about right. the middel one has a helmet styyle more reminiscent of Saracens, BUT the lower has a HORNED HELMET LOL

The horned helmets I saw in the National Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark, are all from the BRONZE age about 500 years before viking times.

Imagine you are a warrior receiving a good hack with an ax ,and the horns would lead the blow into your head and jolt your neck with the shock - no way could fighting men ever have horned helmets.

Again licking the "i'm feeling lucky" green shamrock icon in the Google tool bar
string :-
viking gif

Welcome to the Viking Council BSA

Boy scouts in Minnesota - getting ready to rape and pillage ?

Viking Council BSA - Flag Etiquette, Rules and Regulations

Good in English, the Danes have similar rules for the DANNEBROG


Viking Council BSA - Flag Etiquette, Rules and Regulations: "The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, 'I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,'"

which the rest of the world regards as jingoistic, outdated and comical, but dangerous, brain-washing for school children.

The Danish have a passion for flag poles and this arose in response to the German threat from about 1900 to 1910 onwards.
Dannebrog som udsmykning: "Dannebrog som udsmykning"

´Decorative use of Dannebrog

more on Dannebrog later

Saturday, September 20, 2003

What is missing is the question of why the 8 June 793 AD Lindesfarne island monastary raid ?

Why did the Scandinavian farmer's and trader's sons attack at that time ?

Friday, September 19, 2003

Jackie Gaff's excellent little book of 32 pages was remaindered at the QUICKLY supermarket where books are being dropped from the stock.
The style of illustration can best be described as traditional english, what we used to call commercial art as against fine art. The Vikings stiil have a bad press on this side of the North Sea which the Danes call VESTERHAVET

vester-have-et western-sea-the
(et = one or "a" in neutral gender if in front of the word )
Google Search: vesterhavet

and so the book starts with 8 June 793 AD the Lindesfarne raid

Google Search: Lindisfarne

Clicking through from an image often leads to a good URL

BBC - History - Vikings

But most of the "common" knowledge about the Vikings is from Christian and Saxon sources.
The victorious get to write the history books.

I liked this book, in spite of the illustrations, because it is very well researched.

more to come

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The Oseberg Cart Page: "Within the ship there were found oars, a bailer, tubs, pails, three carved and one plain sleigh, three beds, two tents, ten or more horse skeletons, and several other miscellaneous items, including the only known complete Viking age wagon. "

And a mass of tangled rigging - a major missed opportunity in archeology.

All handy to have in the after life.

Full Cart Pictures

which Jaffe uses as the basis for her illustration PP 14 15
which could be retitled GODS IN MOTION

I like Freyja best .. her cart is pulled by two angry looking marmalade cats", being a school book she is described as "the goddess of love, battle and death . . in old fashioned England one cannot say fertility and eroticsm like randy cats.

male portrait

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Going to review the book:-


Friday, September 12, 2003

Well I have been neglecting the Vikings, may be because I live in the anglo saxon kingdom of Mercia

Kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons - Iclingas & Mercians

in fact created ANGLES from ANGELN in north Germany may be by following the River Trent and its tributaries upwards until too shallow to navigate.

Map of Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy

the JUTES are from Jutland the Danish "finger" a little north of Angeln - the greenísh area is where we spoke "welsh" as it is called today

Map of Post-Roman Britain

before the Irish SCOTTI took over Pictland
and between the Roman invasion and the Saxon attacks
CAER is the "Welsh" equivalent of CASTRA which is in UK place names like CHESTER, CHICHESTER, MANCHESTER and in Wales CAERLEON where there is a Roman amphithetre, a small provincial one like the little one in the film Gladiator, CAERDIFF even more anglicisd as CARDIFF is another

GWENT is were my WATKINS ancestors come from

damned saxons

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

A weekend in the Faroes:
"I found out that I had an Uncle, Henry W.J. Koven, who was in the Merchant Navy and had died in the war. Most of my relatives believed he had fallen overboard somewhere, or had possibly jumped ship and disappeared as his body had never been found. In fact there is no death certificate at the family records office, as his widow would not accept that he was dead and never applied for one.

One of the family told me that his name was recorded somewhere on the memorial to Merchant Seamen at Tower Hill in London. So after a visit to Trinity House to see the book of remembrance, I located the brass plate bearing his name and also the name of the ship he was on. The SS Sauternes. The book of remembrance told me that he was the fireman and stoker and that he had died on 7 December 1941. I wrote to the admiralty who told me that the precise fate of the ship was unknown but believed sunk in a gale near Svino, Faroes. "
A weekend in the Faroes:

"On Sunday 7 December 1941 two ships battled for survival in a horrendous storm raging in the sea channel between two of the Faroe islands, Svønoy and Fugloy. Throughout the short daylight hours the villagers on the islands watched as the drama slowly unfolded before them and the larger vessel, the cargo ship SS Sauternes dragged its anchor and drifted towards the shore of Svønoy. In late afternoon the end came for the Sauternes. The ship was swamped by three successive mountainous waves and went down bow first, the whole ship eventually going under with a final puff of smoke from its funnel. Just before the vessel sank two life-rafts were launched. The watchers on shore could see that five men were on one of the rafts but after being capsized twice in the surf no survivors remained on board, the other raft also disappeared from view. Despite their experience in these waters the villagers were unable to attempt a rescue, the seas and winds making impossible any attempt to launch their small boats. All the crew and passengers on the Sauternes were lost.

In early December 1941 the vessel was loaded in Scotland with supplies for the British garrison in the Faroe Islands. The cargo included 250 tons of food, 3000 gallons of petrol together with other military supplies.

Some special supplies were included so that the troops on the islands could celebrate Christmas, these included bottles of whisky (the main force was of Lovat Scouts from the Scottish Highlands and islands), other spirits and even a number of Christmas puddings. However the most unusual item of cargo loaded was 22,500 kroner worth of Danish coinage. With Denmark being occupied by German forces it was impossible to obtain supplies of coinage from the mint in Copenhagen. To meet a shortage in the Faroes these coins were specially minted in Britain. "
"in a steel case which was bolted to the floor of the captain's cabin.
The Royal Navy armed trawler HMT Kerrara escorted the Sauternes on her journey to the Faroes.

On the evening of 6 December they reached the islands but were unable to make port in Tørshavn having been driven by the bad weather considerably out of their course to the northeast. The wind was westerly force 10 and the two vessels sought shelter in Viðvík on the coast of Viðoy.

Whilst there, the master of the Sauternes, W Smith, telegraphed to the Naval Headquarters in Tørshavn that they were in Fugløfjord.. The Naval personnel misread this message and thought that the vessels were in Fuglefjord a safe anchorage off the village of the same name on the island of Eysturoy. The vessels were ordered to drop anchor and as a result of this misunderstanding the fate of the Sauternes and her crew and passengers was determined."

My eye witnes said that a fisherman rowed out from the island and said it was dangerous to anchor there, but was ignored.

Later that night the wind changed to the northwest and strengthened to hurricane force. The two vessels were driven out of Viðvík and towards the open sea. As dawn broke the local islanders could see that the Sauternes had taken a pounding, her bridge was bent over and lay on deck. The vessel dropped anchor to try to avoid being driven onto the cliffs of Svínoy but to no avail. In total 25 people perished."

My eye witness said that it was church time and I imagined the whole village standing there in their sunday best clothes clutching their prayer books in the biting gale.

They stood there helpless watching living people being dashed to death on the rocks at their feet,
and dying in the surf.

My eye witness's son said he was so pleased that his father had told me, he was translating from the faeroese into english, because he had refused to tell his son the story as it was too horrible.

His father had a framed certificate (MBE?) on the wall awarded by the British government and signed by King George VI - because he had shot down a german plane from the deck of his fishing boat. The faroes siald their fish catch to Scotland in WWII and a quarter of all theri men died.

Winston Churchill was said to have said "We will never forget the Faeroes"
but we have.

Saw the disaster of nine eleven on television as it happened

so now I am in mourning

Never forget, but we must forgive.

Monday, September 08, 2003

The Chistmas Ship

"The ship sank in Fugloyar fjord on December 7, 1941 at about a depth of 100 metres"

As a musician i often had gaps in my employment and would walk about a strange village or town learning the place and its customs.

So I went into this small graveyard in Klaksvik and found all these official War Graves - it was quite a shock.

My fathere was also lost at sea but has no grave.

today I would just go on the net and find out
who was who

The graves in Klaksvík, Faroe Islands

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Initials: W
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Master
Regiment: Merchant Navy
Unit Text: S.S. Sauternes (Plymouth)
Age: 69
Date of Death: 07/12/1941
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 93.
Cemetery:Cemetery: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL

"The Tower Hill Memorial commemorates men and women of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who died in both world wars and who have no known grave."

then a friend told me his father had witnessed the sinking and would tell me the story.

(to be continued )

. memorial panel in London
Velkommen til Taxinyt Danmark

click around and see some pictures

war between Swedish and Danish taxis for the airport traffic

a "bus sluice " closes a road fo through traffic and greatly increases fares by forcing a circuitous route away from the residential quarter near Chritiania

TAXAFINN - Ryvang Bilen er lukket!

A littl taxi company with 40 cars cannot survive
even with the fine customers with their pekinese and parasols

It was a life style as much as a business
Webmaster Location

the Danes like techology

a taxi can be followed for the last 10 days

Stations Near OZ1TAX-7

quite amazing
Denmark today

double decker buses at last but the dreaded ARRIVA

buses are really comfortable compared with BRUM
no old rubbish in Copenhagen.

the contractors MUST buy NEW buses
the double deckers are too hot on top in summer - - fixed windows

the flats are good - those balconies have plants and the Danes sit out to eat

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Known unto God

I saw this tomb stone in Klaksvik, and asked around,
"What was this with S.S. Sauternes?"
until I found the answer

I will tell that story next.
Georgette Heyer
Now you well ask your self what on ever had this boddice ripper got to do with vikings ?

After she died in 1974 Pan books organised a competition for new historical novels in her name.

see Historical Novels

This was about the time I was engaged for three months to teach and conduct Klaksvikarhornorkestur and I stood on this narrow isthmus KLAKSVIK looking north and in my mind's eye saw a very tired crew of vikings rowing round the corner into the VIK or bay, on their way home from Norway, where they had probably been shopping, well market trading, rather than plundering.

Then the idea of retelling the Faeroe Islands Saga as a modern novel was born as my "viking project"

Faroe Islands showing Klaksvik on the island of Bordoy - the table island because the top is flat like a board.

CIA - The World Factbook -- Faroe Islands

A map showing the Atlantic and Arctic sea bed and currents ( red arrows for warmer water )

The Faereo Isalnds are on the continental shelf and the way from Scotland, and the Shetlands, to Iceland

Klaksvik valley

A visually stunning landscape comprising layers of volcanic black basalt shaped into concave valleys by retreating glaciers of the ice ages.

Glaciers and Glacial Landforms

the local brew

and the club but that's another day
JORVIK is the name of the Viking town now called YORK

This blog is about my VIKING PROJECT