A Cure For The Winter Blues?

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Apologies for posts being a little thin on the ground this last week or so. For once I’ve got a half decent excuse.. we’ve been away. It maybe isn’t the safest time to be travelling at the moment and the events in Paris and Sinai were never far from my mind. But there hasn’t been a holiday for almost six years and in Certain Quarters it was felt this is far too long.

Regular readers will know of my hatred of winter and of being cold. Of the endless greyness that is November. Of the shortening of the days and the long dark nights. When it came to the debate about possible locations for our time away my vote went firmly for somewhere sunny and warm. In fact I distinctly recall making reference to the Caribbean. Quite possibly more than once..


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Ice, hanging from a rock by the side of the open road..


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.. a road not far from the local airport as it happens

Approaching sunset, the shot taken just before 12.00 noon.


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Racks for the traditional drying of fish

Not a palm tree in sight. Which isn’t that surprising really..


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For this is about as far north as one can get within the extended European Union..


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The far north of Norway.

450 km INSIDE the Arctic Circle.


And you know what? It was good. Very good. There are more tales to tell. Just as soon as extremities have properly thawed out. Once the thermal smalls have been laundered. And photographs fully sorted.


2017-10-24T19:32:42+00:00November 25th, 2015|Tags: |


  1. Pauline November 25, 2015 at 11:41 am - Reply

    As soon as I saw the fish racks I knew where you were! When we were there 10 yrs ago, the racks were full of cod, most of which is exported to South America – so that’s why cod is in short supply! Were you near the Lofoten Islands, the scenery there is absolutely stunning! Did you manage to see the Northern Lights, that is my dream, one day?

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      A little further north, but got a great view of Lofoten flying over with sunset in the background. Mike took a pic on his phone which reminds me to check whether it was any good. And we did see the Northern Lights, twice, it is truly awesome.

  2. Sarah Shoesmith November 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Wow! Not quite the Caribbean, but an awful lot closer. How beautiful – and there is daylight there still. Did you see the Northern Lights?

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      It’s more like twilight now, for about four hours, and getting dimmer by the day. Tomorrow the sun dips below the horizon and doesn’t reappear until February. I don’t think I could cope with that. We were jammy, saw the Northern Lights twice, even though it is not the best time of year.

  3. Anne Wheaton November 25, 2015 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    Much better than the Caribbean. Looking forward to hearing more about it.

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      Possibly more interesting than the Caribbean. But all the layers do get a bit cumbersome. There’s no popping outside for a breath of fresh air, not without ten minutes preparation. It doesn’t help that the hotels are all stiflingly hot. I got my wardrobe totally wrong.

  4. Caro November 25, 2015 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    My brother and his family lived in Stavanger for a couple of years. I always regretted not visiting but young family, work and school holidays kept me away. My bro absolutely loved it (keen sailor), the clean air and fish diet. That top photo is so cosy in contrast to the second one – Hope you managed to find a lantern like that to bring home? Looking forward to reading all about your holiday in due course! PS. My nephew sailed up beyond Norway in the Arctic Circle and WENT SWIMMING!! Not my idea of fun …

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      I will be looking for something similar to the lantern over here. Such a welcoming thing to have by the front door. They were diving into the harbour at sunset in Oslo. Absolutely crazy I thought, stood watching wrapped up in all my layers!

  5. M. L. Kappa November 25, 2015 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Yes, we all want to know about the northern lights! Top on my bucket list, along with whales. We’re the same in my family, I want heat and he wants cold. Oh well, it looks as though it was worth it.

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      Much to my surprise, it was worth it. And the Northern Lights are just fantastic. It was one of the main reasons we went but a bit of a gamble as it’s not the best time of year. Go in March, around the time of the equinox, avoid a full moon, there needs to be a lot of sunspot activity and no cloud… and even then it’s not guaranteed! So I think we were very lucky.

  6. Backlane Notebook November 25, 2015 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Gosh that looks so wonderful and with all that natural light it will have done much good to the spirits.

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      It certainly blew away a few cobwebs. If it weren’t for the fact that it will soon be dark there for 7 weeks I’d be itching to go back.

  7. susurrus November 25, 2015 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    That’s so exciting! Did you see the northern lights?

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Certainly did. They’ll be in a future post if the pics come out OK. It’s something of a photographic challenge!

  8. CJ November 25, 2015 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Oh my, it looks absolutely exquisite. So glad you had a good time, I’m dying to hear all about it. It’s somewhere I’d so love to visit one day. And no doubt home feels positively balmy in comparison. A clever move! CJ xx

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      The opposite! The hotel was super cosy and this place is cold and draughty in comparison. One of the resolutions I came home with is to sort that out. Winter is so much more pleasant if you are not huddled in a corner shivering.

  9. FlowerAlley November 25, 2015 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    I got cold just looking at these, but there were some thrill chills too. I understand your winter blues. I get them down here in NC also. I guess we are part plant and have to fight off dormancy to get through the winters.

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      I asked whether people suffer from S.A.D up there and apparently they do. For 7 weeks there are about two hours of deep twilight around midday and the rest of the day it is totally dark. And of course it is very cold. Not sure I would cope!

  10. Anna November 25, 2015 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    Oh how exciting Jessica! The question on my lips has already been asked. We ventured to the Norwegian fjords many moons ago but at the end of May when it never seemed to get really dark. A magical experience. We’ve always wanted to return to go on a coastal voyage northwards. I’m wondering whether that’s what you’ve done. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures when you’ve defrosted.

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      We went up to the far north by plane rather than boat and then hired a car to travel around, driving on ice and snow for the majority of the time. A bit hairy on occasion, especially in blizzards! The midnight sun is obviously the payback for the eternal night of winter. Unless you want to sleep of course..

  11. wherefivevalleysmeet November 25, 2015 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    The racks look like those seen on the Lofoten Islands but may be you were in Tromsø – that is the farthest north I have been to in Norway.

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      Yes, we flew to Tromsø and then drove three hours further on to get to the place we stayed, in the Lyngen Alps. It’s very scenic but takes a long time to get anywhere given all the fjords that need to be circumnavigated. There were ferries but given my problem with boats it was always the long way round!

  12. Joanne November 25, 2015 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Oh not so warm for you then! A nice break I bet none the less xx

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      A lovely break. And I’m promised warm next time 🙂

  13. Sam November 25, 2015 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    Oh. My. Goodness. What a gorgeous-looking place. I’d love to go there and look forward to hearing more.

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 10:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sam. The scenery is truly fabulous.

  14. Jayne Hill November 25, 2015 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Well if what you have shared so far is a ‘sign of photos to come’ then we’re in for a huge treat. Some utterly stunning views. Did you see aurora whilst you were there?

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      It’s way more spectacular than I was expecting but challenging for photography, mainly because of the low light levels. Some of the shots have come out a bit grainy with the higher ISO. But I think we still have some good ones, including aurora!

  15. sustainablemum November 25, 2015 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    I am looking forward to seeing more, your photos are stunning. What lovely light. Hope you are all thawed out now!

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      The light was incredible, a sort of permanent twilight. On the last day sunrise and sunset merged into one so we have a lot of pink sky photos!

  16. Julie November 25, 2015 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    Oh Wow! What a fantastic cure for winter blues. I’d love to go there too, one day! Meanwhile looking forward to sharing your trip through your gorgeous photographs.

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      It’s a different place to go. I learnt a lot about coping with winter and making home a cosy place to be. They certainly have plenty of time to practice up there!

  17. Indie November 25, 2015 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    Well it’s at least beautiful, if not warm! 🙂 After moving up north, I work each winter to chase away the blues as well. By February there is cabin fever for sure! I look forward to seeing your photos!

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      Yes, I struggle too. Winter always feels as though it’s never going to end about February time. Lucky we have a few bulbs and hellebores etc pushing through to give us hope. In north Norway there is little evidence of gardening. I guess the summer season is too short and winters too harsh.

  18. frayed at the edge November 25, 2015 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    It all looks stunning, but I wouldn’t swap the wonderful two weeks we had in the sun in Portugal last month for being cold!!

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Winter is only just starting really, -9 was the coldest it got on the car display although at times it did feel a lot colder than that, especially when there was a breeze. It will be -40 by February. But we didn’t see the sun for five days.. only the very tops of the mountains saw sunlight, it didn’t get through to the valleys.

  19. Sarah November 25, 2015 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    That does look very beautiful and cold, maybe the Caribbean next time! Sarah x

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      I’ve been promised! Thanks Sarah.

  20. Denise November 25, 2015 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Well, just marvellous! I trust there was much imbibing of hot chocolate and roasting of nuts by blazing fires?

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 10:52 pm - Reply

      Chablis and spicy nuts 🙂

  21. Freda November 25, 2015 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Wow what a landscape! Elemental indeed. Look forward to hearing more….

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      Already I love Scandinavia!

  22. Brian Skeys November 25, 2015 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    I am envious, one part of the world on my wish list.

    • Jessica November 25, 2015 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      If you get a chance, go. It’s a very beautiful part of the world.

  23. AnnetteM November 26, 2015 at 12:37 am - Reply

    Your photos are wonderful – I really look forward to seeing some more. I have not been that far North, but it looks wonderful. Did you find it very expensive?

    • Jessica November 26, 2015 at 5:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks Annette. Incredibly expensive, the real downside of going there for us Brits. Salaries are high compared to here and that impacts on the cost of just about everything.

  24. germac4 November 26, 2015 at 3:40 am - Reply

    I love that soft light…beautiful photos, what scenery…thanks for sharing!

    • Jessica November 26, 2015 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      The light was beautiful, especially on our last day when the sky was pink for all of the four daylight hours!

  25. kristinrusso November 26, 2015 at 4:26 am - Reply

    This pictures are so beautiful! I usually click in right away to see your posted photos, but this week has been baking, baking, and more baking for Thanksgiving here in the USA. Glad I finally took the time to check in. I’m so jealous of your trip. Can’t wait to see more when you get them all sorted out!

    • Jessica November 26, 2015 at 5:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks Kristin and Happy Thanksgiving. Your house sounds like a very good place to be… enjoy!

  26. kristinrusso November 26, 2015 at 4:26 am - Reply


  27. Kris P November 26, 2015 at 4:29 am - Reply

    Beautiful photos! I’m glad you overcame your reluctance to venture into the cold in order to take them. My ancestors on both sides hail from Scandinavia but I’ve yet to visit. As a native and long-term resident of southern California, snow is a foreign concept – I’m not sure I could handle that kind of cold.

    • Jessica November 26, 2015 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      I don’t mind snow so much if there are bright days in between the showers, with blue skies. The most difficult thing for me would be the lack of light in the depths of winter so close to the pole.

  28. homeslip November 26, 2015 at 8:50 am - Reply

    Oh lovely Jessica. I used to travel to Sandinavia and the Baltic for work but I always went in the summer months so I could wild swim. I wasn’t there to swim, you understand, just that I can’t resist water! I loved the people and the lifestyle. Really looking forward to seeing your photos. I never took photos back in the day which is sad, but maybe they would have been so bad it is no real loss. My son, who is a keen photographer, is going to Sandinavia next month so I’ll have his photos to look forward to as well. I do like a bit of armchair travelling!

    • Jessica November 26, 2015 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      It should be properly snowy by next month. We drove back to the airport in a blizzard, a little hairy, then sat in the plane on the tarmac for over an hour whilst they debated whether the runway could be made into a fit state to take off! It being Norway they managed it, of course, but in that time over an inch of snow had accumulated on the wings and it took another half an hour to de-ice the plane.

  29. derrickjknight November 26, 2015 at 9:18 am - Reply

    A beautiful set – definitely a cure

    • Jessica November 26, 2015 at 5:51 pm - Reply

      Back a couple of days and I need a cure all over again.

  30. 1secondhandrose November 26, 2015 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Wow! Stunning. In my opinion far better than sun an sand! So pleased you’ve had a well deserved holiday, and certainly no need to apologise.
    Very best wishes
    Rose H

    • Jessica November 26, 2015 at 5:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks Rose. It was the perfect holiday really, always something to do in the mornings during the daylight hours, then back for lunch as it got dark and nothing to do all afternoon but relax by the fire!

  31. Sue Garrett November 26, 2015 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Beautiful scenery. I bet it feels quite balmy here after that.

    • Jessica November 26, 2015 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      It does, especially as the temperature has risen again over the last couple of days. Felt quite pleasant out in the garden this afternoon.

  32. Marian St.Clair November 26, 2015 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Late October and early November are great times for a beach trip in South Carolina. But then, almost any month is good…
    Looks like your holiday in Norway was truly memorable. Can’t wait to hear more.

    • Jessica November 26, 2015 at 6:05 pm - Reply

      Strangely enough I looked at an apartment rental right on the beach (somewhere near Charleston for memory), but couldn’t get flights at the right time. We were using BA reward points, so a bit restricted.

  33. pagedogs November 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Some of the photos look much like our former home in Alaska. It was incredibly beautiful, but I can’t say that I miss the winters.

    • Jessica November 26, 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      It must get pretty cold there too, but it was also on my list as the principal reason for wanting to go that far north was to see the Northern Lights.

  34. Jacqueline November 26, 2015 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    How absolutely beautiful Jessica and, on returning home, the UK must feel like the Caribbean !!!!! Stunning photographs as always. XXXX

    • Jessica November 28, 2015 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jackie. If the Caribbean is the windiest and wettest place on earth then yes it does! 🙂

  35. Rosie November 26, 2015 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    It looks very stark and very cold but very beautiful, what a wonderful place to visit:)

    • Jessica November 28, 2015 at 4:28 pm - Reply

      It is very scenic up there. The houses tend to be built along the shores of the fjords, all with spectacular views.

  36. Laura November 27, 2015 at 4:51 am - Reply

    When we went to Iceland, we were questioned as to why anyone would purposely holiday somewhere cold. We did it in June (very midnight sun) and it was spectacular. I used to see the northern lights often as a kid growing up on the Canadian prairie.

    • Jessica November 28, 2015 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      Iceland was somewhere else we considered and it’s still on my list. Summer would be the best time though, I read somewhere that some of the places I’d want to go are inaccessible in winter.

  37. Chloris November 27, 2015 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Great photos and what an amazing trip. Looking forward to your Northern Lights photos, how marvellous to be able to see them.

    • Jessica November 28, 2015 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      It is a wonderful sight. The lights formed an arc right above our heads, from one horizon to the other.

  38. Julieanne November 27, 2015 at 11:11 am - Reply

    wow, looks stunning. Did you see the Northern Lights? Looking forward to more photos

    • Jessica November 28, 2015 at 4:35 pm - Reply

      We did, it was one of the main reasons for going that far north. Very impressive.

  39. elaine November 27, 2015 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    Oh my – how beautiful.

    • Jessica November 28, 2015 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      Far more beautiful than is possible to capture in a photograph. They really don’t show the scale of the landscape.

  40. woolythymes November 28, 2015 at 3:56 am - Reply

    Oh my goodness…..northern lights!!!! That’s on my bucket list!!! I have NO desire whatsoever to go to the Carribean (although—-low and behold, I just found out I’ll be in Haiti doing a water purification installation in February—no vacation, believe me!), but Norway…..I’d be going there in a heart beat. I CAN”T WAIT TO SEE PICS!!!!! Stunning photos. (and I really could use one of those lanterns!!!!)

    • Jessica November 28, 2015 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      There were a lot of lanterns and candles, I must do more of it this year. It does make a place feel so cosy. Haiti? In February? When it’s so cold here? Do you need someone to help carry your bags? I could bring Mike, he’s a dab hand at plumbing..

  41. Rick Nelson November 28, 2015 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    The extremes are fine rd, its our perpetual damp greyness which gets me down.

    • Jessica November 30, 2015 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      I couldn’t agree more.

  42. Sheila November 29, 2015 at 1:59 am - Reply

    Living here in Canada, half of our year often looks like this. I try to escape to somewhere warm, yet often new comers are delighted by the snow and frosty temperatures they find here. Your trip looks to have been interesting however, and its always good to get away.

    • Jessica November 30, 2015 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      It may be a case of being careful what you wish for, given this winter’s forecast, but I’d much prefer a snowy winter scene. It may be cold, but white reflects light. And from what I have seen you also get wonderful blue skies between the snow showers. Our normal winters tend to be wet, grey and miserable!

  43. kate@barnhouse November 29, 2015 at 8:42 am - Reply

    It sounds perfect, gorgeous atmospheric images too – I’m looking forward to the next instalment featuring the Northern Lights.

    • Jessica November 30, 2015 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      It was wonderful to see them, we were very lucky. Most nights it was too cloudy.

  44. Penny November 29, 2015 at 10:12 am - Reply

    It looks stunning x

    • Jessica November 30, 2015 at 5:02 pm - Reply

      It was. And the right sort of cold!

  45. Josephine November 29, 2015 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    When I spotted the fish racks, I thought you had ventured off to Alaska, of course that would be a little off-course from the European Union, instead Norway…….how magical is that !
    Looking forward to your travel pictures.

    • Jessica November 30, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      I’d like to see Alaska too. These mountainous sub arctic areas are just so scenic. Need to go before all the glaciers melt!

  46. Linda P. November 30, 2015 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Somewhere I’d love to go to although hubby prefers a warm climate, as you can imagine, so it won’t happen. I shall have to be content with your next post about your trip. I’m sure there’ll be stunning pics.

    • Jessica November 30, 2015 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      We took almost a thousand photos so I’m hoping there are a few good ones in there! It wasn’t easy though because light levels are so low.

  47. rachel November 30, 2015 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful trip, Jessica! Have you read Cora Sandel’s trilogy, ‘Alberta and Jacob’? Early in the first novel it has an unforgettable description of the sliver of sun that appears for a few moments on the horizon, heralding the return of Spring. Otherwise, life in months of darkness punctuated only by gloom sounded terribly depressing!

    • Jessica November 30, 2015 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      I haven’t read it, but funnily enough I did think about how that must feel. We got the tail end of the sun, by now it will have disappeared completely. It just lit up the very top of the mountains and I thought about how wonderful it must be to see the first tip of a peak with sunlight on it in Spring.

  48. Donna@Gardens Eye View December 19, 2015 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    Fabulous and oh my it seems so peaceful…what an amazing place to be…inside the Arctic Circle.

    • Jessica December 19, 2015 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      It was certainly peaceful. One of the most enjoyable aspects of it for me. As you know, I’m not so fond of cold!

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