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Rhododendron Hedgerows, High Prices and Cantonese -

 The other day I swung around the motherland (no, not the Motherland China but the normal motherland, Norway - my hometown to be precise) and was at once catapulted back to... January.  

 No, really. Although boasting about being the lightest time of year with 24 hour daylight, my hometown was suppressed by such a gloom that we had to keep the lights on in the middle of the day.

 I had to wear fingerless gloves indoors like a suffering Russian anarchist and and as I sat shivering over the laptop I regretted bitterly not having packed - tights! In June! Ahhrghhhh.

 When I went out in the icicle-like rain, I found almost a communal spirit among the fellow chillblain sufferers, joking grimly about the temperatures maybe one day possibly if we were lucky in a different life reaching double digits.

Varen_Kommer_ Hedgerows, High Prices and Cantonese -
Hedge advert for April. NOT June.


And what do you know - one day they did! 10 degrees!

 But did I care? No! I was in the company of people with the right attitude: That board games = life. Every night we played various games, and all thoughts of summer evaporated like drops of beer on a woodburning stove going at full blast. (Which we had.)

 A few days later and a handful of kilometres further south, a heatwave and drought were killing off all the fresh hedgerows my company had delivered this spring. This hot on the heels of a gruelling winter that had dispatched a lot of plants.

Nesodden-spirea Hedgerows, High Prices and Cantonese - PenAndWok.comMy good, good friend C. and I took a road trip down the coast east in the country where I of course had never been, interviewing people about their hedges. How fun to meet “live” people I have only talked to on the phone.

 Unfortunately they all got cold feet when it came time to pull out the trusty old video camera and mike and start shooting, but at least they agreed to do interviews and have their pictures taken. FUNNNNN

Customer-2 Hedgerows, High Prices and Cantonese -

 I was well impressed by the town of Fredrikstad which was more or less dedicated to hedges with parks clothed in walls of beech.

Fredrikstad-beech-hedge Hedgerows, High Prices and Cantonese -

 An old fortress town, Fredrikstad was well set up to ward off enemies and, it turned out, also tourists. At least tourists from Spain (me).A starter in an average restaurant cost well over 25 euros, a glass of wine 20. And yet, people were sitting around in the many riverside restaurants getting drunk, filling up on three course meals and desserts. “How can they afford it?” my friend C and I exclaimed in unison.

Fredrikstad-sailing-ship Hedgerows, High Prices and Cantonese -

 But photo op wise, and for one whose business is hedges, it was indeed a glorious trip, as are all road trips with my friend C.

Fredrikstad-1 Hedgerows, High Prices and Cantonese - PenAndWok.comAnd don’t think Hong Kong is now any cheaper than Norway - the other day I saw advertised a pint of beer for “only” HK$ 80. That’s almost 10 euros! That’s actually more than in Norway! Gasp. Shudder.

We’re heading toward a new feudalism. I can feel it.

Customer-Son-buksbom Hedgerows, High Prices and Cantonese -

Therefore it’s very important to be able to speak Cantonese. Take lessons from me today. You won’t regret it. Knowledge is something they can’t take away from you.

 Learn Cantonese the Natural Way - from a Norwegian!

 Today’s Cantonese: 好X貴呀 - Hou eksie gwai ah - Well damned expensive