Counterproductive Schools For Girls? And Other Differences #RoyalVisitNorway


After five years in England and today Celebrating the #RoyalVisitNorway from my computer desk in Bristol, I have tried to sum up what I have experienced so far as major differences between the two countries, Norway and Great Britain:

1. The Posh Accent Exclusion Method- it’s all in the accent!

The really posh has a specific accent that makes others shed away. That’s how they keep the good expensive schools to themselves for example. It is a self referring, self excluding mechanism kicking in as you choose school for your little ones. Being brought up in a Norwegian and much more egalitarian society, I have refused these norms and am sending my kids to private school even if I live in a house worth just over £450000 (which probably isn’t much for most middle class and upper class families at many of these schools). In Norway we have dialects. Some are seen as less academic and more hillbilly, but ‘Janteloven’ stops us from thinking you are any better than others, or deserve better schooling… But if the better schools are out there, and they are private; Then you go for it!

2. The Gender Code!

It’s 5 degrees Celsius and girls walking to school in really short school Uniform skirts and bare legs! Liberating! At the same time girl schools are absolutely alive in the UK, three within a 10 minutes drive from where I live (two private, one non-feepaying) and with a strong message of girl power! “Girls Can” campaigns are also fully active – something we used to have in Norway in the 80s according to political commentator Marie Simonsen. But are they stuck in the past?

3. Working for Free, especially women

Lots of Mums looking after kids first 2-3 years as Kindergarten/Nurseries are not subsidzed in the same way as in Norway and a full time space for one child per month costs more like £1000/10000Nkr. Compared to the £250 per child in Norway, for everyone! Volunteer organisations with people working free take on loads of the responsibilities and work that in Norway would be viewed as what you pay tax towards, and from this perspective should be organised and the responsibility of The State/Public Services. Food bank collections in grocery shops daily and people living on the streets.

4. Class, Class, Class

We have all heard about the British Class Society, but as I moved here- I seriously didn’t realise to what extent. I brought a cake tin (with a cake in it!) to the Community farm where I was helping out, and they commented on it: Very Posh! It was from John Lewis. The differences between classes are so big that they culturally and socially vary in taste, accents etc etc and just don’t interact too well. Everyone feels better off in their own little bubble. Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees told in a trailer for a forthcoming film about his way into politics, how his Mother as born into a working class area of Bristol, working as a hairdresser and marrying his Jamaican Father – had a background that really didn’t mean he would end up as Mayor of Bristol!! I don’t think anything should stop a child of a hairdresser in Norway – neither financially nor culturally.

5. A Country’s self-image


«What should I read to my child at home?» I asked my child’s teacher. My girl was four. «Just read ‘Jack and the Bean Stalk’ and things like that,» she replied. Hmm.. had I heard of ‘Jack and the Bean Stalk’ before? No. Had my Norwegian primary school teacher friend heard of it? No.

Similarly, both Norway and Great Britain think of ourselves as naturally the centre of the world. Norwegians as the outdoorsy, Sunday walkers and skiers. The British as Great(er). You come to the airport. You wait for your passport to be checked and whilst queuing you can read on the screen that you are welcome to: Great Britain. I even think «great» was written in capital letters last time I entered.

As one of my first English friends stated in our teenage years, wanting to go into the music industry: “If you make it in Norway, you’re big in Norway. Do you make it here, you will be big in the World!” In Norway on the other hand, we all believe we can do what Jens Stoltenberg has done, learning to read and write late, leading the Labour party and then go on to lead NATO! (A friend just pointed out that his parents were not a hairdresser and a ‘lagermedarbeider’, alright then, but look to FrP now in government. Surely there are plenty of hairdressser mums and dads there.)

My kids’ teachers still don’t realise that in Norway historic periods are not sectioned after the British Empire’s Kings and Queens. But alright, most Norwegians would know about the Victorians and what that implies, but Edwardian, Georgian…what is it? History at Primary School was entirely focused upon British Monarchs. Also the «don’t mention the war»- jokes are more common than anything negative or slightly comical about the Empire – which they are partly proud of here, I think🤔


An Art Walk Down Gloucester Road


Gloucester Road in Bristol has a lot to offer. It is known for it’s myriad of independent shops, coffee shops, buzz and street art. Of course the icing on the cake on this particular walk is Banksy’s ‘Mild mild west’ by Stokes Croft – Hamilton House. But they are there, so many great artists! Happy for any name droppping in the comments btw. Especially the graffiti animals caught my attention this time: Dogs, ants, fish and other sea creatures, hares and rabbits, a crocodile, a lion king and tigers.  I have had a great day and spent around 2-3 hours gazing at the sun and strolling along. Not that the sunlight goes exceptionally well with taking photos on my phone, but hey! It works. I started thinking I would include every singel graffiti I found on my route from (N)EVIL RD to STOKES CROFT, but photo space and loading permitted, I had to change my perspective and make a selection based on mainly the photo quality on my mobile device. It would be cool with an album including them ALL. For now, this is what I have and some more on Instagram:







I couldn’t decide which one was the better artwork by Shaun Sepr. A shame with that car! Well, this is where I started my walk, by Boston Tea Party in Bishopston or maybe someone would call it Horfield. Sunshine, hope and chill in the air. Just like I like it. Even the local prison looks gorgeous in the sun ☀️



Then the journey starts…  I will let the photos speak for themselves. I am not knowledgeable about street art or any art, really. As a Norwegian I know my Munch – and similar to Munch; these pictures speak! They are briefly in chronological order as I walked. Enjoy the walk!





The old police station letters had something arty about them!


Side street photo shoots.



Owl! Ugle!


This ant is fabulous! #zase #zasedesign


1/3 of Norwegian cod is exported to Great Britain! Yum! Nam!






Is this the same artist as the ant one above?? Similar style. #zase #zasedesign


The shops are definitely adopting the graffiti style!



And a Primary School graffiti! Go Dolphin Primary School.

Here you can choose to take a small turn down towards Montpelier Health Centre and find an early Banksy and Inky piece “Take the money and run!” 🏃🏻‍♀️ 🏃‍♂️


Back to the main road on this trail and where Gloucester Rd continues into Cheltenham road…

Then suddenly rabbits and hares were popular animals.


The Community spirit and campaigning kicking in as I get close to Stokes Croft and Hamilton House. Latter is campaigning not to be closed down #SaveHamiltonHouse


A female artist #misshazard had started on this piece in golden just as I walked past. I will keep an eye on that Golden Circle.







Breakdancing Jesus #CosmoSarson


Mild mild west #banksy





925F9A6A-D5C3-4325-8E02-C5538EF09403This is where my journey stopped. Iconic.

Street Art Or Graffiti, Is It Vandalism Or Therapy?

Banksy is compulsory for anyone living in or visiting Bristol. For my own sake, his art hit me right in my belly (maybe a Norwegian expression, but you get what I mean). In other words; Whacked me in the gut! Walking around Bristol activates a real explosion of artistic feeling and emotion. It all bubbles up and comes to the surface – as art. And of course it’s political, and Banksy has it all in my opinion.

I didn’t really know Banksy before I came to Bristol. Of course I recognised his work, but it was mind blowing and impressive to walk around the streets and see it everywhere! From searching a bit on the net I figured that he (I think it’s a man) had visited Bergen and even left a street art behind. But Bergen kommune (council) had got it removed. What a shame, twenty or so years later and millions and billions of fans, fame and fortune.

This one is by graffiti artist #Inkie! Also known as one of Banksy’s early collaborators.

A30E07E9-067C-4715-8662-416E067D8DEDI have decided, I’m gonna search for Banky’s last work and learn about the graffiti scene of Bristol… and my starting point was just here in St Michael’s Hill, an area (Cotham) rumours say he might have grown up even. So, is street art and graffiti just annoyingly vandalism or is it maybe therapy for the fallen. This is quoted from two graffiti paintings either side of the street where I was standing just now. (None of which are supposed to be Banksy art by the way, the street art scene in Bristol is huge.) I seem to think it is a reaction to something and that it should be taken seriously. It is serious! Even here in Bristol with lots of street art, graffiti or whatever you choose to call it, it stands out from the let’s call it «exterior of the city». It screams! It’s in your face. And it is painful, beautiful and strongly speaking to you – that’s what makes it a bit painful as well, more to come….

I went into this pub just below the ‘vandalism’ graffiti and the lady in the bar could tell me that she did’t know who had done it and..: »Sorry, it’s not a Banksy, I’m afraid». And now, in May 2018, couple of months after I wrote this piece: I’m pretty sure the artist is Nick Walker.

Bloggstart med en luftetur


IMG_6666What’s There to Miss? Happy Birthday Grandma Ragnhild!

Trær dør, regelrett råtner på rot, det blir beboerne som må starte “crowdfunding” til nye trær, selvfølgelig.

Det er 17. januar. Jeg har ‘Happy friendversary’ med min ektemann gjennom 17 år. Enda viktigere, det er min bestemors 85 års dag, og jeg har bestemt meg for å knalle av startskuddet for denne bloggen!

Snakk om å knalle; en kommentar med tittelen “Norge ut av bruk” i Nationen ved Hans Bårdsgård gjorde at jeg startet dagen med et smil om munnen: “Venstres Abid Raja hyller urbanbonden Tugushan Alp i Molde. Nede i et bomberom dyrker Alp frem salat med 90 prosent vann og null komma poff kalorier, og tilsvarende liten betydning for selvforsyning og matberedskap. Men det blir festlige bilder på TV, da.

Det minner om mitt eget forhold til bondeyrket og selvforsyningen. Sannsynligvis komisk for ekte bønder, men svært meningsfullt for meg og familien. Det kribler når vi kan plukke selvlagd og selvdyrket på en såkalte “allotment”, en jordflekk med et skur som jeg leier av kommunen for 200 Nkr per år. Her dyrker jeg litt ymse, men følger i fotspor til en engelsk tradisjon som berget mange gjennom verdenskrigene og som går svært langt tilbake i tid. Og ja, det står i nokså stor kontrast til kolonihagene med hytter man må betale hundretusenvis av kroner for å kjøpe i Oslo. Det meste er mer “posh” i Norge.

blogg170118IMG_1700Den engelske urbanbonden i 2018

Jeg er takknemlig for at facebookveggen min oppdaterer meg på kommentarer fra Nationen med poff! Bygda jeg kommer fra har utviklet seg til å bli nærmest fullstendig Senterpartilandskap.  Og jeg vil ikke flytte “heimatt”. Ikke med det første i allefall. Det skal allikevel sies at jeg er blant kategorien innvandrere i England som absolutt skuer verden her borte fra mitt lille vindu som observatør, først. Det er utfordrende å knekke koden og få engelske venner, og jeg faller garantert i kategorien som burde reise “tilbake der du kommer fra”. Jeg prøver å være balansert, men Gudbedre hvordan et samfunn blir når konservative strømninger fullstendig dominerer hvordan folk tenker. Penger er grunnleggende verdiskapning, uansett hvem som snakker. Det blir det dårlig politikk av, mener jeg.

I morgentimene spaserte jeg nedover veien fra huset vårt og møtte en hyggelig nabo, ble stående for lenge og prate, og kom for seint til “fitness and tone” -timen. Jeg tok meg heller en luftetur hvor jeg kom over et typisk eksempel på denne politikken jeg opplever som vanskelig. Kommunen har lite penger, en gjenkjennelig sannhet der effektivitet og drift reduseres til penger som rike land mener de har så lite av (?), forstå det den som vil. Derfor, mens alleens trær dør, regelrett råtner på rot, blir det beboerne som må starte “crowdfunding” til nye trær, selvfølgelig. Kanskje ikke så galt. Da betaler man det man ønsker og ingen forteller deg at det skal betales skatt for å holde parker, grøntarealer og trær i byen levende.

Jo, jeg vil faktisk heller betale skatt for en hel del mer enn det man skulle tro! Jeg vil betale skatt for helsevesen, sykehus, sykehjem, barnehager, skoler, parker, bibliotek og trær i bylandskapet! Jeg vil betale skatt for billig urbangartneri, og jeg vil betale skatt for at noen henter søpla. Lista er lang.

Som lærerbarn er jeg en del av “enlightenment”-bevegelsen. Folkeopplysning og kunnskap kan demme opp for endel. Jeg har ofte sterke og polariserte meninger, som jeg skal forsøke å balansere med kunnskaper og fakta. Samtidig har livserfaringer gjort meg mer åpen for innspill som ikke er like politisk korrekte som folkehelsas råd til enhver tid. Jeg håper det smaker!

blogg170118IMG_2047Crowdfunding for lokale trær i Bristol.


Ola var fra Sandefjord

Tekst: Per Kvist, 1929


Ola var fra Sandefjord
han var lettmatros om bord.
Skuta kom til England
og i land gikk han.
Meget snart traff Ola der
en som han fikk mektig kjær.
Kunne Ola engelsk nei,
men han klarte seg.


For en ting kunne han si: «My little Sweetheart»
og hun sa: «Yes, very well» og «I love you.»
Han sa: «Jeg vil du skal bli my little Sweetheart»
og snart så kunne hun si: «Jeg elsker du.»
Det gikk på engelsk og norsk, engelsk og norsk,
og den lille Miss fikk på norsk et ærlig kiss.
For en ting kunne han si: «My little Sweetheart»
og hun sa: «Yes, very well» og «I love you.»

Ola kom på fest og dill
kvelden den ble ganske vill
og en kvinnelig polis
som i England gi’s
ville arrestere ham.
Ola synes det var skam
og han slapp og følge med
vet de, hvordan det?
Men da Ola så kom hjem
hadde kjær’sten hans vært slem
med en engelsk orlogsmann
hadde hun slått an.
«Ola, uff, du er så dorsk
jeg er luta lei av norsk!
I love English gå din vei!»
men han klarte seg

engelsk i norsk