Norway, Bjørge Lillelien, Football and Winter Weather

Haugesund Norway

The rain showed no sign of easing off so we settled in to an afternoon of sport on the satellite television which was promising a full afternoon of English Premier League football.  I sampled the first can of Frydenlund and was pleased to discover that it was very nice indeed and then sat down for the match.

I suppose they have to show English, German and Spanish matches because Norway doesn’t have a much of a football team themselves and although they are big hitters in the economic and social world league indexes their football record in World and European cup competitions is nothing much to brag about.

They compensate for this however by having possibly the most famous bit of football commentary ever.

The Norwegian broadcaster Bjørge Lillelien most famously reported on Norway’s unlikely 2-1 victory against England in a World Cup qualifier in Oslo on 9th September 1981.  At the end of the match he was almost hysterical – no, I’ll correct that, he was completely hysterical – and, alternating between English and Norwegian, he screamed into his microphone:

“We are best in the world! We have beaten England! England, birthplace of giants”

And he followed this up by taunting a roll call of famous English people:

“Lord Nelson, Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana we have beaten them all, we have beaten them all! Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher your boys took a hell of a beating! Your boys took a hell of a beating!”

 Bjørge Lillelien

Away from football interestingly, Norway has a national cricket team that are ranked a credible thirty-eighth in the World, out of one hundred and five and a rugby team that is not quite so successful being ranked eighty-sixth out of ninety-four.

I didn’t get to watch the football match however because as we sat in the lounge the sky brightened a couple of shades of grey and the rain stopped so not having travelled eight hundred miles to Haugesund to watch television we found our coats and returned to the streets.  Taking the bridge across the water we walked to the island of Risøy where behind a couple of streets of timber clad houses there was a large ship building yard and dry dock and in the middle and dominating the skyline was a massive blue building which turned out to be the biggest indoor shipping repair facility in Norway.

The wind buffeted us about and rearranged our clothing as we crossed back over the bridge and slipped into the shelter of the shopping streets again.  Old photographs of Haugesund show Haraldsgate as a row of attractive timber buildings but over the years some of these have disappeared and have been sadly replaced with later inappropriate concrete and glass additions, a bit like any modern English town scarred forever by 1960s town planners.

A lot of the frost-picked wooden buildings looked in need of some urgent attention after the winter offensive had attacked the external finishes and the timbers.  At home I like to paint the woodwork on the house every ten years or so whether it needs it or not but here I expect it is an annual chore.

It was still light and dry so we went on a rather pointless walk to a pretty church and then returned to the warmth of the hotel via the waterfront.  We opened the wine and I had a second Norwegian beer, taking care to enjoy every expensive drop and when the waffle machine was wheeled into action at three o’clock we were first in the queue at the trough of batter mix and prepared ourselves a tasty snack.

On the top floor of the hotel there was a fitness centre and relaxation room so in the late afternoon we planned to sweat off the calories from the waffles in the sauna.  We had the place to ourselves which was nice but overall it was a disappointing experience because even at maximum heat the temperature was only marginally warmer than I generally like my front room to be on a winter’s day.  It certainly wasn’t making us sweat or casting off calories so we stayed for a short while, played on the fitness equipment for an even shorter while and then went back to our room where we sat and listened to the rain steadily falling.  We finished the Norwegian beer and I instinctively knew that I should have bought more.

Our second evening buffet at the hotel Amanda was sadly not as good as the first, we had planned to make ourselves a prawn cocktail but without prawns this just wasn’t possible and there was no hot meat selection tonight either so we had to make do with something very similar to breakfast but without the eggs and bacon.  Tonight the dining room was busy with Norwegian guests most of whom looked as though they were attending a tribute band retro rock concert, especially the men with their pony tails and platted beards.  We were the only English people in the hotel and the Norwegians treated us with a sort of arms length curiosity because they were probably wondering what on earth we were doing there.

It was pouring with rain now so this ruled out any evening walk option so instead we made ourselves comfortable in the lounge, claimed possession of the television remote controller which put us in charge of channel selection and choose an English speaking film.  Some Norwegian guests turned up but didn’t stay and this time unlike the Scott of the Antarctic story – arriving second at the south pole after the Norwegian Roald Amudsen, this time the English were there first and we were staying put.

By the end of the movie it had stopped raining but we were warm and comfortable and after a few glasses of wine we were had no real enthusiasm for stepping outside again today so we called it a day and went to bed worrying about tomorrow’s weather.

Yellow House Windows Haugesund Norway


11 responses to “Norway, Bjørge Lillelien, Football and Winter Weather

  1. This sounds a totally exciting holiday. I’m still reeling from the fact that you paint the woodwork every ten years!! You are joking aren’t you?

    • It was different. It wasn’t a holiday it was an opportunity and it was an interesting way to spend a weekend. I’d go back but only in the summer.
      I am lying about the painting – I never do it. I am paying for it now though. The house I bought 26 years ago needs fascias and soffits replacing so I’ve got a big bill to pay. The way I look at it however is that 26 years of neglect and not having to go up a ladder is only costing £75 for each of those years so in actual fact that doesn’t seem too bad!

  2. Damn. WP ate my comment. Putting on professional hat, or rather, stealing it from partner.
    Does it really need replacing? Or just some filler and splicing in? Maybe it does after 26 years.
    Anyway, a couple of grand doesn’t sound too expensive. I hope you aren’t going for plastic but you probably are. Just so long as you know that plastic breaks down faster than timber, and if you occasionally pay someone to paint or varnish the timber, it lasts forever.

    • Yes, I know you will disapprove but I have gone for plastic. It is a 1980s house so it somehow seems appropriate. My Grimsby house is 1932 and I promise that I will keep the timber and have it looked after properly!

      • Is that plastic cladding over the timber though? Or are they taking everything down? We did that on one of our houses. Timber hadn’t died out in the 80s you know!

      • Wilcon 1980 houses only used the cheapest material and so much has to be replaced – the walls upstairs are made of straw! It’s like something out of the story of the three little piggies!
        Yes, complete replacement – the whole lot is coming down and being replaced with lovely shiny plastic!
        I’ll aim to sell it before it degrades entirely!

      • Never heard of them, so looked them up and had to laugh at this:

        One of the reasons I like older properties. Far much more substantial and if they are still around so many years later, there’s a good chance they’ll still be going strong after me.

        Waiting for a few pix of the work then 🙂 I’m sure you can fit it in with a photo challenge or maybe even a scrapbook one (scrap housing?).

      • Thanks for the link – funny! Not had those sort of problems although I did have a leak under the bath and it isn’t a well built house that is for sure. I have replaced the kitchen (twice), bathroom, internal doors, installed double glazing, replaced the heating system, soome of the chipboard floors and now the fascias and soffits. Next job is driveway resurfacing!

  3. Sounds like you had some fun out there!

  4. Pingback: Norway, Bjørge Lillelien, Football and Winter Weather | Have Bag, Will Travel

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