Posted by: irishdad | October 23, 2009

Northern Lights

Last weekend I was a lucky fella, taking a trip to the north of Norway to visit a friend and his family who live up there.

While it feels like mid-autumn here in Ireland, winter is certainly getting itself established in Norway, with the country growing increasingly snowy as we flew north.

The views from the plane were very beautiful with endless fjords and dramatic mountains topped by recent snow, with the last of the colourful leaves of autumn visible in the valleys below.

I was listening to this on the flight up. It suited the view, but made me sad.

We took a boat trip through the fjords around town, and walked in the hills above.  Having seen a fraction of the surrounding area I’d now love to go back during the summer when the midnight sun kicks in.

Most of my close friends live abroad. While they usually get home a couple of times a year we’re rarely all in the same place at the same time, so we try to co-ordinate a meet-up at least once a year. During May four of us went to drink wine in the Rheingau in Germany, so this was very much a bonus trip. It was also our first time up to see Mr Norway – who has been living in the north of the country for a couple of years – as his location is pretty remote. Another pal travelled from Belgium so the three of us were delighted to catch up, have a few drinks and listen to the music of our younger days.

Mr Norway and his wife are expecting their second child next April, after two miscarriages, so they are on tenterhooks like Irishmam and I. Fingers crossed we all get what we wish for this time.

On a separate note, pregnant women of Ireland are in a dilemma this week with regard to the swine flu vaccine. We’re being told by our health authority that it’s safe, but when you read references in the newspaper to unproven links to autism and other problems it’s very difficult to decide what to do. Our own doctor this week told Irishmam not to get it…and now the media and the overall authorities are saying yes.

So, do we avoid the jab and gamble that the flu won’t stop by our house, or take it and hope that the vaccine isn’t being rushed through the system?

I don’t know…I suppose we could head back up to Norway where perhaps it’ll soon be too cold for the virus to survive!



  1. I was told not to take the vaccine either, but other preg friends of mine here in Aus have been given the opposite advice. Hard to know what to do. Flu season is over for us here though, and it simplified things a few months back when swine flu was rampant but the vaccine was not available. Can I just stick my fingers in my ears and sing la la la la la? Will that work?
    Good luck making a decision. Nothing is simple for us these days.

  2. Good to be gettng out and seeing some beautiful scenery – always cheers me up.

    It is a shame you are getting conflicting messages re vacine – should be joined up.

    take care

  3. Beautiful scenery!

    The whole swine flu thing is so scary isn’t it? I keep wondering if I should get the vaccine or not just in case we make the leap…

  4. North Norway! I used to work their. Norway is beautiful both in winter and summer, you took some nice photos which made me miss go back way back when…

    My doc (not the one here in Ireland) advised me not to take the vaccine either. It’s just does not seem that bad to get it (like other strains of flu) and the problems associated with the vaccine are imho more severe and lead to more serious health problems if you get one of the side effects. But yes, it’s a difficult one, thankfully I made my decision about a month ago.

    my love to irishmam
    xx Ines

  5. There was a good article in the Guardian about pregnant woman and the swine flu vaccine:

    It’s a tricky one, isn’t it?

  6. Beautiful music and scenery. Glad you had a chance to catch up with friends. Crossing my fingers for you & Mr. Norway.

    I don’t know what to do about the swine flu vaccine either. My J should get it because she has CLD and I’ve taken her for the standard one already but . . .I’m not so certain about the extra swine flu one. Argh. Wish there was a more consistent message.

  7. Thanks for all your comments, and the article link AfterIris.

    We’re no closer to a decision on the flu jab…we’ll see what the family doctor says during the week.

    On balance I suppose we have a slight lean towards getting the vaccine. Like anybody else, we need the flu in the family like a hole in the head over the next few weeks and months.

    I still love you, piggies.

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