A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine*

Day 27. Sunday 9 June.

Today was to be a slow day, not least because we expected little to be open due to it being both Sunday and a religious holiday (Whitsunday). Interestingly, when we spoke to two young people, separately, they both commented that they had no idea what it was for, and in any event had no interest in religion. They were happy for the public holiday tomorrow though. A familiar comment!

Throughout the night the ‘ventilator’ in the apartment had hummed (a bit like aircraft engine noise) and defied attempts to turn it off, even more disturbing than D’s snoring. This system is apparently in lieu of opening a window for fresh air. T resorted to ear plugs again: D just slept through it. While making breakfast another alarm-like, intrusive chirping sound from the ceiling started just after T had put the toast on. Panic! We’d been warned that the smoke detectors were sensitive and if the Fire Brigade came we’d be up for a fee of 10,000 Krone (a bit over $1,600). Toast ejected and rushed to the balcony, all doors opened……but the sound continued and we’d worked out it was probably not the smoke alarm. But we couldn’t track down the source, so T rang apartment management: ‘it’s the detector under the stove hood’ we were told – ‘press the black button.’ We did – an alarm went off and a red light flashed on the device. D frantically pushed other buttons – all quiet….except for the original sound. With no other solution offered, we were told that a janitor would come some time through the day; but, we were reminded, it was a public holiday. As if we needed telling: we had no wine and no prospect of any!

A quiet walk over the canal into town was in order. Contrasting architectural styles between the old and the new: we’ll look at more of the older sections of the city tomorrow. Our apartment is very much in the new category.

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Passed by the University, a lovely facility, and T spotted a free concert on Tuesday evening that beckons.


As we got closer to the centre of town we could hear what sounded like folk music – or possibly just dance. And we saw milling crowds, a mixture of locals and tourists. And indeed there was dancing, with repetitive steps suggesting traditional dances, although we can’t be sure.


Continued on to the Fish Market area, where there were more milling crowds, this time with a higher proportion of tourists getting in our way. A plain, reasonably priced lunch – in a tourist hub! – of two rounds of bread, one topped with prawns and the other crab. Both were on the bland side.

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Because it was Sunday, and because we haven’t posted a picture of a church for a while, we entered St. John’s Church of the Lutheran Church of Norway. It was more ornate than we’d come across in other Lutheran churches, but not excessively or pretentiously so. A treat of sorts was a small, mixed choir rehearsing, conducted by a lady who had the control and direction of one of our own music leaders: we could only look on in similar admiration as she guided her members. The thought did occur that we’d get wine if we took communion – but it wasn’t on.


Back to the apartment to find that the buzzing noise in the ceiling remained. Clearly no janitor had come by. D rang the apartment management, this time getting Tando who had checked us in yesterday. The answer was to go to the fuse box and turn off the main power, wait ten seconds and turn it back on. It worked – the sound stopped. Not a new problem – happens every couple of months, apparently for reasons as yet unknown. The humming of the ventilator was mentioned again and, as he was in the area, Tando said he’d come over to see if he could fix it. He couldn’t, so offered us a different apartment – we accepted, packed our wet washing, foodstuffs, suitcases and moved across, in the rain, to another building. The ventilator in this one hums loudly too, and can’t be turned off, as it is part of a central system – but at least it’s not in the bedroom.

It has rained or drizzled pretty much all day, but this certainly hasn’t stopped folk being out and about, the locals in particular who are walking, running, playing football, playing with kids at ‘the beach’ or just having a coffee.


Quite a high proportion of those pushing prams are young men. We think that life continues despite the weather because it’s always like this – it’s what one local commented, anyway!

But still no wine – and the supermarkets don’t sell beer on a Sunday, so no substitute.  Monday’s another holiday, again with no wine shops open, and the possibility that beer won’t be available either! We have fallen this low.


T is extra-anxious in the kitchen due to the alarm sensitivity, and the pork fillet chosen for tonight’s meal turns out to be pork strips for a wok! With no appropriate ingredients and THAT ALARM warning, there’s definitely no wok tonight; some other creation will emerge. D dutifully went back into rain to source foil and garlic, and instructions not to pay $6 for 5 carrots.

*Usually attributed to Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a Century French gastronome.


3 thoughts on “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine*

  1. I suppose you can just say that Norway is giving you your 3 required alcohol free days for the trip, and then you can put the madness behind you for the rest of the trip. All ok in Perth. Glenice alert but confused. Perth hasn’t stopped raining for 6 days. Love Ian


  2. Sorry, don’t understand this comment about 3 alcohol free days. I thought that was per year. Our day (Tuesday) is full sun – quite a contrast after the drizzle for the past couple. How long will you stay? I assume the doctors have advised that this is the final stage?


    • I expect to be in Perth until late this month. Glenice has steadied and regained some awareness but is very weak and the doctors have given up predicting – she’ll stay until she wants to go. Ian


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