Last month I started a new series of posts that were a bit more personal for me. Every month I'll be telling you about some of the things I plan on doing that month. I hope to give you a bit more of an insight into our lives here in Norway and how I embrace Nordic living without losing my own cultural heritage.
June is the most wonderful month in Norway. It's warm settled and full of Nordic celebrations. The days are incredibly long and light and the nights are short. In my part of the country (Vestfold), we get just 3 hours of darkness by the middle of June. So this is truly the time to soak up the daylight and make the most of every hour that is available to us.
Enjoy the long days and short nights
21 June is the shortest night and one that we always celebrate. I love the long days and being able to be outside for so long. It sometimes has it's drawbacks though as you lose track of time and get a surprise when you look at a clock and realise that it's 11pm!
Have a fun celebration for the kids' last day of school
Schools in Norway break up for the summer holiday on about 22 June and compared to the UK the school holiday is a long one (8 weeks), but it's also a time to celebrate the final day of that grade. I think ice-creams by the river might be in order.
Revel in the beautiful flowers that abound in the month of June
Flowers start to appear in Norway in May and by June the verges and fields are covered. Some are more unusual and need to be left alone, but some such as lupins are not native and we are encouraged to pick them to try to stem their never ending offensive on the native flora. Luckily they are also one of my favourite flowers and I love to have them in the house.
Swim in the sea
By June the sea in southern Norway is just beginning to warm up enough to swim in it. The beaches are some of the most beautiful and cleanest I have ever seen and they are plentiful. Because there are so many beaches you can easily find an area that is almost deserted and you have the incredible luxury of being alone.
For those of you who don't know I am a terrible insect geek. I love them all and to have a host of butterflies, beetles and other insects on my plants on the garden confirms to me that I am doing something right
Bottle, can, pickle and preserve
One thing that 2020 taught me was preparation. There were times when the supermarket shelves were bare of the most essential items (yes, even in Norway) and those were times I was grateful to have a full store cupboard and the skills to be able to make the most of what I had to hand. Plus there is something very satisfying about seeing a jar of jam that you have made yourself. I am still not quite sharing the Norwegian love of fermenting, but maybe I'll have a dabble this summer.
Celebrate St Hans
St Hans is celebrated on 23 June in the Nordic region and the Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia). It is marked with parties and bonfires that go on through the night. We usually celebrate with family and it is a relaxed cosy and lovely event that we all look forward to.
Go crab fishing
It's one of the most fun summer activities that kids and adults alike have been doing for generations. We love to meet family at the beach for a relaxed and fun afternoon. Everyone brings a line of string, a peg and a bucket. A nominated person has to reach over the edge of the pier and pull off some mussels which are broken open and pieces pegged onto the end of the string. The string is sent into the water and we wait for the crabs to bite. Caught crabs are carefully placed in a bucket of water and the winner is the person with the most and the biggest crabs. Afterwards all the crabs are released back into the sea for the next band of fishermen. For a little added sentimentality the beach we go to is the very same one my mother-in-law played on a child. Four generations of the same family using the same beach.
Do you have some things you are planning for the month? I'd like to hear your ideas and plans too...
If you'd like to join us in the Living a Nordic Life Facebook group, we'd love to see you there!