Its Monday and news from Norway

I do hope that you are all well and have had a fabulous weekend, and geared up for the week ahead. Here in the Luangwa, we have had some extraordinarily high waters which has been pretty spectacular for boating.

Enough of the Luangwa as let’s face it, I am sure you can all see by the title of my It’s Monday today, we are not going to be having stories from the Luangwa but instead we are heading to significantly cooler climes with some Norwegian news!

After months of planning lots of applications, letters and all the rest of the formalities that go along with obtaining a visa we finally got the go ahead. Matt our Luangwa House host and his family offered to organise for Simon our Luangwa House chef to go and spend a month with them in Norway. What an incredible experience for him! Having never been on a plane before, never having even been on an escalator, I sat down and in huge marker pen wrote down a step by step instruction on how to get on the plane in Lusaka. Then the thought of Simon tackling Dubai dawned on me… Thankfully Matt organised for him to be escorted through the airport and put on the next plane and 21 hours of travelling later he arrived in Norway. The challenge wasn’t over as he had 2 hours stuck at immigration due to one letter being incorrect however he was finally let through and Matt was there to welcome him with extra layers and a familiar face. Fortunately it was a warm day in Norway with temperatures of -5C. Looking exhausted and mesmerised, his first thought was how on earth it was possible for people to live in such a place. Driving towards Matt’s home town of Trysil, Simon was totally overwhelmed but also dazed by the journey. After a quick dinner then off to bed.

The next few weeks were filled with all sorts of activities the first one on the list was getting used to the usual temperatures of -15C and -20C. Then also after a large dump of snow, having to get to work shovelling the snow out of the driveway to be able to get to the local school where Simon was doing a cooking class for some of the kids. Afternoon strolls with the dogs became a regular outing although by the looks of things, Simon was being taken for a walk by the dog! And new and exciting ingredients like moose were experimented with.

Some close family friends of Matt’s who are passionate about cooking came over to meet Simon, where they had long conversations with him about his life in Zambia and very kindly brought him some wonderful chefs’ knives as well as chefs’ jackets.

Simon visited the arcade for the first time where he and Matt played several games and also did a few rounds of bowling. For a first-time bowler he did amazing and managed to beat Matt, something which I am sure he will enjoy reminding Matt of when they are all back next week. Other totally alien activities included sledding and skiing – Simon was strapped into downhill skis fully geared up and off he went, at first tackling some of the gentler slopes. However Matt reckons by the end of his stay they will be going up onto some of the higher slopes.

From all of this Simon is surely going to be dinning out on the experience for some time to come. Staggered at first by how people could live somewhere so cold, he soon grew used to it and has really enjoyed the fresh crisp air. The other absolute novelty was the hot tub and sitting outside in warm water whilst the exterior temperatures are well below freezing! Whilst he is missing his family, he is having the most extraordinary time and enjoying the cooking and activities but so far, his favourite has been the skiing.

I just hope that he comes back as it certainly sounds like he is having a phenomenal time and I fear that when he does come back it is going to be quite a change getting used to the warm weather of Zambia again.

Right, that was definitely something a little bit different for you all this week and I will crack on next week with more African based stories. This one was just far too good to pass up on as it is an extremely generous thing for Matt and his family to have been able to offer Simon and quite a contrast to ‘off to Africa for the first time’. So, without any further rambling from me, I shall wish you all a very fond farewell, have a wonderful week with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after each other.



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