… to spoil your day. Well, not mine fortunately, but the owner of this boat whom I presume, as it was 8.00 o’clock on a Sunday morning, was catching a bit of extra shut-eye before church parade. The yellow tag was a parking ticket issued by a rather casually dressed lady who wasn’t even wearing so much as an official hat.
We were rostered to mess on the ship for our stay in Halden, Norway, which meant that we would be in for some excellent food and the chef on the Nexans Skaggerak didn’t disappoint. I think I had the best piece of beef fillet that I’ve had in my life; so good that I had to ask how it was done. Obviously you’ve got to start with a decent piece of meat in the first place and let it come to room temperature over a 12 hour period. Add the marinade of choice – leave for another 24 hours – and stick a temperature gauge into the centre of the fillet. Set and heat the oven to 58°C, put the meat in and wait for the gauge to come to 58°. Remove the fillet and allow it to cool to 50°; slice it up and then put it back in the oven until it again reaches 58°C. Then its ready to serve. Cracking!
It was quite a busy little fjord and one evening another cable laying ship came and parked next to us to load up. There were numerous small craft going up and down during the day; cabin-cruisers, sailing boats and I think I spotted a Riva type speed boat. It was a bit too far away to be certain but it looked and sounded right.
We worked a midday to midnight shift which fell in with the meal times on board but it was a strange sensation to wake up and have not a clue what the weather (or sense of the time of day, there being no porthole in the cabin) was until you climbed the stairs and got out on deck. Sleep is always fitful on board a working ship as the cable loading is a 24-hour operation. You tend to wake up if everything stops and there’s suddenly silence!
At the end of our stint, as no hire-cars were available, we took the train. Very clean and comfortable, reclining seats, quiet and equipped with charging sockets for all your electrical paraphernalia, the three-hour journey back to Oslo Gardermoen airport, including a change at Oslo, was a good way to see some of the countryside. Naturally, their harvest was quite a few weeks behind ours being that much further north but patches of barley and oats looked fit. The potatoes were still in bloom so they had a bit to go as well. An evening flight back to Stansted gave us time for a glass of beer and a sandwich each – £46.00! Norway is not cheap.
My first job when I got home was to find a car to replace the Mercedes (fault-finding will continue) and I found a very nice Peugeot 407; red. That should brighten things up a bit!