Barbara Godfrey relaxes in a forest near Oslo on her
in Norway, a humorous book by an Englishwoman who
was a hushjelp in Oslo in 1953, will be of special
interest to Norwegians who remember the Coronation that
year of Queen Elizabeth II of England. Nearly 50 years
on, author Barbara Godfrey tells of her often comic experiences
in the country which still holds a fascination for her,
and whose inhabitants may well be following Queen Elizabeths
Golden Jubilee celebrations this summer.
One of the chapters in Barbaras book recalls how the
Coronation in London hit the front pages of the Norwegian
newspapers, sharing the headlines with the conquest of Everest.
The audience in the crowded Oslo cinema, which had obtained
a newsreel film of the ceremony in record time, gasped in
wonder as they watched the crowning of the new British Queen great-niece
of their own beloved King Haakon.
girls take a boat trip to see the wreck of the battleship Tirpitz,
English paperback Naughty in Norway, which the publisher
describes as a saucy saga of the North, has
something for all ages and reveals an affectionate and
light-hearted understanding of the Norwegian character
and way of life in the post-war years.
One reader, Sten Adeler, who grew up in Norway, said the
book brought back so many memories that it made him quite
emotional. Now an airline pilot living on the Channel Island
of Jersey, where he is Norwegian Consul, Mr Adeler was so
moved by the book that he even sent his signed copy to his
fellow Norwegian Consul in London. In my opinion it
is essential reading for all Norwegians, who will gain an
insight into how visitors see Norway, he declared. The
book is a pleasure not only for tourists.
Book in stock £4.95 delivered
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
right, and Alicia in Tromsø
its playful title, Naughty in Norway is not just
a comic romp. It gives a wealth of serious background information
about the country which has enchanted Barbara since childhood,
when her parents used to reminisce about their honeymoon
there in 1923.
She says: My father left my mother sailing up and down
the coast as far as Kirkenes while he went off to explore
Svalbard. Among his team of explorers was Sandy Irvine, who
died the following year on Everest. Irvine caused a sensation
in Bodø when he did acrobatics on a mast there.
The chapter In love with Oslo paints a picture of
a city in the early 1950s which had a quiet dignity and was
just beginning to recover from the horrors of the Nazi Occupation.
In those days, friendly foreigners were a novelty and Barbara
and her friend Alicia, who worked together as hushjelper
in the same home, attracted the attention not only of philandering
Norwegian men but of women and children, intrigued by their
dark hair and brown eyes.
Lapp family gives the girls a friendly welcome near
for their Shadows, one of two chapters devoted to
a visit to the North Cape, tells of a trip on the fjord
to see the wreck of the German battleship Tirpitz being
dismantled. There was a warm welcome from a family of
nomad Lapps, followed by a strenuous climb to the desolate
North Cape plateau up hundreds of steps cut in the cliff
face at that time the only way to reach Europes
most northerly point.
The British girls adventures also took them to Stavanger,
Bergen, Trondheim and many other parts of Norway. There are
a host of farcical episodes, such as the time they were invited
to join the dancing at a traditional wedding feast during
a hitch-hiking trip to the fjord country. An amorous Norwegian
in full bunad, determined to emulate King Olav Is
prowess in leaping across the oars of a Viking ship, fell
into the fjord in his velvet outfit after attempting this
feat over floating logs.
Then there was the encounter with twins Odd and Ole, who
offered the girls a bath in a tin tub as illustrated
on the books cover and the time Alicia had to
sit up all night embroidering a moose blanket for a blond
waiting to hitch a lift
at a students hut in the hills outside Oslo was equally
bizarre. The chapter Thors Thunderbox tells
of the girls reluctant use of a thunderbox a
six-seater outside toilet before lying all night
on an uncomfortable pile of twigs in the forest with a
party of students, hoping to hear the cry of ptarmigan
and wood-grouse at dawn.
Oslo, too, was the scene of hilarious incidents. There was
the luckless four-piece band which fell into an ornamental
pond at a café during a scuffle after a young man
tried to force his attention on the girls; and the store
salesman who insisted on demonstrating the snog rating of
duvets in a large cardboard box in the stock room.
Even crazier was one of the outings described in Follow
my Leader, when the girls employer tried in vain
to drive home along a narrow forest track after the family
had been to Asker to watch the wedding drive of Princess
Ragnhild and her bridegroom Erling Lorentzen. They were closely
followed by seven cars, two lorries and a bus, in the mistaken
belief that they knew where they were going.
The chapter entitled Fishballs! and references
elsewhere to the dreaded fiskesuppe will leave
the reader in no doubt about the English girls dislike
of these mainstays of the Norwegian diet . . .
Naughty in Norway is on sale at around NOK 92 in Oslos
main bookstores and in bookshops in North Norway. The ISBN