This was a while ago, but quite a short while. Unlike some of the other stuff I am trying to get around to posting about. It means "Culture Night", although it's not just the night. I actually had more fun during the day because for some reason I found myself completely exhausted by half past ten, and ran home to bed after the fireworks.

Anyway, I met up with Ahmad and Stacey, and we wandered around central Reykjavík looking at all the people and the stalls and various things. There were people who were cooking waffles in their gardens and giving them free to passers by. And music and other things to eat, and more people than I have ever seen in Iceland before, even on Gay Pride.

"Culture Night !! Closed to general traffic," said a sign just outside my house. Early in the day, the people of Reykjavík did not take this to heart and could be seen getting out of their cars, moving the cones and driving through before carefully replacing them.
This isn't really Menningarnótt related (although I did take it on that day) - just a nice late summer early autumn shot of the Tjörn.
It was also the day of the Reykjavík marathon, but it was in the morning, so I was too late to see much of it. I think Reykjavík must be rather small for a marathon - I feel like there'd be a lot of running in circles.
Look who we saw playing in Ingólfstorg! Look at his costume. Great. For those of you who don't know, the answer is Páll Óskar. We arrived just in time for Gordjöss, which is my favourite of his songs.
Street party.
We also went out later in the evening, but I didn't take my camera. There was more music in Ingólfstorg (including Páll Óskar again!), and they lit up Harpa for the first time, the recently completed Reykjavík opera house down by the harbour. Then there were fireworks, and I was cold.

By the way, the next time you hear someone talking about Icelandic music and going on about Sigur Rós or Björk or possibly something more obscure, I strongly encourage you to say, "Yeah, but have you heard of Páll Óskar?" And play them this song.

The chorus is "Not everyone can be gorgeous, not everyone can be cool, not everyone can be fabulous, like me". I really like Sigur Rós, but I don't think they've ever written anything quite so profound.

I'm a spesh

OK, so Icelandic 5 doesn't actually start until the 31st of October. Not August. I saw 31.10 and thought August because... I'm deranged? Seriously, the only thing I can think is that I saw '10' and thought of my birthday. Which is the 10th of August. My brain's ability to process numbers is apparently much, much worse than I'd previously suspected.
So this morning I went on a fun bus ride, punctuated with an embarrassing conversation with the receptionist there. I did not even execute the bus trip properly - I accidentally went all the way up to Kópavogur at first and had to get another bus back in the other direction. It's incredible that I manage to get dressed in the mornings without mishap.

Bernard! Or should I say, Bernharður!

Look what the kids found in a box somewhere! Such memories brought back by that gap-toothed smile and creepy, black-hole eyes. I never even knew this was a book, let alone a book that had been translated into Icelandic.

Ever since I first started watching this programme after school, I have been tormented by a longing for Bernard's watch. If I had Bernard's watch, everything in my life would be amazing. Probably.

For those of you not familiar with Bernard's Watch (losers), it basically means that you can freeze time for everything and everyone except yourself. You can then move around and do whatever you please until you choose to restart time. The actual quality of the programme was pretty low, but the concept! The more you think about it, the more you realise that this watch is absolutely the most desirable object in the universe. And the more troubling flaws you discover - like, did Bernard age whilst time was frozen? But then you sweep those under the carpet and go back to fantasising about the end of all the countless irritations in your life caused by the finite nature of time. In pub conversations, I've heard a lot of people mention theft and perving as the main attractions,* but I would totally use it mostly to catch up on sleep.

The boy who played Bernard (as pictured on the front of this book) went to the same university as me. He was either one or two years ahead of me, studying medicine. I never met him, but rumour has it he once punched someone in a nightclub for calling him Bernard.

* Obviously in the fantasy, that weird cosmic postman who used to berate Bernard if he used the watch for evil wouldn't be around. Although the postman did actually let him get away with some pretty dickish behaviour - cheating at football, 'borrowing' his neighbour's games console for days on end, etc.

Icelandic company names that are sort of funny

Foreign company / brand names that sound like something else in English - because I am all kinds of mature, I am easily amused by this sort of thing.

Krap - Not actually a brand, I don't think? This is just the Icelandic word for slushies. It is also the Icelandic word for wet, slushy snow. Anyway, ha.

Emmessís - An ice-cream company. Looks a lot like a misspelling of emesis. Is that a commonly known word? I think I learnt it off E.R.

Glans - Some car-wash company. In Icelandic it means like "shine" or "gleam". In English it doesn't.

P.S. Of course the French drink "Pschitt" remains undefeated in this category. Genuinely I am laughing just thinking about it. I am so highbrow.

Autumn is great

So, here I still am in Iceland. I recently took a week's break from being in Iceland, to be in France for a while and also briefly in London (more on that story later), but have now resumed my position in Reykjavík. It's been a moderately difficult week, because the parents were away on holiday in the Lake District, so I was more in charge than I really enjoy. I am terrible at confrontation. They took the baby, but the others were all here, and it was their first week back at school. I got a re-up of tea-bags when they came back, though, which of course delighted me.

Well, autumn is here. Even though it's still August. Having been so late to get on with summer, Iceland is being super-punctual with autumn. We have cold rain, fog, yellowing leaves, rowan berries, the return of night-darkness. I think also the arctic terns left whilst I wasn't looking? I haven't seen them about for a while.

I love autumn - it is my favourite of all the seasons. Summer is fun and warm and everything, but I can't take it seriously.
Especially in Iceland, because it's light all the time - summer is not real life. The lack of structure and general activity also makes it hard for me to get anything done. Summer sort of saps all my motivation, and I have dangerously low motivation levels at the best of times. I find autumn invigorating; it always feels like a fresh start to me.

No doubt because I have been in full-time education from the age of four until about a year ago (wait, what? it's been a year since I finished my dissertation?). If I had been a farmer all my life, I would probably connect spring with new beginnings, like you're supposed to if you think about what plants and animals and that are doing. Right now, nature is in the process of shutting down and dying. But to me, September is the start of the new year. Mmm, new books and cold mornings and the earnest belief that this year, you're going to stop leaving essays to the last minute and you're going to take really organised notes instead of drawing giraffes in the margins and thinking about lunch. Which you do for about a month and a half.

Now I am making myself sad because there's no new semester for me. But all the same, the kids are back in school as of last week, and ice-hockey is starting again soon, so there's a welcome return of routine. Whatever, I'm a boring person, I like structure and routine. Oh, and I might be starting Icelandic lessons again on Wednesday,* which will have to do as a replacement for the joy of the new school year. I'm not entirely decided, but I probably will, if only because having somewhere to go in the mornings is good for my general sense of well-being.

Autumn is also pretty and smells great, although admittedly not so much in cities. I miss trees! And brambles and hedges. Is it weird that one of the things I miss most from England is the flora? I am excited for it to get properly cold again, because I got a new coat for my birthday and it is pretty fantastic. Just like Paddington Bear's!

* Edit: No, I'm not. I'm starting in October. See post from the 31st of August.

Um Yeah

Yeah, I know. What are you going to do about it?

I'm going away on holiday tomorrow. When I get back I promise I will put so many pictures and paragraphs of text on this blog that it will take you ages to wade through it all.

It was Reykjavík Gay Pride over the weekend and I had a lovely time watching the parade and drinking beer with wonderful people, many of whom were at some point topless. Also, it's quite near my birthday! On Friday I had a drinks-with-friends sort of birthday party at Kaffibarinn, and today I had a cake-and-presents time with my host family. I got brightly-coloured socks, a copy of Hávamál and a book about Icelandic birds! One of the sock pairs has teapots on. They clearly know me quite well by now. Tomorrow I'll be spending some time in London with some people I haven't seen for far too long, which I am extremely excited about, and the day after I will be celebrating my birthday for the third time avec ma famille. And by that time it will actually be my birthday, and instead of being a greying 22-year-old I'll be a greying 23-year-old. Which is maybe better, I suppose? 

Also, yesterday I climbed a small mountain / large hill and looked at a glacier (Mýrdalsjökull). Last time I posted here I was in a somewhat melancholy frame of mind. This didn't last long, though, and just recently mostly everything's fantastic. Iceland is great. Well, I'll leave you on that upbeat note and I definitely promise that this won't be the only thing I write until September.