Today I played house. I've befriended the owner of the cabin I'm staying at. He is about my age. He likes to come and sit on the porch in the evening and listen to my stories. He likes my stories. He even understands that my thing for Norway is cosmic, and he's not surprised that I want to retire here. I told him my fantasy. If I were rich, I would build 12 luxury cabins across Norway, and then I would buy a helicopter which I would use as transport once every month. I would stay one month at each of these cabins. Nikolai owns many cabins in Eikesdal. Actually he owns just about everything that there is to be owned around here, including the ferryboat that he uses for party cruises. He has a wife and four kids aged between 12 and 16, and although he also owns 500 sheep, he gave up eating them. I told him that this was very bad indeed, as there's nothing like a good mutton stew. Now he's reconsidering. The kids like to go to Spain and Switzerland. When he saw me gaping with a horrified face, he hurried to assure me that he never goes anywhere. Oh, I felt better instantly. For who the heck would want to leave a paradise like this? He likes talking to me because he figured out that I know a lot of things about cabins. But of course. I haven't been reading the Norwegian specialized magazines for building lodges for nothing for 10 years. I'm up to scratch on what materials are good, what makes a good cabin and what doesn't. Not to mention that I've been trying some of these on my own. He gave me the keys to 6 of his houses, and told me that he would really like to know what I thought. I said I would do it if he gave me a ride on his tractor. He promised. So, today, I've promoted myself to the role of inspector. I've even bought a name tag to show for—I am after all a professional—and then after doing the rounds, I've started drafting a list of things for improvement. By Jove, Nikolai should like this. It's a very good list. Now I have the feeling that in the future he'll invite me to stay in the cabin I favor the most, the one I'm actually in right now, for free. And what can I say, where Norway or the Norwegians are concerned, I never say no.


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