So, another issue of Iceland Review is off to print and you can start looking forward to intriguing stories of strong women, war reporting, self-seasoning lamb, chocolate design, robots, the close call of the Holuhraun eruption, Iceland’s response to the refugee crisis, football heroes, a Ring Road express tour, as well as Páll Stefánsson’s landscape series shot in the midnight sun.
The long days of summer are now bygone.
In August we were pleased to welcome a new recruit, Vala Hafstad, whose sarcastic poetry (often featuring our dear PM) has made her a favorite among readers of our Views column. Her clever wordplay has been finding its way into news headlines, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.
However, we’ve kept Vala so busy that she hasn’t found time to write a single poem since she started working for us, but I hear she will be cooking up something new soon: prepare for her funny take on the Icelandic réttir sheep roundup. ‘Tis the season.
Vala will be taking over from me shortly as I’m growing as fat as the Icelandic horse in Denmark in one of her latest news stories. Not because of excessive smørrebrød eating, though, but because my family is about to welcome a new recruit, due in early November.
My condition is making it hard for me to chase after my son, who is soon turning two, and loves ditching his parents, doing the opposite of what he is told, and insists on doing everything “sjálfur!” (‘himself’). He’s all grown-up now, or so he seems to think, having started preschool and all.
After a bit of an Indian summer, autumn has arrived with the usual wind and rain. Leaves have turned pale yellow, crimson red and everything in between. Bright red rowanberries swing in the wind outside my window, the intermittent rain showers enhancing their color.
While I dread heading out into the pouring rain, the wind hitting my face as I wobble (seriously: my husband just compared me to Mr. Wobbly Man from Noody!) to the preschool to pick up my son, I try to remind myself of a two-year-old’s attitude towards the weather.
My son is the proud owner of a pair of stígvél (rubber boots)—he can even put them on himself—and pollagalli (water-proof overalls), both preschool staples, and recently discovered the joy of ‘hoppípolla’ or ‘jumping in puddles’ (actually spelled hoppa í polla).
The activity was made famous by Sigur Rós in their eponymous 2005 song; the music video featuring a gang of old people rediscovering the carefree magic of their childhood years.
So, I guess that instead of cursing the rain, we should be grateful for the beautiful and sunny autumn days we were graced with in September and find ways to enjoy the wet weather, put on a pair of boots and go jumping in puddles.
Another feature of the Icelandic autumn is the roundup of sheep, as mentioned earlier, which is becoming a major tourist attraction. The slaughtering season follows, and this year, Londoners will get a special delivery of fresh Icelandic lamb, Angelica self-seasoned, no less.
Zoë, who wrote about Hvannarlamb, organic Angelica-fed lamb, for the October-December issue of Iceland Review, will meet up with the farmers and other small-scale Icelandic food producers at London’s Borough Market October 7-10, and sum up the atmosphere in a follow-up piece.
Meanwhile, I’m getting ready for the annual slátur club reunion with my friends. We’ll be making blood sausages and liver pudding from innards and offal, hearty traditional Icelandic food, which is both economical and respectable, given that almost every scrap of meat from the slaughtered lambs will be used.
Then we will celebrate with a proper slátur feast: boiled blóðmör and lifrarpylsa, served with new, boiled potatoes and yellow turnips, and a sweet béchamel sauce. My mouth is watering already.
So far, busy and rainy weekends have prevented me from picking wild blueberries, which is something I always do in late summer or early autumn before the first frost.
Tomorrow, the weather outlook isn’t too bad so I might check whether there are some blueberries left and introduce my son to the tradition of berry-picking—he sure loves the taste of them. Skyr with blueberries and cream are a classic dessert at this time of year.
Whatever your plans are this weekend, I wish you a happy one, and magical autumn days ahead.
Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir – eyglo(at)icelandreview.com