I Didn’t Ask For Ice In This



There’s been a terrible mistake. For some reason that escapes me, I appear to be in Iceland.

I remember saying to my mad mate Roger that I would go if he invited his beautiful wife Izabella, then forgot about it. Apparently the plan didn’t end there, and now I’m in Reykjavic, getting ready to search for the Aurora Borealis (currently at a twelve-year high) and go out onto a glacier, or something. Naturally I have failed to pack properly, and have with me an assortment of T-shirts and flimsy outfits that the locals will laugh at as they toddle past in their puffa-jackets and funny hats.

What made me think it was a good idea to go from just off the coast of South America to somewhere near the top of the world, via London, with the wrong clothes, in February? I’m a novelist, not an International Man of Mystery, for God’s sake! I don’t even smoke!

I’ll report what I find here, then get back in a few days to crack on with Bryant & May, I promise. But I’m not eating whale or reindeer, I promise.

14 comments on “I Didn’t Ask For Ice In This”

  1. John Howard says:

    Maybe they have got you there to turn on the lights themselves. That must be the case because surely they have heard of Bryant and May….

    Or do you think that your mad mate is in league with your publisher and this is secretly a promotional tour that you don’t know about.

    Just don’t tell the wife about Izabella. It’s ok we will keep shtum.

    And finally my advice is, LAYERS, LOTS OF LAYERS. Have fun.

  2. Mike Cane says:

    Erm, best not to mention international finance. *IceSave* cough cough.

    If you want some tips, on Twitter @fakebaldur is the fellow to ask. He’s an Icelander who now resides in England but scoots back and forth at least once a year, I believe. Tell him I sent you and you’ll be all set. (Hm, maybe I’ll go tell him myself…)

  3. andrea yang says:

    The photo looks gorgeous. If you find the cold suits you, next year check out the Ice Festival in Harbin China my hubby’s hometown. You can walk thorough ice monuments and take a dip in the Songhua River with the polar bear club!http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/01/harbin_international_ice_and_s_1.html

  4. Dan Terrell says:

    Now, you appear to have really done it.
    Did you not remember that the majority of Icelanders read by the light of lava lamps? That they have @#% huge volcanos that can reroute air traffic all over Europe at their first hiccup… and for months? (I could have told you that! Having been stuck in the @#% next-to-totally-empty Madrid airport transit area for nearly a day going and again coming back on a vacation trip several years ago. Wait, you’d just nipper over to Barcelona, right?)
    If it’s too nippy outside, perhaps you might want to stay in and research the Icelandic origins of Santa Claus, his flying reindeer, and the largish red capped mushrooms with white spots on that the local shamen chew to fly.)
    Or read some A. Merrit as he used the Northern Lights in several of his SiFi novels and their appearance was never a good thing: The Moon Pool, The Metal Monster, The People of the Pit,etc.
    Oh and as you watch the Aurora Borealis, please look down for the black ice which friends tell me is a national speciality there. “A sudden slide can cost you some hide.”
    And wear gloves.
    If congelatio (frost bite, I hurry to add as the word is often misunderstood in casual conversation)delays the next Bryant & May you are so going to be sent out to the dog house.

  5. BangBang!! says:

    You should at least try the Puffin. It’s an acquired taste I’m led to believe!

  6. John says:

    Unlike you Iceland has long been one of my dream destinations. I’d gladly have traded places with you. Make sure you take a dip in one of the many natural hot springs for me! I’d definitely try the reindeer. Venison stew is one of the few delicacies I was surprised I enjoyed when I ordered it in a NYC restaurant several years ago. Never pass it up if it shows up as a gourmet special now.

  7. Dan Terrell says:

    Anybody see Helen heading toward the blog? Not yet. Good.
    Than in my post above change that shamEn quickly to an A, not cap of course. But what the heck by now I have a certain reputation for fat fingering, etc. to maintain, so… but still. You can’t use “congelato” and then mess up. Dried mushroom bit anyone?
    What? Hey, Helen, how you keeping?

  8. Helen Martin says:

    Just fine, Dan, just fine. Those mushrooms (amanita muscari) are fall ones, at least in our part of the world. They seem to be becoming more common now. I found beautiful ones on the boulevard outside a school where I was teaching and the next thing I knew the school board truck was there with rakes and shovels combing the whole space. Found some in mulch outside a shopping centre. And as far as Iceland goes, you want to read Desmond Bagley’s “Running Blind” which is set in Iceland and has a description of running through an area of hot mud pools at night that will stay with you for a long time. I loved the fact that Mr. Stewart always carried a skian dhu in his stocking and came through immigration without losing it. Wouldn’t work now. I didn’t know they had made a film of Landslide, his film about dam building in British Columbia. He was so correct about most things but the university he referred to in the University of British Columbia, not U of Vancouver. Wyatt’s Hurricane taught me all I know about hurricanes, although he appears to have been wrong about leaving windows open for the wind to blow through and Snow Tiger taught me about roller bearing snow. Sorry – I seem to have gone overboard. How many of them have you read, Dan? I saw your name on a review.

  9. Dan Terrell says:

    Everything he wrote. Great stuff.
    And Barkley Mather, too. Wonderful Northwest Fronter Pushtuns with terrificly real dialogue and so real swearing. One book of has book has an amazing use of a fresh picked pineapple as a turnoff that you’ve every read. You can hear an echo of Mather’s chuckling as he that passage.
    I’ve thought I’ve caught Admin chuckling behind the text in many of his Bryant & May outings.
    Got the graphic in the mail today! Yes.

  10. Helen Martin says:

    Dan, were you reading the Casebook while you typed that?

  11. admin says:

    Yes and you can catch me chuckling behind the text here!

  12. Dan Terrell says:

    Actually, I was attempting to multitask: finishing an overly generous glass of red Italian, half-listening to an overlong phone call, and unfortunately continuing to carrying on with that not-yet-so-twisty second paragraph above.
    Whatever! Is it: 1) a new shameful best; or 2)a penny translation bought from an elderly bazaar wallah in Peshawar? I’m going for #2.
    To paraphrase Richard III: “An edit function! My kingdom for a WordPress edit function!”
    Sharp right turn here! What about that R III?
    Knocked from his horse one day and five hundred years later turns up in a car park. Does that not encapsulate modern British development and the Queen’s family’s rule, or not?

  13. jan says:

    U’mm its much more than a 12 year cycle u know this year and last year offer about the best chances to see the Northern lights in about 50 years.

    I only seen em once but honestly fantastic well well worth it made standing round some freezing car park in Finland worthwhile

  14. Helen Martin says:

    I’ve only seen the pale version you get south of 60 and even that is mystic and awe inspiring. Now 1958, the International Geophysical Year, that was a year for aurora borealis. At 50 degrees north we had dancing red banners, wonderful.
    Dan, I’ll go with #1 and you’re (mis)quoting Shakespeare, not Richard. Richard is my hero!

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