There are so many reasons why I ended up a Scandifriend. The purpose of this blog is so that they come to light – indeed, as I become conscious of new reasons, I can articulate them here as well. But I would offer the pithy observation that water has a lot to do with it.
If you live in the UK, you’re never too far from a shore. Around the time I first started to pay a lot of attention to Scandinavia, one of the attractions was the fact that it seemed manna from heaven for someone who can’t go too long without looking at the sea or freshwater.
I once said to a worker in a Gothenburg church: ‘Sweden is what England would like to be‘ – still in Northern Europe, still Protestant, still a maritime nation, but just that bit different. Certainly the surrounding and inland waters of the Nordics seem cleaner and quieter and more voluminous (er, probably because they are). In the UK, you’re aware that foreign climes lie close beyond precious tracts of water. In some parts of the Nordics, not least the Breiðafjörður fjord in Iceland, water seems to stretch to heaven and eternity itself – especially when it gives the impression of merging with the gigantic cathedral of the sky that far north.
Thanks to my other half for helping me to rest my pictorial case on this occasion.