PEDERSEN’S LAST DREAM began in Norway. Written in the first person, the main character, Knut Pedersen, was born in Baklandet, Trondheim. The city was capital of Norway during the Viking period up until 1217AD. There are some fascinating houses in the older parts with the most beautiful carved doors.
These photos were taken in Trondheim shortly before I returned to Oslo, where I was knocked down by a car while crossing a road with my Norwegian cousin, Terje. I mention him in the article Reflections in a Fjord, which recounts a visit to the village of Son with my mother. As a young woman she used to spend her holidays there.
It was a clear, sunny November day when the black BMW ploughed into Terje and I on a pedestrian crossing. As we went flying into the air, I thought I was going to die. A strange sensation. The drawn-out aftermath of that accident gave me a lot to think about. I started suffering the unnerving exprerience of waking into dreams, not quite knowing where I was, from time to time, only becoming aware I was still sleeping by noticing the room was not quite the same. Once used to it, I found it quite enjoyable.
That inspired the novel, which takes the experience much further. The details of the accident are more or less the same in the novel, except Pedersen is crossing the road alone. The dream sequences are imaginary.
This frontage of this house really took my eye. There are many others similar, but I like the especially distressed look of this one. I took a lot of photos walking up a hill. From the steps, and other features, it appears some of the houses are slowly sliding down the hill, but they’re not.
Out of Trondheim I took the bus to Røros. From one of the oldest to one of the coldest. Røros has the reputation as being the coldest town in Norway. And that is very cold. The journey was like travelling from autumn to winter in a few hours. It was freezing, but very pretty with many buildings like this one.
This is the sort of place I’d like to get my prescription medicines. It looks so very trustworthy. A sleepy, little place now, it’s hard to imagine Røros was once one home to the largest copper mining and smelting industries in Europe. Its well-preserved 17th and 18th buildings have led it to being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Southern Sami people – more commonly, but mistakenly, known as Lapps – still herd deer in the surrounding country.
An interesting fact for me was that an ancestor of mine, a certain Swedish army officer named Plantings, is recorded as commanded his troops to burn the town to the ground a few centuries before my arrival. My mother’s maiden name was Planting, which is very rare in Norway. Nearly all live in the far north town of Hammerfest, where my grandfather was born. Everyone with the name Planting in Norway is related to our family.
Our Plantings originated in Sweden, and it’s very likely my mother’s family name was just an alternative spelling of Plantings. People often think my name is Hemmings.
I thought it best not to broadcast the information about my probable ancestor to the locals whilst I was there, some of whom looked as though they had spent a little too long in the forest at mushroom picking time.
Copyright © Bryan Hemming 2013