This happened to two different people I know, about a decade back. Yes, I know how old that makes me sound. Thank-you. I’d quite forgotten. But hey, there’s plenty of better people than me already dead, so what does that prove?
Anyway, back in Oslo and environs. This is how it goes. You go to Norway on business. You know they’re modest people not given to open displays of show and in-yer-face-lookit-moi-wedge flash, like Porsches and divers watches and all the rest of that Thatcherite leftover stuff. So you go to their offices in a quiet suit, with a tie.
When you get there you find, somewhat to your surprise, that everyone, but everyone is dressed in jumpers and boots. Because they’re also practical folk, who don’t get scared by a bit of snow. “Join us for dinner, please. We would like to see you” they say, because they’re also nice folk. Courteous.
You have a couple of hours before dinner so you go back to your hotel. There’s a tourist place just around the corner so you go there and get the most touristy, snow-flaky, reindeery jumper you can find, stopping just short of it having a huge red nose on the front of it.
You go to the restaurant. And you get the feeling you have on some dates, that something is going to go disastrously wrong for no reason you can put your finger on, but you know you’re not likely to be doing that now anyway.
The restaurant has a level of formality your grandparents would appreciate. They might be eating Bambi with a side-order of berries, but they still want silver service while they’re doing it. Ok. When in Oslo. And then your hosts arrive. And a part of you dies.
And then your hosts arrive. And a part of you dies.
Because they’ve all changed into business suits. Because they take dinner seriously. Because you’re their guest.
Hi, guys. What are cloudberries like then, anyway?