Rediscovering the radio

Video might have killed the radio star, but living with close, warm walls have revived her in my world.

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When I was little, I used to listen to the radio all the time. This was before cable TV, certainly before netflix and The Internet was still a wild idea somewhere at CERN.

Gradually, these new and noisy things took the place of the radio, filling the space between walls with more and more light and colour. Somehow, around the same time, the walls grew hard and glaring. The interior of the modern appartement became increasingly impossible to look at, harsh and vast like a blazing desert of chrome and white. In this new and hostile environment, filling the void with sound and colour from a screen became the go-to option. So much so that I didn’t even notice how the need for outside stimuli grew. Silence was simply not an option, then the walls would simply start screaming at you until you drowned out the noise with more noise.

When I built La Chouette, it was with hope for silence in mind. To be inside a space where the walls had an integrity and a beauty of their own, walls I did not need to hide from, and where the distractions of a single book or a small radio was more than sufficient company.

I’m happy to say it does. The soft wooden panels and leather tapestries echoes Bach, Mendelssohn or Modest Musorgskij, radio plays, the occasional mindless chatter of an early morning news programme, or weather forecast in a way that quite filles the space and from where there is no need to hide.

Winter crossing

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These past weeks I have been moving la Chouette out of the country. I’m still in Scandinavia, it’s still winter. And the best way to move, is by boat.

I have always had a love for the sea and I was a bit worried that building and living in a house on wheels would make me too land-bound. But using ferries to get across borders has so far been surprisingly easy. Of course, I can’t live in the house during transit. But I can park it near the ocean when I reach my destination.

During moving and living more actively on the road I have also discovered quite a few repairs and adjustments I need to make. So now I’ll try to find somewhere slightly secluded, preferably near the sea, where i can work on my house, preparing it for further adventures.

I also notice more than before the dual pull of comfort and push of the road. Having found somewhere I’m comfy I find myself both longing to move on after a short while, felling that I’m done with that place for now, and a desire to stay inside my newfound comfortsone. Having the possibility to leave and live somewhere else on very short notice has brought this internal conflict into the light. I suppose the friction of these kind of conflicts are what keeps life truly interesting. Never do I wish to be without any doubt. I think. Possibly.

Christmas and the tiny house

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I do love christmas. Always have. But in recent years it has taken on a deeper meaning than simply my love for food, alcohol and a glam-rock fascination for everything that glitters.

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Mistletoe has always had a special place in my heart.

I live mostly in Norway, and from October on, it’s dark here. Cold and dark. The sun barely, if at all, rises and the more time you spend outside, either out of doors or out of society, you notice. And in a smaller house, where the walls are thinner both against the cold and against the things that lurk in the shadows of the world, you notice even more. And after the first horror, come to appreciate that there is still a time and space for the darker and stranger things in the world. It is a time for those things that are never given any space the rest of the year, chased away with light and noise, things that are needed and beautiful and necessary.  It is a time for secrets, for nature to rest, a time for freezing or starving to death either physically or mentally and while it’s a challenge to secure against the first, it’s even more difficult to secure against the latter, for you rarely see it.

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That merry tinsel on your tree? This is what it’s meant to be.

Therefore,we sing happy songs, and light candles, and decorate and make room for the deeper colours, read poetry and light fires and drink. As the line more or less goes; eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you’re probably dead. It is a sacred time, even for us who are not christians, possibly even more. because while the christian idea is one of the quick fix, the permanent solution, we know that winter will come again next year also, and after that, a new spring.

Waste not…

Living in a very small house with no running water or other means of quickly disposing of your garbage brings awareness to one thing; humans are bloody disgusting creatures. I mean really. The sheer amount of waste and rubbish and filth and dust created by one (quite small) human is staggering.

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I will spare you the illustrations on this one and instead post a picture of some lovely and not at all symbolic waterlilies 

I spend now probably two to three hours each day just keeping things clean and that still leaves me with the question of what to do with such things as dishwater. Now you may think that when you live in a large house with plumbing all your waste is brought by fairies to a magical land of loveliness, but all sanitary stations rely on chemicals, creating on the whole more problems than they  solve.

I still use the ‘normal’ garbage system with local recycling opportunities for household rubbish, and my toilet remains is neatly disposed of in appropriate compost heaps (the toilet is actually my least problem, sanitarywise, I thought is would be te greatest)

The biggest problem is really the water, the water used for dished and laundry and me. Humans create a great deal of mud. I really believe that the greatest problem is the idea that we are meant to live all our lives indoors, so that even the largest house will be small compared to the amount of space needed to not overtax one space with our treading, our weight, our waste and water. All of this is not a problem when spread over a large area (and, of course, properly dealt with and not just left anywhere) but when clumped together on a small space by too many of us creates nothing but death and suffering, to put it dramatically. Living in a small space has really made me aware of how much space one human being takes up, and how little of that space needs be indoors.

The seven day itch

I have now lived in my house, full time, for a whole week. So far it’s perfectly fine, but there are several little daily things that makes up not exactly problems, but tiny itches. Such as, where do I place the coffee kettle after I’ve filled it and while I light the alcohol stove? Do I take my shoes of before I go in or indoors? Because keeping your shoes on is seriously not an option. Where do I place the last step on my ladder down from the alcove without blocking the window and also, how do I get the window to close fully while keeping the bookshelves intact, etc.

I don’t have water or electricity, so every daily activity, from washing in the morning to brushing my teeth and doing the dishes is a tiny little adventure (I suppose this is where the ‘tiny living’ tag comes from). In the morning, I light the fireplace and have a pot of water placed on it for warm water during the day. I take care to wash all the dishes directly after use, and if I’m boiling an egg for breakfast, I’ll use the hot water from that to wash my coffee cup. And such.

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Part of my kitchen in its orderly jumble

Considering this, I have chosen wood for my cutlery and dishes, both for their light weight, the fact that they won’t break during driving, that they’re antibacterial and easy to clean and with the added bonus of the sound. No more sharp clacking or scraping during those tender morning hours, but the warm whisper of larch.

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Every day there are new things to adjust and to adjust to, I’m still settling in. Probably, living like this will affect both my body and psyche in new and interesting ways yet to be seen.

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Me on the porch, photo by Even Tømte