Official picture of the house for rent. Well, it will not be for rent long.
Today I visited MÃ¸ll, where there was a nice house for rent. Â The name of the small farming village literally means “Moth” in modern Norwegian, but it is more likely to be related to “mill”, or perhaps some old word no longer in use. There were no moths that I could see, in the house or elsewhere.
I did express my sincere wish to rent the house, and my willingness to pay some months in advance (provided, of course, that the contract stipulates at least the same number of months as advance notice Â – we can’t have the landlord just take the money and boot me out after all! Not that he seemed the type to do that.)
There is serious competition though. It is not my place to write in public details about that, but there are a couple others who are just as desirable tenants as I am, so I have to be prepared to look elsewhere. Â The same company (and presumably the same guy, since he runs it) has another house to let from December, so unless he for some obscure reason blacklists me, that might be worth looking at as well. Â I suspect the competition will be even harder for that, though, since it is larger.
This house is not particularly large. It also seems to be old, or at least old-fashioned. It is so well kept that I cannot guess its real age, but I passed through at least one interior door that must have been built before Scandinavians reached their current height. Â There were also many small rooms rather than few large ones, this is also typical of the old style. Â The windows were also of a type I remember from my younger years. One particular oddity was that several of the rooms were on slightly different levels, so that you had to take a fairly large step up or down to enter them. Â Not something a healthy person would think twice about, but still, strange.
All things considered, I don’t think the house warrants a higher rent than what he asks. Â It is not a bargain, but not gouging either. Â The reason why it is still my first choice, however, is the surrounding landscape. Â MÃ¸ll is a typical farming community. It lies on the east side of the river, which is far too big to cross except by bridge. Â There is one such bridge north of the stretch of valley which comprises the MÃ¸ll farms. Â Crossing that bridge you will come to a small village center with shoportunity. Â In MÃ¸ll itself there is a gas station. I assume that, as is the rule here in Norway, it also sells snacks, kiosk literature and some everyday food at higher prices than a normal shop. Â If I move there, I will surely find out.
Walking through the valley on one of the last days of fall was to be immersed in beauty. Â Despite the late time of year, there was still green grass on some fields where sheep were eating leisurely, stopping only briefly to look at me with curiosity as I walked by. Â There are probably not many people walking by these days – even farmers use cars if they are leaving the farm. The fields may still be green, but the trees were getting sparse and the remaining leaves were red and brown more than yellow and orange. Â The sky was overcast but dry. Â Despite the road passing straight through the valley, and the occasional car speeding past, the small well-kept farms radiated a calm you rarely find these days. It was as if I was magically moved back to a time before everyone had to run and before you were expected to answer a letter within 5 minutes.
For this reason, most of all, I’d like to live in MÃ¸ll. Â Moths or no moths. Â But if not, then I will go where I must. Â We have not on Earth a lasting home. Â Still, there is no reason why our temporary home shouldn’t be a good one if the opportunity is there!
Oh, and something memorable happened after I had seen the house and talked with the landlord. Â The last bus was already gone, because there are very few buses going anywhere on Saturday night in Norway, least of all through some farming village. Â (Saturday night is binge drinking night in Norway. It is traditional for the non-religious to drink to excess on Saturday and, if single, also on Friday. Â For couples, Friday is vaguely thought to be lovemaking day, but obviously this will vary. Â Anyway, Saturday night is not a good time to catch a bus, much less on a thinly populated route. Â I could have called for a taxi, but they are hideously expensive in Norway for a number of reasons. Â (Cars are hideously expensive in Norway, gas is hideously expensive in Norway, and wages are very high in Norway. ) Â It is not like I can’t afford it, since I don’t have the regular expenses of owning a car, but it seemed like a waste. So I started to walk toward Mandal.
OK, so perhaps I really am 50. Â My NaNoWriMo novel this year has the working title “The Eternal Road”, but I was not expecting to literally walk one the last day before I start writing. But that was how it felt after an hour or so. Â Of course, it probably did not help that I had not been eating or drinking since last night, except a couple spoonfuls of yogurt before I ran off from home. Â I did not have blood sugar crash, as some people experience if they go long without food or exert themselves. Â But in retrospect I think it would have been useful to drink some water at least…
Luckily I did not have to walk all the way to Mandal, just most of the way. Eventually I reached the Europe road (that is a literal translation, I guess it is similar to “interstate” in America, since it does connect Norway to other European countries as well as connecting the Norwegian provinces). Conveniently, there was a bus stop right by the crossing. Conveniently, there was a timetable that had not been vandalized. Â Inconveniently, it showed that the last bus in a good while had passed 4 minutes previously. Â Conveniently, the bus actually arrived as I turned around. Not quite a miracle, but still appreciated.
While such “synchronicities” (meaningful coincidences) may make me feel like a Main Character, another and perhaps more likely explanation is that Someone Up There has labeled me “fragile – handle with care”. After all, in a cosmic perspective, there is not a big difference in the sturdiness of a man and a moth.