There’s always a helping hand around the corner

While I’m teaching in Norway, Frank takes Emma to the MOT, where they discover a leak in the fuel tank! Luckily it’s very tiny, but nevertheless, it involves draining and removing the tank, steam-cleaning it inside and out, welding it, painting it and fixing it back on again. One day, we will need to get a new fuel tank made to measure – the originals are obsolete. We are very lucky to know a good mechanic down in Devon who is willing to help with this kind of thing! Walter has helped us on many occasions, first when we bought Emma, but also during our travels. He was our ‘phone a friend’ option whenever there were mechanical problems.

Coming home from Norway, Frank and I meet up like secret lovers on a romantic tryst – I drive the car from the airport straight down to Crediton, where he meets me with Emma, who passed the MOT while I was on the plane. The next morning we have a meeting with an advisor in Crediton, after which we intend to drive up to Cardiff. But when I try to start the car, there is no sound, not even a blip or a light of the ignition. We call out the AA and within the hour, Paul arrives. He’s a godsent, an experienced mechanic of the old school – he diagnoses a faulty alternator and consequently a completely destroyed battery and offers to replace both of them there and then, rather than towing us to a garage. Getting the parts is a little tricky, but still, two hours later, the car is as good as new and we are ready to set off on our journey, Frank in the van, me in the car. In true secret lover style, we arrive in Cardiff separately, at different times and under cover of darkness.

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The weekend after the Tango Mango, I am off to Norway to teach in Lillehammer. It is lovely to see familiar faces in the little Tango scene there. Stories of one famous ‘Lillehammer Winter Tango’ are remembered, when over a decade ago, 26 Tango dancers from Totnes came to visit, and we danced, went skiing, and had barbeques in the snow! This is a small but enthusiastic Tango community, happy to immerse themselves and work hard, participating in11 hours of workshops across a long weekend, plus some private lessons. On the last night, we meet for a teacher training session too. I return to the UK tired but feeling satisfied that I have given as much as I could and in a format that will help them to keep practicing and developing what they have learnt.

I am lucky with the weather – Norway is all bright and sparkling, not a cloud in sight, with temperatures approaching 30 degrees, while it is bucketing down in England. The day I return home, rain arrives in Norway, and the sun comes out in England :-)

A big thank you to Sissel for organising the weekend, and especially to EllenÅgot, who was a lovely host. We really connected on a deep level, sharing stories, food and dancing. Her home-made bread is exquisite – here is a recipe:

EllenÅgot Solberg’s Bread

1.3kg roughly ground wheat

0.2kg rye flour

0.2kg crushed wheat

1packet yeast

a bit of salt

some linseeds and sunflower seeds (possibly walnuts too)

1ltr sour milk or kefir

800 mltr water


Mix the dry ingredients, including the yeast. Add slightly warmed liquids. It will make a  sloppy mixture. Leave to rise for 20 mins. Put baking paper in bread tins and pour mixture into tin. Leave to rise for at least 1.5 hours. Put in cold oven and switch to 180 degrees. Bake for 1.5 hours. Cover the top if it gets too brown.

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