The four flights went without a hitch, the exhibition launch was a success, and I can honestly say that Norway is a landscape of amazing extremes. Flying over the mountainous region after a quick stop in Oslo airport for a breathless, touch and go flight change, revealed the frozen heart of the country. Winter was still very much in evidence as vast lakes remained completely solid, the smooth skin of ice fissured only by the criss-cross of ski tracks. Touching down on the west coast near idyllic Ålesund revealed the impact that the Gulf Stream and ever so slightly warmer north Atlantic has on this part of the world. High, snow capped mountains, gaily painted wooden houses and steep fjord walls rushing into the deep water painted a canvas without equal. The ice level stopped a few hundred metres above sea level and, apart from a few snow flurries, thankfully remained there. Not an ash cloud was in sight.
In such a setting, this vast icy country was melted by the warmth and hospitality of the people met along the way. My sincerest thanks go to our hosts over the few days experienced in Norway, Alfhild and Jan Arne, Ida-Alice and Berit. As well of course, to all those who invested in all our artworks. My thanks also go to the Brodrene Vik Gallery and the culture secretary of Syvde Kommune for their support in bringing the exhibition to fruition, and for becoming the latest TJ Miles’ corporate collectors.
A flight back from Vigra airport - NOT Viagra - as most people tend to misread it (where the joke goes that all flights are guaranteed to get up without a problem but can’t necessarily come down again as quickly), took me to seriously expensive Oslo once again. A visit to the royal palace saw a full colour parade of soldiers, bands and dignitaries line the streets waiting for my triumphal return to the capital. How nice to have such pomp and ceremony laid on just for me.
Ironically, at just the same moment the President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, just happened to drive past and give me a wave. I wondered if he had come especially to see me as well. Apparently he was also in town to sign some agreement or other while his wife walked the streets and did a bit of shopping.
Edvard Munch’s painting was still screaming as I left for the airport before midnight to catch the early morning red-eye flight back to Spain. By 5am, while trying to sleep on a back breaking wooden bench until the check-in, I finally understood why the subject of Munch’s most famous painting was in such a bad mood. Oh, the indignity of it all! A final de-icing of the wings before takeoff did little to sooth my tired and furrowed brow. Never let anyone tell you that being an international artist is always a glamorous experience.