Un­earthing a Vik­ing legacy

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD

IT’S Oslo, and although the snow still cov­ered the moun­tains as we banked against the clouds, the city was bak­ing in a sur­pris­ingly warm sun­shine.

Af­ter 20 min­utes on the fastest con­nect­ing rail ser­vice in the world, it was T-shirt weather on the har­bour – but we were on our own with the ca­sual wear.

We had ar­rived in a land of tall, beau­ti­ful peo­ple dressed to the nines, and the most el­e­gantly dressed gen­tle­men I have ever seen – linen suits, pointed brogues and a most con­fi­dent air. We were play­ing four nights at the fa­mous Dubliner Bar in down­town Oslo, grac­ing the same stage as the likes of Manch­ester’s Mike McGoldrick and the orig­i­nal Dublin­ers them­selves.

Two things stick in my mem­ory from that first prom­e­nade around the wa­ter­front: ran­dom An­thony Gormley fig­ures walk­ing up the side of build­ings and field­fares; I don’t know why I was so sur­prised by the lat­ter be­cause they live there, but what threw me was that I usu­ally see them with their cousins, the red­wings, flock­ing around Peak Dis­trict hedgerows in the win­ter.

They mi­grate to us for a berry-fest and leave be­hind the Scan­di­na­vian win­ters for a few months.

With four gigs and five days to go, I was al­ready a happy man but then we hit pay-dirt – the Vik­ing long­ships – and although you’ll have to mi­grate your­selves to the Laugh­ing Badger Face­book page to see more pic­tures, the amaz­ing carv­ing seen here was buried for a mil­len­nium.

There are three ships in the mu­seum and each one was used for a Vik­ing burial more than 1,000 years ago.

All are re­mark­ably pre­served due to be­ing cov­ered in a blue clay. That and a great deal of care­ful con­ser­va­tion since be­ing un­earthed at the turn of the 20th cen­tury.

Like many his­tor­i­cal finds each ship was dis­cov­ered by a mix­ture of

The Laugh­ing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Pad­field, Glos­sop

●● An in­tri­cate carv­ing on a Vik­ing long­boat

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