Dog end

27Feb11

We arrived in snowy Norway last week and lo! on the menu for dinner: Elk Stew.

You don’t get roadkill of that calibre in Norfolk.

It turned out that was the closest we came to an elk during the week, apart from a few footprints in the snow.

We got a lot closer to a pack of dogs. Harnessed to a sledge. My son and I bagged the fastest looking machine, all bent wood and glistening steel runners – but we should have looked more closely at the dogs. They turned out to be several generations diluted from the original Husky. On closer inspection they were very similar to the mongrel Ur-dogs I have seen scavenging on the streets of Bucharest. When our sledge came to a hill they all slowed down and glared at me over their shoulders until I stepped off the runners and pushed.

My elder and younger daughters got a speedier pack. Particularly when they drove over a bump and senior daughter fell off the back, leaving the youngest teenager strapped in the sledge with no apparent means to stop them sprinting home to the North Pole.

The day was saved by the grizzled old dog handler, who leaped from his sleigh and stopped the dogs in their tracks by bellowing “NO!” (but in Norwegian).

The daughters swapped places, with the younger one standing on the runners at the back to drive. How we laughed when our snow-encrusted oldest child, reclining on reindeer skins in the sledge, found out what happens when the rearmost sledge dog does a poo at full speed.

Dog sled (passenger view)

 



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