Unfortunately, the temperature has warmed, bringing rain and an end to all of our delightful snow, which has been hanging around here for the last week or so. So, we need a couple of bright, seasonal images to cheer things up a bit. With that in mind, here are two images of Scandinavian nisser (plural form -- singular is nisse) that I particularly like given my strange and ongoing relationship with that area of the world.
In the rural Norwegian tradition, with which I am most familiar, the nisse lives out in your barn. To keep him happy, and thus avoid misfortune of one sort or another befalling your farm, you leave a bowl of porridge out in the barn for the nisse on Christmas Eve. At some point in more recent times, the nisse began bringing toys and treats to the children too, which is what happens in Norway today. In Sweden, there is a very similar character called a tomte.
In our house, since the Grand Duchess is of both German and Swedish ancestry, our pre-Christmas activities include bits and pieces of both German and Scandinavian Christmas traditions. My own background is German and English, so everything works surprisingly well together in a frightfully Nordic way, although neither of us has blond hair. Think of it as Victoria and Albert meeting Prussia's Queen Charlotte and Pippi Longstocking as Wagner's Flight of the Valkyries plays in the background!
And as far as snow is concerned, the Grand Duchess and I just might treat ourselves to a short pre-Chirstmas Nordic skiing holiday next week. Our favorite Nordic skiing area -- Lapham Peak, just outside of Delafield, Wisconsin -- reports excellent conditions with all 25 miles of trails now open. Since it's about three hours north of us, it is correspondingly colder there, so at least for now, no danger of them losing their snow. And, as I mentioned here some days ago, our 2008 Wisconsin State Park passes are good for another few weeks. Since Sonja helped me learn to go down hills on my feet last year (finally), I'm eager to see how well I have remembered the correct technique since last we were on skis in Mid-February 2008.
Last of all, I painted another two fusiliers last night, bringing the total completed to eight figures, which then received their two coats of Future/Klear floor finish. They look nice, shiny, and porcelain-like this morning, like a row of little white nutcrackers lined up on my painting desk. All we need now is the Rat King. Well, on second thought, maybe we DON'T want him to show up here in Zum Stollenkeller! This evening, I'll add an officer and drummer to the platoon.
Now, Jim Purky asked yesterday why I wasn't using an assembly line technique for this latest, large batch of figures. Well, I usually do that. But this time, I have decided to try Phil Olley's painting technique, which he uses to complete impressively large units of figures in relatively short order, painting something like two figures per evening. Now, I'm no Phil Olley, but at the very least, it's a nice way to shake things up enough to keep me going with the Grand Duchy of Stollen project (now three years old), slogging along through this latest BIG unit.
And on that note, I have some dice to roll in the next room, so Jonathan and I can work out our musketry and bring Move Seven of the Action at Pickelhaubewicz to a conclusion.