My Uncle Eivind and Auntie Gro live in Berg, a rural district just outside Halden down in the southeast corner of Norway. Their house is just a couple of kilometres from the Svinesund bridge which crosses over the border to Sweden.
Map of Halden and Berg here.
My uncle comes from a farming family and he still lives on and runs the family’s small arable farm, and a larger tract of forest that comes with it.
However his main occupation is being a scrap dealer, and he has one of the largest scrapyards in the region. He was at work when we arrived so we went up to see him at the yard.
When I was growing up, his scrapyard was my playground for a few weeks each year during the summer holidays.
Occasionally I’d be set to work painting buildings or stacking firewood but more often than not I’d be scavenging in the cars, looking for empty bottles (to get the deposit) and loose change under the back seats. By the end of the summmer I’d usually go home with a tidy sum. Halcyon days.
My uncle was busy flattening and stacking cars ready to be sent for recycling at the nail factory. Video here.
Tormod, his best friend from childhood, was giving him a hand by puncturing the petrol tanks with a pick axe and draining the petrol into a bin, a job I used to do many moons ago. Both these guys are in their 70s and still working hard.
We had a nosey inside the office block and the warehouse to see what had changed. There are more people working there now, and everything is much more organised than it was. All the second hand engines, doors and drive shafts stacked in the shelves now have serial numbers linked to a computer database set up to handle postal orders, now a major part of the business.
We walked the short distance back to the house rather than wait for a lift. It’s a nice walk along a country lane with the wheat fields either side.
We paused in the farm yard to admire Eivind’s brother Einar’s classic Ford. Norwegians love Americana and I believe they own more classic American cars per head of population than any other country.
A bit of local archaeology next!