Return of the symptoms and Norway ski trip visa issues


On Tuesday 20th April I posted a ride on Strava boasting; “Celebrating 5 whole days with no stupid long COVID symptoms.”

Strava ride with photos of sights and celebratory coffee and cake

Well, that was a couple of days ago. I certainly won’t be boasting about that again for at least 5 more days, since the most persistent of the “stupid” symptoms, the pesky phantom smell, returned yesterday. I hate the phantom smell.

I can only describe this phantom smell as being akin to someone burning something they shouldn’t be burning. Though I don’t know what. The smell is entirely in my head, not up my nose. Find me something else to smell and it’s gone, but returns immediately the other smell is removed. If I eat or drink something the ‘phantom smell’ doesn’t affect the taste, but, once again, as soon as the eating or drinking are over, back comes the phantom smell.

It’s called “parosmiameaning a distortion of smell. It’s not debilitating in any way, but for some reason, it makes me anxious. I can distract myself from it, but never for very long. The longest it has lasted is 3 weeks. The shortest is 2-3 days. I hate it.

I even know what can trigger it, but sadly there is not much I can do about it. If I spend any length of time wearing a mask (10 minutes plus) it’s like a switch. No smell – 10 minutes later in a mask – pesky smell. Grrr! Got to eat though, and every Wednesday is grocery shopping day. Perhaps I have to accept that I will never be more than 7 days symptom free? As I say, at least it isn’t debilitating.

This would usually be the line where I say; “Moving on to lighter things…”

But, no, not today. Today is all about problems (sorry) and how they will be overcome (yay!).

The first problem is a biggie and requires a bit of background. If you are sitting comfortably I shall begin…

Long, long ago in a land not so very far away an evil ruler called David Cameron set the UK on course for disaster...

Or, for those who think Brexit is a good thing…

Long, long ago a wise ruler called David Cameron set the UK on a course back to greatness…


Ah, who am I kidding? This is not about the greater good, this is personal. I voted remain because I like going to Europe and greatly valued the freedom it gave us all to travel unrestricted. Particularly the ability to stay in any European country for as long as we wanted. For example, our 4 month European climbing trip in 2018 can now never happen again, for with Brexit comes the UK’s loss of unrestricted access to Shengen countries, Norway being one of them. In the proverbial nutshell before stoopid Brexit I could visit Norway for 6 months, no questions asked. Post Brexit 90 days is the maximum stay permitted. Those of you who were paying attention will have noticed that I need in excess of 110 days for my Norway ski trip.

So, I need to apply for a visa. Not just a tourist extension visa, oh no, no such animal exists for Norway. I have to apply for a “residence visa for cultural reasons”. I need to be able to prove that I am a “Disseminator of Norwegian culture outside Norway.” It’s a good job I have a blog. I’m going to have to be a bit more creative than that though. So, I’m going to attempt to write a book (which you should all buy) and arrange some talks after the event. I have to pay £430 for this visa application, which I don’t get back if my request is turned down. Wish me luck as the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about. The alternative is that I only do about 2/3rds of the trip. Additionally it would mean that I would not be able to visit Europe/any Shengen country for 3 months before and 3 months after the trip. So, if you voted leave, you are not in my good books. I will however forgive you if you buy my book.

Houses on the banks of a Norwegian fjord – Am I disseminating yet?

And, finally, I need to move this blog. I need to create my own web site and stop relying on WordPress. I don’t own the blog, which is a concern. All that writing I have bored you with over the last few years could just be taken away. Also, it’s not very user friendly. No search options and I have failed to separate my trips, art work etc.

Also, shock horror!!, I need to change the name. Gandalfontour is a bit of a misnomer since Gandalf is not going to be coming with us.

So, I’m asking for suggestions for names for a website. Any ideas?

At the moment I have two ideas for 2 websites based on the name Zero, which I have used for many years for my art (it is also the address of my instagram account zero1n)

4 thoughts on “Return of the symptoms and Norway ski trip visa issues

  1. Well after your first post about your planned trip I was just going to say, as usual you do like a challenge though this one does sound a big one. Now with the added complications caused by Brexit the challenges are growing, I have not seen much in the media about how successful Brexit has been, mostly because it is a disaster as many predicted.

    I like the logo and the move to your own webpage sounds great.

    Looking forward to hearing about your progress with the immigration issues.

    And hope the phantom smells go, could be worse, could smell like you’d pooped you pants🙈

    All the best.


    Liked by 1 person

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