I have just moved apartment in Oslo. I am now two tram stops north, in an area called GrÃ¼nerlÃ¸kka, sharing with two people. There is also an African Grey parrot, who will be receiving lessons in Irish from me. The rent is much cheaper for me here, which is helpful, as is the unconventional work I have obtained (details in next week’s entry).
This area of the city was established about a century ago, by a family of German property owners called GrÃ¼ner. The architecture is therefore German, and is supposed to be representative of what Berlin looked like before it was flattened in the war. German architecture students tend to come here on field trips.
Where I live, three interconnected buildings open onto a private yard. Good friends of mine live here, including Bjarne, who says it is perfect material for a sitcom, with people strolling into each others’ apartments like this. There’s also supposed to be a bar opening here.
THE STRANGE CASE OF THE MISSING PENCILS
A few days before moving in, I was involved in an absurd incident here in GrÃ¼nerlÃ¸kka. I was drinking with some friends and acquaintances in the kind of place where there’s only one light bulb and the beer is 25kr. Suddenly, one of the party noticed that his large travelling bag was missing. Disconcerted, he began to search the shadows of this dungeon, when a man emerged from the toilets with the enormous bag on his back, wearing his jacket over it. Did he think we’d assume he was a hunchback? The thief was stopped and made to hand the bag over. The bar manager let him go, while my acquaintance looked through his bag to see if anything was missing. A pencil case wasn’t there, so he went outside after the criminal.
I wasn’t too sure if things would go well with both the victim and criminal oustide on the street. I went out and saw that my new friend was talking to not one but three dodgy characters. I made a phone call to the others inside the bar to get them to come out. The thief’s friends vanished and then there were about six of us, blocking him on the street. One of us phoned the police, and was told they’d come along but we’d have to wait a bit, as they were changing shifts ( tip for criminals: commit your crimes around midnight in Oslo). We offered the thief the chance to go if he would let us search his jacket for the pencil case. He refused, swore at us, and the police came. The pencil case was not about his person, but the police arrested him for the theft of the bag.
I noticed that one of the thief’s friends was loping along the street. I thought maybe the pencil case had been slipped to this other character, and said “Han var med ham” (“he was with him”) to the cops and they stopped him.
He didn’t have the pencil case either, but they arrested him too. Maybe they found something in his pockets that he shouldn’t have had. I thought I recognized him as one of the hashish dealers who hang around by the river all day, but I’m not sure. Maybe I should avoid the river for a while, but I’m not sure about that either. I learned today that there are various projects under way to encourage more “normal” people to spend time down by the river. That would be nice.