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Codfish & PJs

Updated: Aug 14, 2019

The early bird catches the worm

It is still early, around half past five and I am wide awake. I can hear the water calling. It is the only sound to be heard. The house is sound asleep while the water continues to call and gets me out of bed. When I walk outside I see the boat lying on the shore; the boat which is mainly used for fishing. The house is situated on the rocky fjord coast, near Bodø in the Nordland region. It is the summer of 1970 and we are visiting bestemor. Because of her rather cramped housing conditions my parents had decided to rent a hytte a short distance from the city.

Our retreat in Bodo, Nordland

They will bite anyway

I wake up my sister and brother and tell them to come along. Still half asleep they follow me outside. Without talking we push the boat into the water, fishing lines on the bottom. Slowly we row up the fjord, the house getting smaller and smaller. Except where I row the water is unruffled and serene. Once at considerable distance from the shore, we roll out the lines. The only fishing method we master is that of throwing the line into the water and move it with strong regular pulls. Stale bread is the only bait, which works well enough because 'once amidst a school they will bite anyway' is a statement which I picked up when we stayed with the Vee family in 1966 roaming the Bergen fjord in a motorboat called Bamse.

Codfish is heavy, especially hanging from a line

Cod fish is heavy, especially hanging from a line and fighting with might and main. Because my sister and brother cannot real them in, it is me who pulls the fish inside the boat with great difficulty and disposes them of the cruel hook. When some time later I spot my parents standing on the shore frantically calling and gesturing, it is clear that it is time to return. Half an hour later we - three children dressed in PJs in a boatload of codfish - are greeted with an explosive mix of anger and admiration.


That evening we are having a party on the big warm rock in front of the house. Bestemor and the rest of the family are invited to dinner and accompanied by mosquitos - who celebrate mainly on my bare legs - we watch a massive codfish sizzling on the grill.

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