Carbon emissions: 0 so far!
Sigurðar saga fóts: 35/252
The travelblogue is back! My 2009 travelblogue debut saw no follow-up while I lived in Iceland during the second half of 2010, I guess because a living-abroad-blog just doesn’t sound as cool. But now that I’m back on the road, I feel it’s time to share my discoveries with the world once more. Woo!
Mind you, last time it was just that I happened to change trains in Cologne and was so blown away by the cathedral towering above me that I had to tell someone. I’d never paid much attention to blogs before. But now my itinerary is a veritable constellation of blogsters. I’m looking forward later in the trip to staying with the Sceptical Ex-Pat, whose crystalline prose is in a different league from what you’ll get from me. Even as I write, my younger contemporary from Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, Emily Lethbridge, is just over halfway through blogging her way round the saga-steads of Iceland. Not that ASNaC don’t have their own blog. Even Beowulf hath a blog! I won’t, to my knowledge, be meeting the legendary monster-fighter on my journeys, but I will be seeing his amanuensis. So yeah, don’t feel obliged to read this one when you could be reading so many others. (Or, er, none at all…)
New in the 2011 travelblogue is a running total of the carbon cost of the travelling. The carbon cost page of the 2009 blog gets more hits than any other so although it will probably make for kind of dismal reading, the running total may also be of interest. (And at any rate it ought to be.) For context five or so years ago, average UK greenhouse gas emissions per person, expressed as a carbon dioxide equivalent, were around 12.5 tonnes; the sustainable figure seems to be somewhere down around 2-3 tonnes; and my Scandinavian travels in 2009 (mostly by train and boat) came in around 0.8 tonnes. This trip, involving less trains and less boats, will be a lot bigger.
On a lighter note, however, there’s another running total: pages of Sigurðar saga fóts that I’ve read. Not the (probably) fourteenth-century saga of that name, which is a mere 5,000-odd words, but Bjarni Harðarson’s 252-page ‘remake’ of the same. Coincidentally, within a couple of months of Bjarni’s novel coming out last year, me and some collaborators published a multi-authored translation of the medieval saga, so I’ve kind of felt I was fated to read the novel. But I’ve kept failing to do so since Christmas, basically because it has too many hard words. So when I was asked to give one of my Beck lectures about something to do with modern Icelandic, I seized this chance to force myself to read it. While being well aware that I may have set myself up for a fall… Anyway, ‘Sigurðar saga fóts: Fourteenth-Century Saga to Financial Crisis Satire’ will be the last event on this trip before I hurtle back to Leeds to welcome the new MA students, so it seems a kind of fitting thing to measure the trip by. In the immediate term, the Sigurðar saga fóts count is also kind of more stressful to me than the carbon footprint…
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