Live from Oslo: Day Three

Posted by Debbie

  • 8.00: After checking out from the hotel, we head to the conference, taking in kaffee and boller (the ubiquitous Norwegian yellow buns) at a 24/7 (mysteriously entitled 7/11) corner shop en route.

• 9.00: In one of the final parallel sessions, Ghada expounds the many and varied wonders of iSeuss, or, Cat in the Hat 0n the iPad; in the other, we hear about the evolution of the Swedish cookbook for children since the 1860s, and about how young Swedes through the ages are advised to cope with the ever-present peril of the broken pancake. Fittingly, the session concludes with the session moderator being persuaded to sing a cheery Norwegian song about a gingerbread recipe. It’s all very jolly and we applaud heartily.

  • 11.00: In the plenary session, the discussion ranges over the emerging themes, in particular how children’s literature might be placed to reflect both national identity and universal human traits. After all the concluding remarks, thanks and National Library umbrellas are presented to the organisers.

  • 12.00 Lunch and final farewells. Can it be only two days since we entered the conference-bubble time-warp? As we say goodbye to new friends, we sense some potential significant connections. Most of all, we can hardly believe that having arrived only 48 hours ago at our first international conference, we are now leaving as the newly appointed organisers of The Child and the Book, 2012.

  • 14.00 We stroll back into Oslo city centre, and settle down at a waterfront café table to plan Cambridge 2012. Ideas for dream themes, fantasy formats and ideal keynote speakers are spread out on the table amidst the notebooks and coffee cups.

  • 18.00 We catch the bus back to Oslo, Rygge. Post check-in, Faye decides to purchase some of the packs of the sweet, brown Norwegian cheese sampled earlier in a waffle. She asks the man in the airport shop if would make good souvenirs. “No,” he replies, “it’s cheese”. Depends on what you look for in a souvenir, I guess.

  • 23.00: We touch down at Stansted and join the sleepy passport queues. Three of us are channelled into the new hi-tech passport-and-face scan queue. Four machines require three staff to holler instructions, rescue the one-in-two people whose faces appear to confound the system, manually check the rejected passports and, every so often, siphon off a small group to be sent to an ordinary queue to save this queue from getting too long. Progress? We didn’t. Not very fast, anyway.

  • 12.30: I arrive back in Cambridge, having travelled with Faye and Maria. We are all feeling extremely sorry for Clémentine and Erin, who, in the absence of a Cambridge train, will still be on the bus as I finish this. More in due course, but now to bed.

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  1. Your faithful reader here. It was great meeting you all, both in- and outside the conference rooms. Thanks for three inspirational days!


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