In the summer of 2013 I used several weeks to follow up Delius research in Norway for my biography. On Facebook I wrote this small diary of the j0urney: 


14th July:

The Delius Trail: DAY 1. Today I pointed the car north and started 2 weeks of detective work in the fjords and mountains - following up sources and tips for my book on Delius. What a start! Two WONDERFUL meetings at two EXTRAORDINARY places today. First: Gamle Haslum farm at Blylaget on Nesodden, the place Sinding stayed many summers, and where he took Delius several times. Beautifully restored to its old splendour by my host, Astrid Lund. Then on to Bagn in Valdres to make a dream come true. In winter I finally discovered the farm where Delius had written his opera about black slaves in Louisiana, and tonight I had an unforgettable visit there. High on the slope above Bagn the farm buildings are preserved as they were 150 years ago by Anne-Karine Haugsrud, who was born there. Won't sleep tonight...

16th July

The Delius Trail : DAY 2. Started with another visit to Anne-Karine, who has now uncovered a logpile of protocols and guest books from the time Haugen was a posting station (skysstasjon). Maybe something I need there... Then meetings with people who are aiding my research into Delius's 1896 tour of hotels with Hamsun: Arild Haglund (Director of Forestry, Bagn), Trond Braaten (tidl. museum director). Middle of the day: onto the Gol mountain plateau to visit Oset Mountain Hotel (Delius stay, 1915). But all guest books up in blaze in 1977. Back to Fagernes and on to Eidsbugarden to photograph Vinje Cabin, where Grieg/Delius/Sinding met Ernst Sars one summer eve in 1889. Changed days: Not only no room, not even place to park, sent back towards Tyinkrysset. Slept in the car by the end of Tyin.

16th July:

The Delius Trail: DAY 3. Not great driving through the wonders of Sogn & Fjordane with cloud cover at car roof level. First stop Borgund stave church (Grieg/Delius/Sinding 1889), then old Lærdalsøyri, where I identified the now defunct Kvammes Hotel as the place Delius stayed in 1887. Finished evening in Hjelle in Stryn, just staggeringly beautiful (even in rain). Sceptical he was, but hotel director Lorenz Hjelle pulled out the few guestbooks he had left. And among them was 1908. And there was Frederick Delius and Thomas Beecham, at that time the two leading figures in British music.

19th July:

The Delius Trail: DAY 5. Helped by 2 Norwegians of the old school today, the generous, wide-souled sort you hardly dare hope still exists outside of the materialist bubble depicted in media. The ass.director of DNT, Anne Mari Aamelfot Hjelle, came down to the hotel to meet me at breakfast. Just to give me advice on Delius and Beecham's 1908 route over Jostedal Glacier. And then, after a hike up the most beautiful valley I have seen in Norway, I arrived under the glacier at at Sunndal Seter and there met Ingolf Folven. The seter has been in his family for generations and he suggested which of the buildings Delius and Beecham had used. Sheep farmer, 60 years, grey hair and beard. But his springing gait, lively eyes, lithe body, and great insight into the "kulturlandskap", implied a man of inner vitality.

 23rd July:

Has The Delius Trail gone cold? Far from it! The trail has taken me to historic hotels in Grodås, Øye (Oh my word, Hotell Union, WHAT a place!), Geiranger, Grotli, to mention but a few. Wonderful trip up to the glacier above Sota Seter and Myssubytta where Delius & Beecham crossed over in 1908 (14 hour slog, Beecham had to be carried across rivers by the guide). I was welcomed into Sve Gard in Vågå by mandelpotetens maestro, Harald Bjørndal. And there in the guestbook from 1908 was Delius again. But much more valuable: In 1902 Delius and his wife, painter Jelka Rosen, had signed the guestbook. This is the first evidence of her being in Norway that summer. Now staying at Strind Gard in Lom, as every summer. Leirvassbu today. Tomorrow I return to Lesjaskog to prepare for Sunday's big 90th Anniversary tour from Delius's "hytte" and up Liahovdane.