Bring on the Armoured Bears!

I am not really the kind of girl who owns a wardrobe full of practical, sturdy outdoor wear. In all fairness, even if I did, this probably wouldn’t have helped me much when heading to Tromso at the end of this week. I am getting the distinct sense that no-one expects you to cross the Arctic Circle at 23 weeks pregnant.

No normal clothing fits me any more – not my warmest snow coat, nor my waterproof, nor my thermals – and there’s a distinct lack of maternity ski wear available. Perhaps this, finally, is my gap in the market, from which I will make the millions I’ve always dreamed of. But I doubt it somehow. Most pregnant women are simply too sensible to brave the snow.

I have solved the problem, I think, with a pair of 42-inch-waist men’s thermal walking trousers, which I bought in the Hawkshead online sale, and which  I’d like to pretend were a loose fit. I also bought a truly horrible XXL men’s jacket, which closely ressembles the sort of thing you see football managers sporting on a Saturday afternoon. All I can say about these garments is: thank god they were heavily reduced. If I’d have paid full price for them, I think I might have sat down and wept.

So, I will not be looking glamorous in Tromso. I will instead be looking like a rotund girl guide leader who’s wandered too far from camp. I will also, I suspect, be looking more than a little matchy-matchy with Herbert, who has bought exactly the same set of garments. We will even be modelling identical  Asda men’s thermal Long Johns underneath it all. Just call us Harold and Hilda.

Still, at least nobody knows me in Tromso, and so won’t be able to witness my sartorial fall from grace. And, of course, it’s very much not the point. We’re making this journey in order to cross the first item off our bucket list, and probably the biggest one too. We’re hoping to see the Northern Lights.

I’m not entirely sure that I should have waited until now to go and see them. Quite aside from the fact that we should be saving our pennies at the moment, instead of spending them, most of the things I’d really love to do in Norway are out of the question. Skidoos and saunas must be avoided, and I’m quite incapable of staying up after ten o’clock, let alone sitting up all night in the hope of an elusive sighting. And even the more relaxing trips – like a ride in a husky sled – seem to last about 6 hours, which would stretch my pregnant endurance levels to their limit.

But, still. I just have to accept that I can’t tackle this holiday in the way I could have done six months ago. I will have to take lots of rest, and target all my energies towards the things that matter. Being in Tromso (rather than taking a cheaper package trip to Iceland) means that we’ll have the best chance of a sighting of the elusive lights, which are currently at the height of their brilliance. But it also means a slightly more pregnant-friendly environment, too. It’s reassuring to be in a city, with cafes, shops and, dare I say it, hospitals, nearby.

All in all, I wish I’d been a bit more adventurous with my holidays before it became difficult. I’ve spent years saying, ‘I’d love to see the Northern Lights one day,’ without ever seriously thinking of doing anything about it. For all its inconveniences, maybe I should be grateful for the deadline that pregnancy has given me.


Gorgeous footage of The Northern Lights:



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10 Responses to Bring on the Armoured Bears!

  1. Lynne 24/01/2012 at 11:37 #

    the Lights are so beautiful.. I am so jealous.

    And I see you have discovered the joy of buying cold weather clothes for the over size 16s… it’s a nightmare and whilst pregnant lady ski trousers and coats may not be a moneyspinner, you would have thought someone would be looking at all us fat people out in the world and rubbing their hands together, wouldn’t you?

    • Betty Herbert 24/01/2012 at 16:20 #

      The problem comes when you’re already a size 16 and 6′ tall before you even get pregnant…sigh. And yes, surely there are lots of American skiers out there? There is one shop called ‘Mountain Mama’ but it’s v expensive and I suspect nothing would be long enough for me.

  2. Lynne 24/01/2012 at 17:57 #

    Good stuff at a reasonable price is so thin on the ground. I think your best bet is to find a good dressmaker, and give her lots of duvets to work with…

    I had a fab US shop I used to get my expensive stuff from but they closed down. I had a fab UK shop in the West End that I got my expensive stuff from but they closed down… Scandinavian companies do larger sizes, so perhaps you could look around in Norway whilst you are there?

    • Betty Herbert 24/01/2012 at 19:55 #

      Ho ho, now far too skint from paying for the trip in the first place, to buy any nice Norwegian gear ;-)

  3. Helloitsgemma 24/01/2012 at 19:14 #

    The northern lights how wonderful. Although apparently visible over northern England at present – but maybe you don’t want to know that. Enjoy the experience. Imagine it’ll be dark most of the time so maybe no one with notice what your wearing. Expect seeing the lights will be so wonderful you probably won’t care either.

    • Betty Herbert 24/01/2012 at 19:54 #

      I know – I’m a teeeny bit gutted that they could well appear over my house in the far south east of England this week! But I am trying to reassure myself that they’ll be better in Norway *hopeful face*

  4. Peabody 24/01/2012 at 22:44 #

    I have wanted to see the northern lights for SO long. And so since we aren’t having a baby this year after all (just started brand new scary job) I have just booked for us to go for the weekend, in the spirit of the bucket list. So thank you. I hope you have a most wonderful time.

    • Betty Herbert 25/01/2012 at 09:40 #

      Hurrah! Hope you have a wonderful time too. When are you going, and where? We shall have to compare notes.

      • Peabody 26/01/2012 at 22:18 #

        End Feb To a hotel in Iceland as we only have a weekend but it overlooks something called Whale Fjord where apparently there is a family of orca whales that you can watch playing/hunting – have been quite obsessed by them since Frozen Planet so they will console me if it is cloudy and we see nothing in the nights. Will look forward to hearing how it goes with you – very jealous of the Arctic element

  5. EmmaK 27/01/2012 at 14:49 #

    Yeah at least you will be able to bundle up in layers and you might just look like a cheerful rotund girl. I remember going to a beach holiday when four months preggo and wanting to say to everyone:”Hey I’m not fat I’m four months gone!” not that anyone was interested it was one of those couples resorts where everyone was making hay while the sun shone due to the free bar from 11am! You might be interested in my book Cocktails at Naptime – for inadequate parents like moi!!

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