Bjarni Herjólfsson’s Diary 986

Over at Alt Book Club, because we can’t have comedy nights any more, we’ve been launching weekly writing challenges with a silly theme for a bit of fun and some creative deadlines. This week’s challenge was to write a diary entry as an important historical figure & I took part too – sadly, I also launched and partly judged the competition so I can’t win because that’s at least bribery, if not worse. However, I can put it up here, so here it is. It is extremely silly.


What a rubbish couple of days. We’ve really been screwed over by the stars – the little twinkling minxes have been moving around so much that it’s been impossible to work out which way we’re going. The sea sickness doesn’t help. I take one look up toward the heavens and before I can tell my Great Bear from my elbow, I’m reaching over my oar to chuck up in the ocean. Really lucky to have this waterproof slate and chalk to write my feelings upon, wish we’d invented a compass though, that would have been bloody useful. 

So how did me and my fearsome Viking crew end up in this mess, I know you’re all begging to find out. Don’t worry, you know you can trust me to dish the gory details. Basically, we were having our annual break from an almost constant, grueling schedule of looting and pillaging – our annual leave if you will – and we all know all the best Vikings have a soft spot for our ol mam and paps. How can you help but feel a deep, intense connection between those two angels who brought you up since you were a little Vikling – who fed you, clothed you, and taught you the most efficient way to extort sweet, sweet danegeld from scaredy, baldy monks. Naturally, we were on our way back to see the old OAVs (Old Age Vikings) back on the farm in Iceland. I was looking forward to the delicious pie of our enemies’ eyes that Mama always used to make when we were too small to scare a goose. It’s one of those recipes that you try when you’re older – with your own enemies – but somehow, it just never tastes quite the same. I think her secret is always using free-range…

We turn up at our old homestead expecting everything to be exactly the same as it has been for the past 100 years – same outdoor toilet hole (they’re always saying they’ll install walls one day), same axe lent against the doorway incase they needed to dispatch one of us kids for not eating all of our dinner, same old mad shaman talking about a volcano that’s going to ground flights from Heathrow for a week – whatever that even means. And you’ll never believe it but they’d gone! Up ship and left without leaving so much as a rune. The shaman, after telling us again about the widespread disruption to aviation caused by Eyjafjallajökull (I mean what sort of a word even is that: aviation???! Ridiculous), said Ma and Pops had fallen head over head for enigmatic explorer ‘Erik the Red’ and had hopped on his most recent expedition as new recruits. When we asked how on earth he’d been persuaded to take on such aged new recruits, the shaman looked us straight in the eyes and said the words ‘enemy eye pie’. Of course she’d got him with her cooking. We all paused to think of that delicious pie before questioning the Shaman further. He revealed that Eric the Red’s latest mission was to discover Greenland. ‘Who was this explorer and why was he so into primary colours?’ we wondered briefly, before climbing back on board our ship and heading west.

Now we’ve been on this boat for more than 30 days and we’re no nearer our first bite of that pie – though Ruthlessson at the front of the ship has just shouted about seeing some land! We’ve all been craning our necks to try and get a glimpse. I stood on Angrysson’s shoulders but it wasn’t very clear. Didn’t look like a green land to me. There must be a way to make the far away land much clearer to see – note to self, really would be worth inventing the ‘telescope’ when we’re back on dry land.

We’re much closer to the land now but it doesn’t look right. All these extremely tall buildings that look as though they are scraping the sky. We’re not landing as it looks highly suspect. The lads have been calling it ‘Am Erik ahhh’ in aid of our brave explorer and how scary it looks. I doubt much will become of it.

The Alt Writing Challenge will continue through lockdown so head to if you’d like to take part!

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