Random musings...

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So I'm back from my travels and, finally, the weather has improved significantly and it looks as if the UK will have a summer after all. For those that don't know, the jet stream has been at a much lower latitude than normal and as a result the UK has had virtually constant rain since April. This week it's sunshine and in the mid-20s and I believe it's going to stay relatively warm for the Olympics next week.

The jet stream's position has affected the weather in many countries including two of the places I visited. Iceland was abnormally warm (20c) and sunny and the Faroes, which are normally very wet, have been suffering a drought for several months, to the extent that their traditional grass roofs have been drying out.

What has this got to do with LEGO I hear you ask? Well, I suspect one positive thing has come out of the rubbish weather: if we can't go outside to do normal summer activities we are more likely to stay in and play with LEGO or read Brickset. The site's Google Analytics figures suggest this is the case: Last May there were 41,000 visits from UK users. This May there were 80,000: nearly a 100% increase, compared to an overall increase in site traffic of around 30%.

My travels were not completely LEGO-less. In Iceland I visited a TRU Express, as mentioned before. It was surprisingly well stocked, with all the new SW sets on the shelves. Prices were not too bad either, Jabba's Palace, for example, was just £10 more than it is in the UK.

In the Faroes, which are a part of Denmark, I found a well stocked toy shop in Klaksvik, the second largest town on the islands, that, in addition to a good range of this year's sets had a large selection of LEGO-branded backpacks and other bags, which I have not seen elsewhere. I even managed to get a 8" Jan-Jun 2012 retail catalogue which is something that's virtually disappeared from UK shops.

According to Google Analytics, the site has received 3000 visits from people in Iceland and 61 from people in the Faroes this year. If that's you, please make yourself known in the comments!

I stumbled upon a toy shop with a lot of LEGO upstairs near Bryggen in Bergen, Norway. There are plenty of Norwegian visitors here so I won't bore you with details: they will know far more than I. However I will just say that I was pleased to pick up a July-December retail catalogue there, which for some reason have been virtually unheard of in the UK over the past few years.

Anyway, that's enough random rambling... if you're in the UK what are you still doing indoors reading this? Get outside and enjoy the weather while it lasts!

22 comments on this article

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By in Norway,

That norwegian toy shop wouldn't be by any chance called "BR-Leker" and is located in the second/third floor of a shoppingmal called "Galleriet" wouldn't it? If thats the case then i've been there plenty of times before buying legos. It's a small world isn't it? :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Interesting to hear about your holiday Huw, it sounds like you enjoyed yourself. You are lucky to have missed all of the chaos while you have been away!

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By in Canada,

^^ it was just down the road from the bottom of the funicular. It has a big LEGO sign on the wall and a 'Play On' flag by the door. The LEGO is on the second floor.

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By in Denmark,

I've seen the July-December retail catalogue in both Denmark, Norway and Germany the last many years. Wired that it's not published in the UK. Maybe it finansed by the product prices that are 20-30% above the UK's ;-)

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By in United States,

You know, I do miss the Lego catalogs.
I have a collection of US catalogs dating back to 1981, the year I left France and moved to the US.
Sadly, I don't have any catalogs or instructions from before 1981 because they were lost in the move.
As a result, I'm not exactly sure which sets I had as a kid. I remember some but not all.
Looking through Brickset has helped me jog my memory though. :)

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By in United Kingdom,

^^@Huw, I think I went there a few years ago whilst there on a cruise also. The downstairs of the shop has wooden more traditional toys if I remember rightly.

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By in United Kingdom,

I too got a retail catalogue today, which made me very happy. I'm in Basel, Switzerland.
As I'm only a couple of years out of my Dark Ages and live in the uk, it brought back happy childhood memories spending hours poring over them.

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By in Norway,

I haven't seen the catalog yet, maybe i should take a look at my local toys'r'us tomorow.....

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By in Norway,

^^@Huw Oooh, im sorry, i was mistaken. Yeah, i know what you are talking about now. Walked past plenty of times, but never been inside. Will have a look next time im in the city :)
We also sometimes have these Lego City/Ninjago kids magazines/comic bookish things available in pretty much every grocery store wich usually includes polybags and stuff inside. Do you guys in the UK or rest of europe have that too?

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By in Ireland,

at last some good weather! i dont have to protect my lego boxes from rain after buying them

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By in United States,

A TRU Express with just released sets? That sounds odd to me as the Express stores in the US (most of which were temporary) were more like outlet stores with older, sometimes discontinued, merchandise.

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By in Hungary,

"For those that don't know, the jet stream has been at a much lower latitude than normal and as a result the UK has had virtually constant rain since April."
My girlfriend works in London since April and she can confirm that...Now she is happy that the weather is sunny.

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By in Norway,

I think I also know the store in Bergen. Actually that is one of the best in whole Norway in my opinion. So every time I`m in Bergen I have to stop by. They have also a traditional wooden toys and many other stuff. It is called Rubens skattkammer (Rubens Treasury). Anyway - greetings from Norway. I hope you enjoyed your stay Huw.

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By in Canada,

^ I did, it's a beautiful place, the fjords particularly. I hope to get back there again soon!

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By in United Kingdom,

Ah, I remember those Lego catalogues also. I used to watch my local toy store like a hawk waiting for those to come out, and then spend hours pouring over them, as others have mentioned.

Even now, even though I know about every single set due to be released well before they are, if I see one, I instinctively pick it up!

Ah, halcyon days!

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By in United Kingdom,

The only time I've seen those small catalogues in the UK is in a small independent toy shop in Keswick (Lake District) early this year. They also had a number of EOL sets as these smaller toy shops tend to do.

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By in Ireland,

The jet stream has to move a little further still: it's still raining in Ireland. Yes, Ireland is known for getting plenty of rain ('Summer in Ireland is when the rain get a little warmer') but this year has been exceptionally bad. After the wettest and dullest June on record we've sofar managed 3 dry days in July...

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By in United Kingdom,

I know a really nice Toy Shop that sells LEGO and have those square catalogs. They also have CM Trade In, where you can bring a trade your minifigs with the shop owners! (He loves LEGO too!)

EDIT- Its called MELTON TOYS near Leicester if your interested.

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By in United Kingdom,

If I remember rightly, there is a store locally to me that still does small LEGO retail catalogues. I thought these had gone extinct years ago! This one has no prices included, just the products (perhaps LEGO prefer not to put their prices in these books - thinking of Star Wars, I wonder why?) :D

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By in United States,

^^^^ The grass is always greener on the other side of the Atlantic ;P

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By in Austria,

If in Bergen you should check out Outland, they have a good selection of sets both rare and new (although the prices are often ridiculous).

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By in United Kingdom,

Just got back from a similar cruise itinerary. I too stumbled upon that very shop in Bergen and picked up the catalogue just two days ago...I was shamelessly bouncing up and down after one of my friends pointed out the LEGO sign!

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