Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Kouvola gets snow

Well in a strange quirk of nature Kouvola (where I live) has more snow than any other part of Finland.

This is pretty unusual, and as far as I can tell this is the first time in recorded weather history.

Normally there is more snow in Lapland or on the Eastern Border near Ilomantsi.

Either way I'm not complaining (although the people who do the snow clearing sure are) as the local forest around my home is filled with winter wonderland scenery like this poor little Spurce saping which is totally smothered in snow.

My ski track is in better condition that it ever has been

and the whole place looks great


Saturday, 20 February 2010

drunks: its a lifestyle not an abberation

I was just getting out of my car in our residence carpark yesterday when a fellow who was walking in my direction as I pulled up walked up to me as I got out of the car and spoke something to me.

I only recognised "keskusta" and said "I'm sorry mate, I don't speak Finnish well yet".

He double takked and said in English back to me "Oh, don't worry, neither can I"

Turns out he'd been drinking (as if that wasn't clear from the smell) and wanted to get into the center to get some more booze (it was after lunch by now). So he asked me "can you please drive me into town, its cold and I don't have any gloves or a pipo" (which he didn't). I could understand the problem as being -18°C with a breeze too, his ears must have been cold.

I thought about it and thought "what the hell" and said I'd take him. No point in having him hospitalized for exposure too ... his coat wasn't real warm looking.

When we got there he went to shake my hand and so I reached over to shake his hand but then:

he turned my hand over and kissed the back of my hand while saying how wonderful and kind I was....



what do you say about this?

I thanked him and said it wasn't really necessary, and as he got out of the car he reached into his coat and pulled out his last can of beer, asking me "would I like to take a drink"

as we were holding up traffic I said "no thanks" and off I went.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The home of Santa

For reasons best known to the Coca Cola company a false myth has been propagated that Santa comes from the north pole. Anyone from these polar regions knows this to be completely laughable as there would be nothing for the Reindeer to eat for starters.

Fortunately people like me who live here and think to write blogs in English language can help those south of the arctic circle to know where Santa really comes from

Rare Exports Inc. from Woodpecker Film on Vimeo.

and part two, the safety instructions.

and thanks JP for bringing this rare knowledge to me :-)

Saturday, 13 February 2010

a language lesson

being fluent in Finnish is important, sometimes its well to take lessons from those who know best.

even if you don't speak much Finnish this is worth a listen

Monday, 8 February 2010

winter parking

Some of the people in my carpark don't seem to use their cars much in winter....


this guy seems to never move his van at all ...


so its sort of a static work of art...


during winter, its sort of a semi-permanent snow record ...



Tuesday, 2 February 2010


I had the opportunity to visit Tampere again yesterday, I was there some time ago and the weather was foul so since time was restricted I spent my time photographing the interior of the Cathedral there.


The rest of Tampere is just as interesting as the Cathedral.

One of the quite interesting facets of Tampere is that it grew as an industrial city based (probably) around the power source provided by the rapids which flow in that area.

Unlike perhaps some cities Tampere has not relegated its industrial heart to the outside of town (out of sight and out of mind) but it has formed this more or less in the center of town.

The shopping malls and town square are in the midst of this.

But, don't be fooled into thinking that Tampere is some dirty industrial town, as that is just not right. It in fact showcases (to my mind) exactly what the benefits are of "clean energy". Because you see the while you've probably come to interpret images like this as showing pollution, because energy source is essentially Hydro power ...

its just as any other building. To me this is how our technology should be, not something we want to push aside because its filthy, but something which really is the center of our lives. Good old fashioned kinetic energy. Water drops a long way and the weight (or in some cases the speed) generates energy.

just upstream from this levy wall is a dam, which is a feature of the town.

The town square is also a nice place with some heritage buildings.

its a really lovely city and well worth your looking at if you have the chance ... personally I think it has way more character than Helsinki

Monday, 1 February 2010

Finnish Humor

I hope this cartoonist doesn't mind me translating his works

but it was too bloody funny to leave it to such a small audience

Lovely little Birds

I love the little birds here in Winter ...

When I visit my grandmother-in-law I get to hang around outside and take some photo's. Here is some from the same tree on different days ...


and Hömötintti


I just don't know how they make it in the less than -20°C temperatures.