Who says we’re up shit creek without a paddle? I found the paddle this very morning!
Happy Sunday to you people of Blogdom. I hope that whatever you’re doing today you have a great day.
My day has consisted so far of screaming at Boofuls to shuddup snoring and swearing at the dog for bouncing round like an idiot at 7.00 a.m. telling me to get up. Boofuls, in an attempt to make amends for keeping me awake half the night with his appalling racket offered to get up and let me have a lie in. A red letter day indeed. That doesn’t happen very often!
So lie in I did. Not waking up till 9.30. Lazy mare!
Normally I could have booted Boofuls out to go and sleep in the spare room but I stripped the bed completely yesterday and since he hasn’t snored for weeks I didn’t re make it. Bad timing, Boofuls, bad timing.
Now I am finally out of my bed, Douggie the doggie is looking at me sideways wondering if he dares suggest we go for a walk. Not yet, Douggie, Im busy blogging and drinking my concoction of hot water, cinnamon, lemon and honey. A much more pleasant way to start the day than claggy coffee.
It snowed yesterday. Not your lovely big, fluffy, happy snowflakes. Oh no, yesterday’s snow fell from an angry and brooding sky which snowed bitter and mean, sharp, stinging snow mixed with hailstones that made you pull your hood up, get your head down and get home as soon as possible. It looks nice though. I took a few photographs on my phone while I was out even though the wind sent the hailstones straight into my face. I sure do suffer for my art! Maybe I should have waited till today as a lot more snow fell during the night and it really does look nice offset by a bright blue sky.
Exactly one year ago tomorrow Boofuls and me set off onto our Big Adventure. I say ‘our’ but I really mean ‘my’ big adventure. Boofuls, bless him would no more have chosen to come here than fly to the moon ( actually, he’d probably love that) but being the man he is he willingly went along with my dream of travelling inside the Arctic circle in the hope of seeing the northern lights.
We got off the plane and stepped into a magical land. Where dawn and dusk merged for a couple of hours into a dreamscape of blues, pinks and purples and where the night sky danced and twisted in shades of green and purple.
On the coach journey to our hotel, right on the border between Sweden and Finland, I stared out of the window transfixed as I saw what looked like strange and mythical creatures lining our route. Dragons, gremlins, weird and wonderful shapes of the trees bent over and carrying a heavy coat of snow fuelled my imagination. I really felt like I’d stepped through the wardrobe into Narnia.
This is where I experienced one of the most terrifying events of my entire life; husky sledding in the pitch black. The only light being from the torch attached to the driver of the sled shining onto the reflective strip on the suit of the driver in front. I loved it!
I didn’t love it quite so much when it was my turn to drive. Those dogs are fast! I may have sworn once or twice while I clung on for grim death as the huskies galloped at breakneck speed down what looked and felt like a bobsleigh run, slowing down occasionally to fight with each other. I was convinced we were going to die. Luckily we didn’t so we repeated the exercise again a couple of days later.
There are so many highlights of this trip that a post about it would be the size of War and Peace. I’ll let the photographs give you a feel for what it was like. You get a gazillion brownie points if you can tell me what is special about the church.
That isn’t some deep and meaningful title for the lack of house sale (although it could be but let’s not talk about that) it’s more literal.
It’s no secret that I love snow. Snow makes me happy. Snow brings out the inner child in me. But, come on, enough’s enough. Now the heavens are taking the piss. ENOUGH WITH THE SNOW ALREADY!
But I’m getting ahead of myself, I have a whole weeks worth of news for you so go and make yourself a coffee, grab a pack of one dips, sit back and read on.
Last Saturday. Little Sis and partner came to visit. Yay! We took them to a local eatery, the one where the local farmers tend to frequent so the food has to be both cheap and plentiful so as not to get the local yokels complaining. I have no issue with cheap and plentiful, in fact, they are two of my favourite words, another one is ‘tasty’ and this eaterie fits the criteria on all three.
The reason for Li’l Sis’s visit was to help celebrate my *gulp* 53rd birthday.
I know, I know, I can hear you saying it now. ” FIFTY THIRD BIRTHDAY?!? You don’t loook a day over 35, you must have the numbers the wrong way round. ” *Blushes modestly* It’s all in the genes you know.
Moving quickly on before anyone has a chance to say anything…
Halfway through our ginormous meal I managed to lift my face out of the trough where I was choffing like a good ‘un and was surprised to see Len, Lashes and Munki all stood there grinning at us – and bearing a huge bunch of flowers. How lovely. Ok, birthdays aren’t that bad after all, are they?
We spent a pleasant hour in their company and then set off on the 5 minute journey home, getting there just as it started to snow. And snow. And snow. Oh no!
“I’ve got 30 people coming round for brunch tomorrow, it can’t snow. I’ve bought mountains of sausages, not to mention all the croissants, juice and all the other necessary items for a posh brunch for shed loads of folks. Gggaaaahhhhh!
Sunday morning dawned. The snow situation wasn’t too bad, not bad enough to stop people arriving if they wanted to. I (note the use of the word ‘I’ ) took the dog out for a walk, baked some scones, prepared all the food, cleaned the house, fed the animals, laid the table……right. Listen to me you Americans. Laid the table doesn’t mean what you think it does so stop laughing this minute! (admittedly it does make a funny picture in the mind). It means to put plates and cutlery on the table. Tsk. Dirty minds!
People began to arrive exactly at the appointed time and just about everyone came who was supposed to. How lovely. People who didn’t know each other sat and chatted happily together, the kids played, the Bucks Fizz flowed and the sausages sizzled. What a lovely day. I loved it. When most of the guests had gone and it only immediate family were left, Munki suggested that we all play musical statues. That was truly inspired. What a hoot.
So that was birthday day. Not too disastrous after all and I didn’t spend the entire day crying in a corner mourning my lost youth.
Then followed a so so week. I can deal with so so after the dramas of the last few weeks.
A few days after my birthday it was Dangerous’ birthday. Still young enough to look forward to her birthdays rather than dread them, the plan was to go for an Indian. Meal, that is, not an actual Indian. I’m sure there are laws against that kind of thing these days.
Easy enough plan. Till the snow started again. It snowed solidly for about 36 hours. That combined with gale force winds has made some spectacular 5 foot snowdrifts – which have rendered us completely incapable of going anywhere that involves a car. Even a snow plough won’t do us a lot of good as there is a car abandoned across the road. Taking the dog out this morning I literally had to climb over some of these drifts. Oh well, might as well get on with a few jobs, read a few books and watch a bit of telly, we’re going nowhere for a few days. It’s bloody spring for God’s sake! Let’s have some sunshine!
Poor old Dangerous didn’t get to celebrate her birthday. I don’t know what to say really, except that I know how disappointed she must be. The only consolation prize is that she’s had half of her presents and still has half to come AND is still owed a birthday party. That will effectively make two birthdays for the price of one!! Every cloud, as they say.
Here are a few pictures of our little hamlet in the snow.
Aw, my little girl has reached the grand old age of 25. Blimey! How did that happen so fast?
That’s a scary thought isn’t it. My youngest is 25!! That’s quite a trick considering I’m only 32 *cough cough*
We went out for a lovely birthday breakfast this morning. We got the best seat in the house – right next to the window so we could watch the snow fall. I always thought snow was supposed to fall down. This snow was falling horizontally and there was so much of it. Superb! We love the snow. I love it more now I have a 4WD to get around in.
After her birthday breakfast and pressies she went home to be met by Len who’d taken half a day off work and who’d arrived home with flowers and bubbly. So far so good. That was followed by a trip to Manchester for shopping, dinner out and lots of fun. Sounds like pretty much a perfect day to me.
As for me – I went out in the blizzard with Velcrodog for a nice long walk. Well, I say nice. It was nice as long as we had the howling wind to our backs. Walking into it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. It was WINDY! Even the dog was trying to keep as far out of the wind as possible. It was the kind of wind that takes your breath away and gives you a headache if you aren’t wearing a nice warm hat. I was wearing two nice warm hats. A trip to the arctic teaches one a thing or two about dressing warmly. Warmly? Bloody warmly? I was dying of the heat! As I walked down the track towards home I was already divesting myself of my many layers of clothing. The neighbours, if they’d have been able to see me through the white out, would have thought I was mad.
Here are a couple of photos from this afternoon taken on my trusty iphone.
Right, I promise I’m not going to keep banging on about our brilliant Big Adventure (much) in Finland for much longer.
That was probably a big fat lie. It was one of the best trips of our lives and I want to relive every minute of it as much as possible. Even the bits that irritated me at the time – like waiting for Boofuls to get his act together so we could get outside as fast as possible have now taken on a rose tinted glow since we got home. I discovered that one can only wear so many layers of clothing before it becomes a physical impossibility to move. Our walk took on an pronounced and ungainly roly poly gait while we were there Oi! Cheeky! Because of the layers of clothing, not because of the pies! Rude!
Generally, I was so keen to get togged up and outside that I got ready far faster than Boofuls and then I’d stand there ridiculously hot and struggling to breath while he poodled about taking his tablets, getting a drink, brushing his teeth etc. etc. etc. It’s very difficult to dance around from foot to foot like an impatient two year old when you’re dying of heat exhaustion and bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Michelin man. After a couple of days we developed a routine where I’d get dressed and then wait outside for him.
So, just in case you’re curious, or even if you’re not. This is what the well dressed traveller wears during a Finnish winter (we’ll take the grundies part of the dressing process as a given and not in need of comment).
1 pair liner socks
2 pairs thermal socks
1 pair long johns. Silk if the temperature was above -15 and fleece if it was below
1 pair padded walking trousers
1 long sleeved base layer wool or silk vest
1 light woollen polo neck jumper
1 warm jumper
1 pair liner gloves
1 pair thermal mittens
1 all in one babygro style thermal suit
1 hoodie ‘Buff’ hat with face bandit style face cover for robbing banks or for keeping your face warm if there were no banks to rob
1 Buff for keeping the neck warm and doubling up as another hat
1 hood on thermal suit (if it was particularly cold )
1 pair heavy thermal lined boots
As you can imagine, wearing that little lot indoors wasn’t the most pleasant experience. It was a relief to get outside and get on with the serious task of gazing around me like a fool and exclaiming every 10 seconds, “It’s just so beautiful.”
Sigh. We’re back. Back from one of the best experiences of our entire lives.
So good in fact that I’m getting teary just sitting here thinking about where to start telling you all about it. I suppose the best place to start is at the beginning, so here goes….
Some months ago a florist that we have met at many a wedding fair over the last few years told us she wanted us to photograph her wedding. At the last wedding fair she arranged the date – for the day before our Big Adventure. Bit of an issue there as we were planning to set off on holiday that day for an early flight the following day but hey ho. let’s just incorporate it into the plan.
The day of the wedding arrived and we packed all the camera gear along with our passports, suitcases, boots and all the other paraphernalia involved in going away. After the wedding Lashes and Len met us to take the bulk of the camera gear home and we headed off down south. Yay, it’s happening – we’re on holiday!
After an uneventful journey we arrived at our destination, Narnia. What? Not Narnia? Well, it looks like Narnia. It’s definitely magical.
Ok, it wasn’t actually Narnia, it was Sweden.
On the coach journey to the hotel I was mesmerised by the way the trees were so heavily laden with snow that they bent in half, bowing majestically to us as we drove past. Other trees assumed the shape of snow dragons, trolls, birds…..hang on. Are you sure it wasn’t Narnia? I couldn’t believe that somewhere on this earth could be so beautiful. For the whole of the two hour journey to Karesuando I was transfixed and enchanted.
I was almost sad when we reached the hotel, until I stepped off the coach to an even more magical place. The paths were lit by candles and the trees, glistening with snow jewels were lit from deep in the woods giving an ethereal, magical effect. My eyes got wider and wider to try and take in the beauty of our surroundings. As an adult I felt like I was in a fairy tale, I can’t even begin imagine how small children must feel when they come here to see Santa.
I’m going to let the photographs tell you the story. I may chip in from time to time.
Ok. You know I love you dropping by, leaving comments and clicking the ‘Like’ button, all that makes me happy. There’s nothing I like better than to write a post that I know (hope) will make you smile. ‘Spread The Joy’, that’s my motto.
However, sometimes there’s no joy to spread. Sometimes there’s nothing to spread but a great big mountain of crap.
Far be it from me to bore you with my bitching , moaning and complaining about my lot on here but there are times when I have to remind myself that I began this blog as a chronicle of my life, loves, trials and challenges and that by it’s very nature can’t always be sunny side up…….so brace yourself for a moan fest.
I won’t be offended if you decide to move swiftly on as self-pity is never attractive to witness but I’ve had a bastard few days and I need to get it off my ample chest.
1. The snow. Came. Snowed. Buggered off. leaving us sub zero temperatures, icy winds and treacherous roads and pavements. Short changed in the snow department. Even fecking Turkey has had snow. Where’s mine?
2. Wedding fair time again. We have a huuuuge wedding fair coming up this weekend. Our display banner got damaged (not pointing any fingers but the culprit isn’t far away) so I spent 5 hours last Saturday designing a new one and pretty damn pleased I was too when I’d finished it. What’s wrong with that I can hear you saying?
I’ll tell you what’s fecking wrong with that. The design software couldn’t handle a file that big so it let me do all the design work – all 5 hours of it – and then refused to export it so I could send it for printing. After it had crashed 6 times I got the message and spent most of the following day doing exactly the same work in Photoshop. It’s a good job I’m the Photoshop queen. Still it’s not like I wanted to have any leisure time last weekend – I was thrilled to be tied to my computer all weekend on the only free weekend we have for 6 weeks. NOT!
3. Driving over to the printer’s with the aforementioned artwork on a cd, my car broke down. Two hours of sitting in my car in the also aforementioned sub zero temperatures before the AA man turned up didn’t put me in the best frame of mind. After being towed back to my home town. I discovered that the problem is the timing chain again. You know, the timing chain that never fails once in the car’s lifetime never mind twice. Major expense and even more major inconvenience. It appears that my car is terminally ill and is fit only for the knacker’s yard. Not so much a Grand Vitara as a bag of shit Vitara. Knacker’s yard it is, then.
4. Got a tax refund . YAY!! That’ll pay for the repairs to the car. Len tried to cheer my up by saying that the tax man paid for it and at least I won’t be out of pocket but that pissed me off even more, I’d had plans for that money and they didn’t include repairing the car. I feel like someone has given me a present and then snatched it back off me.
5. The cat howling woke me up from a dream argument with a woman I hardly know. It was about me wearing too much make up but she was wearing purple yellow and green eyeshadow!!! The same woman was also angry with me for sliding out of my sandals on a steep slope while the Orangemen walked Belfast. I’m certain a psychologist could make a lot from that little lot!
6. Made my breakfast. Put the cereal bowl down next to the butter dish while I got the yoghurt out of the fridge. Poured my yoghurt all over the butter dish instead of all over my cereal. Sigh.
7. Latest wedding album arrived. Once again not up to standard. Yet another confrontation on the phone to the album company. Of course their answer every time is that it’s my files at fault and not their printing. I did suggest that their quality control man must have been struck blind if he couldn’t see that there was so much red in the pictures that the whole bridal party looked like they had sunstroke. Can I just take the photos and leave the rest of it up to someone else, please? I like taking the photos.
8. Still feeling hurt and angry today after a thoughtless comment that had me in tears for most of yesterday.
9. Having a two day headache and no sign of it lifting.
10. All the other crap that I can’t share on here – which makes the rest of it seem like a walk in the park.
Moan over – for now.
My name is Morgan Freeman, thanks for listening.
No, silly, not Christmas, that’s been and gone.
I’m talking about that elusive snow.
We’ve been spoilt for snow for the last two winters and I’ve been hoping for the same this year. Every time the sky gets cloudy (which is all the time) I’ve been looking at it hopefully and declaring, “Oooooh, it looks like it might snow.” Of course all we’ve had instead is rain, millions and millions of gallons of the bloody stuff and it’s brought it’s bully boy friend along as well, a stiff and cold wind, to make things even more unpleasant.
Now, don’t try telling me that rain is just snow in a different form, you know, like they say rain is liquid sunshine in the Caribbean, it won’t wash with me. Rain in Blighty is just rain – except when it’s miserable, driving, icy cold rain – then it’s just ‘orrible rain.
I want my snow! Proper, white, fluffy, finger tingling, snow – and make it deep and crisp and even, as it says in the song. It’s been here by October for the last couple of years. What’s it done, gone and buggered off on a round the world cruise for a few months?
For days now the weather forecasters have been teasing us with it; ‘ It’s going to snow! The snow’s on it’s way.’ Only to follow it up with; ‘ Oh no, fooled ya! It was only hail, snow’s poor relation.’
They’ve been promising us snow for over a week now and I’ve just about imploded with excitement. Did I mention I love snow?
It’s much heralded and imminent arrival has been causing so much excitement. It’s been the talking point in this area for days.
“Have you heard? It’s to snow tonight.” “Oh, I heard it was Monday.” “Really? I saw gritters on the motorway so that must mean it’ll snow tonight.” and so on.
Love it or loath it, everyone’s talking about it and constantly looking out of the window to see if it’s arrived. Until finally, this afternoon…….
IT’S HERE! YAAAAAAYY!!!!
Now admittedly it’s a bit watery and insipid, not the big, fat, fluffy saucer sized flakes that quickly cover everything and make it look like a winter wonderland – but it’s a start. Hopefully it will get into the swing of things after it’s long vacation and build up to a proper snowfall overnight. If it does I’ll worry about how I’m going to get to work on Sunday. Until then I’m going to enjoy every glorious minute of it.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!