Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hit by a serious case of keyboard diarrhoea

It's been getting increasingly cold in Finland since my return on Monday, when it was plus seven with a harsh wind. They tell me it went to minus fifteen while I was away, which is totally unfair - and with no snow, which is quite peculiar. But still, not complaining, it's been getting colder and last night we hit minus twelve on my balcony. And still no snow - the lightest dusting today, hardly there at all. Still, it's probably a good thing, for we were forecast snow and warmer temperatures, which is not desirable. No. It might all make a bit more sense if I mentioned that I like a winter to be properly cold. We used to get them until quite recently. Please take note, all climate-change agnostics, for us in the (near-) Arctic climes will see the change first and in a more pronounced way, and the fact is that the winters have gone pear-shaped in the last five or so years. Certainly since the millenium, for I remember the millenium New Year and it was very, very cold. We had some special Japanese fireworks masters visit Helsinki specially (I think they were somehow invited by the city itself, you understand, not me personally) and I went with a bunch of friends to a central and (relatively) high location in the heart of town to see them. I was wearing an evening dress but on top of it, one of those great big ankle-length woollen overcoats (think Anna Karenina, please) and on top of that, my very beloved blue-green-aquamarine poncho (which has a story to it, but of that another time, mayhap. Oh well - now's the time, I suppose - I bought it from the island which neighboured My Childhood Island, from what still in my childhood was the local school for the island children, an adorable old wooden building with an outdoor toilet (with several, um, seats. One could imagine how totally unpleasant it would have been to run across the yard in mid-winter to go and sit out there - but then I expect the island lasses were used to it, as they had the same thing at home - although maybe with less seats) but which by my adulthood and due to the migration of people from traditional ways of livelihood, to city-living (and I never went to that school, you understand, I lived in the city really but we spent the summers, each glorious two-and-a-half months, in the island neighbouring this island I'm now talking about), had changed into a "local crafts centre" type of affair. I love my poncho, wearing it makes me feel like I'm somehow held safe by my childhood summer sea-landscape. That's that story). It was very cold, as I said, it must have been minus twenty-five or possibly colder. Another friend has told me about their millenium celebrations, how they had a bottle of champagne with them and it had probably been shaken around a bit, for when they popped it to toast in 2000, it shot out a spray which floated back down on them as flakes of frozen champagne. God, how I wish that was my story - I find it an outlandishly fabulous one, like the storyline in a song by an Arctic Tom Waits. (The fireworks, incidentally, were quite good as fireworks go (I have a very split feeling about fireworks). I remember I dreamt about them sometime afterwards, that they formed the number "2000" in the sky, and one spark shot out and landed on my hand like a glittering jewel.)

In minus twenty-five, the moisture which naturally occurs inside your nose starts to turn, well, to ice. It's a strange feeling to snuffle a bit and feel the ice crackle-cracking. In minus thirty and colder, I swear your eyes start to feel a bit more solid and stiff than usually, and breathing through your mouth gives you a stab of hot-cold pain in the back of your throat.

So, well, yes, after this brief look at everything through the lens of Helsinki climatology in the 2000s, I will tell you I absolutely adored going out with my dog in the cold today. She likes the cold - poor thing, her thick fur probably makes her feel overheated most of the time - and runs around like a pup. I cannot watch her running without laughing - in the femininity scale of dog-girls, she is definitely one of those hearty, healthy, earthy types, a robust and rosy-chopped little milk-maid with child-bearing hips and a pleasant if not very refined nature, and her back end definitely kind of wobbles from side to side when she runs, and I can see she's clearly imagining herself to be the fastest thing on four legs. I love her, the poor funny lovely thing that she is.


Navas said...

I'm not sure I could cope very well with -15, let alone -25. I have to start wearing gloves at 10 (yes +10!) due to poor circulation, so it would be a very brave me to come to Finland at this time of year.
An Arctic Tom Waits singing of champagne ice flakes could be quite something. His Chocolate Jesus is an appealing confection (OK, so I shamelessly stole his pun).

Reading the Signs said...

Of course, and I might have guessed you would like the weather to be properly cold. Because so do I. And so does Dogot. If I were properly inside my skin, I feel sure I would be just like her - pleasant, not very refined, rosy-chopped - and I reckon I got enough in the child-bearing hips department. Next incarnation I want to be a wolf in a cold climate.

The cold went back to Finland with you and we are struggling a bit here - so please send some Edgewards. Thank you.

Reading the Signs said...

Yes, it's colder today. Keep up the good work!

Oh, Oh! The WVLs have written undog.

They are listening to us - I am being absolutely serious and I am not bonkers.

Anna MR said...

Hei Navas, lovely to see you. You are not alone in the poor circulation/gloves department - I have the very same problem. Apart from my hands freezing, I also get terribly dry skin which is horribly aggravated by cold, so I do wear gloves until quite late in the spring (and start early in the autumn).

Thing is, cold is surprisingly easy to cope with, as long as one knows how to dress for it (layers is a key word here), and as long as it's warm indoors. Although when it gets past minus twenty-five, it does start to get a bit much. For one, it takes forever to go out (layers again being a key word).

Ah, Tom. The "immaculate confection" pun was wonderful, I thought - it didn't seem like the audience had time to catch it, though.

Anna MR said...

Undogging the Signs, hei. I am pleased my snow or at the very least cold efforts are so fruitful. Will continue working towards everything around you being white and flakey and glittery.

I'll not go into that thing about you being not very refined. I can't really agree with you there, as I see you as a sign reader of great refinement. But I think you'd make a fine Arctic wolf. Hence the undog, no doubt.

Listen, please give my love and greetings to everyone I had the privilege and joy to meet - Mr S, S of S, D of S, C of S, as well as Ms E, Ms J, Ms M (I haven't forgotten anyone, have I?) (and Ms E - are you reading this? Just you make sure to come and say hello, on the post of your choosing, at some point, please, else I'll be most upset. And Ms J - do you read blogs? If you do (and I can't remember), the same applies to you. And equally too you, Ms M).

Right. Going to pass out in eight, seven, six, five...