Beware of falling ice

Now that we’ve learnt how to walk on ice without dying, it’s important that we also know how to walk under it too. Because with the big thaws happening its the ice hanging from overhead buildings you’ve got to watch out for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_5718

The first time a big load of snow was dumped down next to me I actually thought someone was throwing snow at us. But it’s all about timing and mine that day was bad.

IMG_5536

Watch out for snow & ice falling off the roof (& people dancing in mid-air)

With your head down checking where your feet go, it’s a precarious job looking for falling ice. Luckily the City of Helsinki takes precautions for us by blocking off sections of the street.

IMG_5602 IMG_5568

But what are we to do? Wait until spring to use these parts of the pavement?

IMG_5603

No, silly. Send young men up there to scrape it off and throw it into the streets below.

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

I know there must be rigorous health and safety methods going on but I swear this guy was just held up by his mate holding a rope around his waist.

IMG_5629

IMG_5624

However they do it, the ice has mostly gone in Helsinki and today was feeling quite tropical with a high of 10°. Unless we have takatalvi that is (literally: taka: back or rear & talvi: winter, which means wintery conditions in spring).

IMG_5569

In which case you may find the sign pictured above waiting for you as you slide to the bottom of the stairs on your taka – Ei talvikunnossapitoa – not maintained in winter.

Remember when?

Dear Miko,

Remember when we went to the beach everyday in summer because we knew it wouldn’t last but we almost got sick of it?

And remember how the sand would burn our feet and you always wanted an ice cream but the queue was so long?

And remember how the beach was full everyday and we started to recognise the same people who would, like us, lie in the same place?

Well I went back today and it looked like this! So beautiful!

I can’t believe that one day we’ll be there again with towels instead of scarves and grapes instead of gloves and we’ll dive into the water instead of being scared the ice will crack and throw us into it. I can’t wait!

IMG_5165

IMG_5166

IMG_5155

IMG_5146

IMG_5145

IMG_5147_2

IMG_5160IMG_5156

Baby it’s cold outside

IMG_4905

Port of Helsinki, 29th December 2014, -18° celcius (-0.4° F)

I know what cold is. Or so I thought. Once when I was young we left our goldfish bowl outside (long story) and it froze over. The goldfish survived but I have been living off this story for years to show how hardy I am.

The Baltic Sea starting to freeze

The Baltic Sea starting to freeze

 

And I’ve lived in cold houses. One year I went around declaring that I was experiencing ‘the winter of my discontent’. Which is a bit over the top seen it never dropped below 9° celcius (48°F) during the day.

Port of Helsinki

Port of Helsinki, 29 December 2014, -18° celcius (-0.4° F)

But to quote the great poet Phil Collins – take a look at me now! Baby it is cold outside and I am in it! In fact it’s too warm now because anything above zero means the snow melts and then refreezes, making everything slushy and slippery.

IMG_4869

Low maintenance garden, 23rd December 2014

I’m often reminded how easy we have it too when I see elderly people making their way about with walking-frames in the snow. The other day I had to help a woman who was struggling to make any progress as her wheelchair was stuck in heavy slush.

The Bana - December 2014

The Bana – 23rd December 2014

My biggest inconvenience is getting cold fingers while I take photos and then having my phone battery die within ten minutes because it can’t handle sub-zero temperatures.

Christmas Day in Lappeenranta, around -15° celcius (5° F)

Not much to complain about really when I’ve finally started to see the beauty that is around us in the colder months.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Christmas Day, Lappeenranta, about -15 celcius (5° F)

The sunlight when we have it creates a kind of golden glitter in the air and the snow on the ground sparkles as though it’s mixed with granulated sugar.

The only way to get around

The only way to get around

It’s a warm 2° celcius (35°F)  today and I’m really hoping the temperature will drop so we can witness the lakes and sea in full frozen glory.

Sunset reflected on Töölönlahti, 7 January 2015 (-2 celcius, wind chill -8)

Sunset reflected on semi-frozen Töölönlahti, 7 January 2015, -2° celcius, wind chill -8° (28°F)

Because, I’m like, you know, really good at this cold thing and I’m finding for once I’m having a winter where I am quite content. But, to quote another famous poet (Randy Bachman), I actually ‘ain’t seen nothing yet’.