23 October 2011

Sunday views

View across the river at Utra

Forest girl

Zebra trees

22 October 2011

Crafty days

Yes, I know I spend most of my time posting pictures of lakes...This is the view from Joensuu's marina, tucked away at the other end of town, past the horse racing track. It's still only five minutes away from work by car, so we went for a walk there after work on Thursday. M is reading Swallows and Amazons with Orb at the moment, so there were lots of technical details to be pointed out, like rowlocks, cleats and the like. Most of the boats had been taken out of the water, and thoroughly wrapped in tarpaulins against the winter. But a few were still merrily floating in the harbour, and there were a couple of hardy souls kite surfing on the lake, despite the chilly weather.

Today's been cold and rainy, so we went inside the Joensuu Areena to a massive craft fair. Handicrafts are big in Finland - everyone seems to be either crocheting a rug, knitting a pair of socks or creating something out of wickerwork. The Areena was filled with stalls selling wool, others selling hats, and many more with candles and silverwork (pendants made from cutlery are very popular). There was a fabulous set of exhibition cases with Barbie dolls from the 1960s onwards (and a lone Sindy), some beautiful dolls houses, and a random antiques corner selling the usual overpriced nonsense. Oh, and a fashion show, which was very...Scandinavian, with lots of felted hats. We had a lovely time - M made a spider with wire and beads with the nice ladies from Joensuu's arts and crafts centre, Taitokortteli, and Orb and I ate our own bodyweight in buns. I may also have had to be restrained from buying most of the wool and craft projects on offer from Taitokortelli - they have the most amazing stuff.

09 October 2011


We've spent this weekend either eating fish or gardening, not something you get to say very often.

The fish came in at Joensuu's Kalamarkkinat, which was held down by the harbour. There were lots of stalls selling the usual kind of thing (woolly jumpers and socks, dried flowers), but this time there was lots of food too - we tasted olives and pickled gherkins (good), corned fish (like eating cat food), a strange sort of porridgey/oatmeal mix (good, but bizarre), all sorts of rye bread (excellent), and some smoked salmon (amazing, so we bought some). The 'Best of British' stall was hilarious - lots of flavoured cheddar, Wills and Kate celebration mugs, and an awful lot of overpriced lemon curd and jams. It was interesting seeing what is considered 'exotic' enough to export...

There were also some 'interesting' karaoke singers, who won points for effort if nothing else. We never did work out if you had to sing songs about fish (the advert for the event had said there would be 'fish karaoke'), or what the man playing the accordion was singing about.

We had lunch at the market too - no fish and chips or kipper in a bun like at home, but small whitebait-style fried fish (muikku), and some hot smoked fish with fried potatoes, vegetables and a garlicky sauce. M demanded grilled sausage, but then proceeded to demolish the muikku... We couldn't move afterwards, but it was so worth it.

The gardening must have worked off some of the calories, I think. Our landlord has bought a whole load of plants and trees for the (rather bare) garden, which we have agreed to put in. So we have dug lots of holes (surprisingly easy on the sandy soil), and planted 10 shrubs and two lilacs. There's still three fruit trees to go - this may be a bit harder as the holes for them need to be a metre deep. We may need more fish before we can tackle that one...

02 October 2011

Next time Debenhams need catalogue models...

We've got this pointing lark down to a fine art...