Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Year

Your geography lesson for today. Here we have a map of central Lapland, and I stayed at Luosto which is about 1,000 miles further north than I ever expected to travel. Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of a very good friend of mine, 13 of us celebrated our New Year in this incredible place.

This is a picture of the log cabin I stayed in (the one on the left of the picture).All the cabins had real fires, a sauna, the most comfortable beds EVER, and ours featured at no extra expense at least one very brazen mouse. My friend Anne who is not overly fond of mice was heard yelling 'Fuck off mouse!' at top volume from the next door cabin at 4.00 in the morning when she was sat on the loo and looked down to see a mouse at her feet. She described it later as 'not a good moment'.

Over the past few days I have been tobogganing, been on husky and reindeer rides, and coolest of all - bombing across the frozen wastes on one of these...

I kept thinking 'James Bond' - or at least I kept thinking that when I wasn't thinking 'Oh shit! HELP!' Like for example when the thing cuts out half way up a steep snowy hill...and then starts to slip backwards.

Cold I have discovered is all relative. It was mild by Laplandic standards - 10 degrees centigrade was as cold as it ever got, but we were all provided with fabulous snow suits and boots and never felt cold even when we were outside for six hours at a time. Most of the time though it hovered around freezing. At midnight Finnish time it was snowing, we were outside on the edge of a forest - drinking champagne and leaping around to 'Losing My Religion' - oh, and I was texting Reidski although he never received my message till 4.00 the following afternoon.

When I wasn't outside in the snow I was mostly having copious amounts of alcohol. Well, I believe it is compulsory out there - but if you should ever go there - take your own like we skinflints did. It is VERY expensive to buy there. Our group had quiz's in the evenings and although my team did eventually win the movie quiz I was drunk enough not to be able to remember the name 'Rick' of Casablanca fame without resorting to cheating ( my team members being 11 and 15 respectively were rather dependent on me to know that particular answer).

All in all, the most wonderful New Year experience. It even made going back to work just 8 hours after getting home worthwhile for every time anyone asked me if I did anything exciting over New Year. Why their eyes started to glaze over a mere hour and a half after they asked that question I really can't imagine????


Reidski said...

Did I ever mention the time when I went to Helsinki in October in only suit and t-shirt? It was rather cold sitting in the (very open to the bitter wind coming in from the Baltic sea) Olympic Stadium that evening - brrrrrrrr!

Btw, hope you didn't think my eyes were glazing over when you told me all about it?

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Wow! What a brilliant New Year experience! Almost as good as seeing Hull City complete their first ever double over the giants of Sheffield Wednesday! Only kidding. I bet your kids were blown away by this experience. Their schoolmates will be exceedingly envious but why didn't you take Reidski? Were you scared he's freeze his balls off?

Yorkshire Pudding said...

he's = he'd

Moo said...

Sounds like you had a fab New Year, very jealous JJ!

Stegbeetle said...

"At midnight Finnish time it was snowing, we were outside on the edge of a forest - drinking champagne and leaping around to 'Losing My Religion'" - this sounds very nearly perfect. You lucky thing!

The Great Blandini said...

And to think I went to bed at 10pm with a cold and a 1936 episode of Flash Gordon.

Nice one.

Arthur Clewley said...

the fact that the mouse didn't respond to being told to fuck off exposes the myth that all scandinavians speak english. They're obviously not as civiliased as they make out. it looks fantastic there. I didn't even know there was actually anything north of berwick on tweed, and we all look forward to the photos of you beating each other with birch twigs in the snow, or you can just email them to me if you like..

J.J said...

Reidski - Tha was why I had to buy you a lovely warm jacket - someone has to look after you!

YP, we all had the most wonderful time. But Reidski's balls being frozen off is definitely something I would rather not risk!

Moo, it was wonderful.

Stegbeetle, I think the only way it could have been bettered would have been if REM were playing it live!

Oh dear Blandini - I am sorry to hear that. 10.00 your time was 12.00 in Finland by the way!

Yes Arthur, it was clearly a very under educated mouse. Either that or one of those types that say 'I do not respond to foul language. Ask me nicely and I might consider going away'.

*Goes away to google 'beating with birch twigs in arctic conditios*

a very public sociologist said...

Nice to see some snow. We've had bugger all down here!

J.J said...

A Very Public Sociologist (phew- bit of a mouthful! Can I call you Phil?).

Nice to see you over here. And yes, the snow was great. It always has the effect of transporting me back to my childhood - we definitely had snow in the olden days!