Friday, June 24, 2016

Helsinki Day

Today was Helsinki Day. I have never experienced it. Outside the Railway Station the bonaqua was giving out a new drink, there were  two, mine had orange and mango. There was a long queue when I passed them the first time.   I have seen advertisements of it before, they use the word "heavenly". It's one with just a bit of  taste, not full, so this sounds an exaggeration.

There were also young Korean men showing us taekwando, they give a course to young  people.

I went to  Espa lava (bandstand  at the Esplanade) which had bands performing the whole day. When I was there it was Pelle Miljoona, a  huge lot of people watching, I took a couple of photos, not very good as the camera does not take good photos if zoomed much.

There was also an old tram, the ticket cost 5 euro. One thing I did not know of and missed even to see, was that there were tables in the middle of the Esplanade where people were eating a meal. I wonder how one was able to reserve a seat.

It was also possible to go to see the office of the Mayor and to stand on the balcony of the Town Hall. There was a queue, but we got in fairly quickly. In the room in  front of the balcony were standing the mayor Jussi Pajunen and his wife to greet people. I chatted a bit with his wife. So nice of them! The balcony was framed by beautiful flowers, I took several photos and a  sweep panorama.   There were also some art work by Eija Hiltunen and glass by Timo Sarpaneva and a wonderful large painting of Helsinki.          


So the Brits have voted out of EU and the columnist thinks it is the biggest defeat EU has experienced and that Finland will lose a good ally.

The Finnish Prime Minister Sipilä says that a similar referendum is not coming to Finland.
- The government and the opposition coalition together will ensure that the project continues. EU has been important for Finland. It is important that the leaders of the EU countries meet regularly to discuss common issues and the crises has highlighted the importance of the joint assembly.

Certainly there has been lots of criticism of EU in Finland. I remember some directive concerning tar and its uses. When we had a summer house close to a lake, the wooden boat had to be tarred at regular  intervals, I loved the smell.

But it seems it is the question of tar sands oil as a fuel, not banning tar as paint.

Anyway, market shares continue going down. There might be an effect on Finnish exports.
People in France and Netherlands want referendums too. There are doom headlines:  "Britain faces the summer of chaos and the autumn of turmoil."

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Isak Pietilä

Today I visited Malmi cemetery where a relative of mine had his grave and possibly an old friend of my mother and me. I took the train as it is so quick Isak but then I could not find the buss to take me further. I notice there was a building housing official offices and the friendly young guy who was the information officer found me the right buss from the internet.

I had not been to the cemetery since the beginning of the seventies and the trees and bushes were so very big. I had to walk to the other side of the cemetery to find the office. There I only needed to give the name of the grave and they found it for me. The grave of the friend had changed occupants, his sister had also died long ago. The grave of Isak Pietilä, who had married a sister of my maternal grandfather, was still there. I looked first in a wrong part of the section it was in and was so relieved when I found it. I also wanted to find out their birth and deceased dates for my "My Heritage" Family tree. The stone was clean but had started to be just a little lopsided. The grave was really beautiful, covered by long grass which also had profusion of pretty yellow flowers. I took several photos. Nearby I found a strange grave. The gravestone was almost as tall as me and it was completely covered by a beautiful white rosebush. I tried to take a photo to see the name but could not get the stone clear and it was also too dark.
Hietaniemi cemetery is quite old and it has lot of statues, many of which I have photographed. The cemeterys in Oslo have hardly any, so I had thought  Norwegian ones  were different. But now I could only see one statue in Malmi, it was covered by lots of  moss, a bit of yellow (?) moss on top of the nose. That looked cute.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Valid again

When you apply for a passport online, often they send it to the R-kiosk near you. For some reason, though they had a sample of my handwriting and my two fingerprints from the earlier passport, they wanted me to come and get it  from the main police department in Pasila. In the station a young girl came to me and asked what would I do with a 500 euro travel card. She was an agent of Fortnum, an electricity company. I applied for the money . She took my particulars and then asked if I would change my company which we did as it was a better deal in many ways.

Pasila is undergoing huge changes, I had to cross the bridge, which was covered on both sides as they were working on the grounds. I had help of a guy to find the police though I was on the right street. Inside, I took a ticket and took a seat but my number was already showing. The young man behind the counter said it would take a few minutes but already a woman brought my passport. Such quick service! The passport was a bit different from the earlier one, the outside looked better and inside  were  pictures of Finnish animals in brown on each page, every second page a moose. Outside the back cover they had engraved snowflakes. A Norwegian paper had an article about their passport, praising it and claiming no-one else had such nice pictures. I wonder!

My photo, yes, it was horrible, almost like a zombie, fortunately one does not need to look at it often.

Bird on ground

I was sitting at the Diana park, a small park so called because of a statue of Diana about to throw a spear, when I noticed a couple turning to look behind them when they were passing me.  I looked back and there was a small fluffy  crow on the ground, clearly a baby. It walked forward a bit  and then I heard a crow calling. It called many times but the chick only called once, feebly. Not easy for the mother to find it. I hope that no-one will pick it up so the mother can continue looking for it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Grassy graves

I went to Hietaniemi cemetery

to look at my parents' grave. I took also several photos of graves in the older part of the cemetery that were overgrown with grass and plants. The gravestones were also covered by lichen. Lichen covers also some parts of the grave of my parents and others in the vicinity. I tried to remove some last summer, but it started to regrow. I must search the net to see if there is some stuff that helps to keep it away. I uncovered some names on gravestones, surely that is allowed. They are graves the upkeep of which is not paid for anymore, there are no relatives left to do it. The part were  I was working had graves that were edged by stone. Where my parents' grave is, everything is covered by grass which is kept short. The grass is cut everywhere but if you pay, they plant a flower, usually a rose, or a couple of other flowers. You are not allowed to choose.
I saw a woman also walking among the graves and went to talk to her. She was actually taking photos of birds with her SLR, pointed a couple to me but of course I could not see them. A bird watcher, I thought, a bright idea: she wouI ld probably know which bird I photographed at Katajanokka. I explained, she asked a couples of questions and told me it was a "meriharakka", Eurasian oystercatcher. What a wonderful meeting!

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Language helps

While in Helsinki, I try to get photos of cruise ships even here. A so called "Peace Boat", Ocean Dream at Katajanokka. I was there at least an hour before the departure time. After a while I saw a young man with the camera mounted  on a frame. He was with a man, possible his father. They were walking around, especially after 19:00 arrived and the ship did not show any signs of leaving.
I went to them and said something about the departure time. The other guy took earphones  out and said something like: is she talking to us. OK, I thought, leave you alone. But then I heard that they were speaking Swedish.
Swedish - the magic word. When I spoke to them in Swedish, the older guy started talking to me and was quite friendly. Now when I think, maybe I should have said something to the younger one as well. Finland is bilingual, everything from street signs to all kinds of documents, is written in both languages and Swedish is taught in school. The relationships are not always very good, many do not want to study Swedish at school or have met some who have been high and mighty. I have always got along with Swedish - speaking people, have had Swedish friends. And why not, my grandmother was Bro and her parents were Swedish-speaking.
The ship did not leave until c. 7:30, it was waiting for the pilot boat. While I was waiting, I was watching a bird, seemed to be related to sandpiper but it had an orange red long beak and reddish feet. It was quite alone and seemed to find something to eat, as it roamed a long time in the grass under some trees. I talked to a girl who said she had not been able to find it on the net.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Birds on the ground

Metro, the free paper you can get at the railway station and buses, had an article today of the huge number of calls concerning animals that the Rescue Department and the Association for Nature Conservation get daily.

Often it is about a bird on the ground. It was not easy for them to get a photo of such, so they had one
of the barnacle goose which is very prolific here. Of course their young are never in a nest, they roam around. I laughed at first when I saw the photo. It is not this one, I just happened to take one the other day.

They said if one is seen on the ground, it is not good to take it, the mother might be looking for at as it probably fell while practicing to fly. If it is taken away, the mother cannot find it.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

How to get a passport.


In the summer 2016 I went to Finland in the end of May so I could buy a new passport there, it is very expensive to buy it from the Embassy in Oslo. I found that I can apply for it online, visiting the police will cost 48 euro, online 44 euro.
Well, ordering online is supposed to be quick and easy, and it certainly is if nothing goes wrong. I tried it first at home, using internet through my friend's mobile phone. This happened at about 10 in the evening. You must fill a few pages of information, always clicking several times for a new page. Occasionally the internet connection disappeared, which made the filling quite lengthy. After more than an hour, I was at the stage for paying, then everything stopped, no internet.
I decided to do it in the library after all, I use my own machine, though the WiFi is not secure. It seemed I would have to start from the beginning, but fortunately my application had been saved, so fairly soon I was at the paying stage again. "I declare this page to be the true information", click for the next page. After a while I'm told that the connection failed: "Try again in a while." So I did,  several times. It took a few minutes each time and the message was always the same. Then you think: What is 'a while'? Twenty seconds? Two minutes? Then the message changed into: There is a  sequence error. What's that? I don't know how many times I re-clicked, 15, 20? I must have been sitting there almost two hours. I had not taken my charger so there was hardly any charge left. Anyway, it seemed that it was some fault in the Police computer. So all that time had been in vain. I could have been on Flickr looking at photos!
I called the police and the woman there says that it is best I go to Pasila police for interview, they open at 8.
Sitting at home, at about midnight I realize that I have internet though I had not asked my friend. I get to the application, and this time the message is: "The application is offline between 23.35 and 1.10. " I had to laugh but decided to wait. This time, maybe there was no-one else applying, the procedure went quite fast and at last I could pay. Hurrah! I don't need to get up early in the morning, the application has been sent and received by the police.
So, it can be easy and it can also be extremely frustrating.