Sunday, March 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009....Turning off my lights!

I just got sent this message and I will certainly be doing this! Will YOU?

WWF UK Earth Hour is taking place between 8.30-9.30pm local time on Saturday 28th March 2009. (For us in Finland that should be 10.30-11.30pm given the two hour time difference) People and businesses from all over the world will be taking part in what looks set to be the biggest mass global action on climate change ever.

The WWF is aiming to inspire a billion people across the globe in more than 1,000 cities to sign up and switch off their lights. For that hour the world’s skies will darken as millions of people across the planet switch off their lights, sending a signal to global leaders that they must take urgent action to tackle climate change.

In the UK alone 452 Schools and 49 national landmarks like Nelson’s Column and the National Theatre have agreed to turn off their lights. Other global icons taking part include the Eiffel Tower, the Shanghai Hong Kong New World Tower, Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and Sydney Opera House in Australia.

Head of Campaigns at WWF UK, Colin Butfield, said -

‘WWF’s Earth Hour is an inspiring opportunity for people all around the world to do something positive to tackle climate change. By signing up to switch their lights off, millions of people will be showing world leaders that they care about curbing the worst impacts of climate change while we still can.’


Earth Hour Maan Tunti 2009 valmiina sammuttamaan valot

Kahden kuukauden päästä järjestettävästä Earth Hour 2009 -tapahtumasta on tulossa suurin koskaan järjestetty maailmanlaajuinen valojensammutustempaus. Sammuttamalla valot yksityiset ihmiset ja erilaiset organisaatiot ilmaisevat huolensa ilmastonmuutoksesta ja vaativat päättäjiltä tiukkoja toimia. Tapahtumaan osallistuvien kaupunkien määrä on jo nyt ylittänyt viimevuotisen. Maita on edellisvuoteen verrattuna mukana jo yli kaksinkertainen määrä. Tapahtuman tukijoiksi on ilmoittautunut arkkipiispa Desmond Tutu ja muita maailmankuuluja henkilöitä.

Sydneyssä vuonna 2007 käynnistynyt tapahtuma on kasvanut yhden kaupungin ilmastotapahtumasta maailmanlaajuiseksi liikkeeksi. Vuonna 2008 tapahtumaan osallistui 371 kaupunkia 35 maasta. Tänä vuonna jo 377 kaupunkia 74 maasta on ilmoittanut vaativansa toimia ilmastonmuutoksen torjumiseksi sammuttamalla valonsa maaliskuun viimeisenä lauantaina 28.3. klo 20.30–21.30.

Suomesta mukana on tällä hetkellä noin 20 kaupunkia ja kuntaa, jotka osallistuvat tapahtumaan erilaisin tavoin. Näiden joukossa ovat muun muassa Helsinki, Tampere, Espoo ja Oulu. Earth Hourin viralliset yhteistyökumppanit ovat Helsingin Sanomat, Nokia, OP-Pohjola ja Tieto. Näiden lisäksi mukana on iso liuta muita yrityksiä, organisaatiota ja järjestöjä.

”Suomessa innostus Earth Hour -tapahtumaa kohtaan on ollut suurta niin kunnissa, yrityksissä kuin erilaisissa järjestöissäkin. Näiden tahojen aktiivisuuden ansiosta meillä on hyvä mahdollisuus saada jopa miljoona suomalaista ottamaan osaa sammuttamalla valot kodeissaan”, sanoo WWF Suomen pääsihteeri Timo Tanninen.

Tapahtuman aikana valot pimenevät useista kunnan- ja kaupungintaloista, yritysten konttoreista ja muista rakennuksista. Esimerkiksi Helsingissä valot pimenevät Helsingin Tuomiokirkosta, useista muista kirkoista ja presidentinlinnasta. Osallistuvat yritykset ja organisaatiot valitsevat jonkun näkyvän kohteen, kuten pääkonttorinsa, josta pimentävät valot tapahtumatunnin ajaksi. Suunnitteilla on myös useita ilmasto- ja kulttuuriaiheisia tapahtumia ja kahvilakonsertteja Earth Hourin aikaan.

WWF:n kansainvälinen johtaja James Leape uskoo kampanjan mahdollisuuksiin vaikuttaa ilmastonmuutosta koskeviin päätöksiin. ”Tulevien kuukausien aikana mukaan liittynee vielä satoja kaupunkeja. Earth Hour -tapahtuma antaa maailmanlaajuisen valtakirjan ilmastonmuutosta hillitsevien päätösten tekoon”, hän sanoo.

Mukaan on ilmoittautunut 37 pääkaupunkia ja muita maailman metropoleja. Näitä ovat muun muassa Peking, Sydney, Rooma, Rio de Janeiro, Lontoo, Kööpenhamina, Istanbul, Bryssel ja Cape Town. Kaupunkien lisäksi valot sammuvat monista maailman näyttävimmistä maamerkeistä: esimerkiksi Rio de Janeiron Kristus-patsas ja maailman korkeimmat rakennukset, Taiwanissa sijaitseva pilvenpiirtäjä Taipei 101 sekä Dubaissa sijaitseva The Burj Dubai, pimenevät tunniksi.

Earth Hour 2009 on saanut lähettiläikseen maailmankuuluja julkisuuden henkilöitä, muun muassa Nobel-voittaja, arkkipiispa Desmond Tutun ja näyttelijä Cate Blanchettin. Yhdysvaltojen presidentinvaalien aikana Barack Obamasta taideteoksia tehnyt taiteilija Shepard Fairey tuottaa Earth Hour -kampanjalle visuaalista materiaalia.

Tiedoksi toimituksille:
•Lista tapahtumaan osallistuvista suomalaisista ja kansainvälisistä kaupungeista
•Shepard Faireyn Earth Hour -taidetta

•Viestintäjohtaja Anne Brax, puh. 050 367 1888
•Kampanjakoordinaattori Emilia Koivunen, puh. 0400 79 7298
•Pääsihteeri Timo Tanninen, puh. 040 574 9266
Sähköpostiosoitteet ovat muotoa

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Minna Canth Women's Rights Activist Flag Day

Minna Canth was born Ulrika Wilhelmina Johnsson on March 19, 1844 in Tampere. She was a Finnish writer and social activist on behalf of womankind.

She began to write whilst managing her family draper's shop. She was coping with life as a widow and caring for seven children too! Addressing issues of women's rights, she particularly worked with regard to permitting the expression and realization of women's aspirations in Finnish culture.

An innovator of Finnish literature, and a pioneer of realism, she bravely took part in social debates, as well. She was curious and open to new European ideas and was an important influence on public opinion in Finland at that time. Her play "The Pastor's Family" is her best known work. Työmiehen vaimo (The Worker's Wife) is another. In it, the main character Johanna is married to Risto, an alcoholic who wastes all his wife's money. Johanna cannot prevent him - her money is legally his, not hers. The play's premiere caused a scandal, but a few months later, parliament enacted a new law about separation of property.

In her time, she was a controversial figure, due to her strength of belief for her point of view and the fact that her ideas were asynchronic with that era's society. She died, aged just 52, on May 12th 1897 in Kuopio.

Minna Canth is the first and only woman so far to have received her own flag day in Finland. However she had to wait quite some while for it to to start - which was not until March 19, 2007!

So, today is EQUALITY DAY! I look forward to more women being recognised! Thank you Minna Canth!

Flag Days are religiously followed in Finland, by Law, the Finnish flag MUST be flown from public buildings on certain days:

Feb 28, Kalevala Day/Finnish culture Day
May 1, Vappu, Labour Day
Second Sunday in May, Mother's Day (Good Reason I say!)
June 4, Carl G.E. Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland/Finnish Defence Forces Day
Saturday between June 20-26 June, Midsummer Day/Finnish Flag Day and on this occasion the flag is hoisted on Midsummer eve and flown all night!
December 6, Independence Day
Any election or referendum day
The day the President of Finland is inaugurated

The other eleven flag days are purely an established custom, although it is recommended that the flag is flown as if it were law and I would say that they are. Those days celebrate noted Finnish citizens and events.

Information sourced from and (Finnish Language site)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pascal has a new home and a new dog!

Recently we went on a visit to see our French friend Pascal and armed with some scrummy bakes from the Valintatalo bakery, we sat and shared coffee in his new abode, for the first time.

A few weeks back Pascal bought himself (and his Finnish girlfriend Merja) a little wooden home to live in. Quite a sad little story attached to it, in that the owner was a little old lady who had lost her marbles and been forced into a nursing home. Her family had no interest in helping her or taking on the debt of her being in care, so the local authority had to seize the home and sell it to cover the bills.

Being in the middle of nowhere (for most people) and with the economy as it is, Pascal found himself a nice little bargain and a little home that he can really do something with.. as it does need some renovating.

The view on approach


Located in Vuojärvi, about 35km from where we live, it backs on to a lake (as do many Finnish homes.. what with Finland being the land of a thousand lakes!) In fact the word Järvi does mean exactly that... Lake. Vuo means Flux or Flow. It has three additional outbuildings, two for storage and the third being an outside sauna...despite the fact that there is also an indoor one. They believe it was built indoors quite recently, because the little old lady could not deal with the outdoor trek anymore.

The outdoor sauna

The place also has its own flagpole, like many Finnish homes - who all fly the flag on the various flag days this country has. I've dared Pascal to put up his French flag! LOL

Driftwood decorations, when lit the right way, the shadow looks like a frog!

It looks like what I always describe as a Gingerbread house, a very traditional style of slat wood housing here, deep red in colour, with white painting. To me it is like something out of 'Hansel and Gretel'. Here is a photo that was left behind (along with lots of other furniture and belongings of the old lady).. and it shows how the place used to look a few years back, in summer time.

It has an upstairs, but you can only access it at the moment from outside - a bit daft considering the environment, so that will be changed eventually. It is an easy enough thing to do, a couple of fellas together, it would take no more than a few days to get done and would make the world of difference.

The peaceful view from the rear of the house

An image donated by Pascal, but taken on another day...

We also went to visit him because he has a new dog. In fact his first ever dog! Talk about go off the deep end with your first dog! He has a one year old Malamute that needed to be rehomed...again it was living with an elderly couple that just couldn't cope with him. Pascal to the rescue! He has wanted a dog for some while, particularly a Malamute...although it has to be said, he was expecting to get a puppy, not a dog with a few old tricks to wean out. That said, Mosku is really no trouble at all. He lives outdoors and has the run of a long leash, up and down the huge snow hill, by the side of the house. I think he thinks he is 'King of the Hill' :D

Meeting Mosku

Mosku is just gorgeous! He is so huge! So friendly and so wonderful. Even me, the woman who is always wary of other peoples dogs, felt totally at ease with him, despite the fact that he is one BIG dog and apt to really pull you! Pascal has his own forest guiding and trekking business, hence why he wanted a Malamute, as a trek helper. Where he was, poor Mosku never had much human contact, never got walked etc.. so this is all still one big adventure for him.....and Pascal!

Isn't he just gorgeous?

Mosku and I

Mosku, King of the hill

Oh I am SO excited!

His name is the one that he came with. He was named after a famous character of the region. Aleksi Hihnavaara aka 'Mosku' who was a legendary reindeer ranger in Lapland during 1882-1938 who battled against reindeer thieves from Finland to Russia. It is said that without his determination to cover the borders, there would be a much smaller scale of Reindeer these days. There is a 40% strength Vodka named Mosku and a film was also made about his life.

Whilst we were there Pascal told us a funny store of how he was sitting in his cabin and he kept hearing a 'knock! knock! knock!' down by the side of his wall. He thought that he had a woodpecker knocking on the wall of the house, so banged back on the wall, whereupon the noise stopped. A few minutes later and several times over, this happened again - almost like a conversation! Eventually, Pascal decided to put on his boots, go outside and investigate. What did he find? He found a fish trying to get into his house! Yes, a FISH! LOL!! Here is the picture!

The fish was banging backwards and forwards down through the snow, to a place a little under the house wall. Of course it was a very well frozen fish and totally inanimate... the real culprit was further underneath - an Ermine! This little furry fella has a nice little home right under Pascals house!

Pascal called it a Hermelin (I guess that is the French name), in Finnish it is Kärppä and in northern Sami it is Buoidda. I guess most of us English bods, might call it a Stoat. The type of animal as shown below (Photo by Tor Lundberg).

Although a Stoat changes to an Ermine when its coat changes white during winter.

Ok, to finalise this blog, whilst looking up about Stoats, Ermines and whatnots... I found this link.. Oh, it is just SO funny.. that I had to include it! Pascal...if yours starts doing this.. do let me know!!

It was nice to see you Pascal and Merja....Good Luck in your New Home!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Are you 'Following' me?

Some while back my site counter malfunctioned and I've not added the same one back, but gone for another type.

I know that there are many clicks here and more recently, several followers. I also know personally, of many readers that come at least once a week, but do not follow the blog 'officially'.

So, what does it mean to follow a blog?

It is not just about coming here to read every week or so, it's an easy way of bookmarking the blog and get updates when the blog is loaded. If you are a follower of the blog you will see a snippet and an update, when the blog is loaded, shown on your blogger dashboard.

Following is a great way to connect people and to create communities of like minded folk. So do take a minute to view this video on how to follow a blog.

Visitors can follow a 'Blogger' site blog by signing in via their Google, Yahoo, AOL, or even using an OpenID. Your profile appears on my blog, either shown publicly or privately. The advantage for me, is that I can also find (perhaps) some new blogs and websites to join by checking out the profiles of my followers. It is also good advertising!

Down the left handside of my blog are various gadgets. One is these is the 'Follow' gadget and it looks like this:

Eg; if you were to click the cat image on the Followers, you would see this:

Scrolling down Amel's text there and you would see her three blogs that she runs and the blogs she is following...

When you are a follower of a blog, you see this style of snippet update on your dashboard - with direct links to the blogs. This is mine:

So, why not start 'Following' my blog today?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Miss Suomi 2009 is crowned! Essi Pöysti

As a little girl I always loved the Miss World competitions. I'd even sit there with a pen and paper and mark them like a judge! LOL. I don't think there was EVER a time that I got it right. I remember vividly shouting at the television many times - 'but WHERE is Miss So-and-So?' who had been left on the shelf... Nice memories.. I loved all the glamour.

I was lucky enough, (((((many years ago))))) to win a beauty competition and was crowned Beaufort Queen, at my secondary school. I was in my third year of secondary. Great fun.. but that was as far as my beauty pageants ever went.. it wasn't really me. Fortunately I didn't have to do the swimsuit thing! Or I'd never have entered!

Miss Suomi 2009 was crowned yesterday, on Sunday night and is the lovely Essi Pöysti, who is 21 years old and single. She hails from Jyväskylä which is a lot further down south. She studies on an international education programme, as a children's specialist nurse. She enjoys working out, walking dogs and modelling. She is the first Miss Suomi to be judged by viewers votes. The jury of judges voted the two runners up as 1st Princess: 19 year saleswoman Elsi Suolasen and 2nd Princess Linda Wikstedt who is a 20 year old model.

There is a vote on one of the online papers for whom was your favourite..which I found interesting as the top two were correct, but third not. My favourite was actually 2nd. I think that she has lovely eyes. However, the winner is lovely too and has a nice shape!

I thought that I would share some links for you to watch. Of course they are speaking Finnish.. but some are funny. Especially the interview with two entrants in a sauna!

Here is Essi, with her two attendants. Elsi (2nd) to the left and Linda (3rd) to the right. It should be noted also that Essi is the first blonde winner for some time.

The first EVER Miss Finland was Ester Toivonen back in 1933. She was 'discovered' whilst working in a Bread shop believe it or not.. just prior to the competition. A stunning lady, she won the Miss Suomi at the age of 19 years, then went on to win Miss Europe which was held in Great Britain the next year. Later, she became a film star. She died in 1979.

The grandmother of this years winner is reported to have said 'We are happy, but at the same time, I fear what victory can mean'. I can understand that concern, but I sincerely hope that Essi, with her feet firmly grounded in nursing, will tread an even path. Good Luck to you Essi and Congratulations! ONNEA!