Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Sauna - The Great Finnish Tradition!

The Sauna... one of the things Finns love most in life.

Pronounced Sorna in English, it is pronounced Sow-oo-na in Finnish (that is sow as in female pig btw!).

In Finland, the sauna is part of daily life.. literally from cradle to the grave. In days gone by, new life would be born there.. and often folk were taken there to die in older age.

It's a place of relaxation and peace. A place to chat and have a drink and socialise - whether with family or friends.

The savusauna or smoke sauna, plus the woodstove sauna is still popular, but most often families these days have an electric sauna. Most homes have a sauna as standard, even if it is a little small.. it will seat at least four people at a time. It is more unusual to be without one!

The sauna is a cultural heritage at its best. Documented for several hundreds of years at least..the sauna was in use at least once a week by Finns, when in much of Europe bathing was something to be done rarely or preferably not at all! These days the traditional sauna day is Saturday and families will sauna together.

If you would like to read more about sauna, there is also a Finnish Sauna Society!

If you are unable to enjoy a sauna at this time.. then maybe this will ease your pain for short while! This is a fun iPhone app available very inexpensively (just 0.79€!) and developed by ATK-tehdas Oy, a privately owned company in Lapland, focusing on creating software for fun. Never before has it been this easy to carry a sauna with you!

Enjoy the ancient Finnish sauna tradition with the Sauna App for iPhone. This unique display of Finnish craftsmanship has been carefully manufactured in Lapland using only the best raw materials and tools, including Sisu, tar and a Macbook. The Sauna App reproduces the blissful auditory experience of the Finnish sauna. Just close your eyes, relax, and throw some water on the stones.

Copyright Information

All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October 7th a dog-gone day... literally!

7th October. It is just a normal date of the year. Yet the 7th October is one of those days that I think I will always dread appearing on the calendar now.

Last year, on 7th October, our darling dog Fluffy died.

If you have read my blog over a long time, you will probably have read the blog about her. She was the most beautiful dog you have ever seen. Half Samoyed and half something else that made her black, instead of the customary Samoyed white. She lived up to her name... and beautifully so. Sadly, we had to have her put to sleep after a long battle with cancer. It was an awful day. It also happened to co-incide with the day that many years previously my own Dad had died. What a day.

We planned this year, that we would finally get her plot at the pet cemetery sorted out. We had to wait for all the winter and spring snow to clear, then all the summer mosquitoes to die off. Jake, our younger son, was planning to come home a day earlier, on the thursday, from college, in order to give Fluffy a candle at the cemetery. Fluffy was his life and he still misses her terribly. We thought we would surprise him that the plot was done.

We still needed to finish off varnishing the pyrographed plaque that we had made, so planned to do this and take the plaque up to the cemetery either on the tuesday or the wednesday. For some reason the varnish was taking ages to dry.. so it ended up being wednesday night before it was ready.. we thought we would dash up there on the thursday morning just before Jake arrived and then go back again with him later.

The thursday arrived and that day was naturally a little sombre.. but worse was to come.. much worse. The day turned out to be a day from hell.

Mark, my husband went out for the normal morning walk with Dexter, our remaining dog. He is nearly three years old and a beautiful, vocal, pale blue eyed Husky. He took ages to come home and I was getting a little concerned as to where they could be.

Mark came home, minus Dexter.

Dexter had run off, on a whim. Just before Mark got back home, Dexter had seen a whopping great big white reindeer in the forest and ran head long after it. He ignored calls back and just disappeared into the middle of nowhere, heading in a direction he had never been before. It wasn't like Dex had never seen a Reindeer before either! Mark walked and called him for ages, but to no avail. He came home dejected.

As he was making himself a cup of tea, I said that I would go out in the meanwhile. I trundled until I was on the verge of not knowing where I was.. calling all the time. Nothing. Mark went out.. came home, went out again. He went out on his bike, to cover more ground.

With Dexter gone we couldn't go up the cemetery, so the plaque stayed on the kitchen table. We started to make phone calls to the local police, the daughter of the local dog warden who spoke english and anyone else we could think of. I put an alert out on facebook and very soon messages were being passed around by others, to keep an eye out for our daft delinquent dog! (Thanks everyone!)

Jake rang his Dad to say he was nearly home on the bus. He was told about Dexter and that he would have to walk home as Mark was somewhere in the forest but wasn't sure exactly where! Then I got worried about the whereabouts of my husband! I knew he would find his way back ok, but it was cold out there and I myself didn't know where he was! Of course I need not have worried.. he came home eventually. However, he was hopping mad and seriously upset. Emotionally he was fraught with the torment of being guilty that Dex had run off, of not knowing where he was. He could not bear the thought of losing his dog and not ever knowing what happened to him.

After my cajoling we went up to the cemetery, to lay the candle and add Fluffy's plaque. Although the surprise element for Jake was now lost, it was something we all needed to do. It was dark by then, but we still did it. I felt a little angry with Dexter that he has stolen a part of Fluffy's day, but it was so intermingled with concern too. Where was he? His first time away from us, it was dark and cold and I worried for his safety. He can travel a lot of distance really quickly. By that time, he could have been anywhere!

Fortunately, Dexter is chipped and was wearing a named collar, a yellow reflective jacket and a red dog harness. He was going to be noticeable, if seen.

However, it was a real worry because stray dogs can be shot here in Lapland, especially if seen chasing reindeer. This time of the year is both reindeer round up time and moose hunting season. Therefore there are even more reindeer around the villages than deeper in the forests, more reindeer men and more huntsmen with their guns locally. Dexter was running the risk of being shot by accident or on purpose! On the other hand, the fact that he was wearing the yellow jacket meant that he looked like a hunting dog and other huntsmen might just leave him be. Naturally with him being such a handsome dog, there was always the chance someone might just keep him! So many things were running through our heads...and horrid, worrisome things at that!

During the evening and right through the night, we worked to try and find him. There was no point in going too far afield though, not in the dark. Mark walked the normal evenings walk.. but still no sign of him. I loaded his information on lost and found sites on the internet and Mark texted everyone he knew in Finland - literally!

We made signs to put up around town. I had to learn how to use a particular photoshop programme to do it too! We printed them off and put them in plastic sleeves, just in case the snowing started in the meanwhile. Mark didn't sleep all night.. just stayed up looking out the window on the off chance that Dex returned. I had about three hours. We were both wrecked.

I woke up at about six o'clock to find Mark gone from the home. He was already out and about putting the leaflets in town. He went to some obscure places, spoke to lorry drivers on their way out of town, businesses on the outskirts, went to a particular location that he thought Dexter might have gone to and put all the leaflets out in the postal boxes of houses that way, until he ran out and came home to print more out.

Then we got a break through. It was about 8am and a lady rang to say she had seen Dexter the previous night about 5kms away over by the television mast. Its a huge thing, in the depth of forest and an area Dexter had never been in before. The lady had received one of Marks leaflets in her post box. She had seen Dex at 6pm however and by 8am.. again he could have been anywhere! Nevertheless it was positive news and we were grateful for it.

Mark also spoke to a lady that I used to do business with and she said she would put the alert out on Lapin Radio, on the missing dog news. Thank you Merja! We didn't even know that existed! We know that many people heard it and about our naughty imp Dexter! :D

I put my coat on and said to Mark that I was coming with him on the next round. We drove to where the mast was and called and called. I went in one direction and Mark in another. I found a pathway that went on for what seemed forever and I walked a very long way in. Again nothing.

Then the mobile went. It was our good friend Minna. Now, Minna recently moved to Rovaniemi, which is 130kms away.. so realistically one would think she could not help much.. but ever the angel.. she did! Behind the scenes she had made calls to her husband, who is a reindeer herder, he had made calls to other reindeer herders.. asking them not to shoot if they saw Dex and to advise if they had. Minna made calls to friends she could think of that lived in our area. One of them was Sanne, whom I had met just a few days prior, whom Minna used to work with.

Sanne had taken it upon herself to call people that she knew, sent loads of texts.... and she was the one that rang Minna to say that she has had a call from another reindeer herder who had seen Dexter at Midnight , closer to Sanne's home area... which is a couple of kilometers back from the although six hours later than the previous sighting he was still fairly local. Then she herself saw Dexter! So Minna was ringing us to say, get to Sanne's road.. you might find Dexter!

Elated, we headed back south down the road we were on, to Sanne's road. It backs on to both forest and swampland. When we arrived, both she and her husband were waiting. As synchronicity would have it, Sanne had a day off with her husband.. otherwise she would not have been there! She showed where she had seen Dexter.. and her husband drove up the road to look elsewhere. Whilst we were with Sanne, he called to say.. I can see Dexter! Mark went dashing up to join him, in our car. I stayed on foot with Sanne. Unfortunately by the time Mark got there, Sanne's husband said Dexter had dashed off again, scared by strangers calling for him.

For a good half hour, we went back and forth up and down that road, with Dexter playing us all for fools! He can run fast that boy! Mark and I didn't see him.. but others were. He entered the swamp area and out again.. into the residential area, over to and into the forest! It was crazy. Then finally, Sanne's husband pointed out of his car, to Mark in his... and Mark saw, for the first time.. DEXTER! Mark jumped out of the car and called his baby.. he expected that Dex would just come over to him, him being his Dad and all... but Dexter would not comply. He was simply so spooked by being chased back and forth by vehicles and people that he didnt know, all calling him!!

Dexter went deeper into the forest. Mark had to bring the car to an abrupt halt, because the forest road just suddenly ended.. and despite having a very poorly ankle, he tried to go after him in a hurry. Dexter just disappeared again.. leaving poor Mark upset and confounded.

Sanne said to me that if Dexter was going over the ridge, that the other side was where the pet cemetery and the horse racing track was... so whilst Mark was in the forest on one side of the ridge, Sanne and I took to the other side. I called Jake at home, to tell him to come outside of our home and across the road.. which is a little further south than the cemetery area.

Sanne and I waited twenty minutes until Sanne said that if he had not appeared by then, he was not going to.. that maybe he would appear at another point along the road. Good grief! Where was this dog? Then my phone rang again.. from someone in my own road! She said she had just seen him and was trying to catch him. I called Jake to tell him to get home.. and also Mark. Mark was deep in forest still.. and Jake was in a bog! :D

We turned Sanne's car around and sped home. There as we drove up my road was this wonderful woman, Eva I believe her name is, holding her dog and MY dog Dexter! I could have cried. Dexter was SO happy to see me! As I was him! He was all over me. Big hugs all round for everyone involved.

I rang Mark and Jake. I told Mark I had him. 'What do you mean, you have him? asked Mark. 'You mean you have him in your hands, literally?' 'Yes, I have him on the lead! He is safe!' Choking back tears, Mark fell to his knees to greet his best buddy who was just as pleased to see him! 'You idiot' he said to Dexter.. 'that was me before!! It was me!!'

It turned out that during this last part, another phone call Mark had received to say that a man had seen Dexter crossing the road near our home. It would seem that from Sanne's husband being in one point, Mark in another.. Jake nearer home and Sanne and I at another point. somehow we had triangulated our positions and given him a scent and sound to follow and get back on track. He was after all in an area that he had never been before.

Such a relief. After which there was so much happy vibes at home, on facebook, over the internet and via texts. Dexter was a mess, was worn out and very pleased to be back home. He had been missing a hellish 24.5 hours and looking for a dog in forest is no easy feat. Without the help and support of everyone involved, it may not have happened! If Mark had not gone out to the places he did, with the posters it might not have happened. It really was a needle in a haystack scenario.

Later that day, we went back up, in the daylight, to Fluffy's grave. Dexter howled like crazy. He actually seemed to be saying.. 'Please don't leave me here! I don't want to be alone!' Mark reminded him, that is was him that had left US not the other way around!!! He slept like a log.. as did we later that night!

Dexter is now back in training. Boot camp style and he seems to be really enjoying it. Mark is going back over every inch of training that he has ever had and is taking him to areas that he has not been to before, to knock the curiosity factor.

Dexter, Mark and I would like to thank VERY MUCH everyone that helped when we needed it.

Fluffy also finally got her grave nice and tidied. Bless her. We really miss our girl 'Fluffstuff - Fluffskus'

Happier days... playing twig-tug-o-war

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All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Have you noticed the forthcoming date of interest? A magickal mystical date of note? Well perhaps it is... we shall have to wait and see if it is... You've not noticed it? What date is it? It is the 10th of October 2010. What is so special about that you may wonder... well, OK.. I'll put it another way then..


Now surely that does not happen very often does it? To answer my own question... does NOT and it will not do so again for a good many years hence.. long, long after we are all dead, our children are dead, even their grandchildren are dead. Scary thought isn't it... that is a L>O>N>G time. So, is this significant? Are we lucky to be living to see this?

Well, if you like numbers, or are spiritually inclined then you might be apt to thinking so. I remember thinking something similar on my birthday, 20th January 2001... I thought that I was lucky to be celebrating my big day on that date. 20.01.2001. It probably slipped by unnoticed by many other people though. However, 10.10.10 seems a biggie to me...although to others it will just be a number and nothing unusual.. just a quirk of fate.

What does a ten mean?

A tarot reader like me, would instantly say tens mean completion or the end of a cycle. A mathematician would say ten is one of just four 'perfect numbers' (3, 7, 10, 12) and that ten means the end of one series and the beginning of 11 and onwards. It is said to signify divine order and it creates decimals to build on.

More simply it is the stronghold of our lives.. there are ten main regions on our planet and the number ten creates our decades, centuries and even our millennia. It used to be that our year had only ten months until someone clever came along to give out more birthdays! :D We also celebrate our special anniversaries by the tens.

In the UK, the Prime Minister lives at number 10 Downing street. Did you know that the 10 used to be part of 3? Two perfect numbers! Yes, 10 Downing Street used to be three homes, but was knocked into one. (and still they moan it is tooooo small!!) Ok... I little off topic there, but it is still interesting! Ten is ever present, hey we even have ten fingers.. well, hopefully.. and those fingers complete tasks just like other tens.

Looking at the numbers themselves, the One is the perfect creation of matter being born and a Zero is seen as completion because it is drawn as a total circle, yet it is also the Void, from where all matter comes! It would seem to be a reverent number, would it not, a ten?

The Bible references amounts in ten quite frequently, the most obvious being the ten commandments, ten plagues, ten nations and the ten 'I am' statements of Jesus. Ten is a significant number.

Ten is also important in many other religions.. so many I will not go into them all.. but in Judaic traditions most notably there is the Ten days of repentance that run from the Jewish New Year (Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur). Upon completion of those ten days, the priest will say the name of God ten times. Yom Kippur is the day when God finalizes his Rosh HaShana decisions about who shall live and who shall die, who shall suffer and who shall prosper, in the coming year. Again with the end of a cycle and completions. Yom Kippur itself is even on the 10th day of the month. What is it about ten?

In Chinese 'Ancestor Veneration' traditions, after ten mortuary rites are given in our living world, the dead then move through ten courts of judgement within the underworld before any possible arrival of salvation. The family of the deceased have to complete rituals to ensure that each 'stay' in each of the ten courts is not too long. Again a process and completion. Again ten!

The Kabbalist Tree of Life symbol has ten esoteric points upon it which represent the process by which the Universe came into existence. The Tree of Life is often referenced to show the lineage from our human subconscious, all the way to our higher self or spirit and the matrix between them. Again a process and completion.

Even clever old Greek Pythagoras believed that ten was the number of the universe and expressed the whole of human knowledge. (Deep!) The Tetractys has a mathematical, mystical, sacred geometrical, complex meaning. The design of which holds significance for followers of the Kabbalah and Pythagoras.

In its simplicity, the Tetractys is a triangle, comprised of ten points that range from a base level and rise up in four rows to reach a point. It is a symbol of earthly man rising up to Spirit. (In contrast, the upside down triangle is Spirit reaching down into man). Symbol of triangles like these are seen on Tarot cards, for example.. the upward triangle is shown clearly in the card of Temperance. (Look at the Angels chest)

In fact the Tetractys is just one of many possible tarot layouts, with ten cards in a four row pyramid. The top apex card is the significator.

1 What you can see
2 What you can't see
3 What you can change
4 What you cannot change
5 What you can expect

Two interesting Tarot links:

Back to 10.10.10.

Is it a time for us to aspire to spiritual or just overall growth or 'perfection' in ourselves? Are we going to be cast into a new time, a new cycle where everything is fresh and we learn from our past efforts? Is this a call for our own personal evolution? Is it nothing at all? it has been on my mind.. as you can tell!! (*Ten times over!*).

Several years ago, I lost a friend on the 10th of October. I remember saying to him at the funeral parlour, 'Ten, Ten till we meet again'. Every year on that date, he is especially remembered. It is a date that always calls out to me. So, what of this year? More than any other year perhaps?

So in conclusion... we have many types of tens... and many more I have not mentioned! What can it all mean that ten is used in so many ways and so profoundly? Does it indeed mean anything at all? I am left to wonder what 10.10.10 will mean for me, for you, for mankind, for the planet.

Let's see... let me know!

Copyright InformationAll content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Moving house....

Well yes.. but not how you think I meant it!!!

My husband called out to me the other day.. 'Quick, get your camera!' So, I dashed over to the kitchen to see what the fuss was.. expecting really to see some Reindeer or something ambling around out there.... and what was going past?

A HOUSE! Well, that is a new one... that certainly does not happen everyday!

It was of course, holding traffic up a bit.. not that we really suffer with lots of traffic here! I don't know where it came from.. or to where it was going...but I do know it went past my house...S.L.O.W.L.Y.  


Copyright InformationAll content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An amazing blogger! RESPECT (off topic)

I just viewed this article on the BBC

It is all about one of my fellow bloggers in the blogosphere. I have never met her, she doesn't know me, she lives half a planet away.. and she is double my age. Yes, she is NINETY! How fantastic is that?

Meet Phyllis Greene, who is in hospice care in Ohio.....

Her blog is at

Copyright InformationAll content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A slideshow of Autumn 2010 Sodankylä Lapland Finland

It has been the colourful season! I thought this was the best way to share the amount of pictures I have taken. I hope you enjoy it. The colours continue... but many leaves are now shed.

Copyright InformationAll content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Friday, September 10, 2010

The cost of food shopping in Finland

Many people ask me about the cost of living in Finland. To me, everything seems expensive. Not only because of high VAT, but also because things just seem to be given a silly price tag in Finland.

For example, I was looking at mattresses and beds lately (a blog for the future) OMG! Horrendously expensive!!!

I have though, been meaning to run a blog of the price of food for ages.. but just not got around to it. Last week, I did a small food shop and remembered to take a few photos. *It just goes to show that my husband is so used to my weird ways, when he did NOT think I had lost the plot, taking photos of our shopping!!*

I am curious to know how these prices relate to that near you. I know they seem a lot more to me than I would be paying in the UK ...and I have not lived there for six years. I may be out of touch. Realistically, I did not buy that much. I also used up a variety of vouchers and saved 6.90€ against the bill, which was 68.81€ as a final figure.

Reductions are quite common in the shop I shop at, which is the Valintalo in Sodankylä. I think it is a really good shop and whilst it doesn't have everything I need...and I have to go to Lidls or KMarket to buy other bits and pieces.. we do do the vast majority of our shopping there. The staff are good and very friendly. We know them well now.

My first reduction was 1.30€ for pullonpalautus (bottle returns). This is quite usual all over Finland, but something that stopped in the UK, many years ago. When buying a bottle of something, (fizzy drink or alcohol) you have to pay a bottle excess charge, but you get this back, upon the safe return of the bottle, as long as the barcode label is still on it. It used to be that the machines gave you back cash, but now it prints a receipt which you hand to the cashier. I think it is good to have a system like this, it is a much greater greener initiative. The only downside for me, is that it does not extend to all bottles and containers, like shampoo bottles, squash/juice bottles etc.

Large coca-cola sized bottles are worth 40c back, smaller bottles 20c, glass bottles 10c and tins, (beer, guinness etc) vary. As you might tell, with just 1.30€ for returns, we do not drink a lot of alcohol! In fact, most of our returns are on fizzy drink bottles.

I also had collected some stickers from a gift collection that the Valintatalo had been running, but had chosen not to buy the 'supposed reduced priced' items that were on offer. For each row of stickers you can claw back 0.20€ and a whole pamphlet full of stickers, a euro. Not a lot really.. but it is all money after all! So, I surrendered those. I had 5.60€ worth. I always ask for the stickers. I think the staff know me as 'sticker woman' or better still as the '30% off sticker woman'! :D

Valintatalo is quite unusual in the fact that more often than other shops, they do use an orange reduction sticker on goods if they are running low on dates and oftentimes, items are not even close to useby dates, they just want to clear space. It used to be a 50% sticker, but these days it is 30%. I guess even big companies are feeling the pinch. I am not ashamed to say that I buy most of my meat that way. Even if I do not need it at the time, it goes into the freezer until I do. It all helps a budget. Meat is a horrendous price here, so it makes sense to do that in my book! :D

Here is the list of what I bought last week.

Jauheliha mureke (This was a type of meatloaf I was actually quite surprised at this price - most unusual - plus when we baked it, it was very nice...although I did wrap it in bacon slices first!) You can see this on the left hand corner, in a black box. 3.79 €

Fazer Maitosuklaa
200g (essential chocolate!) 1.69 €
Fanta Mandariini 1.5L (on special but excluded the bottle charge) 1.29€
Coca-Cola 1.5L (excluded the bottle charge) 2.19€
Pullopantti (bottle charges) 2 x 0.400.80€

Päärynä Guyot (fresh Pears) 583g 2.19€ @ 1.99kg 1.16€

Sitruuna (fresh Lemons) 0,546g @ 3.79kg 2.07€

Paikkakunnan Peruna (fresh local potatoes) 776g at 1.25€ per kg 2.22€

Pall Mall Blue 30g (loose tobacco) 3.25€
Pedigree Pal Kana (tube of dog food) 1.79€
Taloussokeri 1kg (granulated sugar) 0.99€

Quaker Ruis Fras (cereal) 3.39€
(actually this was supposed to be on special with 30% off, but I have just noticed whilst doing this blog tha we didn't get the reduction on the receipt!) It should have been 2.37€ .... just goes to show I need to check my receipt better!

Atria Broileri Paisti (fresh chicken breasts) 700g 4.49€
In Finland, manufacturers like to pre-dress the breasts with some kind of sauce, but you can wash it off if you prefer!

Perhekalkkuna (turkey slices) 250g 3.09€ /30% off / 2,16€
Rypäle Vihr (fresh green grapes) 500g 1.79€
Maissi (frozen sweetcorn) 450g 1,29€
Kevytmaito 1.5L (semi skimmed milk) 1.19 (x4) 4.74€
Meira Curry (curry powder) 25g 0.95€ (x2) 1.90€
Meira Inkivääri (ginger powder) 22g 0.99€
Meira Minttu (dried mint) 8g 1.69€
Marli Vital Puolukka 1L (Cranberry type juice) 1.39€
Airam Vakiolamppu (lightbulbs) 1.39€
Ranksanleipa 350g 0.89€ /30%off/ 0.62€ x 2 1.24€ (a supposed French style bread unsliced but cheap by Finnish standards!)
Pehtoori leipa 2.19 /30%off/ 1.53€ x 2 3.06€ (a country style slice loaf which makes up for the price of the french style!!)
Valkpapu Tom (Tinned baked beans) 420g 0.75€ x2 1.50€
Tomaattimurska (crushed tinned tomatoes) 400g 0.49€ x2 0.98€
Liha maksa (Friskies dried cat food) 2kg 5.89€
Energizer Hightech (4 AA batteries) 5.49€
Powerlife Micro (4 AAA batteries) 3.59€
Bio Luvil 1.35kg (soap powder) 5.99€
Flora (Margarine) 400g 1.49€

Total 74.41€, which when less the vouchers was 68.81€. All items are showing in the photograph other than the soap powder, tobacco and spices - which had already been put away and I had forgotten about! :D but the photo gives you a good idea of what the money is worth here. 68.81€ roughly equates to £57 UK pounds or $88 (US Dollars). Could you buy more or less with that money?

One other benefit of Valintatalo is the Ukkosbonus euro - point/credit reward system which runs from 1st Sept to 1st Sept annually. Every December I get a wonderful bonus cheque back, redeemable in cash at the supermarket. Generally I get back about 200 euros or so. :D Very handy, just before Christmas! in my opinion, it is much better than occasional vouchers off in the post that come via other schemes. Herra Sentti (Mr Cent) is the cartoon like figurehead of the promotion and there are also several Herra Sentti 'stretch the cent' weeks when there are special offers available for anyone presenting their Ykkösbonus card upon transaction. In fact, that is on right now, until the 15th.

VAT in Finland, is currently 23% on food and 13% on non foods.

Copyright InformationAll content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bearing up to the Autumnal Lapland

So, this year's Lapland Summer has come to an is always short...and we are now in Syksy (Autumn).

In fact, August is partly Summer and partly Autumn.. and Autumn will be over in a couple of weeks time in all likelihood.

Lapland is the region that has eight seasons of the year you see... YES.. Eight! They are Autumn-Winter, Winter, Spring-Winter, Spring, Spring-Summer, Summer, Summer- Autumn and of course Autumn.

In August the berries popped up to say hello and 'Pick me! Pick me!' Autumn is the harvesting month when many Finns go off into the forests..and many foreigners also come to earn money from picking berries in the wild. It's not easy work though..the mosquitoes are around until mid August at least..and it is also back breaking when done for hours on end!

The much missed Moon also came back to our sights... and I for one was so pleased to see her! Yet she also indicates that a coolness blows on the wind and Winter beckons from just over the hill. Then came the cold snaps at night, whilst we slept...(in the beautiful darkness). That has made for the colourful changes in the leaves around us. It really only takes a couple of nights to see the change! The Autumnal leaves display beautiful colours in Lapland. It depends on how cold the temperature drops as to how colourful they are. Many visitors visit Lapland now...especially for this seasonal change.

I've had a full month during August, as you can see by the fact that I have not blogged. Amongst other things, I've taken time out to have a bit of fun and have got back into face painting... which is something I have not done since the lads were small. The main thing though, has been that our sons have moved out - so we have had a lot of arranging to do with regards to that and lots of travelling back and forth - fortunately all on beautifully sunny days!

They are both in Rovaniemi now, 130kms away.. (week days anyway).. at two different places of study. They are growing up and our way of life is changing again.. just like the seasons. Here are a few of images from Rovaniemi.

The beautiful Church in Rovaniemi

The Kirkkolampi pond next to the church, with its delightful fountain. I miss things like this in Sodankylä! Whilst Rovaniemi is more busy.. it does seem more cultured!

The main thing that I do not like about this season is that it is the start of the hunting seasons. As a non Finn, I was not brought up to hunt and I do not like the culture of it .. at all. On day one of the Bear season, 24 beautiful Bears minimum were killed. HIDE Bears HIDE!

74 Bears have be taken overall from this region, as 'allowed' by government permit. Total amount however will be a whopping 198. It makes my heart bleed.

You can drop this page into Google to translate it!

Anyone that knows me, knows just how much I LOVE this season really pains me deeply. It annoys me intensely to see the photographs of hunts-people in the newspaper, proudly displaying their kill. They have the look of pride on their face.. as if it say.. "Look at big brave me, I have killed this Bear, this BEAST!" .. all I say is Yes, big brave you, with a GUN! Try it without, then see what you have to say about it! I appreciate the Bear is a dangerous animal in the wrong scenario.. but they still, in my opinion, deserve to live.. and they were here first!

How could anyone hurt this gorgeous creature?

Then it will be the Wolves and Wolverine, the bird/game season, the Moose season... For me, it is one big downside of Finland. Just as well we don't have Whales here!! OK.. rant over.

On a nicer note.. Last week I went a picking berries from outside. Literally outside my house are Puolukka *Cranberry family, Blueberries and Juniper berries. Yummy. It certainly makes for some nice cakes! :D

As you can see, I have a special berry contraption that acts like a big hair comb. It plucks the berries from the stems and they fall into the container. Mine was filled in just ten minutes. It is however, the sorting out of the berries afterwards that takes up most of your time! It is then that I wish I had a friendly berry elf. LIKE THIS FELLA!

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All content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy 22nd Wedding Anniversary to my husband - Speechless

Thank you my darling! This blog is simple, short and unequivocal.
'Speechless' by the late Mr Michael Jackson pretty much sums it up...


Copyright InformationAll content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D

Monday, July 26, 2010

One misty summer morning in Lapland

These images were taken from my kitchen window, several weeks back now... in June.. one misty morning... I just forgot to upload them! It was really eery... it was about 4am if I recall....

I couldn't decide which ones to load.. so I loaded them all!

Copyright InformationAll content, unless otherwise noted, is © ArcticRainbow and may not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, except for credited links directly to articles or to the main site. (I don't bite...just ask!) :D