It was the kind of August day that is more autumn than summer; rainy, melancholy, a perfect mist on the sea, the last of the summer flowers fading away, and I wanted to visit this old fishing port about 20km north of Oulu. I remember this place from my childhood – it was bopping back then, a whole fleet of boats going out every day to catch whitefish and Baltic herring and salmon, people like my grandparents buying the fish fresh from the fishermen in the morning. Fears of industrial pollution and cheap north Atlantic fish imports have all but killed the industry, and the moorings have filled with leisure boats. Another tiny piece of the world as it was crumbled away.
On the days after Christmas, it snowed here. A lot. What had been a bit dreary, a bit dark, landscape suddenly turned into a winter wonderland, just like the one we used know, so to speak. Bright skies, few degrees below zero, perfection. The low-hanging sun lit the birches with fiery red glow, and the snow covering the sea sparkled. I was still too much of a wimp to go on the ice (despite the fact that an attempt to swim last year proved the waters very shallow indeed). And unfortunately this is the only boat picture to be had – even if the snow wasn’t too deep, this one had been moved, filled with debris, and blocking the way, the scenery changing again. Next week is set to be cold; stand by for more pictures of winter.
When I arrived in Finland mid-December, the temperature was -18°C. That didn’t last, and on Christmas Day I was seriously afraid that all the snow would melt away – and that I’d spend the second week of my holiday listening to the sound of drip drip drop as the winter fades away.
That was not to be. By Boxing Day, the temperature had dropped below zero, and by yesterday, to a mildly terrifying (to a mild climate dweller such as myself) -16. The skies have cleared, and the arctic winter is at its best.The boats resting, (most likely) the final edition. The old marina took a battering in a pair of late autumn storms, which pushed these old boats from their usual stations to all over the place, scattering them around. I suspect they will be carted away with the rest of debris soon enough, so here is one last look. Previous posts with these boats can be found here, here and here.Frozen waters.Great tits, all fat and fluffy.I set out to photograph my hometown today, and ended up spending so much time snapping the frozen riverside seeds that I had to abandon the task early, because my memory card stopped working and I couldn’t feel my toes. From top – frozen attic windows of my primary school, an old textile mill, now a restaurant, “Iron Bridge”, the old Astronomy Tower.
Today is the second day of St Giles Fair in Oxford, a date in the calendar that symbolically marks the end of the summer; Oxfordshire state schools start on the Wednesday after the fair, and the next big festival is Christmas. The end of summer compelled me to look at photos in my camera, taken while visiting Finland this summer, and somehow they didn’t quite bring back happy memories of a golden summer, even if the trip itself was perfectly pleasant. These are pictures of days so quiet times seems to stop (and not always in a good way), of doing nothing, of solitary walks when one’s yearning for company, of overcast days when the temperature refuses to raise above +16 degrees and the most exciting thing that happens all day long is heating the sauna.
I’m ready for the autumn.