Arctic December

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Rainy afternoon

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.

Proper winter at last

_imgp8135 _imgp8149 _imgp8152 imgp8198 imgp8191 imgp8192_imgp8101 imgp8176 imgp8177 imgp8186 _imgp8168 imgp8131On 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.

Arctic

_IMGP2118_IMGP2181_IMGP2203_IMGP2207When 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._IMGP2222_IMGP2206_IMGP2200_IMGP2216The 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._IMGP2233_IMGP2254_IMGP2273_IMGP2271Frozen waters._IMGP2313_IMGP2315Great tits, all fat and fluffy._IMGP2331_IMGP2389_IMGP2388_IMGP2435I 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._IMGP2368_IMGP2383_IMGP2371
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The post with slightly underwhelming arctic summer photos

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.
IMGP1398IMGP1421IMGP1555 IMGP1637 IMGP1638IMGP1544 IMGP1539 IMGP1537 IMGP1510 IMGP1512IMGP1502 IMGP1428 IMGP1644 IMGP1651 IMGP1647 IMGP1662I’m ready for the autumn.