Kolumni: In A Winter Wonderland

The start to 2021 has been pretty cold. Bright and sunny, but cold following a very dark December. Conditions like this always stand out in contrast to my hometown, London. Whenever the weather gets extreme in Seinäjoki, I like to share it back home to show how tough (or Finnish) I’ve become. It amazes my UK family that life continues normally at -25 degrees, but the cold here really IS different. In the UK, the air is damp and -2 degrees seems to bite through your winter coat. It is much drier here and you don’t feel it until it gets much colder. Or maybe we just have better winter clothes.

My wife Satu is not a fan of winter. Often, by the end of November she has already had enough. For me, the seasons changing is something I appreciate; from the cold, white winter to the warm, long, summer nights, to the explosion of ruska colours in autumn.

In the UK, the seasons seem to blur into one, with mild temperatures and damp atmosphere. The days get a little longer in summer and the winter is a bit colder, but not to the extremes that make the Finnish seasons so distinct.

That said, the River Thames DID freeze over in early 2021. This is unusual but is not a new event. London’s bridges were designed differently with very wide supporting legs that slowed the flow of the river. From the 1600’s to the early 1800’s, the river would regularly freeze for a month or two, leading to the “Frost Fairs” on the surface of the Thames. There would be market stalls, pubs, shops and sports activities!

I’m not really a ‘winter sports’ person. I don’t really have the balance needed to slide safely across the snow or ice. I love to do avantouinti (it’s even better since the facilities at Lakeuden Avantouimarit were upgraded) and I enjoy sending photos ‘back home’ of me in the cold water or rolling in the snow. I also enjoy Nordic walking and want to do more snowshoe walking in future.

I’d also like to try cross-country skiing – I just noticed that Kansalaisopisto offers a basic skiing course for adults. Maybe that’s something for me to try next winter?

Mark Wiltshear

Yrittäjä, podcastaaja