Thursday, April 28, 2011


Ahh, I felt a proper feeling of accomplishment when I got to yell that at Dublin airport Thursday morning two weeks ago. That was the little surprise myself and Mr S had planned for my visiting family. I had emailed dad with bus timetables and the like, instructing them to take the bus from the airport to Galway where we'd pick them up. Tee hee. They were pleased and so were we.

The five days they were here went by in a blur. We walked miles in the national park, the abbey, on the beaches, we ate well (thanks to Mr S's mother) and drank even better, listened to traditional music and generally showed them what my life is like here on the edge of Europe. It was so good to catch up! I got the usual pressies, too; rye bread, salmiakki sweets, coffee, chocolate and sausages. Yup, they really made sure I wasn't going to go hungry any time soon. Most of the sweets are gone, as is most of the sausages, too. I'm rationing the rye bread, mainly because it has an interesting effect on my digestive system, something Mr S calls "the after burn". So, in order for him to avoid having to use a gas mask on entering the house, I'm limiting myself to a couple of slices per day.

My parents brought me this painting. It's been sitting in their house waiting to be moved here and finally, after 10 years of me getting it, it's finally here! The vase/pot in the painting is the spitting image of a pot my granny used for butter in my dad's home. Granny brought the pot from what is now Russia, where she was born before the war when it was still a part of Finland and I'm sure it's seen a lot in it's day. It's still there, in the old kitchen where my dad's side of the family gathers for midsummer every year. Mum and dad spotted the painting somewhere and got it for me as a graduation present. It now has the pride of place on our dining room wall.

  My little bit of a holiday was over too fast and I returned to work with a bang. This Easter was the busiest we've ever seen it, making it exhausting to work in the process. It was all worth it, though, we did have a very successful Easter egg hunt in the gardens, and two Easter bunnies hopping about the place. More on that later, I'm off to enjoy the lazy day off with Mr S.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


There's some excitement around the place. Ireland is getting some high profile visitors in the coming months. Prince Albert of Monaco paid us a little visit here in "The Wessht" of this lovely island just last week. I always find myself distracted by the fact that I think Prince Albert is the long lost twin of Neil Delamere. Just look at them, the resemblance is uncanny. Maybe it's the Irish heritage of Albert's mother, the lovely Grace Kelly, whose homestead in co. Mayo was also on the to-visit list of Albert and his lady friend whose name escapes me.

And just today, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is visiting Dublin and Kildare as I type. Now there's a cool dude I'd love to meet. Adding to the list of visitors, Liz and Phil from next door are popping over the small water for a quick hello and a catch-up. Nothing formal, nothing fancy, just a quick visit. Or so I've been told. And we might as well keep the nice tea set dusted and in use, because Barack Obama did mention something about visiting us sometime after Liz and Phil have departed. Ireland is going to be busy playing hostess to all this folk.

I, however am having not-so-high-brow but infinitely more exciting (well, exciting for me, anyway) visitors tomorrow (eep!). My parents are flying over for a visit with two of my mother's sisters and their husbands. A sextet of relatives for a whole of four nights. And because I have been working until today, it is time to cue the mad dash around the house dusting, hoovering, mopping and tidying up. I'm not sure why I'm doing this seeing as they won't be staying in the house. Six was just two people too many to accommodate, so they've opted to stay in Mr S's hotel instead. Handy thing to have, a hotel, last my a gang of my family decided to drop by, there were 16 of them. Yup. 16.

We have a little surprise planned for them on their arrival, but apart from Mr S, my brother Mika and his fiance Terhi, nobody knows yet. And I'm not going to put it up here until I'm sure they have no access to internet and therefore have no way of finding out until they get here...

Tee. Hee.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Murder Mystery

Not ideal bedtime reading
My eye was caught by this headline on the Internet today, and my interest was immediately piqued. I find stories of unsolved murders and serial killer infinitely interesting. It is horrific, I do understand that, I'm under no illusion that serial killers aren't seriously disturbed, sick people. It doesn't make me any less interested in the subject. Years ago I found this book, which I have since read several times over. Murder is fascinating.

I'm obviously aware that it is only fascinating when it's not a personal experience, but looking from the outside in, it never ceases to keep me captivated and wondering what went on in a killer's head. Psychopathic, sociopathic, unempathetic, twisted thoughts, no doubt. But how did they get that way? Did something happen to them to make them that way? Can we blame their parents, someone who treated them badly, the society? Or do we have to come to the truly frightening conclusion that, in the absence of any visible reason for homicidal behaviour, some people are born bad?

Because that is the really scary bit, isn't it? Because I like to think that there was something very very bad in that person's past that made them see the world in a dark, twisted way. That in itself is scary, that there is something in us, that given the "right" circumstances, we can be driven to horrific acts. But there is a reason behind it. Something to explain the atrocities. What happens when there is no explanation? Nothing to fall back on, nothing to make you go "well I suppose that's why..." Just the cold, harsh reality of the fact that some people are capable of great evil and that is the long and short of it. They just do it, there's no "why" or "how".

In fiction, we're given an explanation; Norman Bates had a multiple personality disorder and was traumatised by his mother's death. Leatherface was a product of inbreeding, even Hannibal Lecter had a method to his madness. Things don't always wrap up nicely in real life, and even in cases when there is a reason we never find it out. Jack the Ripper, what was his story? Why did he attack those women? It's the element of unknown that has me intrigued. It's the same element of unknown that has me lock my doors every night.

You never know what might go bump in the night.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Time Flies

...even when you're not having fun, it appears. Work has been busy, days have been longer, and I have been, as a result of all of the above, more tired than ever. I fixed all that today by treating myself to a lovely, 11-hour sleep. My body is actually sore from sleeping the sleep of the dead, as Mr S likes to put it. Apparently I fall asleep and don't move at all during the night, which makes me and my belly an ideal bed for Lily, who curls up on top of me nearly every night. She also functions as an alarm clock by purring in my face with her mouth slightly open. The combination of a purr and a fishy cat-breath are a foolproof way to wake me up, even if it is only 6am. Yuck.

We had some lovely weather last week. We're making up for it this week. Gale force winds and horizontal rain. Really doesn't encourage setting foot outside the front door at all, so much for my attempts to go walking every day. My exercise bike has been getting more use as a result, so all is not lost. I'm told we're getting more sun towards the end of this week. When I'm back to work. Typical. There's one thing rainy days are good for, and that's cleaning. And since we finally got our wheelie bins, I've been taking so much pleasure out of having a good clear out. Mr S was a little bit sceptical as to whether we had anything to clear out since the move, which we quite successfully used to get rid of loads of stuff. I did find a few boxes up in the attic that I went through and decided to get rid of, among other things, 12 VHS tapes that we have no idea what they contain as they have no labels and we don't have a VHS player. For all I know, I may have just got rid of some lost gem of cinematic art. Oh well...

I'm also getting ready for my family to come over. My parents, my mother's two sisters and their husbands will be touching down in Dublin a week from Thursday. They're staying until Monday and flying back to Helsinki early on Tuesday morning. I got a dirt-cheap deal on hotel rooms for them for the Monday night at the airport's Premier Inn; €29 per room! I couldn't believe it, but booked it fast and got a confirmation email stating the price so that's me covered in case they try to charge anything else. I have a surprise in store for them as well, but I'm keeping that under wraps for now just in case they find out...

I'm going back my cleaning for now, I'm getting company later on and I must make the house a bit more child-friendly for my friend's 20-month old son. Last time I left scissors and a nail file laying around. Yup. I'm not very child-oriented but I'm learning. At least I took the axe away from beside the fire...