Grey like winter

This morning dawned late in our little household as Lulu let us sleep until 7:30 (bliss, although i did wake up once in the early morning to soothe her). Lulu read a couple of books with us in bed and then took off. Looking at buddy i said: What’s wrong with us? Meaning, how can we still feel this drowsy.. we even went to bed earlier than usual.

Then I opened the curtains. There was practically no light coming through the windows! The skies were as grey as i’ve ever seen them with a constant little rain in the background. No wonder there was little enthusiasm to get going this morning!

A morning like this is a good time to reflect on the past holiday in Finland, and just in time before our next little get-away to Vienna (due in mid September). Like I mentioned earlier, we got out of London just in time to miss the riots and looting. That weekend in Finland we first went shopping for party shoes for Lulu and to see my mother and grandma in East Helsinki. In the process of topping up his travel card buddy managed to leave his credit card in the machine and received a telephone call from the bank just as we got to my granny’s. It was a bank officer asking him whether he’s lost his card.. buddy said, no, why? And then checked.. to realize it was not in his wallet. Luckily it was a case of genuine Finnish honesty, namely someone had seen the card, taken it to the nearest bank branch (correct bank according to the card in their hand), and there they had dug up buddy’s details and phoned him just in time for him to still make it there before it closed for the weekend. So my mom got into the car and off they went to retrieve the lost item. Phew! A little scare there in the beginning ;) In the meanwhile I sat chatting with granny about life in London (a bit of a challenge for me) and then we waited with the table all set and our tasty, elaborate lunch menu steaming in the background ready to be eaten.

The following day was our day out. Separate this time! Ilkka went out with one of his buddies, I with mine. On leaving little chickling behind in the able hands of her grand parents, she screamed bloody murder, undoubtedly only to calm down in no time after we left. The evening for us didn’t last too long, as it started to rain, and we decided to share a cab back home, buddy picking me up downtown on the way. After all, there is the waking up in the morning with the little devil.. so better to be in shape.

On Mon evening Amos came! He was straight off a ferry from Aland where he’d enjoyed a mini-break in new surroundings. The next day we all set off to the cabin in Nauvo with in-laws. The wonderful cabin in the archipelago.. where the in-laws own the whole island (must always repeat this point as it sounds perhaps quite special to someone unfamiliar with the Finnish landscape, not to say everyone owns an island..). Weather was not the best, however warm enough to have some meals outdoors and not wear rain jackets all round. In fact, it didn’t rain badly during the days at all (rather at night). Sadly it wasn’t warm enough to bring out the kids pool either. However, I and Amos did some swimming in the sea with the small fish and the jelly-fish.. not kidding! I never knew there was a species of jelly-fish that lived in the Finnish coastal (rather mildly salty) waters.

The trip drew to a close towards the end of the (work) week as we all had separate engagements for the weekend. Parties! Turned out to be a lovely end-of-summer Saturday when we celebrated my mom’s birthday at the Botanical Garden in the heart of Helsinki. Many faces also familiar to me came to enjoy the company of our ever-growing family  (my eldest brother is a granddad of 3 at the age of 41) in the lovely surroundings of the well-kept greenhouses and fantastic lawns, old trees and fountains. Buddy left the party to meet with a bunch of his friends, Amos went home with his dad, and I walked through the center with Lulu in the pram chatting away with my godmother whom I hadn’t seen in a long while. Back at Mankkaa we were the first to arrive to the happy surprise of the Bernese mountain dog Roosa. Lulu was already asleep in the pram and was easy to carry to bed. I had an evening of Sigur Ros on the stereo, yoga in a white T and panties, and then some food, cider, newspaper and reading a book in bed. Sheer enjoyment!

The next morning I got up early with Lulu and equally early got ready to go back to the venue to help clean up. Ended up driving mom home with all the prezzies and left-overs, trying to get her settled and then had a quick meet with a good friend downtown, sharing new work experiences and job hunting tips, and then back to Mankkaa again.

Followed three days of doing not-so-much, seeing local friends and buddy’s old “hood”, spending his (PhD..) gift certificate on books books books and then some more books from another sale. And then the packing.. There’s hardly ever enough space in our luggage for all the books that have been bought! This time as added constraint we also had 3 pairs of new shoes for the little one which equally disagreed to fit nicely. In the end there was no space to take extra toys that the grand parents wished to be removed from their house. Sorry! Maybe next time. (PS Last time they came to London I’d wished for them to bring sth, however they decided it was not worth it.)

Coming back home felt like home. Busy, crowded, work on our minds, and the ever-lasting food-laundry-daycare show. Nevertheless, the building stood strong through the riots, our home was intact and waiting for our return, as were the potted plants that had all but died.. So I suppose this weather is befitting. Grey, foreboding the coming dark winter.

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