Spring – that flexible Finnish concept

Bang, boom, swish, crack, thud, thuddud, whoosh. These are weak efforts to convey in writing the sounds of a Helsinki spring. In an almost record-breakingly snowy year, workmen have been kept busy clearing roofs of snow, car breakdown services called on to rescue snow-bound vehicles and ordinary citizens have alternately helped each other to push cars over banks of snow or cursed each others’ thoughtlessness in parking wherever there is almost enough space. Snow and ice are falling all over the place off rooftops and through drain pipes – it can get noisy, and dangerous if you don’t keep an eye on what’s going on overhead. Might be an idea in places to walk in the middle of the roadway.

There is a slight change in the weather now – it’s been above zero for a couple of days now. Spring?

Challenged by long, dark winters, Finns tend to try and sidestep awkward reality by using the word spring to mean anything after Christmas! But in truth, last week did already have something of a spring-like feel, and of course, tomorrow is the first day of March, a word that for mainstream cultures of the northern hemisphere does conjure up something like nature’s awakening from the slumber and rest of winter.

Obviously, however, for one who knows this country, the picture above was taken in the SPRING. This next one, taken but a minute later up the road at Taidehalli proves it. The sun was shining and it was actually warming up the earth, helping the caretaker bring forth the hard landscaping.

Meanwhile, here are some images of the roof cleaning. With excess snow a problem across the country, there have been many falls and injuries, mostly among owners of detached homes. The men dealing with Helsinki’s buildings are, according to a taxi driver, mostly professional roof builders, so have a good grasp of safety.

The buildings: Old Town Hall/Bock House by C. L. Engel from Aleksanterinkatu and then from within the courtyard. Then Innotalo or the Board of Patents and Registration, 1976 by Einari Teräsvirta.

Meanwhile, another typical Helsinki scene this winter, bikes – before the thaw.

P.s. A highly-rated education Finland may have, but much remains to be done. We cannot resist reproducing for your delectation this from today’s Usual

Senaatintorilla on Aleksanteri II:n patsas

Suomalaisia terroristeja käsitelleessä kirja-arviossa lauantaina 27. helmikuuta sivulla C 1 väitettiin, että Senaatintorilla olisi Nikolai II:n patsas. Torilla on Aleksanteri II:n patsas.

or (my translation)

The statue in the Senate Square is Alexander II

A book review about Finnish terrorists in Saturday’s paper on page C1 claimed that the statue in the Senate Square is Nicholas II. The square has a statue of Alexander II.


1 Comment

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One response to “Spring – that flexible Finnish concept

  1. Great blog (and great humour)! I’m adding you to my Google Reader list.

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