Elämää metsässä:Virtuaalikierros uudessa talossani
Life in the forest:A virtual tour of my new house

Tervetuloa Suomeen.Tervetuloa Helsinkiin !
Welcome to Finland. Welcome to Helsinki !


This is not the north pole .. but it's pretty close.

Far in the North of Europe is Finland,
home of the sauna, Santa Claus
and lots of lots of snow !!

The snow is deep and hard work to walk through.
The air is cold and crisp,
some mist hovers above the ground.

Civilisation ! some houses surrounded by the forest.

People live here .. all year around !
There is wild life here too ...
mooses, wolves, some bears ..
but no polar bears !

This photo explains why the finnish flag is blue and white (and mostly white !)

I live here .. this is my house.

Tervetuloa minun kotiin -
welcome to my house as we say in finnish.

It has two floors and is upside down !
The lounge is upstairs (big window) and
the two rooms at the front downstairs are the bedrooms.

The car lives under the autokatos (car port), but the chauffeur has forgotten where the car wash is
and my poor Saab is more often mud coloured than blue.

The side of the house, the back is cut into the hill,
The rooms underground at the back are the sauna and storage room, but they could double as fallout shelters if needed,
Finnish offices and appartment blocks have those,
so why not my house ?

In the middle is Rock-Two  -
I have several rocks to look after, but they don't need much maintenance,
there is a Rock Doctor down the road who can come over if they get sick.


The garden.

Underneath the garden is the oil tank for the central heating.

Being finland the growning season is not very long, so the lawn doesn't need much cutting (a good thing considering the size of it).

The big satellite dish can pick up British tv. Close the curtains and turn on the tv and you could be back in England (of course you don't have to continually worry about the house been broken into .. so perhaps it's not quite like England).

Looking out from the front door.

Nothing but trees and fields and snow. But civilisation is not far away .. only 25 minutes to the city and the airport. And there are never traffic jams .. I have seen about one per year on the motorways, normally after an accident - finns are not good drivers.


The "yard".

This isn't the work of untidy neighbors.
It's all mine and I didn't realize this until the week I moved in.

Now I have enough space to build my own summer cottage, and probably enough wood to build it with as well!

Wendy house

Now a garage for my lawn mower.
Also doubles as guest bedroom. It's a bit far from the house
and cold at night, and a few spiders in there as well
but the guests don't mind .. no, they don't .. really !



At the service of any visitors who want to smoke .. even in the winter, ok so there's no door and the snow gets in there a bit. But you can enjoy your cigarette at one with nature.

The apple trees

Source for the occasional lunchtime treat in the summer :)
Source for lots of leaves for me to rake up in the autumn :(

In finnish these autumn colours are called "Ruska" ..
they are quite lovely.


Forest Garden.

Every tree you can see is mine and i've even seen a Moose walking around in here. Hope they don't crash through the windows into the house.

A built in barbecue and oven !

The yard contains about ten summers worth of logs for the barbie,
but I have yet to find the time to light it up.

Unfortunately the chimney blew down in a gale a few years ago and I haven't had time to rebuild it yet.


The back of the house.

Because the house is built into a hill, the back of the upstairs is at ground level. This is really nice, not like the box type houses they have in England.


The biggest rock in my garden.,
and is about the side of a VW Beetle.


 The Dish

This 2.1m satelite dish now takes pride of place in the garden, it is bolted to about 300kg of concrete to stop it flying away in the wind.

As you can see from the photo it is prone to being covered in about a foot of snow - which means brushing it off from time to time in the winter.

Now take a look inside.
Take your shoes off when you come in - it's the finnish way.


 The kitchen

Which has built in dishwasher and a built in fridge.
My two microwaves are housed in the units on the right (still with their British plugs .. none of this two pin johnny foreigner nonesense.

The lights are new and a great step forward from the original fluorescent ones.

Sahkösauna (electric sauna)

Almost every house in Finland has one.
It takes about 30 minutes to heat up and joins the shower room, where you can change and cool off with a cold drink after the sauna.
I have bought at bit of the 21st century to my sauna - there is a remote temperature display upstairs so you know when it's ready and there are speakers and remote control in the sauna there too to enjoy some nice music down there.


The lounge on day zero.

So many boxes, so little time.

I bought all my electrical stuff and software over from UK, but no furniture. A good decision thanks to the low price of furniture in Finland (Ikea is about 30-50% cheaper than in UK).

The lounge today.

 The lounge today after several trips to Ikea and
some lightening of my wallet.
The sofas are from Finnish furniture store Asko.

Downstairs hall.

The moon comes on at night - automatically.
But this moon is yellow instead of silver -
perhaps it wants to grow up and be the sun instead ?

The moon is swedish ..
and is called Smila Måne,

You can have your own moon -
just drive to the nearest Ikea.

In the corner you can see what the hall used to look like, before the new floors and paint job. Now it's a bit less country bumpkin style :)

The spare room

Fitted out with new beds and quilts from ... Ikea !


The Dining Room

Table and chairs from .. .Ikea.

The "wall carpet" is an original work from Namibia,
kindly donated by my finnish friend Jaana.

The workshop.

This is downstairs next to the car-port (Autokatos in Finnish).
Home for all my power tools.
Walk through the workshop and you end up in the boiler room.

The "engine room".

Give it some more power .. full steam ahead .. she won't take no more captain !!

This is what keeps the house warm in the winter .. a new boiler with more pipes and valves than the engine room of the titanic.


Storage room.

Even four bedrooms isn't enough for all my books, tapes and discs. This rooms comes in handy for storing the winter tires also. (see below)

 The Study

Too many cables, not enough time to sort them out.

Thanks to Nokia the whole lot is wired to the internet with 1Mbit ADSL broadband connection !


Art Gallery

Here my kitchen proudly displays this huge tiffany stained glass work, made by my friend Jaana. Installation was a bit tricky but when the sun catches the colours in the glass it looks wonderful.

Life in Finland brings new things...

Winter Tires.

You can just make out the little shiny studs that grip the ice.
By law you must use winter tires after Dec 1.
During the winter the roads will be covered with several inches of ice (even the main ones), so their use is pretty essential.

Just don't try driving too far from Scandinavia with these tires, they are illegal in southern europe (including England).

Double doors.

The front door and upstairs door have two doors linked by a mini-hallway to keep out the cold.

English visitors must be "trained" not to open both doors at once
not a good idea when it's -30 outside.


The bathroom.

Complete with washing machine !
This is the normal place in Finnish homes !

Not normal are the loudspeakers - all the rooms have them. This house rocks !!

The inside of my fridge.

Full of finnish food ! Cartons from the right:

Blue carton - skimmed milk
Palm tree- pourable yoghurt
Green carton - sour milk - you have it on breakfast cereal.
I tried it for a couple of months - but now i'm back to the "normal" kind of milk - ie stuff that hasn't gone sour yet


Inside the Car.

Nokia paid for all the phone hardware and the sound comes out of the hifi speakers and the CD player pauses while you make a call.

It has heated seats of course, but then even a Ford Fiesta
has heated seats in Finland !

Those who have taken a trip in my car before will be pleased to know that the hifi has been updated to similar standards and the boot filled with amplifiers and window rattling sub-woofer.

The Car has a mains socket , you can plug it in at night!!

This keeps the engine warm and there is a little electric fan heater in there too so the car is lovely and toasty in the morning.


The Morning Commute - Finnish style.

This is a finnish motorway AT RUSH HOUR !! You can tell it's rush hour because you can see a car overtaking another one !

We have different summer and winter speed limits. Summer is 120km/h and Winter 100km/h. Speeding fines are "quite" high in finland, they can be related to your income and fines have reached US$60,000 !!

Winter Road.

This is a road not a ski trail at a ski resort.

We can drive on this because the tires have metal studs fitted.You have to get used to the car sliding round corners, but once you do you will understand why finland has so many good rally drivers.



Orange Poles.

These orange poles stuck into the side of the road let the snow plough know where the road ends and the field begins.

And when it snows so much that you can't tell the roads from the fields then they come in handy for finding the road too..

 Here is a petrol station .. but where do you pay ? there is no office, no staff .. nothing but the petrol pumps !

We call these "cold stations" .. it doesn't refer for the snow and ice but they are totally unmanned petrol stations.

Outside the window

Here are the local teenagers doing what they do best: driving an old car around the fields while one of them hangs on to the roof.
"Finland Funland" as one of my friends says.

 A final shot of the car,
this time in winter mode wearing it's winter tires.

Come and visit finland, it isn't...

Dark all the time, cold all the time or
full of polar bears walking around Helsinki
(well they round them up pretty quickly now)


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