23 November 2006

Mad Dogs & English Men...

Mad dogs and Englishmen?

...and Finns too, apparently.

It's been an awful long time since I found out first hand but apparently this is what you do on your holidays. After drinking a variety of local intoxicants, end the night sitting naked in a lovely little wooden house alongside your partner's dad who is hitting you about the torso with a vihta, a 'bath whisk' made from birch branches and leaves. Nearby, birchwood burns in an oven heating a load of rocks over which water is poured. As a consequence, the little wooden house becomes very very hot. This is the height of civilisation. You sit like that until you feel the time has come to leave then stumble outside, taking care not to slip and cook yourself on the oven and stones as you pass them. Outside the snow should be fresh and virginal. Preferably a beer or two will have nested in the snow in preparation for this moment. You dive into the snow. It's the silliest thing you've ever done but it feels great. Better than the alternative - cutting a hole in the ice and swimming in the lake. You'd have to be MAD to do something like that. Lie back in the snow - which would be horrible and rough if it were old snow - and let the locals take photographs. Sadly the snow melted away soon after so this was the only chance I got to do this. Until next time...

Feeding the flames
vihta soaking
abominable snow, man

The red lines on my torso are marks left by the vihta. There was a very good reason for beating people in this way but that reason was explained to me when I was drunk and in a foreign language so the logic behind it escapes me now. The photographs were taken on a borrowed digital camera that neither myself nor Ms Suomi-Suolmate (who took the pictures of me) really knew how to use so apologies for the variable quality and the datestamp. If you want to see more, I've made a set of the better ones over at flickr.

Okay, so my bum looked big in that ski-suit - what about out of it?
Cooling down

10 comments:

doppelganger said...

Aaaaghhhhh!!!!

Too much information....!

You go from having a vague mental picture of someone, straight through to seeing their arse - in one post!!!

Back in your alterdoodle ego sir, right now!

Molly Bloom said...

Oh my goodness! Dem...you are a one. And a very brave one at that. Perhaps this will start a new blogging trend.

Such fun! You have made me smile through the darkness. Thankyou so much.

Inconsequential said...

sorry, can't say much now, my ribs hurt from laughing, i have blurred vision from tears of laughter, and nearly chocked on my coke...

looks like you had...fun?

Dem said...

Sorry doppleganger - just close your eyes, walk away, have a nice sleep and pretend it was all a bad dream...

Glad to make you laugh Molly - sorry you've got darkness.

Sorry to cause you pained ribs and almost choke you Inc but I'm glad the corridors of GoG are rocking with laughter for a change.

Augustine said...

Didn't recognize you with all that hair, Dem. I mean on your head of course. I mean, when I met you your head was almost shaved. Anyway, you look fine and the Finnish winter looks...er...cold. But fun. Lolling naked in fresh snow after a whipping and a roasting sounds like just the thing to beat English winter blues. How are you ever going to get back to "normal" life?

Dem said...

Heyup Natalie

Not sure if I've ever had owt like a normal life to get back to. Back to the grey blighty skies now. If you remember, when I came to see you I was in the middle of rehearsing 'A Few Good Men' where I was playing one of the accused marines so I had to have my hair shaved to look something like a US Marine (albeit a weedy Marine). Normally my hair is messy shoulder length moppy although occasionally I shave it in summer if it feels like I have one of those hearts the guards at Buckingham Palace wear - a bear something. The Finnish winter wasn't as cold as it looks, the whipping was gentle and nice, the snow was fluffy and refreshing and the stillness of the lake when I had it all to myself (apart from a few tits and geese) was magical.

Dick said...

Not wishing to suggest anything derogatory concerning proportions in normal circumstances, Dem, but if what they say about the effects of extreme cold on pendant parts is true, I'd have thought that the little flesh-coloured square was probably unnecessary.

Dem said...

Or maybe that's EXACTLY why it was necessary Dick.

Maitokivi said...

hmmm... kotoisia maisemia täällä!
Nyt ei maassa ole yhtään lunta mutta toivottavasti Jouluksi edes.
=)

Dem said...

Moi Maitokivi - I had to get a translation for that and the translation wasn't written down so I'm reading from my notoriously unreliable memory. Yes, very much a landscape of home - those pictures are from Saarijärvi near Loppi, not too far from Marskimaja (not sure of the spelling for that). I hear that it's quite warm and wet in Finland just now so I'm crossing my fingers it gets colder and whiter in time for Joulu. And that it stays like that until mid-February when I'll be in Finland again.