December 2013

I is half Finnish and Half welsh. I’s been drinking. I like people, I like you. Hope your year is blessed and better. Love you. X.



My grandfather Vasili, made most of the wooden things needed on the farm, and also made iron tyres for wheels and hoops for the barrels he made.

After picking, mushrooms from the forest were washed, the kind they were picking when they met the bear were washed and soaked overnight. In Karilian this mushroom was called karva lauku. The rest were just washed.

After that the mushrooms were salted in the home made barrels. Layers of mushrooms and salt; mixed; and a loose lid put on top; and a weight put on top of that.

Most mushroom barrels were put in the raised granary cum food store outside. One, or some, were put in the cellar but ma cannot remember if it was a different kind.

The mushrooms in the cellar did not freeze. The mushrooms in the outside store did freeze, and lumps were hacked out. This may have been important to make the karva lauku edible; a lot of mushrooms that the English label as poisonous are eaten in Europe after after the correct processing.

My mother Matha, her mother Matrona and an elder brother Santari were out picking mushrooms when she was about 5 years, Santrari around 11.

Her mother went a little distance off leaving the 2 picking. Sudden an adult brown bear stood up on its back legs in front of them, a few metres away. Santi told Matha not to move. The bear towered over them, looked at them, growled, got down, turned around and walked away.

Matrona had heard the grow but did not move until the bear had gone. Matrona had obviously been scared Santari told her it was nothing. Matrona picked up the mushroom sack and they went home.

Brother Basil arrived at our mother’s today to give Ma a brief double dose of fruit.

Basil had little knowledge or opinion of Abba, but we are on our third hour of BBC celebration of Sweden’s greatest cultural export. It is a genuine shared cultural experience.

I am posting this from my facebook thing.

I met Paul Di’Anno in a the 100 Club, in London. I was there to see a young Bradford band. Got talking to a West Ham fan at the bar. He kept mentioning Iron Maiden; after a while I asked him if he worked for Iron Maiden? He looked pissed off and said: “I used to sing for them!” Luckily I had a mate who was really pissed off after missing Paul Di’Anno and his band in Bradford jsut the week before, so I knew about him. Really nice guy, we shook hands at the end of the night.


Basil came for dinner. I cooked dinner. Me and him had some of my sloe gin afterwards.

I looked up how to say ‘Happy Christmas’ in my mother’s mother tongue. What I found turned out to be Russian Karelian. Below is the Finnish version, which my ma wrote out with a thick felt tip and checked after I had copied it out.

Hyvä Rastayu muo sanom rastav.


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