Finland – Seb & Steffi, a new partnership

Finland – Seb & Steffi, a new partnership

 

Thursday 5th February 2015

A day off.  Seb and Stef go off to the farm and we stay home, do our washing, post our blog and catch up on the internet.  That’s it!  However, we end up in PaPaNas at 4pm.  Our lame excuse – internet.  But of course we have to have a pint and then discover cookery programmes on the TV – Top Chef America and Master chef USA interspersed with Frasier and some shit about American kids in talent shows.  So my refusal to leave the TV, even though I had to keep turning it up to drown out the music and the noise of the pissed ‘Reindeer Sami’, leads to more pints and then a burger.  Then we text our house mates and shortly after Stef and Seb turn up.  It’s Stef’s birthday so more beers are required.  Seb doesn’t drink so he has a couple of glasses of water.  However, Seb is entertaining enough without alcohol!  Kate joins us too and we have a couple of games of Jenga. Seb has never played before so we explain the rules in pidgeon english and of course he loses.  Later we get back to the apartment worse for wear and find out we are being picked up early tomorrow!!! Ah well there are 2 cans left in the fridge, best open them too!

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Seb, Hels and Stefi at the farm

Friday 6 February

8am start today. There’s been about 4″ of snow overnight and it’s only -10 today so all chores are extra hard because we have to wade through deep snow and the extra effort soon means we’re sweating and uncomfortable.  We have 3 clients at 11am and Lukas wants Seb to drive but Seb keeps telling us ( Daz and I) that we should drive. But we insist that we shouldn’t and that he should for his personal development.  Finally he agrees grudgingly.  He finishes the tour and says it was OK for ten minutes and then it was dull.  Precisely why do you think we didn’t want to drive.

We are busy all of today with only 2 short breaks because Boss Satu has booked another short sled ride, ice fishing and a horse sled ride and we don’t find out until the last minute.  So we have to keep the Lavuu going and clients waiting to leave the farm have to be entertained.

 

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Once back at the apartment we get a call from Erkki.  It’s Sami national day and there’s reindeer sled rides available.  We imagine high adrenaline activity but actually its us sat on a sled with the reindeer being led by a Sami round a very small circuit.  The reindeer is either too tired after a hard day, too lazy or we’re too heavy.  Whatever the reason the reindeer often grinds to a halt and both it and the sled need pushing and in the end Daz leaves the sled to help push it up the final gradient.  All this for the princely price of 20 Euros. But at least we get some nice photos.

 

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Saturday 7th February

Another 8 am pick up.  Stef’s off today so just the 3 of us.  We’re all tired and I ache pretty much everywhere.  My hands ache, my back is sore and I know when I start work there’ll be other tired/achey parts. Daz has this too but I think to a lesser degree.  I’d have thought after 6 weeks, since we’re both fairly fit, we’d have got used to it.  I wonder if it’s to do with the jolting/jarring nature of our work.  Dogs dragging us all over the kennels, falling into holes dug by the dogs, falling through deep snow, the jolt as another frozen horse poo refuses to divest its grip of the horse wee ice underneath it and horses generally pushing you about as you try to brush them or clean their hooves!

The Spanish group that went to the reindeer roundup came to the farm today for dog sledding – so that was 4  sleds to prepare and there’s been more snow overnight and the temperature is a roasting -0.5 degrees!  Our warmest day yet.  These working conditions are the pits.  We’re all too hot, sweating and stinking and my gloves become soaked. The deep wet snow slows us down and it’s so hard wading through it.  Our last sled group is a British couple.  This is the first British couple we’ve met and it’s nice to chat to British tourists and Daz has soon told them about our travel plans.

Seb puts the bunk beds together, although its not until he is putting the ladder on that he realises half the wood is the wrong way round! Sod it, drill some more holes, it’s only Seb that needs the safety rail anyway! It is a real morale booster working with Seb, his expressions and accent make for funny conversation and we are always pulling his leg so when we are being serious he doesn’t believe us and then appears startled when he finds out we were serious! Sebs pet hate is picking up the dog poo, well today I have to agree with him as none of it is frozen and trying to empty a bucket of wet snow and poo into a sack not much fun! So the cabin is almost ready for occupation.  It’s small, really small, and looks even smaller with the bunk beds up and it still needs a cooker,  the heater installed, cooking equipment and seating for 4.  Wow it’s going to be a tight fit!!

Today we asked Seb what he’s doing tomorrow – it’s his day off.  He says he’s going to the museum and we say yes, the Siida.  Seb immediately pulls a really disgusted face and says “I do not like this word”. We look at each other in confusion.  ” What’s in a word and why such a reaction”. We assume he’s talking about something else but after a convoluted and confusing conversation including condoms, melodies, sexually transmitted diseases and much hilarity as he tries to explain himself, it turns out SIDA is the French word for HIV and his melody was ‘maladies’.

We take Seb and Stefi to the Kultohovi; to the bar with the log burner.  The Aurora are good tonight but Seb is totally unimpressed.  We’re wondering if his nickname should be ‘Victor’ from ‘Victor Meldrew’.

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Sunday 8th February.

The temperature had dropped to -10 which should make work more comfortable and it’s a 10am start.  We have 3 clients for dog sledding so Stefi will be driving and because she’s usually involved with the horses, this a chance for her to learn the dog preparation process.  We’re taking the 2 youngsters, Bang and Ripa as part of the teams.  It’s difficult to get just 2 of them out of the cage and we never know how they’ll behave once there amongst the other dogs. The high winds overnight means we have many paths to clear; the path to the Lavuu, the puppy kennel, the bitches kennel, to the lake and around all the sleds.   We also clear the horse shed roof and clear an area for a wood delivery.

Another good night for the Aurora and over the lake we probably see the best display to date.

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