Monday, November 30, 2015

Children and the Santa

Yesterday I went to a party arranged by a Finnish organisation. It was mostly for children but others can come too. We always have rice porridge there, the first time for me this year. We always eat it with sugar and cinnamon. The Norwegians also add butter but my family, Finnish-Australian, has always used a little milk. They did not have milk, but I went for seconds.

Later we had coffee with several kinds of cake style goodies, one of them a Finnish "Christmas tart", it is usually made of puff pastry with plum jam and shaped in the form of a star or a pinwheel and they are very good.  Finns are always looking forward to them before Christmas. I had four cakes one of them the tart. I was saving it to last and noticed then that I was so full that it would be better to wait a bit. After a while it tasted fine. 

When we were leaving, a friend encouraged me to have one more. In the buss home I noticed that I had heartburn but I had left my Rennies (for heartburn) at home. I had to use two buses, taking at least three quarters of an hour. I tried burbing, but no go. Those were some most uncomfortable three quarters, it even made me so exhausted that I had to go to bed at once.

For the next party: be careful!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris attacks

I had just been in the concert hall in Oslo for wonderful Sibelius concert and after that spent a couple of hours with friends eating and talking, not knowing that  horrible events were  taken place in Paris, events that the president of France called "an unprecedented attack". One of these was in a concert venue, where most of the people were killed or injured. There the gunmen kept shooting for at least 15 minutes, reloading and shooting. The number of dead is now 128. There are some 200 injured, 80 of them seriously. The police claim that all the terrorists are killed, by the police (only one, at first they said three) or by their own hand.
The borders are closed, no-one can get into France or out of it.

The world is in sympathy, as you can see also from Twitter. The world was on the side of Norway, too, when we were struck by terror, 77 were dead then, but the deed was done by one of our own who could be apprehended and tried. This is much worse, for the extent and the number of killed.

But this is so unbelievable, that there are people who can plan such things and stand there and keep shooting. What was the main purpose, to spread fear? One shooter had implied France's involvement with Syria as one or the reasons. That is nothing ordinary citizens can do anything about. Most of target areas were frequented by young people, on the football stadium there were even young children. There must have been people from several countries, how would they know whether there might be Muslims there too?

It is reported that there were some Swedes among the dead, no Finns or Norwegians.
Like with the Twin towers incident, you see things happening, which one can hardly comprehend.

Later in the afternoon: A French senator says there are 300 injured.

Friday, November 13, 2015


This year has been the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius. There have been exhibitions, concerts and other festivities. Our Finnish church choir arranged a concert in the spring with the choir singing some compositions  of Sibelius and other Finnish songs, a pianist  playing some of his piano pieces and a soprano singing some songs of his. The Town Hall in Helsinki had an extensive exhibition of photos and videos in addition to textual information about him.

This week there is a mini-festival, on Thursday and on Friday there's a concert each day with a different program. In the aula of the concert hall there is also an exhibition of Sibelius's life and work,  photos and text in Norwegian and English, arranged by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

The conductor is Jukka-Pekka Saraste, former conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, now of the WDR Symphony Orchestra,  Cologne. Yesterday was concert number 1, main features the 7th symphony and the violin concerto played by Jennifer Pike. The auditorium was almost full.

The soloist had a beautiful, metal coloured gown. She was very good, getting a standing ovation from the audience, with three calls. Unfortunately I had a seat on the right side and with problems of hearing with my left ear, did not hear very well the ending where the orchestra is playing strongly with the soloist. There are 34 recordings at least of the concerto, and though the performance was spirited and masterful, I remember listening to Norwegian Henning Kraggerud, and being more moved.

It was probably the first time I have heard Suite Nr. 1 from "the Tempest", where there was a section depicting each character, ending with the storm itself. Wow! I was hoping that there was no-one in the audience who had been close to a typhoon, as the performance would have frightened them no end. Even Vivaldi has not imitated storm like that.

Tonight I go to listen to concert nr. 2, with Karita Mattila as soloist. Last Sunday I had a sore throat and fearing getting a cold, has stayed in bed most of the days, but a cold will have its time, you can only lessen the symptoms. I only fear coughing, yesterday I had a period of an itchy throat but was able to prevent a cough.