I’m mostly spending today walking around outside with less clothes on than everyone else. I have sneered at snow warnings and temperature predictions with distaste. Oh no, -10c outside is it? How terrifying for you all. Might snow a bit might it? Get little cold toesies will you? Not me. Yesterday in Helsinki the plane I flew back to the UK on took off in a snow blizzard in -23c. Get in. Take your poxy British winters, I am now an experienced Arctic snow dude. Through the last week travelling around the gorgeous sights of Estonia and Finland I have felt cold that nearly made me cry. It didn’t, purely because my tear ducts had frozen to become another weak area on my face. Wrapped in so many layers, I was like a human onion. Peeling off any of them would have made you cry. Underwear, topped with thermals, with tshirt and jeans on top, then thick socks, a zip up, a warmer zip up, my jacket, hat and scarf. I was the winter version of a weeble, padded to the extremes. Had I been hit by a car, I would have softly bounced off to land gently in the half a foot of snow. Only my face exposed, it meant I was often strolling around working out how to hold my head so that the insides of my nose wouldn’t freeze incase I sneezed and killed a child.
I was quite an experience being away this past week. I had gigged in Denmark before but Estonia and Finland were two new ventures and both equally amazing. Estonia is a country I never would have thought of going to if gigs hadn’t appeared, but now having been I would highly recommend to anyone. Only 1.2m people in the whole place, you get an incredible sense of space and calm strolling around picturesque medieval streets. Surrounded by huge 12th century churches and city walls, while all the houses are coloured a mix of pastel reds and yellows, it all feels a bit magical. Talinn was a beautiful city, but Tartu in its miniature size felt like someone had allowed me to run around a children’s book. Thick snow and cobbled streets is a lovely mixture. The whole place felt like Disneyland with much less crying children. Again though, the cold tear ducts could have been a factor.
I didn’t get to see a lot of Finland, being only in Helsinki for one night and the weather being so cold that walking around sightseeing was impossible. I still saw enough to say that I like the city though and to be honest I fell in love with it on the ferry there from Talinn, staring out at the frozen patches of sea looking like an icy cobblestoned path. I think I’m just a sucker for still getting excited about snow. Yesterday while having a mini-sightseeing trip myself and Louis (the organiser of all the gigs and from Australia so still amazed by snow) spent ages watching some men unstick a ship from its frozen waters with huge steam rods, and then we purposefully stomped in thick snow, avoiding the cleared paths. It didn’t matter that I was only wearing trainers as the powder just fell off. Its lucky I was only there for one day or there’s a high chance I’d have no feet by now.
Finnish and Estonian people both similarly crave the sunshine and being used it, aren’t huge fans of the cold white stuff, but it still doesn’t have the same ‘sigh’ factor when it snows as in the UK. It may be partly because they can deal with it, roads are cleared in seconds, planes still take off. I think when it snows here, as much as love how it looks and the joy of building snowmen etc, we know our week is ruined. As a self-employed person its generally shit, as I lose tons of work due to the inefficiency of British transport and road services. It may also be because there are too many of us here and so we can’t just enjoy the tranquil stillness of a snow covered place. Helsinki is a busy city but still has less than 600,000 people there. We have nearly 8 million people in London. Thats’ more than the entire population of Denmark and Estonia put together. Yet we’re all crammed into one city. No wonder its a hassle. Snow makes darting round these people even harder on icy streets. It makes trains even more crowded as there are less of them. It makes traffic jams so horrible tear ducts will unfreeze through frustration.
As my plane left Helsinki last night, the last few glittering snow flakes hovering in the front of the aircraft, I thought I might miss the snow. I thought I’d miss the extra 5 minutes it would take to get ready to head out, adding every single bit of clothing. I thought I’d miss how quickly the fresh icy air would heal a hangover. But right now, I’m praying it doesn’t snow tonight. I have to go to Poole and something tells me that cold weather will make that journey harder than traversing across several countries in the North. Bloody England. Its great to be back.