Today I awoke with aching forearms. I had been a fool by breaking two cardinal principles, never use blunt tools and don’t let yourself become cold. I had been using a blunt chainsaw all day yesterday making some table ends and had had cold hands, eventually catching a bit of a chill which was cured later by the sauna. My advice to anyone thinking of using a chainsaw is to make sure it is sharp and it you don’t know how then learn. It will change your life. Well maybe not. I re-sharpened the chainsaw today on account of my aching forearms and it cut through the ice like butter, no resistance, I really should have sharpened it properly yesterday. The second thing is to make sure you are warm, if you are working and your body becomes cold regardless of whether it is -20 or +5 degrees, you will get hurt.
Today it was -22. I knew it was pretty cold before I saw the thermometer, the snow sounds like you’re walking on polystyrene and the cold bites at your skin. As I walked out the door of the hotel the dryness of the air began to make me cough, the colder the air the less moisture it can hold, drawing the very moisture from your lungs. But the real indicator was the hairs inside my nostrils beginning to freeze, I have never had this before, I could feel them stiffening up with frost and then crunching back to normal as I flared my nostrils, only to refreeze as I exhaled through my nose. I then began to breath out of my mouth.
Luckily I was working inside the ice hotel again and I put on my warmest of cloths including my duck down jacket; Juha calls me the “bird murderer.” I was quite happy in my cave listening to Florence and the Machine all cosy and warm. I ventured outside to have a tinkle and was witness to the most hardy of chaps grimacing in the unbearable cold, faces all red as their bodies fight the cold. Temperature is such a peculiar thing, inside the normal hotel it is unbearable to put on all the warm cloths in the morning as it is just so uncomfortable with the stifling heat, but as soon as you are outside you cannot wait to get them on and are grateful for it as you feel the cold creeping through your cloths with its delicate frosty fingers. “Keep out Jack Frost!” I say. Thank God for ducks, whatever would we do without them.