I just got in and can feel the frost still nipping at my cheeks. Yesterday there was a storm here and although it was only -8 we had to walk against the wind on our way to work it was so strong. The Finns call this ice hotel ‘Lumillina’ which means ‘snow castle.’ This was never more appropriate than yesterday as the wind battered against the ramparts but protected those who were inside which was all of our team on the decision of Kimmo. The only sign of the tempest outside was the stricken faces of those coming in from the blizzard outside and of the cold wind blowing through the tunnels. For the past few days I’ve been making some jewelry and chess pieces, one of which is noticeably phallic; refer to the photographs. My task for yesterday however was to make a necklace as the doorway to the gallery. My eyes were streaming with tears as I was blasted by the tunneling wind against me, two hours in and I noticed that my chin was freezing as my beard gathered the frost. Time to put on my balaclava from Timo.
“Tomorrow Jamie, I need you to go outside.” This was the harsh news from Kimmo as we enjoyed a few drinks with the international students last night. I was going to work on another ice wall inside but it seems that we have quite a lot to do on the exterior, ie, make the bricks of the castle. I soon absorbed the sobering news with a stiff drink, but was then abashed when the French student that just sat next to me glared at me and said:
“I ‘ait the Inglish.” This was later followed by such remarks as “The Inglish are so stupid and pretentious.” But do not worry, I gave as good as I got. In fact I would say I had the upper hand until a Scottish girl joined in the conversation laying claim to an old alliance of the 13th centuary. There was also an Irish lad which could have sealed the deal against me, but then he was Ginger like me which is a bond almost as thick as blood. Together, we made a front against the Franco Scottish alliance and held firm. The French girl Nina informed me that back home they called us ‘Roast Beef’ and this morning said “So ‘ow is Rost beef doing?”
“Fine thank you. Now be a good Frog and hop along,” I replied. She took it in the best possible way.
The storm had passed by this morning but the temperature had dropped to -22 with wind and I was to be outside with Jukke Likealickalot. The hairs in my nose didn’t freeze but my eyes watered and my eyelashes began to freeze up again. I did however get to play with my old toy of last year the ‘moon walker’. This is an mobile extendable arm that is the worst nightmare of anyone suffering from vertigo as it can go so high and is rather unsteady as the small cage you are in is shaking from side to side. It also occasionally panics and begins to beep at you uncontrollably with red lights flashing so that you know that it is unsteady on its wheels and in danger of tipping over. This would be a rather unfortunate incident, especially as I am carrying chainsaw and sharp chisels in my cage which I would like to add are now very, very sharp thanks to the wisdom of Uldis Zarins (www.artofuldis.com).
So tomorrow is our last working day and we have a lot to do. I need to stay off the celebrations a little though as I am going husky sledding on Saturday morning which will be simply divine. I cannot wait for that! But until then I will enjoy the vast panoramic views of frozen Finland from the birds eye view of my moon walker. And make some bricks.
Cheerio for now