Friday, 30 November 2007

Buy nothing day

To day is the "Buy Nothing" Day and the intention is to discourage people from shopping and to live without spending money, if only for this one day.

Well I fortunately did my weekend shopping already yesterday, so at least I am game for it even if unintentionally.
But the idea is good; we buy too much unnecessary things without even thinking about it.

Anyway, now Finland's largest retail fashion chains have confessed to having been selling textiles produced with Uzbek child labour, with out knowing about it of course, and the S-Group might even take some of the products off their shelves.

All textile companies are now trying to determine how much of their textiles might be originating from Uzbekistan as the Finnish retail chains wants to trade fair in all lines in the manufacturing of their products.
The cartoon Cow & chicken has been my favourite for long, but seeing it in reality is putting me off meat once again as it already did some 15 years ago, when I turned vegetarian for over a decade and am strongly considering of doing it again after having seen what I saw on the TV last night.

The Finnish welfare organisation Oikeutta eläimille, which would be "Justice for Animals" in English, provided the A-studio TV program with footage of animals cramped together in extremely bad conditions. The footage showed dirty facilities full with sick and injured, suffering animals. As the footage was shown without reference to where it takes place now Evira, the Finnish Food Safety Authority, wants to thoroughly investigate the truth in these claims and the organisation has been asked to give the addresses so the veterinary authorities can inspect the farms in question. The animal cruelty allegations hit the news big yesterday and they were even discussed in the Parliament, but I think that is fair as if we are to keep animals for food and to eat them, then they have to be respected for what they are and not kept in poor conditions in order to make a quick profit.

Unfortunately as our lives have become so urbanised most of us today are not even conscious of where the food comes from, how it is produces or how it appears on to the shelves in the supermarkets where we buy it to carry home in order to cook it and eat it. Milk comes from cartons and meat wrapped in cling-foil.

Piece of cake, or should I say peace of mind?

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Mildewy Opera Festival

Olavinlinna castle in the town of Savonlinna in eastern Finland near the Russian border, holds the Savonlinna Opera festival every summer but next summer the festival might be at stake.

The Finnish Board of Antiques has detected a mildew problem in the castle, which would be hazardous to professional singers’ voices, and the wall behind the main stage is at risk of crumbling down. The castle is estimated to need repairs for at least half a million euros in order to be able to host the next festival and the works need to begin earliest possible in the beginning of next year. The half a million euros is half the cost of what annually is reserved to maintain 400 most important historical buildings in all of Finland so it still remains to be revealed who will finance the needed restoration works. The Savonlinna Opera festival has been held on and off since 1912 and concurrently in the month of July since 1967 almost as long as I am old.

Anyway, the weather has been lovely even though it has been a bit colder than before but that is winter arriving. They still have not been able to go ice fishing yet, my dear husband and his colleague, but they have been handy shopping some Xmas presents in advance to my great relief and satisfaction.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Swedish Finnish?

Since the digital TV was introduced as all over standard in television broadcasts here in Finland,

50.000 households have cancelled their paid licenses. The main reason for viewers to cancel their license fees has been the subtitling of programs that has not worked out to their satisfaction.

Loosing the license fees means about 10 million euros less for YLE, the Finnish government TV and bropadcast company, in their budget and closing down radio stations and TV channels have been discussed as means to maintain the same quality of programs. The administrative council of YLE has been discussing more collaboration between the Swedish and Finnish YLE news which might mean having to let hand some people their notice. So the Swedish news staff of YLE in protest against the it by a walk out today, so no there were no news in Swedish neither on the radio nor the TV tonight.

I have for long been wondering about if you are Swedish Finnish or are you Finnish Swedish if you are Finnish and your native language is happens to be Swedish. As Sweden Finns should be the Finns living in Sweden and Finland Swedes should be the Swedish citizens living in Finland.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Easier getting visas

Finland is planning new visas for foreigners searching for work and the new visa would allow foreigners to search for employment for up to six months while staying in Finland. This would also mean that you would also be able to begin working immediately after having found a job, instead of having to return to your home country in order to apply for a residence permit. Currently Finland only grants visiting visas valid for up to three months.

Anyway, today the Finnish designer Marimekko announced that they have cancelled all their consignments from their contractor, Borås Väveri that I mentioned about yesterday as it is containing cotton originating from child labour in Uzbekistan. It is the first Finnish company doing so since the revealing Swedish TV program that was aired yesterday.

I guess this is another main reason against outsourcing all manufacturing to countries with cheaper labour as the cheaper labour might consist of exploited children which is not that ethic. At least it does not look good in the headlines. It makes god headlines though, and they say that any publicity is good publicity but I still wonder.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Child laboured cotton

The Swedish fashion giant H&M together with the Swedish home textiles designer, Borås Väveri, uses cotton that has been hand picked by child labour in Uzbekistan.

According to the BBC program that was aired in Sweden yesterday, schools are closed down in Uzbekistan when the cotton is in season to be harvested and schoolchildren are transported out to the cotton fields to work for much less money than they officially are said to earn. The cotton is then bought by Pakistani contractors who manufacture fabric for the two Swedish companies.

So far H&M has stated that they can only put pressure on their own suppliers as they make their agreements with their contractors and if they are supplied with under contractors using child labour and they can not do much about it and are not considering a boycott of Uzbeki cotton. Well if not earlier, than at last this statement has put me off H&M and their clothes!

The second firm, Borås Väveri has announced that they will stop using Uzbek cotton since the news got out about it yesterday. So this was teo companies in Sweden, I just wonder if there are any Finnish fashion companies that also use cotton hand picked by Uzbeki children?

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Finally home

We got our little baby girl home and there has been no rest since.

She has been all over the place, well that is all places she has been able to climb up to so far and she moves fast. Her time awake is spent running from one point to another, hanging from anything she can hang from and eating. The food is gulped down, she eats more than our adult cat and goes to the litter so frequently that I have to clean it several times a day in order to keep up with her.

The first night I had to get up and feed her several times and get her to the cat litter but now she already knows her way around the place. I am amazed that such a tiny creature is capable of so much.

Our older mister has been a bit wary of the new comer as he does not want to loose his dignity acquired over the years caught in action playing with a kitten. But I guess that will come in due time when he has come to terms with the idea she is staying for good. Fortunately, he was there to see and care for his younger brothers and sisters as he was from the first litter of the ten kittens his mother had. He knows our little baby girl is a little kitten and has been acting accordingly, he just walks away when she gets too informal with him and jumps up somewhere high and safe she can not yet reach up to.

So far out little one has not announced her name; there have not been any significant characteristics either so she is currently just the tiny one. We were at one time considering calling her Jane Doe.

Liquorice is the only one she has been responding to since she arrived but I doubt that will be an appropriate name for her even though there is an S in it. I have been told that cats would respond better to names containing an S-sound but so far even using the wrong name has made the culprit in question to responding to the call.

So sad it only works with cats and not as well with the offspring.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Healthier but more obese

Finns are still getting healthier but at the same time more and more are obese.

According to recently done new wide scale health survey Finns gain weight despite pursuing a healthier diet with a fifth of both men and women obese. The survey was carried out by the National Public Health Institute with some 6,000 Finns interviewed across the country with the research taking into account peoples' dietary habits, their lifestyle and their blood levels were examined.

So the Finns are healthier but still get more obese, might there maybe something in the western style of eating that is wrong? If people eat and exercise as they are told to do, maybe there is something wrong with the dietary guidelines we are fed with? Or maybe there are some additives commonly used in our food that we are not aware of how it works within the human metabolism, or something badly lacking in our food that used to be there?

One thing though is, the consumption of alcohol has increased and is suspected to be the culprit in many cases as the use of sodium in common used foodsalt has declined as well as people have switched to healthier vegetable oils instead of the satured animal fatty acids that used to be more common. People also tend to take more care of getting their daily exercise, which reminds me of my own.

Better get my wellies on and grab the umbrella before I go out for my daily exercise in the winter rain.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Temperatures rising

The negotiations in the nurses' wage dispute have unanimously agreed on a proposal for a settlement on a four-year contract plan but no details of it will be made public until and if, it has been accepted by both sides.

There is still time until midnight today to avoid the almost 13.000 nurses quitting their jobs in protest with a couple of more thousands to follow suite.

The pharmacists and dispensers union wages negotiations has failed and their strike has begun and the union is threatening to further expand the strike later this week if no agreement is reached.

Most of the pharmacies are remaining open despite the strike as it affects mainly smaller pharmacies to begin with. In the meanwhile people are warned about longer waiting times than usual when collecting their prescriptions from the pharmacies.

And the Finnish prime minister has sought for medical care again due to lower back problems; maybe his kidney stones are troubling him again so he was admitted to hospital as he was last week.

Weather is bleak and gloomy, moist as the temperature has risen to above zero and the snow has begun to melt. All the joy of winter sports of last weekend is melting away, at least here in the southern parts of the country. Better get my wellies and woollen socks out to avoid spoiling my new winter boots when going shopping later this afternoon. So it seems that the temperatures are rising in more than one way here in Finland. Will just have to wait and see when the new doctor’s appointement arrives.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Drinks around the clock?

As morning TV has become some what of an obsession for me living here in Finland, I tend to check the different channels zapping around each morning and so this Sunday.

There are several channels with various chat-programs during the nights and some of them continue until late afternoon and here I stumbled upon one thing I have never, ever seen on TV, at least in Finland that is. The show itself is not that different from any of the ones I have seen, but the state of the host was.

Someone hosting a show, despite the hosting of the show consisting merely of being in the TV screen, reading out a loud what the chatters sending ever so expensively textmessges on their mobile phones to the screen and she comments upon them and here this young girl was absolutely pissed!

Well, she might maybe, have been under the influence of some other not as legal substance as alcohol as well, who am I to determine that from this side of the screen but she could hardly sit still, not to mention focusing on anything except on and off sipping from a Sesame-street coffee mug, I think it was the head of the animal and I doubt she was having coffee.

She admitted that she was due for “the brunch” show this morning, as the show is called, but I got the impression she was covering for someone who had gotten ill during the night. I think it is a disgrace, seeing someone being that far out that early in the morning.

Or maybe she just continued straight from the bar in the morning and was having drinks around the clock trying for a world record?

Friday, 16 November 2007

Cancelled doctor’s appointments

Apparently the Finnish prime minister sought medical care yesterday because of lower back pains and found out he has a kidney stone problem.

The right time for seeking medical advice is right now, just before next week when the health care professionals union, the nurses walk out of their jobs having handed in their resignation. So far there has not been any solution in sight to the disagreement about their pay rises and a brand new law has been rushed through the parliament in order to maintain patient safety for the ordinary citizens who do not have the means to seek medical help with private doctors.

I just received a letter about a doctor’s appointment next week, in the letter was stated that my appointment had been cancelled due to the working conflict and that I would receive a new time for appointment when the situation is off. I was also directed to a homepage where info will be posted about what is currently going on.

Anyway, the weather has been splendid but unfortunately I have come down with a fever and have not been motivated enough to go outside even to catch any beautiful photos of the white winter landscape that has surrounded us. The ever so eager fisherman colleague of my husband’s has already been on about going ice-fishing since last weekend and he is hoping for it to be cold enough for the lakes to freeze over, preferably overnight for tomorrow morning. I guess we could do with some pike as it is very delicious especially in the winter, but I doubt the any ice on any lake will be safe enough to go fishing on yet.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Beaujolais Nouveau 2007

The strangest thing happened today I was actually ten minutes too early for the Alko shop to open but at least I did know to get to the right one!

The same one will be kept open today and the rest of this week for that matter which might be good to know if any unexpected overnight guest surprises us, even if I doubt that.

Anyway, Alko did not open until 12.30 pm differing from the usual 9 am with the strike of the employees beginning this morning to end on Saturday, and so I had to stay in line outside the shop in question with about three dozen people for about ten minutes. In this particular shop the staff consisting of the supervisors of several other shops in the near by area had apparent difficulties in getting the lights on and the cashier’s into working properly and they opened three minutes past their opening hours. During this awaiting the comments in the queue were quite harsh.

There were no happy faces and nobody was smiling or laughing, this was serious matter!

Someone said in honest between his firmly clenched teeth that if he got into the shop he would no go out without having purchased all he could carry and on his credit card. Severe looks and growling sounds were thrown at the passers by as they disturbed the queue that had formed waiting for the shop to open. I was about the tenth to get into the store and was second in line to get out as the Beaujolais Nouveau I was there to get was right in front of me when entering. It took me about 30 seconds to get in and out of there and get in line for the check out.

One strange Finnish custom is to not keep the receipt, and I have been wondering about that as you can never prove that you bought anything, as even the wine or liquor bottles might be deficit.

Anyway, the cashier was quite happy with punching in the two very first bottles of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau. After that it was time for mum to go and buy some new books for the offspring to use in high-school and get home early enough in order to get everything in order for the often not until nocturnally ending tasting of the wine. Fortunately this is the one day in the year the offspring has learned there is no use to talking sense to dear old mum. She is probably too far into tasting the wine with her friends, and you'd better be quiet and safe out of sight or otherwise you'll be asked unwanted questions if not by her then her friends.

One thing, I miss the popping of the corks like on the bottles of last year.

I know, I know, the screw tops are much better to keep the wine in perfect order, but still the popping of the cork was an enjoyable thing to do. Kind of made it more festive.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Strikes spreading

A law allowing prevention of access and censorship of Internet sites containing child pornography came into force in Finland at the beginning 2007.

Two weeks ago the Finnish Police gave public notice to their first list to the Internet access operators and now the Internet access providers are to filter access to these sites but this will not prevent accessing these sites, it will only complicate the uploading of the illegal material of the sites here in Finland.

I have been wondering about the health and stress levels of the Valtakunnansovittelija, the national conciliator’s. He is busy with his office swamped with work at the time being and there seems to be some new strike popping up in the media all the time.

First we have the nurse’s of the Finnish health care professionals union, with their threat of mass resignations, one paper pulp mill in Tampere is going to be shut down with the employees walking out today in protest against it. The pharmacies are also going on strike on Thursday in the capital region, and if no agreement is struck it will spread to all the bigger cities around the country. The pharmacies in the Helsinki area are expected to keep open with their supervising staff at least his week.

A strike of telephone operators’ service personnel union is also alerted to begin on Thursday, this meaning that only some mobile phone operators would be up and running in the meanwhile and probably also affecting the Internet providers so the banking business through the net could be shut down. This strike also threatens to spread to all the other phone operators as well given time without an agreement. The engineers began their strike for better pay on Monday morning and the strike is threatening to spread to more employees of more companies in two weeks time if there is no agreement made between the employers and employees union.

Even the president has to cut a trip short and return to Finland in order to ratify the new law forcing the nurse’s to return to their work despite a resignation done due to the disagreement on pay rises. The president has to make a change in her travelling plans and skip her trip to a summit in the US for women leaders of the world. The law has been rushed through the voting in parliament once in the early morning hours today with a second voting about it in the parliament on Thursday for the president to sign it on Friday in order for it to become lawful in time before next Monday when the disputed resignations en masse are effective.

And with the strike of the personnel of Alko, the national alcohol monopoly, beginning on Thursday I was happy to find out that my traditional annual tasting of the fresh Beaujolais Nouveau of more than two decades still is going to stay uninterrupted. The Alko shops will be open on Thursday even with the strike, there will just be a smaller number of shops open due to shortage of staff. The opens stay open with supervising staff only so I will have to make sure which one is open to avoid any unnecessary trips driving around the city.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Wild children

Since the tragic shooting at a high school last Wednesday when at least 76 shots were fired by an18-year-old shooter, Finland’s Prime Minister considers an examination of the legislation whether hand guns should be kept at sports clubs and target ranges instead of being allowed to be taken home.

On Friday several threats or believed threats to schools were made around the country and Police in eastern Finland even detained a 16-year-old boy on suspicion of uploading a threatening video onto the YouTube website.

The debate on the issue on Internet about the shootings in school has been going on since it happened and there are discussions supporting what happened and those who are against it.

Until today I had not had any thoughts about the family of the shooter, how they must suffer. Feeling the guilt of not knowing about what was going on, not seeing it coming, the thoughts about if there was anything they could have done to prevent it from happening. The anguish of not being able to help your own child when obviously having been in distress, the feeling of being an outcast, as there is no one who can really understand what you are going through…

I certainly was a wild child, even though you probably wouldn’t realise it seeing me today.

I know I did cause my parents a lot of trouble and I even did a few things I am sure they were sick with worry and really ashamed of at the time. Today it is my time to be worried about my offspring, fortunately they have not as yet done any headless stunts as I did in my childhood, still I have had worries and not one day is like the one before and I am thankful as it keeps me young.

I remember the fear “not being loved by anyone” and the despair of “not quite fitting in with the others”, the feeling of “not having any future” you sometimes can feel, especially in your teens. So I can understand where violent acts stem from, it doesn’t’ necessarily mean you have to act upon every single one of them. You just have to stick tight and endure, grow up as they say. Still, when you grow up your trouble does not go away; it just changes into something else.

I really wonder if I am getting anywhere with this today…

This certainly calls for some more tea!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Baby girl coming

The mass resignations of nurse’s union is a well disputed issue here at the moment, according to most Gallups done in the past days most citizens are positive to the measures of the union as

The government is still rushing a bill of proposition during the weekend in order to have it law ready for polling in parliament on Monday coercing nurses to work in order to maintain patient safety no matter if they are retired, have resigned or are not working out of any other reasons. It does begin to sound a bit like conscripts to be sent to the frontline in war but then the Finnish words used in media on the matter are very warlike; measures of combat, working combat, ”wages conflict”, warning of working combat for example.

Today, the second Sunday in November, Father’s day is celebrated in Finland. The customs arrived from the US through Sweden about 50 years ago and it has become a national flagging day during the decades. The award for father of the year has been granted for the second time and he is chosen from a list of candidates compiled by The Finnish Equality Negotiation board.

We celebrated father in our family in a different way, we went to visit a family with kittens and are having a family addition in two weeks time of a little girl kitten. This will make a nice change as well to our lives as to our little cat mister who has been feeling ever so blue since his mum died almost two months ago. Guess it will give him something else to think about and keep him busy bossing around the little kitten.

I guess we all will be busy warding her off electrical cords and other stuff. The offspring has to get their rooms into kitten welcoming condition, without any life threatening hazards lying temptingly around in corners. So now we’re stuck with taking care of a baby girl now and the going won’t calm down until she’s grown up about this time next year.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Armed adolescents

According to current Finnish law children between15 and 18 years can acquire guns for target shooting or hunting, if granted by their guardian.

A gun permit is required in order to legally be able to purchase a handgun and the arms license is applied for at the local police. The police examine the suitability of the person and the applicants must also have to prove a legal sanction for acquiring the firearm like target shooting as a hobby or hunting. Adolescents in Finland holding a gun permit are today allowed to hunt without adult supervision.

According to the Ministry of the Interior's records there are currently 1,620,000 licensed firearms in Finland, with the country having third most guns per capita in the world. At present there are 56 legal guns for every 100 and about 650,000 firearm license holders with about 60 % of the firearms licensed for hunting purposes. There is currently

“only at the most illegal firearms in tens of thousands in numbers” according to the Ministry of the Interior.

So far Finland has been the only member country in the EU opposing the European Union directive for children under the age of 18 not being allowed to possess any firearms, but now there seems to be a total change of course. The change of opinion seems to stem from the lethal high school shootings that took place in the vicinity of Helsinki couple of days ago.

The government on Friday announced that it is ready to accept the proposed EU directive and that the Parliament is to vote in the matter in the nearest coming weeks in order to sanction the directive.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

8 shot dead in high school!

Yesterday was a day of terror and sadness and today has been declared a day of national mourning and flags are all day down to half pole accordingly.

An 18 year male high school student who had just last month received his shooting permit fired his gun in school yesterday killing 6 fellow students, the school nurse and the principal in the outskirts of the capital Helsinki. One more student got injured by gunfire and a dozen more students were injured by shards of glass when trying to flee from the site by windows. Apparently the gunman shot himself in the head and lies now in intensive care with life threatening injuries. This happened just minutes before noon and it was all over before even the police was notified it seems.

What makes it even sadder is that the student had posted a video clip on YouTube the day before announcing the school massacre to take place yesterday in advance and the incident hit the news big and it was on most news channels like the BBC by the evening, which is a sad way to make Finland noticed worldwide.

Nothing this big a massacre has even occurred in the Scandinavian countries before as far as I know, there was a bomb explosion in a shopping mall near Helsinki a couple a years ago with a teenage bomber that got killed in the incident.

The Scandinavian countries have so far been quite untouched, not to say virginal from massive violence. No terrorist bomb attacks to mention, just two Swedish politicians assassinated over the past two decades. This happening now rocks the security we have been living in bad, making all our lives more insecure about what can happen.

Even if our family was not personally affected it still touched closely having teenagers in high school, I can only try to imagine the fear and terror the parents with children in that school went through during the day with the ongoing incident, and feel empathy for the parents who lost their children in such a useless massacre.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Majority for euthanasia

According to a recently done Gallup 3 out of 4 Finns are in favour of giving euthanasia to their loved ones with a terminal disease to diminish the time and amount of their suffering.

Only just a little fewer, 70% of the interviewed said that they would use euthanasia themselves should the need for it should occur. Euthanasia is currently prohibited in Finland and so far there is no change on the laws concerning it in sight according to my knowledge.

Even with this liberal point of views of the Finns still comes the question, who would in fact do it for their loved ones? Talking is still is just words and an opinion is still what you only think, but would you act accordingly to what you think, that is the real question.

Anyway, the nurse’s union still have not come to an agreement with their employees, the Union of municipalities; about their pay rises and the mass resignation of almost 13.000 nurses seem likely to be effective on November the 19th. There is also an ongoing dispute about the lawfulness of these resignations and a lawsuit about endangering the health of patients. So strikes seem to be the general issue one way or another these days here in Finland.

You are asked by your friends and people you meet about your opinions in the rightfulness of this or that unions’ actions but I guess this makes a change to what variety of potatoes you prefer at every dinner party.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Lack of snow and more talking

The opening event of the FIS slalom world cup scheduled to be held this weekend Levi in Finnish Lapland is moved from to Reiteralm in Austria, because of a lack of snow.

After a very mild month of October, there was no snow at all in Levi early in last week and it was not cold enough until last Friday in order to make some snow artificially. As the forecasts predict milder temperatures and the skiing slopes had only got between 20 to 60% of the needed slow keeping the venue in Levi would have been too risky. Still the cancellation of the alpine skiing event this year is a major setback for the tourist industry of Finnish Lapland but there are hopes for the future as the opening event of FIS slalom world cup is set to take place in Levi the four next coming years.

I have finally got my new specs and now I can see! What a relief, no more squinting in order to see things. Anyway, the British company Specsavers have finally arrived here in Finland as well so it is sad I got my new ones before, but guess this gives me a chance to get a new second pair to have ready having displaced the ordinary pair as that seems to happen annoyingly often. More time is some days spent searching for the specs than using them it seems.

Anyway, radio stations here in Finland need licenses in order be allowed to broadcast their program on the air and 15-30% of their time on the air should be talk according to their licenses. The radio stations just recently checked had too little talking on their broadcasts and they will be asked for explanations of why this is the fact.

This more talking seems to be against the overall trend as many people just want the music with the minimum amount of talking in between the songs. The disc jockey, or should it be radio jockey, is better off just announcing the name of the artist or band together with the name of the song. Period.

The more music the better the radio station, and this is not only my opinion but most of the people I have talked to think the same. There are of course some talk shows worth listening to, especially in the mornings and if you are into talk shows then tune into one radio station with more talking. I definitively prefer more music with less talking!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Disrupted tradition?

One of my traditions for more than two decades will probably be disrupted this year for the first time. I have always been very keen on trying the Beaujolais Nouveau on the third Thursday every year, the date of the premiere, when fresh Beaujolais is allowed to be sold all over the world.

This year the Finnish Alko personnel are most probably beginning a the three day strike the very same Thursday which means there is no chance the wine will be available in Finland on the premiere. And I have kept that date open without any strings attached as every year only to try the wine and have a nice time with some friends and this year it was my turn to host the event. Sadly enough nobody is travelling from abroad to Finland on the right day either so no chance to arrange it that night either. So maybe a trip abroad should be planned in order to obtain traditions.

I would not have been upset about any other date but this annual, and having become very important for me very over the years. So the Beaujolais will probably then be available in the Alko shops on the following Monday, which is the day some appointments were moved to be bale to enjoy the wine tasting Thursday. It is not the same thing to have the lambs chops and celeriac purée on its’ own even though they have also become some sort of a tradition as well.

Anyway, according to the e-mail I just got from Alko, the strike is not yet definitively set to begin, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t have to plan a day trip abroad!

By the way, the Alko shops are today closed as it is All Saint’s Day as is every other shop in this country. The shops will be open tomorrow instead (except for Alko which is not open Sundays in any case) and will continue to be open on Sundays until the Christmas season is over, except for next weekend when it is Father’s Day and they are closed.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Useful bacteria

I was watching a science program on the TV the other day and was amazed at how much we can benefit from such small creatures as bacteria. Mostly they have been considered harmful as they cause disease, but we would not have any wine or lovely, smelly cheese or even yoghurt without bacteria.

I was baffled to discover that bacteria are used to restore the façade of limestone of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France. The bacteria is first sprayed on to the limestone, and then feed by spraying nutrients onto the surface several additional times in order for the bacteria to form new limestone crystals.

And the Chinese apparently are into the use of bio-gas. Sounds funny when “clean energy” is made out of ordinary manure and turning it into fashionable, like it has been done in China is even more hilarious. But one thing though, as long as there is life on earth there is always going to be a fresh supply of manure to use for energy. Fresh manure means fresh energy for cooking, heating of the house and water and even for electricity to light your light bulbs.

There are even bacteria that have genetically been modified into resist radioactivity. The bacteria called Super Conan are kept isolated as it is alien to avoid contamination with other bacteria. As Super Conan is resistant to radioactivity it will come in handy when needed to neutralize radioactive waste sites as it feeds on the radioactivity making it neutral in faster time than it would do on its' own. But I still hope there never will be any need for Super Conan bacteria anywhere.