Monday, December 6


Living room, 17:55


Finland celebrates Independence Day all day today. Once upon a time all shops shut completely and all fell silent, but not any more: most malls and supermarkets stay open for some or all of the day.

The temperature remains well below the seasonal average and seems likely to continue like this. We venture out for a short walk in the middle of the afternoon to stave off the feeling of incarceration which the cold and the dark seem keen to impose. It gets dark as we walk.

Now candles get lit and I wander around the house in the candlelight. I like this time of day, when the shadows appear part of the decor and the statues take on a life of their own.

The television will show little of interest this evening, because the President’s Ball has got cancelled for the second year running due to the pandemic, which seems reluctant to leave the stage.

In five minutes the two traditional candles will appear in our window. Irma and Pete Europa will both point out that today I celebrate my first Independence Day as a fully-fledged Finn – one in person and one via social media.

I had better learn to say itsenäisyyspäivä then.