Finland 100; Gunilla 50

Our trip to Finland has been a long time in the planning - ever since it struck us that our friend Gunilla turns 50 in the same month that her homeland celebrates 100 years of independence.

If it were not for these celebrations, I would not be on campus at Åbo Akademi University next Monday and Tuesday for PhD supervision, research seminar, and conference duties. Nor would Mr hazelh and I be looking forward to a couple of days in Helsinki with ArcLight and alfthomas at the end of the week.

Today we reacquainted ourselves with Turku, and spent a happy afternoon in a couple of museums. The archaeological exhibition in the main museum was fantastic; its art display mostly incomprehensible.

My favourite exhibit in the museum was a short film entitled They came in crowded boats and trains. In the film modern day refugee actors enact their flight to safety using the words of twentieth century refugees recorded during the second world war. The screenplay is very moving, and the photography beautiful. See the trailer at

The main event of the day, however, was Gunilla's birthday party at her house in Naantali. We were: Gunilla; Gunilla's husband Jouko; five 'children' Joel, Fredrika, Lukas, Anni and Eevi; Joel's girlfriend Joanna and Fredrika's boyfriend Lauri; three of Gunilla's girlfriends (Anna-Lena, Helen and Anna) plus two partners; Mr hazelh and me. Over the course of the evening we ate, drank, played a '100 years of Finland, 50 years of Gunilla' quiz, exported Empire to Finland (see the extra, captured at the moment that Mr hazelh's team guessed correctly that the last person to be identified was Mr Bean), and danced, and danced, and danced. This has to be the best seven hour stretch of fun that I have enjoyed in a long time. What a fabulous night!

My blip shows the pair of gloves that Fredrika has knitted for her mother's 50th birthday present.

Exercise today: walking (10,527 steps) and dancing.

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