Cute, unbearably cute! When plain old English is not enough to convey a feeling towards your daughter, you have no choice but to turn to French.
It is an outrage! The freedom of speech has been severely compromised. You – yes you – are no longer allowed to comment my writings. I do apologize – but I simply get too much spam. Mmm spam. Delicious. In any case, if you have been stimulated or insulted, the urge to express yourself is open on Facebook and such. Alternatively, you could write me a letter like they did in the old days. I just hope it does not consist of cut-out letters…
For the third year running, winter came at us with the sole intention of perfect suffocation. In fact, we’ve been climbing out the chimney to get to the surface all winter long.
BUT. But for some reason, my back is not broken and my spirit is running naked.
That some reason is this; I present to you my other baby. 350cc of pure power and poke! It’ll spit nature sideways and ten meters away.
Yes, it is worth its weight in gold. It’s actually so good I barely know how to formulate myself. It even comes when you call, like Lassie the collie!
When I say “market”, chances are you know what I mean, if you’re from around here. It was common practice. When we were small, my family took us there once every fall. Rode the carousels, the ferris wheels, ate the colored liquorice, felt sick afterwards. I hadn’t been there for 20 years, and I had almost forgotten about it… but here we are. Again. Or for the first time, if you ask Scarlett.
Merry-go-round. That’s fun 101.
Hey. I am my father. Well over thirty years ago we were here, riding these very same bumper cars. And when I say the very same, I mean they have not changed the bumper cars since. But what matters are those dimples in Scarlett’s cheeks. This is quality time!
Helicopter pilot. Of course.
And in the backseat of a jeep, with two boys driving. Well, I’m going to be watching. Forever.
Babies grow up, they turn 3. Scarlett was no exception. Here she is posing with her shiny new bike, black-and-white Sparky. For now, and to her, the most interesting feature on this vehicle is the bell that, when you ring it, not only does it make a sound, it also flashes in flashy colors. I certainly never had that. When I rang my bell back in 1977, it went “rinnnggg”. Being three and ignorant of future tech, I thought it was wild.
I’m being transported through time at the moment. Altho I had an orange plastic three-wheeler called Snoopy before the age of three, my first bike was a spectacular thing and the first taste of freedom. Oh freedom.
It was very much red, had a white seat, and I ditched the training wheels while still three years old. My dad had to run behind – and I was not just going around the block, I was going far out into the brand new world. It was magnificent. It still is.
It is again time for the electrical bunny with the plutonium heart. Yeah, you know the one, the one that just keeps on going, the one who calls himself “the regenerator”. And he likes to restore his old crummy house until it becomes a mansion. A proud villa. A house of some pretension.
But lo and boohoo, I cheated a little this time… I hired builders! Ha! I hear a collective gasp. No need to worry, however – I was up there with them all the time. Mostly in their way, but as passionately determined as ever. Our target for regeneration was, this time, the helmet of the house – also known as the roof.
Back in not-so-distant 2007, I restored (sanded, painted, cried and nearly fainted) the roof by myself, thru gargantuan effort (flip back for reminiscence). Well, the roof – the fucking roof – refused all my tender loving care, and in the past few years of megawinter, it opened up and said aah to water.
I furiously swore to get back at it. Trust an angry man to not sway from the path of revenge…
We began to cut it open like it was a tin of sardines made out of butter. Let there be no doubt what a joyous occasion it was.
The miserable 80-year old sheet metal well and truly dispatched, all rotten wood was chewed out, and in with the new, the kind that you can knock on. Tock tock!
The old insulation – sawdust – was scooped out, and replaced by fluffy ekovilla (recycled newspaper). Sawdust is a fine natural breathing material, and potential mould had been kept at bay rather effectively. However, sawdust does not insulate as well as “modern” materials (like recycled newspapers, hehe). This is an invisible but major improvement to the house.
New beams where needed. I must say, I was prepared for the worst. In the end, I’d say we got away with far less than the people on my favorite TV-show, the British Grand Designs. (Watch it! Intoxicating!)
Ah, they are truly a thing of beauty, the timber battens over strong waterproof underlay.
My daughter Scarlett calls all cranes “Cranky”; it’s a character from the Thomas The Tank Engine children books. Well, here comes big Cranky, lifting a pallet of tiles like he’s been to Gold’s. It is quite amazing to see the arm go ten meters up and then stretch out over the house, all the way to the back. Cranky sure has some tricks. Please do not drop the pallet, because it would just go through everything all the way to China.
What kind of tiles have I chosen? The suspense must be tangible, but if you lower your gaze, you are about to discover….
Black glazed clay tiles from Monier! Not the cheapest. Just the best. And they look sensational. Glossy, like glass!
You have no idea how long I pondered on materials, on tiles, on shapes and colors and so on. When I had decided on tiles, I soon knew it had to be clay tiles, because this material has been around for at least 600 years and if it was good enough for the Chinese Emperor, it was good enough for me. No moss-friendly concrete for me, please. And then I fell in love with glazed clay tiles – it’s like porcelain – delicate, yet lasts forever (as long as you don’t drop them…). Or when was the last time you wore out a porcelain surface? The final choice was the sleek “Scandinavian” bend, common on houses from 1800-1930s.
The final prep, streetside with little Cranky. Badabing badabong. I die with this roof. It will probably outlast Scarlett’s grandchildren, too…
Is it not just? I mean, is it not? I could just eat this roof – it looks like liquorice candy! It is a fairytale roof, without the ugly witch in the oven.
Can a man get any happier? No. He most certainly can not. And then the bills came in.
A little bonus section:
For those with eagle eyes, you may have noticed a faint change with the rest of the house in picture number eight. “Somehow”, the corners have grown fatter, the lower panel taller and chunkier, and the midsection has been adorned with a border of blocks. It gives a really solid stance to the house, and looks positively charming. It took some cutting… god bless Makita.
You see it now? Also, as you can see, the little roof was not left behind. And do notice the new silver drainpipes! And after this, I began work on the windows. And. And.
Hey, it’s a hobby/a disease…
Whowhatwhy, I’m still in summer mode. I live in blank denial. I feel yesterday’s rays. The remains of the summer day, the green, the blue, the glow, the hue… abandon me not.
Me and Scarlett gave mamma Madli a cherry tree for mother’s day. Che-che-che-che-che-che-cheeeerry pie.
There is spring in those steps. So much spring. Ah, love this picture. Soaking up early summer at the famous Hanko beach.
Sealed Air had a sales meeting on Sardinia. Choice of venue much applauded. In fact, on the way there, I spent some time in Rome. All roads lead there anyway. Rome… nowhere else is history so present. Mindbending.
Staying at Le Dune in Sardinia. Cool as a fool in a swimming pool.
Grandma-mum celebrated her 60th with a garden party in the archipelago of Nagu. Huge turnout, everybody old and young had a great time.
Scarlett stole the day, obviously. She can steal anyone’s day every day of the week with the blink of an eye. My little princess was utterly adorable in her white dress, pearl necklace and flower hat from New York, glass of bubbly (Pommac) in her hand.
In Tallinn for festival, waving the flag for liberation, cute as a kitten in traditional head gear.
Chocolate icecream. It is her vice. Tucking into melting Pappagallo with addicted passion.
In paradise, there is all of this. In July, it’s is all we do.
She swims in the sea, like a swan, like a swan-eating shark, like a walk in the park, embark embark.
Christoph and Diana in da haus! Here, Lady Di and Madli My are gutting fish. Bet you never heard “Lady Di” and “gutting fish” in the same sentence before?
Perch fillet, a delicacy bar few. We had the best of luck this year – a stock of one hundred fillets should make winter taste like summer.
Pappa in education mode: It is a fish. You remove it like this. Then you make tasty bouillabaisse.
Mamma pulling up net like she was born to do it. By now, I call her kalastajan vaimo. Scarlett and Natalie observing.
Afar, little girls in summer’s dress, playing in heaven. Happiness does not know this strange thing called sorrow.
I promised myself not to build anything this summer, while in the archipelago. Well, I lack the willpower to be lazy. Take care to note the hand imprint in the concrete of Hollywood starlet Scarlett… and from here on out, I know that every summer and every time I see that eternalized little hand for as long as life there will be a wide smile on these lips of mine.
Better stop, or I’ll get sentimental.