Maiju’s Teacup 28/9/2017 – The Truth About Pumpkins

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So, I know this must shock some of you, but when I think about Autumn, I do not automatically think about pumpkins.

I hear you gasp. It’s true. When I think about Autumn, I think of lingonberries and mushrooms and rain. And the creeping darkness that quickly stops creeping and, after the first proper windstorm has carried away all the bright leaves, takes over the scenery and continues until the snows come.

The halloween-pumpkin-bat-autumn combination has arrived in Finland during my adulthood, so obviously, my mind wanders into the forests and bogs covered with lingonberry and cranberry tussocks when the leaves turn yellow.

An Instagram friend recently asked, when is the peak Autumn here. ‘Syyskuu’ is September in Finnish and it literally translates to ‘Autumn month’. So we are at the end of the period now (though this year the whole year has been off-kilter and all the trees are not yet yellow). October is ‘lokakuu’ which literally translates to ‘sleet or mud month’, which is pretty accurate. It’s getting darker and darker and before the snow arrives (closer to Yule, if we’re lucky), it’s going to be dark and cold and miserable. Each day is shorter than the next.

This is, of course, the perfect excuse to huddle up under a blanket and drink tea. And on the weekends, to pack a few rye sandwiches (with pickled cucumber, for some reason) and a thermos of hot cocoa, and head to the forest with a bucket and a berry-picking rake. Afterwards you can make your own juices and jams. And when the yard-raking bee comes around, there will be lingonberry pie for all.

That’s another Finnish thing, though not only restricted to Autumn. A friend in Australia told me that they have similar things, and there they’re called communal bees. It’s basically a weekend or one day of the weekend, when everyone living in the same yard or building takes part in raking the yard of leaves and tidying up the surroundings. The people who don’t have time or the energy to do the work will usually bring something to eat. The communal bee is usually a whole day or a weekend, and you can take part whenever you have time. And afterwards, everyone goes to sauna.

So, though I’ve grown partial to chili-butternut squash soup in the recent years and would consider a toast without zucchini jam a lost opportunity, if someone presented me with a pumpkin, I wouldn’t know what to do about it (though I’d know who to ask ūüėČ ).

And in the photo at the head of this post is a bowl of vispipuuro, whipped berry porridge. An immovable part of Autumn cuisine. It’s made of berries, farina and sugar. Before the word meaning the colour purple was brought into Finnish, it was called berry porridge colour.

This is just a snippet of the Finnish Autumn for you!

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Maiju’s Teacup 25/9/2017 – Stealing a Street

I have been drinking tea. Lots of it. But except for a trip to a friend’s place, my teahabits of late have been dull dull dull… This photo is from Teeleidi teahouse I visited with said friend and the pictured brew was a delicious Oolong Tie Kuan Yin.
I’m lying in bed and for some reason started to think about a story on Readers Digest that I read many years ago. Soooo many years, because the Reader’s Digest was at my grandmother’s and she died over 20 years ago.

The story was about a thief or a group of thieves who stole the cobbles off a whole street in the night. I can only remember it was somewhere in Germany,  maybe.

I’ve no idea why I’m thinking about it just now. I really can’t even remember reading a Reader’s Digest ever since. Tried to figure some kind of symbolism that would have brought in to my mind but can’t come up with anything.  Unless it’s a suggestion for a career move.

Maybe it’s something as dull as “you can do anything if you put your mind to it”. Blehh….

Going to sleep now.

Maiju’s Teacup 22/8/2017 – Gravity¬†

Those days are the worst. The days when gravity just grabs hold of me and even getting up to drink a glass of water seems like a Herculean task. 

And the worst part isn’t that helplessness. The worst part is the fear that I might not be able to shake the feeling for – oh I don’t know – the next few years.

I count myself as lucky that my depression was caused by the circumstances that were piling up in my life. And that there was something concrete that I could do, once I’d recovered enough to have the strength to do it.

The last year has been pretty amazing. I remember lying on the sofa in my living room one day, reading a book and chuckling at it one day. Laughter by yourself is such an underrated luxury. It’s only when I thought it lost that I could appreciate it. But laugh I did.

Yesterday was not good. The sunk feeling is so recognisable still that I was afraid my brain was returning to the old pattern and I could do nothing about it. That those neural paths were stuck again, and I wasn’t sure if I had the strength to dig myself out this time.

Today is better. I can only guess why I felt like that again yesterday. Maybe it was as simple as leaving the island for the summer (the photo is my last cup of tea on the terrace on Sunday). Or maybe something else. But realising that I somehow don’t feel like that today makes me feel even stronger.

Maiju’s Teacup 9/8/2017 – Book Lovers’ Day

I was so totally not aware that there was a book lovers’ day before I checked the trending tag on Twitter this morning. I’ve been missing actual books lately, as I have had a few books that I’ve had to read on my tablet. The reason for this is that they won’t appear on my eReader, apparently for love nor money. I prefer the eReader which has no backlight and is much smaller than my tablet. Why not get the real book then? Whell, young grasshopper, it just was the cheaper option, which is what I’ve had to settle for recently.

My local library has been really good this past year. I’ve only been able to afford to buy a few books and I’ve had to be very selective on those. Mostly I’ve just sent a request for the library to get the book and if they didn’t, basically I’ve had to forget about it. Or, well, add it to the list of books that I’ll get when I have money again. The latest book to arrive from my library requests was Tad Williams’ The Witchwood Crown. It’s so nice to step into a familiar world but to be on the cusp of a totally new story. The book is huge, though. Like a regular Tad Brick. You could murder someone with that book. Or build a cairn. Or use it as a headstone. Every time I drop it on my face, I imagine my obituary. And then I think about my cousin’s wedding to which I’m going on Saturday and that I don’t want to turn up there with a black eye.

Reading can be a dangerous business. So look out, and Happy Book Lovers’ Day!

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Maiju’s Teacup 3/8/2017 – Another Island

I’m staying at my uncle’s place for a few days in South Western Finland. I’m on an island, again, but there are landbridges to this one.

I’m looking after my aunt and uncle’s two dogs. One of the is old and sick. The other one is in his prime and we went for a run.


So the scenery isn’t too bad. There are fields and woods and huge rock formations and big houses, even a manor house.

 I drank a cup of my night time tea and now I’m very drowsy and forgot what I was going to write…

Maiju’s Teapot 14/7/2017 Things I Learned Today…


Things I learned today
Are all such one can read from the bottom of a teacup.

That leaving chocolate chip biscuits on the stove will turn them heavenly.

That apples fall if you drop them but you should rather eat them.

That there is a well at the bottom of the teacup and that is where stories come from.

And that well is bottomless.

And you should never question tealeaves.

And you should always catch and eat apples.

And you should always, always leave chocolate chip biscuits on the stove.

Maiju’s Teacup 3/7/2017

Still drinking the Clipper’s Assam in the afternoon. I miss my cupboard of tea at home, especially the oolong.

This photo is from last night. After this I went to sauna with my cousin and then we grilled food on an open fire and after that we played 1990 Trivial Pursuit until 3:30 am. I drank some Koskenkorva which is the Finnish vodka. Now I’m awake at ¬†9 am wondering if I should try to write or just sleep l. The rate at which this blog post is proceeding, ¬†sleeping will be the better option.