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Part 18 - 31.5.09

Helluntaisunnuntai

Today is Pentecost. We've had it in the diary for ages, not because it's Pentecost but because of the International service at church. Neil preached (in English with simultaneous translation into Finnish) and I shared some prayer requests for the UK. I was so proud of Neil - he did really well! On the way home, we stopped off at a supermarket to pick up something for lunch, only to find that it was shut. There was a sign on the door explaining that the shop would be closed on Pentecost Sunday. Initially, I was irritated but then I was quite pleased. It's nice that Pentecost is seen as special here.

The boys broke up for the summer yesterday. Yes, they had to go to school on a Saturday!!! It gets worse! We had decided, based on the lovely weather forecast, to cycle in. We had to be there at 9:15 for the spring concert and then the children got their report cards and finished for the summer hols. Well, we dressed for cycling in heat - t-shirts, three quarter length trousers, pumps, etc. and cycled there. We were cycling into the wind (which took some effort) and it was a hot day, so let's just say that we broke sweat. On arrival, we locked our bikes and then realised the impending doom! This was clearly the most formal event in the Finnish calendar. Now we've seen Finns arrive for business meetings in jeans and a t-shirt, so shock doesn't begin to describe the feeling upon seeing people in full evening wear. The girls were in beautiful flowing dresses and the boys, mainly in suits and ties. I have never felt so underdressed ever!!!

The concert was actually very good. The theme was that we are all ships. Children in school are like ships in the harbour, protected from the dangers of the open seas. Leaving school (as the ninth graders were doing) is like setting sail into the big wide world. There were several speeches and awards given and a traditional leavers' song was sung. The children went to get their report cards and were all given an ice cream. The atmosphere was fab - I almost forgot that I looked a complete tramp! Having donned our helmets, we set off home again. Unfortunately Neil had a puncture so we had to go quickly between pump-ups. Good excuse to operate my bike on full throttle!

This week we are going for a few days at the cabin in Lapland. The sale completes on Friday and we wanted a last visit. I think the plan is to walk, fish and rest. When we get back, business plans will continue and hopefully we'll get the new website ready to launch. I start work on 10th August and Neil would like to be in a position to begin trading that week as well.

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