Saturday, December 31, 2005

Robin and the Jokerit jester

Robin and the Jokerit badge
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

To make up for the slightly dodgy picture below, here's a picture of Robin with the Jokerit badge (Jokerit means jester in Finnish).

Jokerit were bought by a rich owner in the mid 90s which has made them a little unpopular with other Finns who don't agree with the way he's injected money to make money (modelling the club on the razzmatazz of the NHL). There are even anti-Jokerit websites online. But the rich owner's money obviously isn't working this year - as the team lie fourth from bottom of the league (having finished second last season). Apparently they got quite a few players from the NHL last season when there was a shut-out in America, and lots of them went back to the US when ice hockey started again, leaving Jokerit with a much weakened side (their star goalkeeper, for instance, joined Boston one day before the Finnish season started).

Robin at Jokerit!

Robin at ice hockey
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Apologies for the slightly dodgy quality of this picture, I took it on my phone cos they don't really allow cameras into the ice hockey games - but here's Robin at our first Finnish ice hockey game, featuring Jokerit (the home side, from Helsinki) against SaiPa. Sadly, despite my purchase of an over-priced woolly Jokerit hat, they lost 3-1 (didn't take their chances and the SaiPa goalkeeper played very well). But, despite the score, there were 8,400 very passionate Finns there and it was an enjoyable evening out.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The sea is frozen!

Robin In Helsinki
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Hey up

So here's a picture taken in Helsinki, just near my wife's parents' flat. This is a harbour that would be filled with boats in the summer, but, at the moment, the sea is frozen! It's been very, very cold here in the past few days and weeks, getting as cold as minus 15 Celsius (about 20F). It's very odd to see a frozen sea, but very beautiful too. Literally all the ice you can see in the background would be normal sea in the summer.

This evening we're off to see ice hockey - a massive sport in Finland. Naturally, I shall take Robin along to document it...

Robin in frozen Finland!

Brrr! Robin in Finland
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Hey up folks

Yes, we're out here in Finland for a few days, visiting my wife's parents who moved to Helsinki in August.

This picture was taken in a beautiful little town called Porvoo, about 50 minutes' drive from Helsinki. We're actually standing on a bridge and that long white thing behind Robin is the frozen river! A few minutes before the picture was taken we saw a cross country skier skiing along it!

It's a very pretty town - in the background you can see some of the wooden houses the town is famous for. It wasn't actually as blue as it looks in the picture - but for some reason all my pictures came out blue. Must've been something to do with all the snow and my camera not being used to it!

Hope you all had a good Christmas. We're off into Helsinki itself in a few minutes, so I'll try to take another picture there...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Christmas!

Robin the wrap star
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Yes, it's Christmas Eve and me and the missus and Robin will be offline for a few days now. So, before we go, we wanted to wish you a very, *very* happy Christmas.

Hope you all have a great one.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas in London #2

Robin and a tree
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Hey up folks

Here's another picture of Christmas in London for you. This is Robin in Trafalgar Square, standing in front of the 25 foot Norwegian Spruce just next to Nelson's Column.

Every year since 1947, the people of Norway have given a Christmas tree to the people of London to show gratitude for Britain's support of Norway during the Second World War. A nice tradition and a very nice tree.

Hope you're all having a nice build-up to Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Robin parties with Dave Grohl!

robin and dave grohl
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Yes, last night Robin bumped into rock legend Dave Grohl - former drummer with Nirvana and current frontman of the Foo Fighters - at a party in London.

As you'll see, they were partying rather hard and Robin woke up with quite a hangover this morning.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas in London #1

Robin and a bow
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Hey up

So, as promised, this is a picture of Robing with some of London's Christmas decorations. This is a building around the corner from where I work and they always seem to go to town decorating their building. This year, as you'll see, it's a giant holly wreath. And very nice it looks too. Not exactly sure what they do in the building, but I'm guessing they're not short of a few quid.

More to follow...

Sunday, December 11, 2005


beware the squirrels!
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Hey up folks

Sorry it's been a while, but me and the missus (and Robin!) have been away for a lovely relaxing week in the Lake District, in the north of England. No mobile phones, no internet, just lots of relaxation and walking and good food. And now back in London and back to work tomorrow. Sigh...

Anyway, thought you might like this sign, which we saw just outside the village of Patterdale. The Lake District is one of the very few places left in England that still have red squirrels - as, sadly, their grey cousins have taken over. As Wikipedia puts it:-

"Although not thought to be under any threat worldwide, the Red Squirrel has drastically reduced in numbers in the United Kingdom. Under 200,000 individuals are thought to be left, approximately 70 to 75% of which are in Scotland. This population decrease is likely to be due to the introduction of the Eastern Grey Squirrel from North America as well as the loss and fragmentation of its native woodland habitat."

If that above stat is right, and most of them are in Scotland, then there are less than 50,000 of them in England - so naturally we have to look after them, hence the crossing! We saw two of the little cuties outside our cottage, so it seems to be working.

So, onto your 'off-topic' questions. At the moment, no, it doesn't look like we are going to the Winter Olympics. We were toying with it for a while, but now we've got my wife's 14 year old sister coming to stay with us in London for one of the two weeks, so it doesn't look like we'll make it. We will though, be going to the World Cup in Germany (the soccer tournament) so Robin will definitely be there.

As for pictures of Robin with Christmas trees and lights - yes, we go pretty big on that here too. I shall get onto it when I'm back in central London tomorrow...

Hope you're all well and that you've managed to get most of your Christmas shopping done.