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Autumn in Finland


Margaret and Barry Williamson


Hyvärilän Matkailukeskus
Nurmes
Karelia
Eastern Finland

24 September 2017

Two days past the Autumn Equinox and we are still in the northeast of Finland, lost in the country's limitless coniferous forest, travelling among its 187,888 lakes. Tomorrow we aim to revisit the easternmost point of the mainland EU, in a Finnish salient which pushes out into Russia.

Further east than Istanbul or Cairo, there we hope to be as far away as possible from the machinations of the deluded right wing of the Tory party, negotiating only within itself. As few as 17.1 million of Britain's 65 million people may have been tricked into voting against membership of the EU in June last year. They sure as Hell didn't know what they were voting for. Now, 459 days later, even Mrs May doesn't know what the future holds for our country.

Fortunately, people we have met this summer in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and now Finland, have lost interest in 'Brexit'. The initial shock and the amazement have turned into disgust and derision. The subject doesn't rate a mention in conversation or on their TV screens, but we notice that other motorhomers and caravanners do give us more space when we park up for the night! Perhaps they don't want us to see them laughing at our misfortune.

We are doubly pleased to be back on the road after spending four weeks in England, through June and into July, spent working on issues arising with our house in Huddersfield and Margaret's inherited flat between Blackpool and Fleetwood. On the verge of sending our complaints to the Property Ombudsman, the former lettings agent in Huddersfield settled for a 4-figure sum in compensation for all his mistakes. We did, however, notice that subtracting just £1 turned it into a 3-figure sum.

On the verge of sending our complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, the solicitor in Fleetwood, who made a serious mistake with the flat's documentation for the Land Registry, settled for paying our costs plus a 3-figure sum in compensation. We did, however, notice that subtracting just £1 turned it into a 2-figure sum. Cunning, these agents and their law men.

Progress has also been made in chasing rent arrears, although not quite catching the evicted Huddersfield tenant. Two more court orders (now 5 in total) have fixed a monthly rate of payment, with High Court Enforcement Officers (aka Bailiffs) standing by in their black van.

Our overall intention now is to follow the retreating sun, as Autumn progresses down to Helsinki, across the Baltic to Tallinn, through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into Poland, remorselessly south through Slovakia, Hungary and the Balkans and so into Greece. You could say that we are exercising our European right to freedom of movement, while we may (oh, not that word again).

Finally, the Guardian has just published Margaret's 100-word evocation of cycling among the colours of the Finnish autumn.

Finland_(229)[1].jpg

Autumn_Colours.JPG

This piece, albeit with an inferior stock photograph, was published in the Guardian on Thursday, 21 September:

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/sep/21/autumn-colours-holidays-uk-canada-europe-japan-us-readers-travel-tips

Margaret's vivid description of the Finnish autumn is something that Barry could not even attempt. He is colour blind!