Funerals but no Wedding


The photograph is of my Uncles and
two of my oldest cousins at the
funeral of our Grandad. That little girl is me.
Always wanting to be right at the centre of the action.

One thing that there has been a huge number of in my life is the funerals. Funeral after funeral to the extend that Alli, my younger sister,said after our dog,
Sheme, died as well in 1982, that “everybody is dying!!” There were no weddings that we attended, though there must have been plenty of them with the sheer number of first cousins (29) but we for some reason did not go.

I do remember this funeral – obviously not everything about it but I do recollect that my neck was hurting me a lot afterwards. Being so tiny, I had to really strain my neck in order to see and look-up at all these people at the funeral of my mother’s father. Apparently, I nearly fell into the grave as I was so mini-me and tried to crack me neck at peering into where Grandad was laid into. The graves are rather deep, aren’t they just. It is also very typical of a Finnish funeral never to mention alcohol or any of that sort. Not so in Ireland.

I had only arrived in Ireland and been just for a few days in Dublin when the uncle living in Belfast died and we all hurried to the funeral in the north. The funeral part was over and we were in the hotel for a meal and a chat with the relatives and friends of the uncle. These old ladies, Queen Mum look-a-likes with handbags and outfits to match the QM, were all ordering these fancy drinks of which names I had never ever even heard. My mouth was wide ajar with surprise and wonder of it all so that I could not utter a word, when himself says to me: ” YOU will order orange juice!!” And so I did.

To my absolute amazement the rounds of drinks were many and plentiful. I said to himself that never, never, in the Finnish funerals – though being a nation of heavy drinkers – would no body but nobody ever dare serve alcoholic drinks. It would be considered most inappropriate.

Another humourous funeral incident with a macabre twist was this true story that happened for a long, long time ago to her family in Ireland as told to me by an Irish-Italian woman who I got to know while living in Bray. The old custom of mourning in Ireland is to have a wake for the dead that goes on for a number of days with heavy drinking and plentiful singing and storytelling around the coffin.

Anyway, this is what happened:

The party was in a very merry way after several days of the
wake when suddenly there was a knock at the coffin coming from the inside and they opened the lid and the “deceased” one rises up to a sitting position and says:


He had only been
unconscious for a good few days and not dead. Twas a lucky man and a good thing that the wake was taking place and not an immediate burial.

I have also been in a Jewish and a Muslim funerals.The Muslim one was unusual in that the son and the other close male relatives of the deceased one, jumped into the open grave to finish off the digging of the same and then lowered the wrapped body into it! I should think that somehow helps and speeds up the healing process of the loss and bereavement.

The Jewish funeral in Israel was unusual in the way that instead of laying wreaths and flowers on the grave, stones were laid on it. I remember the devastating sense of grief and loss that was expressed loudly and clearly. That open expression of sorrow is much healthier than the stiff-upper-lip style of mourning in the west. Sitting shiva underlines the society’s acceptance of a public grief and allows it to be, just as strong as one feels within. Hence the healing process will be much smoother and more wholesome. Yes, sure the loss is there, but due to this public mourning, one need not put a strong face on the matter.

Grief is GRIEF in any and every language and culture.

Tis for now. Riihele xx.

Me Memories of Teenage Years


Tavast People – ‘Slow or what?’ This is what my collage states in Finnish.

It is not meant to be an insult but just a statement of the common thinking pattern in the Land of the Finns. In every country there are usually different areas of the nation with varied reputations for typical traits for that region and such like.

Well, Häme is like that in Finland. Another example is a place near the town of Vasa that is said to be so stingy that even the migrating birds do fly over it with their own lunch boxes!! This one about the birds was one of my favourite jokes while living in Finland when younger. To me it is just so hilarious.

The plant on the collage is very typical in the Häme province and it is called in Latin: Anemone Hepatica. We used to be able to collect them for the Mother’s Day which is the second Sunday in May in Finland. In Ireland the Mothering Sunday is in March. The white variety is called: Anemone Nemorosa. Impressive?

Yes, the fact of the matter is that in those days, we who were in the school had to collect 80 (yes – eighty!) plants over the summer holidays of the first two years of the Secondary education; presenting them on the third year. We had put the plants dried and pressed properly into these things called “Herbarium.” Each plant was on its own page laid out in style with handwritten labels for all the information on the species.

My approach to the whole affair was rather on the relaxed side on the summer holidays which were three months long then – as I collected only a handful of them in the three years given. The panic due to this laxed stand on the matter caused me quite a flutter by the time that we had to present our Herbariums to the Biology teacher for the final examination. I asked anybody and everybody if they had any extras to spare. I slaved away in rearranging the motley selection of these donated plants, wrote new fresh labels for each one and checked that the final look was pleasing to the eye for an impact and effect. Marketing is the key, I say.

I had learned and was able to rattle all the information on each plant in the order I had placed them on my Herbarium both in Latin and in Finnish. To this day when I see these plants, I am still thinking of their names in Latin, just like this Anemone Hepatica – Sinivuokko, in Finnish, and also the white one, Anemone Nemorosa, or as it is called in Finnish, Valkovuokko.

Then we had an exam on the plants: their names, species, family names et cetera, both in Latin and in Finnish. We also had to tell where they grew and in what kind of soil. We had to learn all these details by heart because at the exam the teacher covered his hand over a plant and asked us to tell all the information on the label.I cannot remember now how many one had to know in ALL the details in order to pass. I suppose that it must have been a good few as the number of the plants was so large.

The most astonishing thing in this Herbarium-affair was that the teacher was most impressed by my handiwork saying: “You have really put an awful lot of work and bother into this collection and made such an outstanding Herbarium!” And he gave me an Excellent*-grade for it. I was left gobsmacked in stunned silence. The poor man did not know that the truth was right the opposite – and I wasn’t going to inform him otherwise either!

And, you may wonder – what the sandhills, what an earth, has this Botany to do with teenage as the title is named for?! I will tell you, it was symptomatic to moi as to how the rest of the teenage school years went. The only teachers that really took an interest in me, were the language teachers who I absolutely loved and who inspired me to no end! They challenged me to the max to learn and use the languages with ease and pleasure.

I have always, always LOVED to learn and to find about things in detail. I needed to be challenged to reach for the heights and not just about. I still love to study and research about all kinds of everything and I challenge myself to reach the heights, and I enjoy mightily in doing just that!!

Tis for now until the next time – Riihele xx.

My kind friends who assisted me by donating the plants were left standing in amazement by the fact that me ‘luck’ did not seem to fail me, yet again!! 

A Woman’s Work is Never Done ~ Retail Therapy



GO GIRL!! This very chic Chick doing the dishes and the clearing up is my Little Baby Girl, Heli. I say, one must dress up properly with one’s pearls, rings and fur to do even the most menial of tasks, as one must not let the standards ever to drop. Becki took the picture.

Isn’t it just hilarious to that these kind of posh washing-up gloves were made or even thought of?!! I like them. Well done, Heli. Keep it up.

A Woman’s Work is never done, we know that. I also wrote another piece on it in here . As far as the title of this entry is concerned, what better title than this to appeal to (m)any of the retail therapists among us? – The word ‘therapy’ means in its original language, Greek,


therap-, –therapeutic[s], –therapeutically, –therapy, –therapies, –therapist
(Greek: heal, cure; treatment; service done to the sick, a waiting on).

So true. Retail therapy could be said to be a ‘service done to the whole business world and the world economics‘, for tis really mostly the females that keep the retailers on the High Street going. This link has the ‘scientific’ – read: rather on the dull side – explanations on the High Street. Neither do I think that even if the net domain is called High Street with tons of stores and goods online that it is equal to the real retail therapy experience! No way

Becki, my older daughter, and I did some serious retail therapy a good while back on the Oxford Street in London which is one and a half a miles long. Actually, it claims to be the busiest shopping street in Europe. We went down one side and came back the other and got miles of useful exercise to boot. Handy. And men call women not -sporty – really, what do they know?!

To bolster up our energy levels we went into the Harrod’s where there is a fabulous fresh juice bar downstairs to get this most delicious freshly squeezed fruit juice we used to have each day to fortify us for the hard work of the therapy sessions. It was called, ‘The Shopper’s Pick -Me Up’ and it was a mixture of various fruit and vegetables such as the avocado, even with fresh parsley in it. Twas wonderfully refreshing and our perkiness restored we sauntered on to the Hamley’s down the road from Harrods to do all the 5 floors plus the ground and the basement floors as well from the top to the basement in one go!

Again, the step counter would have been going on the high-high counting all of them steps up and down the store adding up to zillions of ’em before we’d be finished! Miles of walking done even without thinking, that’s what I call, clever.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 (

NEW YORK — Stocks climbed Thursday as strong April retail sales and a steep drop in oil prices alleviated investors’ worries about a greater-than-forecast jump in labor costs.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 38.58, or 0.34 percent, to 11,438.86, its best close since reaching 11,489.59 on Jan. 19, 2000. The Dow is 284 points, or 2.4 percent, from an all-time high of 11,722.98 from early January 2000.

The day’s headlines brightened the economic picture, with retailers reporting their best monthly sales in two years as consumers spent freely despite the recent spike in gasoline prices.

And there is more on these lines that the BBC is reporting on the retail sales in the UK where the situation in 2005 was not rosy.This link has The Financial Times on retail sales for the search I did on their site for the same. There are several very interesting topics on the subject in both the US and the UK. In this link here there are The Sky News take on the retail sales in the marketplace. Take your pick to read the one of your choice, please.

Now a question:

“WHO ARE THESE CONSUMERS that keep the world’s markets going?”

The answer:

LADIES, naiset, DAMEN, femmes, WOMEN, frauen ….

It is a fact universally acknowledged that it is the women in every country who mostly do the shopping and so they are the consumers that these statistics are talking about and whose shopping habits they reflect!

We should be given a credit for doing such a noble thing to help the world economy in every country. I suggest the NP aka The Noble Prize* in The Retail Therapy for the best candidate searched with the right criteria et cetera. The NP in Retail Therapy could be a section of the NP in the Economics, for example.

Tis for now. Riihele xx.

There is an excellent article on the Guardian Unlimited on the RT. Personally, it is not an addiction neither a binge but a hobby that I like.

* Nominations taken.