It's nearly September but some of the late
bloomers in the garden have only just
started to flower. It's nice to have
a bit of autumn colour.



Again it's 20 weeks since I last made a
montage of all the Cats and Dogs
Of The Week so here they are.

(Please click on the images
to view larger version.)



It's the last day of Tommi's and Kunto's
holiday and as parting gift they bought a
beautiful penguin mug from the
London Transport Museum Shop.

It's designed by Charles Paine.
graduating from the
Royal College of
Art in London he moved to the
Applied Art Department of
Edinburgh College of Art.

He then went on to design stained glass for
Guthrie and Wells in Glasgow. During the
1920s he designed textiles and posters for
a wide range of clients including the
Underground Group (1920-1929). In
the 1930's he lived and worked in
Welwyn Garden City, before moving
to Jersey. He died in 1967.

Apart from cooking his fantastic dinners for
us for two weeks, Tommi also baked his
Korvapuusti cinnamon rolls
and we made a blueberry pie for

KB to welcome her home
from Corfu.



Trust the Finns to disagree with the fact
that their country is the best in the world!

"What about suicides, depression, alcoholism and
our cold, dark winters?" many Finns protested
yesterday, after Newsweek named their
country "the best country in the world".

Scored for education, health, quality of life,
economic dynamism and political stability,
Finland narrowly beat Switzerland (2)
and their neighbours and arch rivals,
Sweden (3). The Finnish foreign
minister, Alexander Stubb, was more
positive, urging the Finns "to
express their pride and sincere
joy for the honour".

But gloating does not come naturally to them,
even though Finland has topped the OECD
global education assessment
three times in a row.

There is an underside to the educational excellence.
Two bloody school massacres, in 2007 and 2008
claimed 20 lives. A tragic coincidence, certainly,
but Finland is a Jekyll-and-Hyde country.
There are both the positive and the negative
in extremes, just like sunshine: the
never-setting summer sun is offset by
several months of dark winter. These
adverse circumstances have created
an ordered, egalitarian society.

Please click on the image
to view a larger version.

Having been a very poor country up until the 1950s,
Finland has always relied more on co-operation
than competition and if you agree with the
Newsweek panel that low levels of inequality
and a small gender gap are desirable,
Finland is bound to outdo the UK (14).

In a matter of hours Finland's leading
tabloid newspaper, Ilta–Sanomat, pointed
out an error in Newsweek's survey: it seems
the magazine may have mixed up the top two
scores, and Switzerland should win by a
whisker. Sabotaging their own success
befits them perfectly: both the optimists
and the pessimists in Finland can agree
that the number two slot is their
natural lot in this world.


The boys have been busy bees this morning.
First they build us a shelving unit to go in
the shed and Kunto is going to fit some
metal mesh to the bottom of the shed to
stop foxes and rats and all manner of
other wildlife nesting under there.

Also, a branch of next door's plum tree had
fallen down on top of our bird table in the
night so Mr S and Tommi removed it.



Tommi ja Kunto bought me the most
beautiful plant as a present yesterday,
a stunning Celosia Caracas.

The shade matches everything in my bedroom
from the curtains to the bedlinen perfectly,
they could've not chosen a better colour.

And being men they of course had no idea
about the colour scheme in the room
so it was down to pot luck!

It does grow up to be 3 feet tall if planted in
the ground so I might stick it outside
but for now it can brighten
up the boudoir.


My friend Tommi from Finland is on his annual
visit to our fair isle and this time he brought
his dad Kunto with him. It's Kunto's second
visit to the UK, he's been once
before with his wife.

We've wanted a shed for a while as the conservatory
is jam packed with all sorts of stuff that should
really have a home in garden so we thought
we'll put the boys holiday to a good use.

Mr S ordered the shed from a local supplier
in Mitcham. It came in ready made panels
including all the bits and pieces (slabs to
go underneath, screws etc.) so all we
had to do was to prepare the
ground and stick it up.

It took less than 5 hours and the lads
managed to pop to the pub to
watch the footie in the middle
of it all as well!

Please click on the image
to view a larger version.

PS: The photo bottom right: of course it didn't go
like it does in the movies and the second window
went ping! and split in half. The new one is
only £3 so no great shakes but it would've
been nice to finish it in one go!




Jezza was musing about Finland in his column
in last Sunday's Times and according to him
nobody lives up there. Not even the Finns.

Click on the image to view
a larger version.


Check out these amazing images by
photographer Hugh Turvey.

They say beauty is only skin deep - but 39-year-old
Hugh's x-rays of flowers show they are captivating
through and through. He first used X-rays in
1996 to photograph a human skull as a favour
to a musician friend who needed an image for
an album cover and has since used the
technique to produce a series of coloured
x-rays of everyday objects.

He's been fascinated with getting underneath
the surface of things since childhood. "It's about
discovering the world around us. As a kid
I would take things apart to see what
was inside and how they worked."

"I have an insane curiosity for how things work.
X-ray gives me a way to get that insight and
turn it into art.
The fun is in the discovery of
this character hidden in sometimes
the most unlikely places."


My own nails are in such a state a decided
to slap on some fake ones. Went to Tooting
Superdrug, two lots for £2.49. Sorted.

The following day I was in Wimbledon and thought
I might as well buy another packet because
when you need them there won't be any
anywhere ... so popped into Superdrug
and the same packet was £3.99!

And today I saw them at Charing Cross for £5.99!
Surely a countrywide shop like Superdrug doesn't
price their items according to the postcode,
the posher it is the more expensive
the nails get?

Shouldn't the price should be the
same whether you're shopping in
Brighton or Birmingham?


I'm not a great fan of bracelets or necklaces,
just have never been that into them.

But then I came across this beautiful
charm bracelet in Jane Norman I
had to have it! In fact I
bought two!

It's a really nice weight with loads of
details - that photo doesn't do it
justice, it is absolutely