Sunday, 9 May 2010
Sibelius, of course, will always be Suomiexport No. 1, but I'm also devoted to the three gifts I brought back from Finland. Tinned muikku (aka lake vendace) is a poor substitute for the fresh fried thing, which I was lucky to eat once again in a Helsinki restaurant:
Yet the above smoked miniatures were the best I've tasted in preserved form. Export No. 2 is this box of porridge oats, which made us realise how poor the Quaker stuff is. At the moment we're using an Irish variety, but when I can hie me down to the Finnish church in Rotherhithe, I can buy more of these (and I'm a sucker for the packaging).
Last but certainly most major is the piikkimatto Anneli marched me down to a hypermarket to buy at half-price on my last morning. It's a kind of fakir's bed of nails - each of the little circles has spikes which dig into bare flesh but fortunately don't make it bleed.
Sounds hideous, but it releases endorphins and also - if this doesn't sound like a contradiction - helps you sleep. It's uncomfortable at first but then a warmth spreads through your back and it's actually quite pleasant, until you rip yourself off it. J was very doubtful about this bizarre present but then he read a little snippet in Metro which touted it as a Reiki mat pioneered by an Englishman who's become some sort of guru and retailing at around £50. Of course the wretched thing probably costs about £3 to make, and mine was put together by slave labour in China, but I was pleased to pick it up for a mere 23 euros. Our alternative-minded blonde bombshell from Jerusalem, Juliette, who's introduced us to all our best holiday destinations including Auroville's Quiet Healing Centre near Pondicherry in south India, adored it when she visited last week. Here she is discreetly draped and blissed out.