torstai 19. elokuuta 2021

One Uni Throwback

It was an exceptionally warm summer dawn in the late '90s when I flew off from Helsinki to London, then continued by bus towards Devon, in order to attend University of Exeter's course on literary language and British lifestyle.

The campus was milling with students, tutors and professors from all over the world, some of them princes from the Middle East, some relatives of Olivia de Havilland but of course most of us were ordinary professionals from various walks of life. I myself befriended some delightful personalities from Greece, Finland, France, and Italy an engineer, a law student and two teachers, to mention just a few. All of them full of light and kindness! Neither shall I ever forget the unpretentious Japanese gentleman with whom I exchanged some interesting thoughts about both Shinto religion and tanka poetry.

Sadly, I also detected some unfortunate native and/or academic arrogance. Another negative was that the lectures turned out to introduce only some very basic linguistic concepts and grammar. Mind you that this pricey course had been advertised for pros in SKTL's (Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters) periodical...

I guess what I mostly got out of it was the amusement of the English and Irish books I read, the plays we saw, and all the socializing conversations, laughter and merry partying.

Conversation classes required a presentation. Mine tackled Finnish culture and nature.

Windy pool parties and wild masquerades:-)  ☮ & ūüíĚ!

Besides taking very picturesque walks on the Dartmoor moores, we also took other refreshing field trips. Like St Ives in Cornwall, one of the top ten British seaside towns, was an amazingly charming place to see! Small wonder that many artists have always loved to work there (one of them the world-famous Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck in the 1800s).


Exeter itself is a nice historical city in South West England. Situated on the River Exe, it boasts the magnificent Cathedral Church of St. Peter, imposing Roman wall plus beautiful Quayside, a lovely area in which to enjoy cafes, pubs and shops. And being a university town, you can bet there's no shortage of great bookshops, either.


Last but not least, I need to mention the fabulously yummy meals our French chef with his talented staff prepared for us three times a day. At the farewell dinner they received a rumbling standing ovation from us all!


In case you got interested, click yourself from my yesterday's version to their today's revision! Yes, they are still offering the course, but I'm sure much has changed!



Graduated clearly a fortnight well spent:-)


PS These pics, all taken in public places, are self-evidently from years ago, but I've also blurred the faces, so that everyone except me is unrecognizable. However, if you should have any issues regarding my photos, please be kind and drop me a line and/or your email address in the comments section below and I'll delete whatever you wish! (If only I had reached you all, but no such luck none of the old contact info is valid anymore...)

perjantai 4. kesäkuuta 2021

Silver Coast Seashells 3

made by Taija Mård


Look what the beach dragged in! 


Precious seashell pieces (see SCS and SCS2) deserve their own treasure chests, so now I'd like to present my latest creations in that department all named to also match well with their respective content. Enjoy my beachboxing;-)


 Corky National Treasure


Azure Porcelain


Riveting Driftwood


Sun Rosé

Turquoise Trove

Silky Strands


Chalky Shores

Pirate Booty

Emerald Enamel

Captain's Cabin

Reed Bliss

Orient to the Orient!




Cotton Nougat

I and II

Feeling Floral


Ocean Cameos

Click pics to enlarge! All of them by me, except the extra seastar photo by Esa Karjalainen.

torstai 13. toukokuuta 2021

WALTIC Throwback!

Tästä häikäisevästä runosta kiinnostuneille voin lähettää Drum Rider -suomennokseni sähköisesti!

My translation of my article:

Shailja Patel’s poem Drum Rider

I hear the rumbling of drums, I feel the heat of Africa on my skin, I’m stunned by the swaying hips, I sink into the lines on the old woman’s face. My throat feels tight, a tear squeezes out of my eye, along with the audience of hundreds I burst into applause that have no end. Shailja Patel has just performed her poem Drum Rider: A Tribute to Bi Kidude, at the opening ceremony of WALTIC.

Writers’ and Literary Translators’ International Congress, held last summer in Stockholm, was proud, and we participants edified, to have on stage this woman poet from Kenya with Indian looks and perfect English accent.

    Patel has received many awards for her work, and her poems have been translated into many languages; used in high schools, colleges and workshops from South Africa to Japan; exhibited on the web on such respected forums as International Museum of Women, Museum of the African Diaspora and New York University’s Asian Poets Collection.

    When Patel then performs her poetry, it’s not a reading nor even a recitation but a dazzling one-woman theatrical performance. No wonder that she has performed around the world, in arenas in New York as well as in different parts of Africa, in different festivals and conferences as well as at universities. Usually she receives standing ovations and curtain calls, and afterwards people go and thank her personally. And so did I here up north, at Folkets Hus.

    Later during the week we heard Patel’s presentation of the poem – and due to numerous requests, its repeat performance – and about the conflict situations it has aroused. Such works that promote women’s issues, human rights and world peace are dangerous stuff in many corners of our planet. Patel has been forced off stage in the middle of Drum Rider, because one should not be saying such things that god could be a 95-year-old ebony black Swahili woman, let alone say out loud the word clitoris!

    Bi Kidude is a living legend, the renowned master of Taarab and Unyago music from Zanzibar. She started performing in the 1920s and is now almost 100 years old. She, too, is internationally known, and she has received the prestigious WOMEX award for her achievements in the field of World Music.

    Of her Shailja Patel wrote the poem, and I am now proud and honoured to be her bridge to Finland and Finnish. You hear the rumbling of drums, you feel the heat of Africa on your skin…

(The English version also published on the poet's blog.)


Bi Kidude menehtyi vuonna 2013 mutta hänen eloisaa taidettaan voi yhä kuunnella esimerkiksi tästä.

Bi Kidude passed away in 2013 but we can still listen to her lively art here.

"WALTIC, the Writers’ and Literary Translators’ International Congress, titled 'The Value of Words', is a bi-annual international literary congress founded and owned by The Swedish Writers’ Union. Having its premier launch in Stockholm between 29 June and 2 July 2008, WALTIC’s aim and thematic scope is divided in accordance to three key elements: Increase literacy, Safeguard freedom of expression, and Strengthen authors’ rights." Wikipedia

keskiviikko 3. helmikuuta 2021

Silver Coast Seashells 2

made by Taija Mård

Today, the Portuguese sun shines so warmly that it already makes me dream of next época balnear. What better time then to present some of my brand-new beachy bijoux? All of these creations are totally singular, and they belong to the category of Pendants familiar from the first SCS post. This time, however, I also wish to showcase shells in all their colourful glory!

The cosmopolitan common reed, growing along Costa de Prata, plays with those subtle and refined shades of organic green and beige. And although reeds, as noted above, are common, I find these particular coastal catches very exceptional! Hence the name "Reed Rarities".

My "Aveiro Azulejos" celebrate traditional blue tiles. The shells evocatively reflect this district's hues the shifting aquamarine of its vast skies and creamy alabaster of its impressive sand dunes.


 Japanese golden joinery and repair is behind these "Kintsugi Influence" treasures. Instead of camouflaging imperfections in an object they are enhanced, and when all breakages are tenderly mended, something exceptionally enchanting is created! I'm quite captivated by technique's philosophical implications.

Honey-coloured "Aten Solar Discs" revere the ancient Egyptian religion of pharaoh Akhenaten and wife Nefertiti, who worshipped the sun as their only god. (His-and-hers below on the left.) The motif conveys my gratitude for all the daylight I get to enjoy throughout the year here on the west coast!


 "Buddha Blooms + Butterflies" all wake up in spring! Due to the marvellously delicate purple shades and ethereal compositions there's some Asian mystery in them. It is very apparent, though, what I want these sweeties to symbolize transformation, spiritual rebirth, and new life.
 These "Diamonds 'n' Rust Mementos" rest on an idea of two beautifully contrasting stones that both have their own particular
essence. Here seaboard's rugged terracotta rocks meet translucent, droplet-like brilliants. I chose them to remind us of certain voices from the past, one rough and dark, the other clear and crystalline, so that we could hold some dear déjà vus next to our hearts.
And there you stayed / Temporarily lost at sea / The Madonna was yours for free / Yes the girl on the half-shell / Would keep you unharmed
(Joan Baez's Diamonds & Rust)


 Picked from the shores of the mighty Atlantic, my "Pearly Curly Oysters" are simply a dazzling blaze of iridescent, counterbalanced by the sophisticated shimmer of classy pearls. 

 And to round off, here are some "Praia da Barra Bohos" with their muted yet oh so appealing tones. Prevailing in these astounding patterns are umbers and tans, and they are deliciously highlighted by varied sandy whites familiar from the first SCS post.
 Please, click each pic to enlarge and discover the details!