I left Canada (I stayed in Fergus, a village with enough distance from Toronto to make it the real rural) a fortnight back and left with it hot muggy weather. Or so I thought. Now what happened is that it followed me, to Finland, in the far north. Now you might think that we suffer from frigid weather all times of the year. Not so. The summer has been unusual. Even in Lappland – the reindeer have been complaining loudly how unfair it is that they should have to put up with might well be climate change caused by their herdmasters, the human species.
Their quadruped cousins, swine, do not have mechanism to cool themselves down so human intervention is necessary. Last night’s National News showed us how some farmers are coping with this heat wave. Simply, they take out the water hose and douse down the swine who, in their inimitable way, er, hog the water raining down on them. I do not come to mention hogs accidently. No, it has something to do with the latest tit-for-tat food war between the Russians and Finns. Actually, this food war seems to move from country to country. Some time ago it was Poland. Then the Baltic countries. Then Sweden. Now it is our turn.
It seems that Russian food scientists have found anti-biotics swimming around Finnish hog meat exported to Russia. They have also found other things and, it seems, they have been using microscopic technology far superior to that available to us in the west. This is not a new phenomena. I mean that the Russian government uses whatever is at hand to thrash its neighbours into line. Finland is a handy and easy whipping boy. Last week the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, visited our own president, Tarja Kaarina Halonen, at the summer palace. We were there visiting family, the village, not the president.
I got to hear of it from our local clan who have the nasty habit of going down to the see daily, to dip their bodies for a cool down. Were they surprised to see such a massive security presence? Does a bear shit in a Russian woods?
Then our president, Tarja H. took up the several matters with her counterpart. For example, what about Russia’s attempt to restrict food imports from Finland? She likely whined.
You see, this week it is pork, last week it was milk, and before that it was iced cream. Some time ago it was the meddling of the Russian Child Protection ombudsman who slagged off the Finnish Social Service, good and proper, from very high moral ground, for not being sensitive to the plight of a Russian family living in Turku who were having problems with their child. Russian media played the chauvinist card by suggesting that Russians living in Finland actually are obliged to follow Russian law, too. Give over, one Finnish politician was heard saying. Not too loudly though lest he get a harsh reprimand from the Duma.
On the matter of Finnish food exports to Russia, the Russian president blithely mentioned at the one and only press conference at Tarja’s pied-à-terre that all would be fixed in a fortnight and besides, since the age of urchinhood, he has been suckled on Finnish milk and chomped down on good smoked Finnish hams. All to the good. Look at me now, all one metre fifty (5 foot 4)
Well, then, hip hip hooray! So one may assume that if it was good for him surely it is good for us. Or maybe not.