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The Big Thaw

Finally, it looks as if the big thaw has arrived here in Finland. The temperature's been gradually creeping above freezing, and the snow and pack ice are slowly melting away. Maybe I can put my thermal underwear away and stop feeling like my ears are going to freeze off when I take Ira out for walks at midnight now.

One of the surprisingly nice things about winter here is that most days the skies have been blue and the sun's been shining - compared to Britain where it's normally grey, damp and overcast. Suddenly now the days are growing longer and it isn't getting dark until 2100 - I guess by the time I get back from Japan it'll hardly be getting dark at all.

Here's a wonderful set of photographs that gives you an idea just how hard the winter can be here, taken from one of the ice-breakers as it worked to keep Finland's sea lanes open this winter.

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