I’ve had some disturbing news from Finland: some 50 vessels of various kinds are stuck in the ice around the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea between Finland and Sweden.
During the most severe winter weather Northern Europe has experienced, this sounds a perfectly reasonable state of affairs. Expect it isn’t. Finns are used to severe snow and ice, they always cope with it. They are one of the leading manufacturers of ice-breakers, large ships that keep the shipping lanes free from ice.Besides, we eat rye bread, drink vodka and fight with knives. Surely a little bit of ice isn’t a problem?
Last night even the ice-breaker struggled to free a Viking Line ferry. This boat, fondly named Ålandsfärjan, takes passengers from the Island to Stockholm through the narrowest bit of the Ålandshav several times a day. It’s more like a commuter ferry. It’s the route we take when we go to the Island, and is used weekly by my Mother. For the ferry to stop operating is the biggest headline the local paper, Ålandstidningen, has ever had. Their normal fodder is drunken disorderly Finns causing havoc to the peace-loving islanders.
What has happened to my country??????