Sunday, March 26, 2006

What did I learn in the taxi today #2

1) Picked up an old customer with a city card. Last time it did not work and she had to pay with money. This time it was OK. She sat silent for most of the journey, wondering no doubt if that idiot of a driver would get her card to work this time.

2) Picked up an old man and took him to Heikkitori. He spoke in a very strange way as though he had a speach impediment. It turns out he had a by-pass operation and some of the "plaque" in the arteries had got loose and had lodged in his brain, and he had lost the ability to speak. He was going to the health centre to get remedial lessons which would help him to speak again. Besides not being able to speak properly he had lost the ability to write. Letters and words were completely incomprehensible, and could just as well be chineese characters for all the sense they made to him. His memory was gone so he could not remember phone numbers for example, and he found himself in a fix cos he could not write things down, and if somebody else wrote the numbers down he could not read them. Have a heart operation and you go from being a well educated man to becoming illiterate.

3) Took 3 women to Sello. The woman in the front was an invalid. The two women in the back nattered away like maniacs. One stuffed her face with a rye bread sandwich and laughed as though she were about to choke, and spat crumbs down her breasts. Her mate talked so fast it sounded like the rat-a-tat-tat of a machine gun and at the end of every sentence she made a long keening laugh as a form of punctuation. They were going to see an afternoon show that featured belly-dancing.

4) Pick up a young nurse who did not know where she wanted to go. Somewhere along the road to Jorvi, and industrial estate near Laaksolahti. Her friends had been drinking all morning and she was missing all the "fun". I took her to some run down industrial estate on a dead-end road and left her shivering at a padlocked gate. I wondered as I drove away why is it that some girls will insist in exposing their belly buttons in the middle of winter.

5) Took a well dressed couple from Kaunianen to Rittarihoune for the "Knight's Ball". I drove them straight to the door because the woman had on her dancing shoes and did not want to walk in them. I got honked at an had to drive away much to her annoyance.

6) Took a couple to a wedding in Otaniemi. The lady was wearing a wonderful perfume. I asked her what it was. She said "Open Heart" I have never heard of it. I do so hope it was not by some company called "Surgery". Now that I think of it perhaps it was called "happy heart" I was still thinking about how weird it must be to loose the ability to read and write let alone speak after open heart surgery.

7) Picked up a mother and your daughter from the airport. The daughter had a toy fox called Toppi. The navigation system has an english woman giving me directions and the little girls wondered who was taking. I told her it was "Katie Kettu" She asked her mother if this was true. Her mother said no it was not true and that I was trying to trick her. I insisted it was "Katie Kettu" and the little girl was happy with that.

8) Back to the airport and picked up a woman who had come from Leevi. She had been skiing. Had gone to sauna with a shaman who had washed her and purified her. Apparently he had washed all of her sins away with ice cold water. Not only her passed sins but also the future ones.
She seemed to be very happy with this thought of cleansing.

9) Last lift of the night was a Scottish woman. We sang together

Bee-Baw-Babbity Babbity Babbity
Bee-Baw-Babbity Babbity Babbity
a lassie or a wee laddie

Ah widnae hae a lassie-o a lassie-o a lasssi-o
Ah widnae hae a lassie-o a lassie-o a lasssi-o
Ah'd raither hae a wee laddie.

Kneel doon kiss the groon, kiss the groon, kiss the groon
Kneel doon kiss the groon, kiss the groon, kiss the groon
A lassie or a wee laddie?

It was a good day.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fokker 104

Kullervo is a good name. Solid from the Kalevela and he flew a Fokker during the winter war, and during the contiuation war, and in the Lapland war. He was an aerial photographer and he flew a biplane called a Fokker 104.

It was a good plane because it was so maneuverable, by comparison the Russian planes were slow and combersome. If they were being chased the pilot would put the plane into a step dive, and the Russian planes could not follow since their decent had to be more gradual.

The Fokker 104 was a two man plane and the piolet had a glass roof over his head, but the photographer had to hang over the side with a huge camera straped to the front of his body and take photos. It was cold. The plane also had a english camera called an "Eagle" built into the floor but it was hopeless.

When the Russian planes got better then new tactics had to be used. Only going out on cloudy days and flying in the clouds and droping down to take photos, and if anybody attacked then zooming back up into the clouds to get lost.

The idea was to take photos of the enemy lines. Once the photos were developed they were joined together to make a map, and then the artillary would have something to shoot at. Kullervo would then go up in the Fokker and direct the fire from the ground below until the shells would hit the target.

After the war Kullervo became a lawyer. He has some new under-carriage with him all the time. It is his rollator and he can not move without it. His wife says the body does not work properly any more, but the brain and the tongue are still fully functional.

Kullervo has written a book called FK Lentue. You can get it from the library it is by Kullervo Kemppinen. When you look at the origins of the name Kullervo you discover it is and ancient on and his story can be read in the Kalevela. Sibelius himself wrote an opera called Kullervo

Three times they tried to kill Kullervo then they gave up. The Fokker however was shot to bits and its wings were shreded to tatters by bullets. The pilot had to make a crash landing.

Kullervo has a piece of the propellor on his wall to remind him that he survived three wars.