Farewell, Finland #GiveItUp125

It is time to leave Finland now, but before I got I want to share this photo. Otto, Paula, Irma and I were chilling in a cafe on a place called Women’s Island in Jyväskylä. While we were eating Paula spotted the little lady above watching us. You never see red squirrels in England these days, but they are still common in Finland.

I see that my fundraiser has been stalled on 45% all day. Hopefully that’s because you have all been too busy enjoying the Finnish content to pledge money. You can do so now. I’m going to answer the day’s work emails, then go to bed. I’ll see you all tomorrow in Virtual Canada.

More snow, eh?

Introducing Finland #GiveItUp125

Hello, and welcome to Virtual Finland. I’ve had a busy morning in the kitchen. You can see the results in this video.

The recipe that I used for the Karelian Pies is this one. I’m not hugely impressed with it. There seemed to be rather too much filling for the amount of pastry. But I did have to improvise quite a bit along the way.

In the video I promised you some photos. Here are the Karelian Pies:

And here is the cream tea with cloudberry jam:

For the benefit of folks from Devon and Cornwall who care passionately about such things, I put the cream on first because the cloudberry jam is a lot more liquid than a traditional English jam, and if you put the jam on first the cream will just slide straight off.

Thank You, Australia #GiveItUp125 #IDAHOBIT

Being in Virtual Australia on IDAHOBIT Day is a poignant reminder that I did most of my gender transition while living in Australia. There were a number of reasons for that, but one of them is that the medical support for transition was better in Australia than it is here in the UK. That’s even more true now. I will always be grateful for the support I got from friends in Australia, in particular the folks at the Melbourne Science Fiction Club who accepted me without question.

One of the disappointments about not being able to travel to New Zealand for Worldcon this year is that a planned visit to Melbourne has had to be cancelled too. Maybe another year.

The photo above was taken at the Wilson’s Promontory National Park, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

Country Victoria in 1999 #GiveItUp125

Here are some photos from the trip that Kevin and I made following the World Science Fiction Convention in 1999. First up we have the Puffing Billy Railway, which made Kevin very happy.

And second, one of the best ways to get up close and personal with Australian wildlife, Healesville Sanctuary. (Sadly digital cameras back then had little in the way of zoom so these are the only good shots I have.)

As usual, click on any photo for a bigger image and slide show.