"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"

- Alan Hogan

Showing posts with label mosquitos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mosquitos. Show all posts

Monday, June 12, 2017

Eyes Wide Open

Visiting Finland during the summer months offers the chance to experience long evenings and for a certain period the midnight sun. In most parts of Finland it doesn't get very dark at all. Where I live along the south-west coast the darkness is set at twilight, so it can be bright enough to play a game of football.

Having spent almost ten years now living in Finland I am still amazed every June as the Midsummer period arrives with it's seemingly endless hours of light. It's an eerie sensation which can create wonder and plenty of sleepless nights. Black-out blinds are an essential purchase if you want to sleep!

While I still haven't been to the northern part of Finland yet, I can almost imagine what it must be like to have the sun up all day. It's something I would still like to experience sometime. One reason I haven't been so far north in the summer may be the presence of Finland's not-so loveable mosquitos. While we do get quite a lot of these bloodsuckers here in the south of Finland, I have heard stories of mild discomfort caused by the amount they have up north. This may be over-exaggerated, but during my first few years of living in southern Finland my legs were constantly under attack. After several days of itching and scratching they resembled a pair of crusty old pizzas! I think I offered the mosquitos a new dining experience of Irish blood which they took to like a vintage wine!

Nowadays my blood may have altered a bit or become less tasteful as they don't bother me too much anymore. Perhaps my tolerence for them has levelled out,  I honestly don't know!

Anyway I thought I'd reactivate my blog here today having read about a short-film been shown at a Finnish film festival this week. It's certainly an apt film to show as it's relevent to the festival's location and this time of year. It's called 'How a Mosquito Operates', a silent animated film made way back in 1912 by American cartoonist and animator Winsor McCay. It's just one of many films been shown, full list here

This Wednesday June 14th 2017, the Midnight Sun Film Festival begins it's five-day event in Sodankylä, Finland. It's an unusual film festival as it shows films around the clock without any breaks, just as the sun shines around the clock! 
The festival began in 1986 in the village of Sodenkylä, located in Finnish Lapland, some 120 kilometres above the Arctic Circle where the sun doesn't set at all in the summertime. So if you suffer from insomnia, this is the place for you!!

..and don't worry about the mossies!

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- Alan


Friday, June 3, 2011

'FIRST BLOOD' - No man, no law, no war can stop him!

Finnish Mosquitos take no prisoners!

It's summertime again here in Finland, whoa hoo!!! 
Warm sunshine, colourful gardens, the smell of barbeques, cold beers ......and yes, I almost forgot, the baby mosquitos have hatched......Yes, it's time to go to mosquito war again!!

Well, as long as you're indoors in the evening it's actually not too bad here. Earlier this week I had my first uninvited guests to sample my blood. I'm kind of use to it by now, but there are still certain places I try to prevent the little buggers from biting. They have their favorite places, like the back of the legs, the ankles and much to my annoyance, the back of my hands! I know that I shouldn't moan about such little things and that people have bigger problems, but this is one creature I don't feel guilty about killing. In fact I get a lot of pleasure when I do manage to kill one. Unfortunately however, I face a losing battle every year as I am constantly out-numbered. 

I'd like to have an endless supply of mosquito repellant, but it's quite expensive here. I sometimes wish there were more repellant products to choose from, forcing a bit of brand competition. Perhaps that could lower the prices. If anyone knows of something that can be easily be made on the cheap at home please leave a comment. I've tried a few things already, but the mosquitos just keep on biting!

One new item I recently discovered in the shops that may help keep mosquitos and other nasty biters away is the 'Bug Zapper'. It looks like a miniture tennis racket with electrified wires as threads. This battery-powered device is new to me, but it may have been out for a while. If anyone has used it let me know your opinion. I bought mine at Clas Ohlsen in Helsinki, but I noticed that they're available in other countries such as Sweden and the UK. I shall be testing it myself after my next barbeque, so watch this space!

Bug Zapper

There is one flying insect I hate even more than any mosquito or wasp and it's a creature I have only ever encountered here in Finland. I don't know the english or finnish name for it, only the swedish. It may be a type of horse-fly, but I need to do a little more research. All I can say is that it looks half-fly, half-moth. This 'fly' cannot be heard as it comes to bite you, and when I say bite, I mean 'bite'. I've heard that they actually remove a small piece of flesh in the process. And the bites can vary as this fly comes in different sizes. I have seen small ones resembling normal flies, and I have also seen big ones, some as big as golfballs! I will have to keep awake and alert if I am to get one of these beauties with my new Bug Zapper. Yep, this fly is one lean mean stealth munchin' machine! 

This is my second blogpost on the pests I love to hate. You can read my first one by clicking here.   

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lady Mosquito Makes Me GaGa!

Forget about your bats, vampires or other blood-sucking stereotypes, when it comes to getting down to the business of sucking blood there's no finer diner than the much-loved mosquito!

While I pause to let that little bit of sarcasm melt, yet another one of the little feckers has bitten me. Little ba$*@rd!!!

And it’s the lady or female mosquito who does all the biting on us humans.
Of course, here in Finland they have been telling me that it's way too early for mosquitos.
But just last evening while enjoying a barbeque at home guess who dropped by for a bite.
Yes, they're here again!

I reckon it's because of the unusually good weather we've been having here recently. I read that Finland has been one of the warmest places in Europe for the last week or so, so it's no surprise that the mosquito eggs have hatched early.
Today I am counting 9 mosquito bites on my arms, legs and ankles. And that's not many for me. I usually get a lot more.

Before moving from Ireland to Finland my experience of mosquitos was zero.
We are not accustomed to dangers from any of nature's little creatures. The only creature I ever feared while living in Ireland was the wasp, who will only ever attack if provoked. So basically, if you get stung by a wasp, you most likely upset him in some way and deserved his sting. On occasion however, you will just meet a wasp with a bad attitude. We have a few of them back in Ireland. So if you happen to have a jam sandwich in your mouth, be alert!.

I have not forgotten my first summer visit to Finland, I still suffer from the trauma of my first Finnish mosquito encounter.
Wonderful weather gave me an excuse to throw on my shorts and enjoy a Finnish summer evening by the sea with friends. Finnish sausages, barbeque, sauna, beer and chilling-out was the order of the day. The food tasted great and the beer was going down quickly. So much so that I neglected to put on some long trousers, advice given by friends but ignored by me of course. We Irish can be a stubborn lot after a few drinks. Afraid of nothing! .....What's that?...Mosquitos?.... No problem! ....Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!

Well, next morning just as my friends had predicted, my pale white Irish skin was looking more like a raspberry cheesecake with the constant irritation us Irish normally get from politicians just before a general election. I reckon the mosquitos decision to focus all their attention to my brightly coloured legs was not caused by accident. It was definately not an act of gaining a more comfortable environment to start drilling for blood. Unlike most Finnish people, I happen to have a lot a hair on my legs, so unless the mosquitos can grab onto those hairs as means of support I don't see why they wouldn't share their attention elsewhere. I do have a notion as to their concentration on me however. I reckon it has something to do with my Irish blood. Maybe I'm just talking rubbish, but perhaps this old celtic blood flavoured with the hint of Guinness and all things Irish over many years appeals to the Finnish mosquito. Maybe those mosquito connoisseurs judge Irish blood like a fine Beaujolais wine. A Château Margaux perhaps? And it's not like they can bottle it and keep it in a cellar. No, I reckon if they get the opportunity to wine and dine on Irish blood they'll take it. In fact they'll most likely invite the whole family over too.

Anyway, I won't linger with my 'memories', I don't want to discourage anyone from visiting Finland. It's a great place and you do get used to the mosquitos no matter how much of a nuisance they can be.
I am presently trying to concoct a low-cost recipe with household items for a mosquito-deterrant spray. The sprays they have in shops can be quite expensive and they don't last very long. If anyone has a suggestion or advice let me know.

Have you read my most recent mosquito blogpost called

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The Art Garage, Finland

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