An encounter with Daphne mezereum

Ran into one yesterday while exploring the coast and picking mushrooms. Daphne mezereum (February daphne)is said to be highly poisonous, with five berries able to kill a grown man. It causes swelling of the walls of air passages and a rather unpleasant death from suffocation. No thanks. The post about Daphne in Alexandra’s Facebook resulted in quite a discussion.

The 25th Arctic Trophy race starts off Kandalaksha on Sunday, Sept. 2 2018

Yet another of these silly events… As much as I dislike motors and vehicles and other activities that take me away from my couch I’ll share this piece of news because this sort of happenings does attract viewers, among whom an occasional client may materialize.

Starts on Sunday, September 2 2018, on the Kandalaksha’s main square, and proceeds to an undisclosed location somewhere on the Barentz Sea shore, probably ending up in Murmansk.

The race lasts a week, and participants are, in addition to Russia, from Norway and Finland. The Norwegians will be riding their ATVs.

This is the 25th race of this sort.

Here is a video from one of the past Arctic Trophy events to give you an idea what it looks like.

A bear seen near Polarniye Zori

A bear – and a huge one – is said to have been noticed in the outskirts of Polarniye Zori, 20km north from Kandalaksha. It seems to have been attracted to the town by garbage and caused quite a panic in the community, judging from social networks.

Wild mushrooms

 

Despite recent month-long draught mushrooms started showing up. Picked up a bunch of brown cap boletus yesterday, relatively worm-free. Seems we are one good rain away from a major mushroom outcrop.

Guesthouses in Kuzomen

Kuzomen too succumbed to the temptation of having a bite off the growing tourist traffic. Several guesthouses have popped up recently.

Here is a couple of contacts:

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Off to Kuzomen

On our way to Kuzomen with a stopover in Kashkarantsy. Of things unpleasant, it was road repair, with 10 kilometers of large gravel between Umba and Kashkarantsy. Of misadventures, it was a blown camper tire. If we lose another one we are looking into a serious adjustment of plans as the nearest tire repair place is in Umba, 100+ kilometers of a really bad road back.

Saw a fox right in front of us but by the time Alexandra got out her camera the animal had almost disappeared in the bush.

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A jump over 40 meter bridge near Apatity

A roofer from Apatity, Alexander Borisov, jumped from a 40 meter bridge over the strait connecting Lake Ecostrov and Lake Imandra on Friday, apparently in search of adrenalin.

Consequences: a cracked bone and major bruises.

Alexander is asking people not to repeat this feat.

Back in circulation

This week I was visited by my brother Michael and his family. That was a delight although I may have been a bit tardy in answering your e-mails. Now, when he is on his way to Canada I’m back in circulation.

The newer and better version of Pasha

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“Stepping on Bones – Solovki and Russia’s Past” radio broadcast by BBC

Natalia Golysheva, a BBC correspondent whose grandfather was a Gulag prisoner, visited Solovki in June 2018. She joined pilgrims on their journey to the far-off skits, heard from local residents and spoke to the granddaughter of perhaps the most famous Gulag survivor Dmitry Likhachov asking her what Solovki represents in modern day Russia.

Among other things, Natalia explores the conflict between, on the one hand, the monastery, which is said to try to erase the traces of the prison history of the place, and, on the other, historians and human rights activists, who want Solovki preserved as a Gulag memorial.

«Stepping on Bones – Solovki and Russia’s Past». See the BBC site: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csxgtj

Artists are said to be invited to Solovki free of charge

Rumours have reached me that the Union of Independent Guides to Solovki invites artists, photographers, and bloggers to stay there for free in exchange for their paintings, photographs, or mentionings in blogs. Details here.