Posted by Sari
No, we are not talking about the Duke of, but his more mundane namesakes, plain ordinary wellies. See, come atumn I, like all good Finns, like do the gathering part of the hunter-gatherer life. Grab a knife, basket, big black bin liner, a brush and a map, and off you go to pick berries and mushrooms. Lovely. Except for two things: elk flies and boggy ground.
For the first scourge pretty much all you can do is cover your hair and ears really tight and hope for the best, for the latter good oldfashioned rubber boots are the thing. I mean, you can do without, but after sinking to wet mossy ground up to mid-calf in my trainers last time I went into a mushroom (that, believe it or not, is a literal translation of of you say it in Finnish you either go picking mushrooms - mennä poimimaan sieniä or you go into a mushroom - mennä sieneen), I decided a pair of wellies would indeed better the quality of my life. You know, just a pair of cheap ordinary wellies to tramp around in the woods for a bit, nothing special.
Little did I know how the fates would treat my modest ambition to own a pair. After being scorned by the Light of My Life for planning to start looking for wellies at Stockmann, the Harrods of Helsinki, I decided to shed my bourgeois upbringing, and start the search from Anttila, the Walmart of Finland. And I did find some: bright red designer wellies 30€ a pair. Yeah right, like I am going to pay 200 grannies for rubber boots. Next stop Stockmann. And they did have wellies, oh yes they did. Nokia Outdoor, Nokia All Around, Nokia Pro... Not to mention the real designer items like Marimekko poppy wellies. And prices to match with all the marvellous qualities they are supposed to have. But no ordinary "I am just going to slip these on and nip over to the woods next door to pick some blueberries for a pie" -type of boots in sight.
Then I went to two different InterSports, Aleksi 13, and finally to Tarjoustalo. The last, the K-Mart of Finland, did have the right price range €5.90, but only sizes available were 35 and 46. So after two hours, no wellies. My next master plan was to go native and shop for wellies at a nice pictoresque shopping centre in Mäntyharju, 'cause, obviously people who buy cheap ordinary wellingtons live in the country, right? Unfortunately, doubt hangs over this bold plan as well, as my spies in Northern Carelia tell me that there was a serious lack of wellies in local stores. And if that is the case, I dread what the situation might be in Southern Savonia... The quest continues.
Oh, and surfing for the links for this post was very educational. Have you any idea how many p0rn sites for rubber b00t feti$hists there are? The mind boggles.