(Cross-posted on Jacob's Blog.)
(Today's CHAFF meeting is at the usual time 13:00 hours at the usual place: Thai Pailin Restaurant, Kenttätie 9, Kasarmi Area. It is a farewell meeting for one of our regulars, Anais, who returns to France.)
I had a late night yesterday.
Annikki and I were invited by Ilari Sohlo's parents (Jorma & Heli) to attend the official engagement party of Ildikó to Ilari. Annikki could not come as someone had to stay at home to look after her mother.
I reached Prof. Sohlo's house at 17:00 hours. I was greeted by Ildi, and surprise, surprise, Ildi's mother (Juliska Hámos) who had come in from Hungary.
The bedroom door opened and out popped Ildi's dad (Árpád Hámos), who had flown in from Vienna, via Budapest.
Árpád greeted me as a long lost friend saying that my blog was extremely popular in his IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) circles in Vienna. I had never met either of Juliska and Árpád, but this blog had already sealed a relationship between us!
I guess I was surprised to see them there. The persons who were even more surprised and delighted were Ildi and Ilari. They had had no clue that Juliska and Árpád were coming for the party. The scheme had been plotted by Jorma & Heli.
They had arrived at 01:05 am that morning and had been whisked from the airport to Prof. Sohlo's home.
They had slept the night and got ready during the day. When Ildi walked in through the front door for the party, she received a phone call from Árpád who was apologising for not being there for the engagement, while calling from the closed bedroom.
But Ildi heard a familiar ring on the phone, which sounded surprisingly like the sound of her own mobile. She rushed into the closed bedroom to see Juliska and Árpád standing there.
Sorry, I do not have a photograph of that moment - I can only guess the explosive emotions that were there.
Juliska is taller than Ildi and as graceful as her daughter. Árpád is an effervescent person, full of life and wanting to be a friend of everyone. Unfortunately, Ildi's brother could not be present.
The food was superb. There was all sort of Finnish delicacies, smoked salmon, smoked reindeer salad, and there was the Thai Pailin speciality - the Mini Flap (both vegetarian and noon-vegetarian).
There was loads of great coffee, beer, wine, Benedictine, etc.
I stuck to my water and tea.
It was a glorious evening. For a large part, till the sun went over the horion, we sat outside enjoying the company, the food, the drink and the spring sunshine warmth.
Juliska and Árpád had brought some great presents from Hungary including silver ear rings for Ildi and white metal cuff links and tie pin for Ilari. Also they gave them some unique ceramic from Hungary which is glazed with a superb metal finish.
The Ilari family home is one of the most unique that I have visited in recent times. Their love of art predominates and every wall is covered with paintings from well known, as well as not so well known artists.
Ilari is on the far right
When they stopped filling the walls with paintings, most unusually, you could see paintings affixed to the roof! :-)
The final touch was the Guest Book signing which was specially prepared and brought from Hungary.
There were three almost identical booklets, one for Jorma & Heli, one for Juliska and Árpád and one for Ilari & Ildi.
The last page of each featured a beautiful Transylvanian woodcut.
It was way past my bedtime when we left Jorma & Heli place.
I got home and briefed Annikki on the happenings and showed her the collection of photographs so she could feel as if she had been there. After checking and clearing my email, I took my computer headphones to listen to "Ring of Fire", a Talk Show hosted by Bobby Kennedy Jr. As I climbed into bed at 12:49 am, Bobby was just announcing that his next guest was going to be my good friend and best Talk Show Host in the world, Mike Malloy.
Great, I thought, what a surprise to get to hear Mike on a Saturday night.
My head hit the pillow at 12:50. I did not see 12:51 and missed Mike!
People say it is so difficult to get to sleep - not ME!