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How old is the school?

I don’t know exactly. The site has been “separated” (I don’t know this legal term in English. What is “erottaa tontti” in English?) in 1924. There are, however, some other, contradictionary clues to the age of the building. There’s a writing on the wall at one place: “This is going to be a fine school, 1910″ and the signature of the builder. But we found a board where it has a year 1906 on it. But the oldest piece of goods found in the house was a piece of newspaper from year 1886 which I found a couple of weeks ago in the floor’s insulation moss. But it could be that the paper was old already when it got among the moss. Here’s the picture of the paper.

The newspaper from 1886

The paper is called Suometar (Lady Finn or Ms. Finn or Virgin Finn – Female Finn, you get the idea?). There’s at least a story of a Finn who died abroad in a steam ship’s explosion. I’ve found other paper’s, too. On top of the moss there’s a layer of cutter chips (also a common insulation material) and among it I’ve found several papers from the late 40’s, just after the war. My favorite stories in these papers are the small ads sections. There was one ad where a man had “forgotten” a shotgun in a train and promised a reward for the one who would return the gun. Who just “forgets” a shotgun in a train? I suspect that he was a bit drunk, dozed off and woke up at the station, ran off the train and THEN realized he had forgotten the gun. You see people like that on the trains all the time nowadays, too. Maybe without guns, though.

There was also an ad where a reward was promised for a missing white cat who ran away in a park. After you read this kind of ad, you become immediately worried. This was probably an old lonely lady who’s tired of the war and whose relatives are dead. Her only comfort is a that cat. She’s poor but still she spent a large sum of money to place an ad to find her cat. Did she find the cat? I hope so. It amazes me how people, after having to fear for themselves, their relatives and their country men for many years in the war, still have strenght to worry about their cats.

That’s just one example of layers I’ve found in the house. The cutter chips were added when the floor was renovated in the late 40’s. It seems that the school has undergone a big renovation then. The roof tiles, for example, have been laid on newspapers when they were cast. So, you can see text behind the tiles. I found a year from one of the tiles and that was from the late 40’s, too. Under the tiles there’s an old roofing felt, apparently older than the tiles.

My wife just kindly hinted me that I should write something of her too. Well, she’s a nice person, very beautiful and I love her a lot. She’s a teacher at a children’s art school here in Oulu, Finland.

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The House

Now finally about the house. We are fixing an old timber school to be our home. We bought it in the spring 2003. The roof has leaked, there was a fire in the early 90’s, and there’s water damage from frozen and broken pipings as well as from fire fighting water. Some of the lowest timbers and the corners under leaking roof were rotten. Here’s how it looked like in summer 2005:

The school in summer 2005

A lot had been done by the time of the picture. We had scraped of the old paint from many places and painted the walls. Most of the rotten timber had been replaced. Most windows had been renovated. The roof had been washed (that was hard: about 4 weeks on the roof in a tiring position with a pressure washer) and the almost all tiles had been painted (that was even harder than washing them). I had made new foundation rocks for the new part of the house with a gas driven rock drill (made you feel like a man as the drill was almost as high as I was and made a pretty loud noise). The floors had been opened and new boards placed under the floor (I had to adjust those last autumn). Almost all fire places’ (there are 7 in total) foundations had been surrounded with concrete (there were rocks before). New supports were made under the floor. In the picture you see the signs of the fire: black areas on the right. The white timber in the corner is the replacement of the rotten timber: that’s were the roof had leaked. The wall on the other side of the roof had similar damage: it’s been fixed there, now. The roof is nicely blue :)

 This is how the house looks like now:

The house in summer 2006

The new part has a roof on it :) Inside doesn’t look as good…

Inside summer 2006

…but we are getting there. Slowly. It looks a bit better now that I’ve finished the wall on the right side of the ovens and cleaned a bit.

 This is our life too. Our turtles Tinttu, Tanttu, Leevi and Ralph spend sometimes some time on the construction site. They have a nice pool at my parents’ house on the other side of Siikajoki (Siika river), but the place on the construction site where this little “pool” is, is very warm and there’s plenty of dirt to dig eggs into (they are impossible when they’re having eggs if they can’t dig them somewhere).

The turtles on the construction site

Here’s one more picture for now:

Nuffield

That’s a tractor we borrowed from our neighbour to do some yard work. It’s a Nuffield tractor. That tractor had ‘nuf power (are you guessing where this site got its name?).

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