The History Of Tar-making & The Kuortane “Terwaviikko” Event

When I asked about visiting the Terwaviikko (Tar Week) event in Kuortane, I was quickly introduced to Michael Hutchinson-Reis, a fellow Londoner in Finland, who is now firmly involved in the Lions Club of Kuortane that organises the weeklong tar-making event that takes three years of preparation.

Michael invited me to visit the tar pit in Kuortane a few times across the week, to learn how tar is made and to witness different stages of the tar-making process, during an event that has great cultural and historical importance to the village of Kuortane.

Pyhävuori – The Holy Mountain of Alajärvi

In this episode, I am joined again by Craterologist, Teemu Öhman, to revisit the subject of Pyhävuori. It’s an area overlooking Lake Lappajärvi, that is full of geological interest and historical mythology, featuring trolls, hermits and a sacrificial stone. From the ice age to modern days.

Following this recording, Glenn Murray and I went out to explore (and as you can see in the video) get slightly lost on) the holy mountain, Pyhävuori.

“Ammunition, Fascism, Photography” A Few Steps Through the History of Lapua

As part of my guided tour around Culture Centre ‘Vanha Paukku’ in Lapua, we stop for an extended visit in the Lapuanjoki Museum. Museum Director, Sakari Hanhimäki and Cultural Director, Susanna Oversteyns regale me with historical tales of Espionage, Poisoning, Fascism, An Attempted Coup… and Photography!? Includes an intriguing revelation from Susanna’s family history.

Finnish rugby. Seinäjoki Rugby. Snow Rugby!

I speak with Olli-Pekka Tuomaala & James McDade from Seinäjoki Rugby club talk about rugby in Finland; the history of the game in Finland, the development of rugby in Finland as a summer contact sport and how Finland is no longer the worst National rugby team. We also discuss the annual snow rugby competition because, if rugby isn’t a tough enough sport, the Finns have found a way to take it up a notch.

A Guided Tour of Kyrö Whisky and Gin Distillery

In part two of a two-part episode, I speak with Kalle Valkonen , Co-Founder and Head Distiller at Kyrö Distillery. He gives me a personal tour of the distillery, taking me step-by-step through the distilling processes of both Kyrö Rye Whisky & Kyrö Napue Gin and answering questions, such as: What is malting? And what are the ‘heads and tails’?

A Winter Visit To Ähtäri Zoo & SnowPanda Resort

In Winter 2018-19, I was commissioned to make a pilot series of a new podcast; The Ähtäri Zoo Podcast. This episode is a selection of stories from the first three interviews with people powering Ähtäri Zoo. I’m sure you will find this a fascinating look, at the workings of a modern-day zoo. Search for “Ähtäri Zoo Podcast” on your podcast player to find the whole pilot season.

Mark Wiltshear’s 12 Minute Conversation with Engel Jones

For this episode, I am grateful to Engel Jones for allowing to rebroadcast an interview that first went-out on his 12 Minute Convos podcast in January 2018.

Engel is an Entrepreneur & Podcast Host who set himself a goal: 800 recorded conversations in 12 weeks from Sep 19th – Dec 12th 2017.

In this conversation, hear me on the other side of the mic (for a change) talking about why I make the Explore Finland Radio Show, the motivation behind founding Xport, writing a blog for Visit Seinäjoki and the relevance of the Diana Ross song ‘Chain Reaction’.

If you know me, you won’t be surprised that my #12minconvo lasted 18 mins!

Preserving the Culture of a Lost Karelia

I speak to Marjo Matikainen-Källström, Satu Hallonberg and Markku Pulli about Karjalaisetkesäjuhlat; the commemoration of the evacuation of 430,000 people from Karelia after World War 2 and a celebration of continuing Karelian culture. I then speak to Satu (now Mrs Wiltshear) who shares some of her family’s memories as evacuees from Karjala.

A Tour Around Lappajärvi, Europe’s Largest Crater Lake

In this episode, I speak to Teemu Öhman who is a Craterologist or, to be more precise, an Earth and planetary scientist and lecturer at Arctic Planetary Science Institute.

Teemu explained about the creation of Lake Lappajärvi in Etelä-Pohjanmaa, and then gave some recommendations of places to visit in the Lappajärvi area. All of which you can discover for yourself, using the new virtual Craterlake Geotrail

Kristina Vänni’s ‘Homefarm’ Cookbook: Taking Finnish Cuisine into American Kitchens

I speak to internationally recognised culinary authority and TV host, Kristina Vänni, who is also a food writer, TV host, recipe developer, cooking contest expert. We discuss her upcoming cookbook, Homefarm, but also her Finnish roots in Peräseinäjoki, Etelä Pohjanmaa.

She tells the the story of her Great-Grandmother, Josefiina Pitäkranta’s emigration to the USA in 1899 and how Kristina came to connect with her distant relatives, her ‘return’ to Pitkäranta Farm and the inspiration for her book.

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