Diary entry from Soppero
I need to pinch myself. In my wildest dreams I didn't think that I would be enjoying this as much as I am. Sure there are challenges, both mental and physical, but the rewards continue to outweigh the hardship. I did get over cold yesterday, I didn't take enough care and the panic I felt when I lost the feeling in my little finger taught me to look for the signs of cold injuries.
I am totally alone for the first time since we left (apart from the 'long drop' visits, which are kept to a minimum) and whilst I have felt blissful solitude on the journey there have always been others in sight, but now I am sitting by the fire in a lodge belonging to a Sami herdsman and his family with not a soul around. It is pretty luxurious, running water and a flushing loo as well as electricity and we have been fed on lingon berries and reindeer meat from their herd, not even having to cook. I even have a glass of wine in my hand - not challenging, but deserved!
Per Nils and his wife, Brit Marie, our hosts are pretty famous round here and Brit Marie is currently working on a survival course with Ray Mears' School not far from here and I have discovered that it was her they filmed joiking for the series. Per Nils has cooked for us and he has been very entertaining, oiled by some liquid firewater, which I understand may have come from Slovakia... is Milos to blame? The rest of the party are either drinking vodka, feeding dogs, having a sauna or rolling naked in the snow. As I am doing the morning feed shift and the other activities didn't appeal tonight I am making the most of letting my mind wander in the quiet space by the fire and warming my toes in my Father's socks. He'd have approved, I feel sure.