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July’s jewels

July is a beautiful time of the year and
would be a strong contender if I had to choose a favourite month, although
December's not bad either. However, this year July is packed full of special
personal events that have made it one of the most anticipated Julys of recent
memory and is set to give the remaining months self-esteem issues that will
result in countless visits to the Seasonal Shrink.

The very first day of July marks the fifth anniversary
of moving to Finland in order to begin a new life away from the hustle and
bustle of the UK. In fact after five years I have yet to see any hustle, let
alone bustle, in Helsinki, so I can safely proclaim, "Mission
accomplished, so far." Personal landmarks, such as these, encourage the evaluation
of life and the progress of lifestyle decisions, but if you think I am going to
bare my soul to you guys and girls then think again you emotional vultures.

Okay, I'll throw you a bone. Upon my
arrival in Finland I was asked by my wife's family if I wanted a name day
because I continually complained that everybody had one, except yours truly. The
name 'Esa' was closest to mine and was celebrated on July 6th, a Finnish flag
day, so everybody pencilled it into their diaries, but the so-called luck of
the seventh month decided to bestow its fortunes upon somebody else: my

July 6th 2005 was the day my daughter made
her debut into this world and now my name day has been relegated behind her
birthday and Eino Leino Day, which really isn't poetic justice. After two years
of being ignored I have returned to the cynical opinion that name days are a
waste of money and are merely invented by card companies and florists. Call me
bitter, call me petty, but I really don't care, although I will convince my
daughter in later years that the flags are flying just for her.

July is month number seven, a lucky number
and, thereby, a lucky month to some, as I mentioned earlier. This year the
month is particularly auspicious due to an avalanche of sevens, with July 7th
2007 inspiring our imaginations far more than the horror associated with last
year's June 6th 2006 (666). 7/7/07 is also special to me because it is the day
my little brother has chosen to tie the knot with his fiancée and requested a
Best Man speech from me. Nerves, second thoughts and sickness will be on my
mind, but then again I can't worry about the feelings of my brother's fiancée
all day.

A family wedding, my daughter's second
birthday, an ignored name day, five years away from England, an aunt's 50th
birthday, my wife's uncle and his wife both turn 80, plus a good number of
barbeques with the prerequisite burgers, sausages and ribs washed down with a
few ice-cold bottles of lager, are all pencilled in my July 2007 diary… the
aroma of grass is also welcome.

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