Yesterday, we thought it might be nice to go and walk around a big lake. You know, as you do.
It was only -4°C in Tallinn town centre as we sauntered over to the trolley bus stop, sweating uncomfortably in such unexpectedly high temperatures. (Seriously. There’s a display board outside the shopping centre next door, which has a digital display showing the time and temperature, and I realised to my horror the other day that I had, in fact, just glanced at it saying “It’s not cold at all, today. Ah-ha! It’s only minus two.”)
Are you aware of trolley buses? We didn’t have such things, where I come from. They’re great fun, they really are. They’re basically oversized dodgems posing as public transport. Instead of having them run on tram tracks, there’s a large network of wires strung up overhead, and each bus has a kind of handle thing emerging from the roof, which touches said wires and provides the power. Obviously there aren’t twenty other trolley buses purposely trying to bump into you, and none of the drivers are small children being aided by responsible fathers. But the similarities are there, nonetheless.
Anyhoo, we got off the trolley bus somewhere near the aforementioned big lake, and noted that the temperature had apparently dropped about thirty degrees in the twenty minutes that we’d been travelling. My Silly Hat is no longer sufficient. Living in Tallinn is like living in a very large chest freezer. I have begun work on a Scarf Hat.
For now, though, I have to make do with tucking the pompoms of my Silly Hat as far into my ridiculously heavy coat as I can, thus pulling the Silly Hat down over my ears, whilst turning my collar as far up as it will go, thrusting my poor, frostbitten fingers deep into my pockets, and exclaiming “Bloody hell!” at regular intervals. It was in this manner that I arrived at the Big Lake, just as the sun was setting.
It all looked very pretty and scenic. There were reeds and bulrushes and that sort of thing growing at the edges, the setting sun casting long shadows from them across the surface of the water. There was a little beach at the water’s edge, with lots of playground games, a picnic area, and so on. Lots of people were milling around – a sweet young family were waving sparklers left over from New Year’s Eve, and others were simply out for a nice stroll. A little old lady was taking a shortcut across the lake with her grocery shooping bags in hand.
This last one was admittedly rather strange, and as we drew closer to the lake, we saw dozens of people walking cheerfully across the surface of the water. Local people were using it as a shortcut. A group of teenagers appeared to be having a picnic in the middle of it. Not to be outdone by these crazy Estonians and their strange ways, I approached the water’s edge and tentatively set foot on the surface. I took a small step… then another… and behold! I was walking on water without any difficulty whatsoever – with the exception of, perhaps, balance.
My list of lifetime achievements is just growing by the day…