Colin Clark’s WRC testing diary: Midsummer at the Yellow House

There were dashed hopes of a long-overdue haircut. Celebrating Midsummer at Ouninpohja's Yellow House made up for it

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Happy Midsummer everyone. Did you know that this is the biggest holiday outside of Christmas in this part of the world? No, I didn’t either. That’s why I found myself wandering the streets of a deserted Jyväskylä early this morning looking fruitlessly for a barber shop that was open. I know, I know, I should have been working. But the opportunity was too much to ignore.

You see, back home in the United Kingdom, barber shops have been closed since mid-March and are not likely to open until the end of July at the earliest.

As much as I was looking forward to seeing the flying Hyundais of Tänak and Neuville, and the Toyotas tearing up the Finnish gravel for the first time in three months, I was perhaps even more looking forward to 20 minutes in the barber’s chair; having my unruly locks trimmed and getting those pesky nasal hairs that you didn’t realise could possibly grow so long sorted out.

Today was the day where I’d put aside a couple of hours to pamper myself and make myself look beautiful again. Don’t laugh. I know it’s not an easy task, but you have to think positively about these things.

Colin Clark's close shave

This is what happened the last time I went solo for a close shave. Looks like it'll be the same again...

But Midsummer decided to get in the way. When we talk about long holiday weekends in the UK, it invariably means that Monday is a holiday and the frivolity starts Friday night. Not here in Finland. Midsummer weekend starts on the Friday and quite literally everyone leaves town to head for the hills. Or rather, they head for the lakes and their summer houses.

Jyväskylä, that pulsating hub of Finnish rallying, was a ghost town this morning. Every barber had shut up shop, packed the cool box full of Lapin Kulta and headed off to get very drunk with their mates in the forests.

Oh well. It’ll have to be a scalping once I’m home again. Even if the last time doing the same thing left me looking like the long-lost twin of Walter White from Breaking Bad.

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Myself and Heikki the cameraman headed south out out of Jyväskylä and back towards the bright lights of Helsinki. On the way we decided on one last pilgrimage to Ouninpohja and the famous Yellow House jump. We were very fortunate to find the owners at home and enjoyed a little bit of Midsummer hospitality with its very convivial residents who, would you believe, have owned the Yellow House for over 80 years.

Keep an eye out on DirtFish for a little piece we did there later in the week.

Right, it’s late again, and I’m off to acquaint myself with some plump new Finnish pillows. Night night, rally friends.

Words:Colin Clark

Photos:DirtFish Media, Colin Clark