A Journal of the Plague Year Week 15

Sunday 21st June 2020

Yesterday was the longest day for Britain. The sun rose at 4.30 and it got dark at 10.30. Across Eastern and Northern Europe especially pre-Christian festivals are kicking off this week depending on where their summer solstice will fall, with drunken shenanigans in the wilderness, wreaths and flowers in their hair and lots of bonfires through the night. I’ve done Midsommar in Sweden a couple of times, and it’s always perfection.

Lithuania

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Poland

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Slovakia

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Sweden

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Norway

NIkolai Astrup

Nikolai Astrup

Alesund enjoys the worlds biggest bonfire 40m /130ft high over the fjords

Belarus

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Russia

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Latvia – a fantastic series is here, by Espen Rasmussen: https://espenrasmussen.com/STORIES-II/A-MIDSUMMER-NIGHTS-DREAM-2006/3

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Stonehenge will be taped off this year.

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All this comes on the fact I’ve spent most of the day indoors, having succumbed to microwave food coma after lunch. It’s 8pm and still light, another few hours to go before nightfall, and not one druid seance, or dance round a fire thrown in.

But fuck it, enough on my plate to feel guilty about it. Life’s too short, in the best possible way. It doesn’t mean you have to be jetsetting around living it To The Maxxx, rather don’t sweat the small stuff. Hello sun, goodbye sun.

Made Ukrainian latke for dindins, fried potato cakes with carrot, onions and sour cream dip. Will try aged cheddar in the mix next time, a stronger flavour as the sheeps cheese was undetectable. Then another magical dusk walk, the one after dinner to digest that the Mediterranean peeps traditionally do. In Greece it’s called the Volta, or the Peripato, in Italy the Passegiata. Saw some foxes, and gaggles of teenagers on street corner, the kind good natured and sober, as opposed to knifey and drunk like when I was growing up. Generation Z is so much more grown up than we ever were.

Yesterday

Tomorrow

A Journal of the Plague Year Day 93

Saturday 20th June 2020

Today was the longest day -early this year. The sun got up at 4.30am and went to bed again by 11pm, when the last of its colour vanished from the skies. A friend happened to have a beeday in Clapham Common and it was rammed -the first sunny day in about 2 weeks, plus it being midsummer solstice and a Saturday – I reckon about 5,000 people out on the Common. There were constantly about 6-10 of us on socially distanced matting with people passing through and being replaced though I didn’t know anyone, but we got on fab, got drunk and played pictionary.

Tried to have a conversation with a couple where the inevitable –so where are you from? or what do you do? didn’t come up, and wait for the info to be volunteered -I think that’s a new politesse for London. The guy was talking about his work needing him to travel and decamp to NYC etc, and his accent hard to place. In the end he mentioned he’d studied interior design and was from Malaga, and his partner French, probably from Caribbean ancestry being able to speak Creole, (alongside Spanish, French, English and Portuguese). I think we got on so well because none of us ever asked those ubiquitous questions, a sign we weren’t judgmental.

The birthday boy and his other half, friends of J, were moving to a wild, tropical part of China -Yunnan province that’s wreathed in jungle and hilltribes -having been yoga teachers and Buddhists, so a bittersweet goodbye. Everyone pissed by then and fucking the social distancing, hugging at the end. We’re idiots.

Much of the crowd had diminished by then.

bty

Though still in numbers at 9.15pm

bty

There was a 250 year old churchyard right by us -Our Poor Lady Trinity St Clappers -which is surely sending a lengthy naughty list to Santa, or Satan. Because the police had closed the loos to discourage people staying too long, and the common without many bushes every fucker was using the site as an open air urinal. Couldn’t believe it but hundreds of men were pissing on the walls for hours, I counted about 12 stains at any one time on the back stretch alone, gravitating like furtive zombies staring into brick. I cannot imagine what the stench must’ve been like, wafting occasionally downwind and killing horses. Nor the poor deacon who’ll swing by tomorrow (services are still banned thankfully) and faint. Yours truly used a bush by the corner of the skatepark, AWKWARD when the family went by, everyone meerkatting their attention to the amazing lawn.

A had stayed behind to work on his CV and apply for jobs but once home, we went for a toke through languid streets, sunset turning to the midnight blue of dusk. What a lovely fucking day.

My Stonehenge moment:

bty

Yesterday

Tomorrow