Pandemic Pondering#454

Summer solstice, the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere has been rather a damp squib. ( A squib is a small firework, a damp one does not go off. Thus a damp squib of a day fails to live up to expectation.) The dawn swim occurred with a backdrop of gently changing greys and raindrops landing on our salty faces. The Bobbers, of course, were a brightly coloured pod of swimmers all there to be in the water at sunrise to support the three Bobbers who were in the water to swim a kilometre for a local charity. Dry land supporters were also there. Visible sunrise, or not, the elite Bobbers raised just over £800 for local charity Barefoot Project.

The gap between sunrise and sunset continued to be a damp and grey day but a solstice is a solstice and Bobbers who could not make the early morning dip commited to swimming at sunset.

The sun turned up just in time to set, like a friend who makes it to an agreed meeting five minutes before everyone else has to leave. Not one to just slip in quietly the sun was spectacular.

Even blessing the Madonna with a large coffee cup with some rainbow bathing, what a difference 16 hours makes!

Eventually only two Bobbers made both a sunrise and sunset swim.

But it was a day well lived.

Pandemic Pondering #360

Yesterday was a strange day topped off by a sunset swim. The water was calm but chilly, it was possible to bask in the setting sun when swimming towards the west.

Nothing was quite as it should be yesterday. @theoldmortuary is close to three graveyards, an older church one that has expanded into fields behind it and more recently, on the opposite side of the lane leading to a nature reserve,a new graveyard in more fields for more recent burials. We are well used to funerals of all sorts and their associated traffic. A neighbour but unknown to us, died recently and was being taken elsewhere for her service and committal yesterday morning. Being at the beginning of a final journey rather than the end felt dystopian with the undertaker performing a slow walk ahead of the hearse as they drove away from the family home.

After a year of behavioural changes it is a little unnerving to always witness the sadness of strangers without the balance of being voyeurs to the joyful church events of Baptism and Weddings. Brightly coloured family dramas played out just steps away from our front door.

These things are the rituals that link us to the past. This is probably the only year in more than 400 where the church and the pub, sentinels either side of a lane have not shared in the celebrations and condolences of church based family events.

The two buildings are linked in these moments. People crossing, sometimes wobbly legged and weepy, between the two in the time before and after the main events. Weeping is not reserved for funerals!

Just having the church and bereavement gatherings seems unbalanced. Life will be better when happy and sad people can seek refuge in the pub, before or after church and turn their legs wobbly if that is what the situation requires.