Last night's solstice tour of Stirchley was momentous, not only for the various mapped oddities observed in lockdown and now pinned on a community map, and not only for the epic skyscapes that greeted us, but for the sense of returning to the world of people and celebrating together.
After all, this was a planned Saturday night event, with a group of friends, meeting in real life, with drinking and banter that was kind of like going to the pub again. It felt wonderful. At one scenic viewpoint, looking over the rooftops of Little London (Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets), I sounded my barbaric yawp at the last scud of the day, as per Walt Whitman's poem, which we later read.
The full walk report over on Walkspace – A tour of Stirchley's delights for the Summer Solstice – but in short this is what happened…
Five of us toured various points of interest, from natural phenomena (inosculated tree trunks, gingko biloba trees, a rogue poplar, a curtain of bindweed in bloom) to human infrastructure (hall of mirrors, a caged garden, a BMX track). At 9.30ish, we gathered on high ground to toast the sun's disappearance with weird beers and frivolous prosecco. We stopped to mark the precise moment of the Solstice at 10.43pm and then talked and laughed some more.
It was bloody great. Some kind of rejuvenation of the soul after weeks of semi-isolation.
I woke at 4am with some kind of hay fever attack so I also saw the Solstice 'sunrise' – a miserable, drizzly, grey affair.
This afternoon I joined Sustainable Life for an hour-long online foraging course around Ten Acres in Stirchley. They also run bushcraft and tree ident courses. I harvested some hogweed seeds, thanks to the course. They smell of oranges!
In the early evening I planted some lettuces, black tomatoes, dill and coriander at the allotment, before bumping into a few more friends, some of whom I haven't seen for months.
It's been a good weekend. I'm tired in a good way and ready for another full week.
It's Father's Day today in the UK. There have been some lovely photos and tributes being shared by friends and family. I can't believe I haven't seen my Dad for 24 years since he passed away. But he's always there and I'll never forget his face, which is often reflected in the mirror when I pin my hair back. It's also in my sense of humour, and in my love of literature and music, and in the moments of staring out the window at the sky.
Here he is smiling and dancing with my Mum. I'm thankful for both of them even if they are no longer here.
Commission/hire me: fiona [at] fionacullinan.com