Sunday, June 13, 2021
Smoke on the Water
This unruly tangle of green is what the wildflower garden looks like now. You can see pinkish foxglove, purple comfrey, blue alkanet, yellow buttercups, lots of blooming grasses, a couple of tall teasels and some great willowherb, among other things. It's always alive with bees and other bugs.
Yesterday morning I was determined to put my life in order. First I took care of everything around the house I could think of -- the cleaning, the laundry, the houseplants, the gardening. Then I sat down and planned out my Florida trip. I made hotel reservations for St. Petersburg with my stepsister, and plotted out the timing of my visit and wrote my brother and some friends I hope to see.
Then I went a step farther and booked a 3-day stay on the Isle of Wight for Dave, Olga and me at the end of June. We've realized that between my trip and one Dave has planned in late July and early August -- to a professional development conference and to see his family -- we're going to be apart for much of the summer. So this will be our little escape!
It feels so good to get all that done. Now I feel like I have everything under control, at least as much as possible in this time of relative uncertainty.
With my conscience lighter, and the blue sky beckoning us outside, Olga and I walked to the cemetery in the afternoon. On the way we passed a guy sitting on a bench on West End Green positively belting out songs, a capella. I thought it was pretty funny but I was surprised when we came back at least an hour later, on our way home, and he was STILL THERE! So Olga and I rested on the grass a few moments while I made a video, to share with you this guy's enthusiastic rendition of "Smoke on the Water." I'm not sure he's doing his vocal cords any favors, but he seems to be having fun.
You know how I mentioned the neighborhood party we heard on Friday night? Well, that turned out to be just a mild preview of what was to come. We heard music intermittently throughout the day yesterday, starting with singing in the morning, and last night there was a cranking celebration complete with a DJ and booming sound system. I am not exaggerating when I say it was the loudest event we've experienced in the seven years we've lived in this flat. We could barely hear our television. I may be a cranky old man, but at 10:15 p.m. I called the cops. Fortunately the music ceased at about 11 p.m.; whether the police ever turned up I'm not sure.
Incidentally, calling the cops was not easy. We tried to call a non-emergency number and no one ever picked up; finally I called 999 (the British equivalent of 911) and even there I was on hold for several minutes before I spoke to anyone. I hated to use an emergency line but I knew of no other way to reach a human.
I imagine someone is getting married and they were itching to hold an event post-lockdown, and maybe commercial wedding venues are still unavailable. (The size of gatherings is still limited, I believe, and I would be very surprised if this party fell within the limits.) If it were me and my house, I might have opted for a quieter event sans the amplified dance music. But that's just me.