The rainbow across the road

This morning, when the sun came up, we could see it. This hasn’t happened in Stockholm since we’ve been here. Actually, it’s only the second time since we’ve been in Sweden. Mirinda decided we had to make the most of it. We loaded the girls into Max and headed for Flaten Lake.

And it looked beautiful in the sunshine.

When we walked here last week, we went right so this morning we decided to go left.

It’s more a track than a path and it winds around the lake. It is dotted with little vantage points occasionally making themselves known by little scrubby tracks leading to massive great rocks. I took the photo above from one of them.

We walked along a bit then retraced our steps to the big beach area at the main entrance. Mirinda wanted to go to the right, so I sat on a bench, in the sun, like an old Italian man sitting outside a pizzeria in Alberobello. Or a pharmacy on a Paris street.

I’d intended to sit and read, soaking up some Vit D. I spent most of my time writing my blog and WhatsApping with Denise. Mind you, I did manage to absorb plenty of Vit D.

I did visit the loo. Now, that might feel like an unnecessary detail but it bears discussion because of the toilet. Or, as we archaeologists call it, The Turdis.

I have no idea what the collective noun is for a long line of portaloos.

I sent the above photo to Dawn, saying they reminded me of her. She has a dread hatred of them. I’m sure there’s countless mentions of the fact littering this blog. She replied:

It’s nice that portaloos will forever remind you of me!

She also suggested that the one on the extreme right looked somewhat unstable. I’d call it the Turdis of Last Resort. I pointed out that the one on the extreme left was a disabled portaloo. That’s not to say it wasn’t working. It’s actually extra wide.

But, back to the lake…

We saw quite a few people out and about this morning. Clearly, the sun dragged them out. Most of them had dogs, most of which were off lead. This was good to see because, for us foreigners, it’s quite difficult to find places where they can be off lead. The beach down south was fine but here, in the fringes of Stockholm, it’s not so obvious.

Still, as the wise Swedish woman said on the ferry “If there’s no sign that says you can’t, then you can.

Dogs aside, as we were about to leave the lake, a huge group of teenaged school kids arrived, on some sort of school outing. There was not a lot of social distancing. They managed to take up the entire path as they chitter chattered along behind a rather stern looking bearded teacher. The only friendly face was another teacher bringing up the rear of the long column.

The rest of the day was spent at the house as Mirinda had a couple of very important meetings. I researched a few more Surrey war dead, which I’ll keep doing until I’m told otherwise.

While the blue sky was eventually replaced with the almost constantly around grey clouds, it didn’t rain at all. Which makes the appearance of a rainbow across the road, quite odd. Still, there you have it.

Today, this happened

In 1868, the first African American was elected to the US Congress, today. His name was John Willis Menard. He was elected as a Republican, replacing a Democrat who had died in office. However, his opponent, Caleb Hunt, contested the result of the election, and he never sat in the house.

“The freeing of the long-oppressed race will not be adequate, and the great cause of equal rights will not be accomplished, until the colored man is seen in every department of the Government.”

John Willis Menard campaign literature for the Louisiana Republican Party, 1868.

He did address the Chamber though which was also a first.

Following his opponents challenge, the matter went to the Senate and was debated then voted on but the result was inconclusive so neither of the men were seated. At the time, future president James A. Garfield, reportedly said that the time wasn’t right for an African American to be elected to Congress.

John was quite amazing. He was many things over his lifetime. A poet, a politician, a newspaper owner. During the American Civil War he worked under Abraham Lincoln as a Clerk in the Department of the Interior and was sent to Honduras in 1863 to check it out for a possible colony for freed slaves.

Sadly, while working for the Department of the Interior he seems to have been fired because his fellow (white) workers were upset that he was being paid the same amount of money as they were. For doing the same job. He was offered a smaller salary by the Secretary of the Interior but John, quite rightly, said “No!

I’d like to think he told them to fuck off. He was probably more polite than me though.

John died in 1893, aged only 55. A contemporary obituary said “He was a man of brilliant intellect and great ability, but his ambitious hopes were doomed to disappointment.” Imagine being so ambitious as to wish to be elected to the seemingly democratic government of your own country but being seen as doomed to disappointment. I guess that’s what they call the American Dream.

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