Today, in 1862, Charles Dodgson floated down a placid English river and told a story to the occupants of his boat. That story was Alice’s Adventures Underground. While we did absolutely nothing to celebrate it this year, we did cross a bridge over very blue water, to a magical wonderland.
Being a Sunday, we went to Café Notholmen. Obviously.
And, speaking of beautiful water, Mirinda managed to achieve the third thing she has wanted to do before we leave Sweden. She went for a swim in a lake.
This morning, armed with a towel as well as her flask of coffee and the girls, she set off. She strode through the forest until she reached a favourite lake (Gammeldammen). She slid down a convenient rock, into the perfect temperatured water while the dogs watched, confused.
I’d thought that at least Emma would have gone in after her but, no, neither of the dogs went into the water. Emma went searching for sticks and pine cones while Freya just investigated interesting things. For dogs made up of breeds specifically bred for retrieving in water, they are a bit water adverse.
Mirinda had a wonderful swim, going well into the lake and back. She loved it. What she didn’t love was the difficulty getting out again.
The rocks were very slippery and there’s not exactly any handholds. She said to me that a fallen tree would have been quite handy. Still, she managed to scramble ashore and, filled with the joy of having swum in a lake, she came home to tell me about it.
In the UK, where natural things are a bit scary, this is called ‘Wild Swimming’. In Sweden, it’s called ‘swimming’. I’ve found a NatGeo article on it here, but, if you ask me as an Australian, it’s just swimming. Just because the swimmer isn’t covered in chemicals does not make it so much wild as natural.
Having returned home, Mirinda Skyped with Bob and Fiona, being swamped with news about the two week lockdown that they’re being subjected to. Bob was due to take Judy back to Queensland but the lockdown has made that impossible. This has made it difficult for Judy because she hates the cold. It seems she’ll remain in bed until the temperature rises.
Fiona, on the other hand, is fine because in Queensland the lockdown only lasted a couple of days. This, Mirinda assured her, was not a lockdown, it was a weekend.
In the meanwhilst, here in Sweden, what little restrictions there were, were almost all lifted on July 1. There has been a sudden decrease in mask use since the announcement was made. Not that masks were ever mandatory.
On the Island we sat on one of the few shady benches and enjoyed a linner of räkmacka.
Halfway through our meal we had another lovely chat with Evelyn during her break from the kitchen. I told her she was our oldest friend in Sweden. I think that made her happy. We have all sworn to keep in touch.
It’s actually quite good having a break halfway through the räkmacka at Notholmen because it’s so packed full of protein and is very filling. Stopping halfway allows the stomach to properly digest the first half before you then pile on the second.
As the sun moved, so did we. We took up residence on the second terrace out the back which is conveniently shaded by a couple of massive trees. I had a second beer while we watched the people and thought about how much we’ll miss the place.
Our final walk across this bridge will be very sad.
Back at home, Mirinda Skyped with Sophie who told her, among other things, that she enjoyed my podcast this week. The one about Midsummer. I was very pleased because I’m never sure if anyone listens.