Wednesday, July 18
Garden, Helsinki, 17:35
High temperature again, lots of sun, no wind: we ate breakfast outside.
I spent much of the morning pulling up a giant weed and then picking blackcurrants from the bushes before they go rotten. While I did this Irma drove to Vikke’s to get all the fish for tomorrow’s party. Sunshine stayed asleep in Naa’s room while all this went on.
We left on the 15:45 ferry and had fun with the air-conditioner. It worked when we set off and continued working until we stopped in Borgå for Irma to pick up her father’s old wedding ring, which she had had repaired as a birthday present for her mother.
When we set off from Borgå the air conditioning switched itself off and we found ourselves driving along freshly laid roads with no bumps at all. Irma tried to spot small bumps in the road and swerve to go over them but none of them proved big enough. We reached Söderkulla before we found some potholes that magically switched the air conditioning back on.
When we get home we set about resuscitating the flowers that have lived without rain or watering cans for two weeks. Some of them respond almost instantly, others less so. I sweep up all the apples that have fallen off Minna’s tree and then decide to photograph an Autumn Hortensia that sits there obviously responding to the watering it has just received.
I will finish reading I See You, the second novel by Clare Mackintosh. Her first won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year in 2016, and this one has already turned into a best seller. Irma’s mother gave it to me after she finished it and found it both annoying and forgettable. I have managed to finish it before we meet tomorrow, in order to find out why she thought what she did (although I may already know since I more or less agree with her).
The plot aspires to plausibility while remaining silly in many ways. To give just one example, the end of Chapter 36 contains the best “just don’t think about it, let’s just move the story forward” moment since an episode of Dragnet that I watched decades ago and never forgot.
Kelly felt a sudden rush of adrenaline. “We need to do a Companies House check,” she said. “It isn’t a customer who’s been using the WiFi at Espress Oh! to administer the website. It’s the owner.”
This totally implausible flash of intuition enables the police magically to skip straight from not having a clue about the identity of the villain to racing to intercept her in the nick of time.
Dragnet, however, remains the gold standard for this kind of thing. Minutes before the end of the episode that I remember Joe Friday finds out that the villain has an appointment at a barber shop. Voiceover: “There were 16 barbershops in town. I played a hunch. I played it right.” Cut to the arrest.
I will finish reading the book outside in the sun in the swing chair. Sunshine will hang around in the garden, watching me while Irma drives to Stockmann to buy cakes and roses.
When she arrives back we will strip leaves off 90 roses and arrange them in water in a bucket.
Finally, at 22:30, I will go to bed in the uncomfortable heat.