Friday, July 20
Garden, Helsinki, 15:00
I woke at 3:30 in sweltering, oppressive heat that felt as though a storm would arrive soon. I lay there sweating and waiting, and at 5:00 I heard a sudden and torrential rain start falling. The atmosphere completely changed within a couple of minutes and I fell into a deep sleep.
The heavy rain continued when I woke at 9:15. Irma went to collect the pictures we had had framed while I got up. An hour later, as we had breakfast and she told me about the bus queue full of people in autumn jackets (because never mind the 28 degree temperature: rain!), the rain still fell.
The rain stopped, or almost stopped and I adopted the opposite approach. I went out after breakfast and started picking the second redcurrant bush wearing only a lunghi. I felt warm and the water bounced off my body. After thirty minutes Irma called me in. I had suffered the frog in slowly boiling water effect. The rain had gradually got heavier and I had failed to notice, as it bounced off my body more frequently. When I got to the door I realised it had begun pouring down again.
This process continued and I felt as though I might feel picking berries outside in the monsoon in Goa. The rain felt warm and the wind had disappeared and I spent until 14:00 switching between sitting at my laptop writing while rain poured down, and standing outside in a light drizzle picking redcurrants.
While picking berries in the rain I catch Sunshine sleeping. He has laid full-length in a flower box that sits under the overhang of the terrace roof. He opens one eye to look at me when I approach and then goes back to sleep; completely dry, but able to hear and smell the rain.
By the time I stop I will have collected five boxes of plump ripe berries, and almost all of the ones that I have left on the bushes will look pale, hard and inedible.
I will go for a long walk listening to Kendl Winter’s new solo album, Stumbler’s Business, which sounds as though I will need to listen to it two or three more times before deciding on how I feel about it. I like it on first hearing but it has nothing that shouts at you. I will suspect, however, that it has a number of little jewels that will reward repeated attention.
We will go to Prisma to buy groceries and then eat dinner. I will spend some time afterwards cleaning the floors before settling down to read.