In the fantasy version of my life I live in a Jacobean farmhouse somewhere, with a lavender and pink rose border lining the path to the front foor, and herbaceous borders the lawns. And somewhere there’s a perfect kitchen garden, full of pretty vegetables and herbs and edible flowers. I’m not much of a gardener, truth to be told tho, so I will probably always keep indulging in this fantasy merely by visiting other people’s gardens…
Today is the second day of St Giles Fair in Oxford, a date in the calendar that symbolically marks the end of the summer; Oxfordshire state schools start on the Wednesday after the fair, and the next big festival is Christmas. The end of summer compelled me to look at photos in my camera, taken while visiting Finland this summer, and somehow they didn’t quite bring back happy memories of a golden summer, even if the trip itself was perfectly pleasant. These are pictures of days so quiet times seems to stop (and not always in a good way), of doing nothing, of solitary walks when one’s yearning for company, of overcast days when the temperature refuses to raise above +16 degrees and the most exciting thing that happens all day long is heating the sauna.
I’m ready for the autumn.
Better late than never. I finally got around to going through the summer photos, which brought both few moments of happiness and few moments of crushing disappointment. Whole set of photos taken in a fishing port in Haukipudas, northern Finland, were overexposed beyond salvation – the day was in turns cloudy and sunny and rainy, and my settings just didn’t keep up.
Small fishing boats – the main fleet was out on the sea.
For the first time in a very long time I visited Helsinki. Ten years ago it was a big city. After years of regularly going to London it’s small, idyllic, pretty and parochial. But it has a good drive – lots of culture, especially indie and alternative, and the city is just small enough to have the kind of creative atmosphere bigger cities sometimes lack. And it is by the sea. Oh the sea! Eight years in the most landlocked place of this island has made me ache for the sea. For the rocky shores of southern Finland, for the marshes and reeds of northern Finland, and for the gentle waters of the Baltic. The water is not as salty as “proper” seawater, so it is dark brown in colour, and the contrast with the blue skies brilliant.
Sveaborg off the coast of Helsinki. This place has the feel of all Chekhov’s plays rolled together, of time standing still on the empty courtyards and in the windswept houses. This used to be military base, and the houses are like barracks. Same architects who built St. Petersburg built Helsinki too, and it’s for me impossible to think of one without thinking the other.
The Military Academy church has a lighthouse in its bell tower.
The walls are looking at you.
Laundry drying on wooden rails.