Summer solstice, 21 June, and for the last 10 years I have been in Greece to celebrate it. With the sun at its highest, at the zenith (13.00 with adjustment for summer time) I’ve made a point of taking a photo of my shadow, the shortest me.
This year like everyone else, except senior Government advisers, I’m stuck at home. But I go up the mountain behind the house every day for my daily dose of exercise in an attempt to keep myself relatively fit and sane while staying out of the way of the virus should it be lurking around. No need to go out for a drive to test my eyes.
On my solstice jaunt this year the sun came out from behind shower clouds briefly and gave the opportunity to take a photo of the shortest me in the UK. Not unexpectedly, at 15 degrees further north and the sun correspondingly lower in the sky, it shows that I’m significantly taller here than in the Greek islands.
Rumbles and rumours about international flights and the re-opening of borders means that I harbour a hope of getting back to Greece September/October. The talk is of ‘air-bridges’ with countries which have a low infection rate for the virus. Greece certainly fits into that category with a total of 190 deaths, a rate of 18 per million population. But why would any country want to establish an air-bridge with the UK with a death rate from the virus of 628 per million, the highest in the world (as at 22 June see )? Still, I’m mildly optimistic.
In the meantime, I periodically look back at the islands at this time of year where there is still some colour left before everything crisps up, swallows and swallow-tails are swooping around and tortoises have not yet hidden from the heat.