The Pits

I had to be reminded that today, June 20th, is the summer solstice, which I was expecting tomorrow on June 21st. Until today I don’t think I was aware the date shifts slightly every few years. The solar system likes to keep humans on their toes.

I feel like I did a lot of outdoor loafing when I was based more permanently in Cambridge but this enforced stay has really opened my eyes to the number of low profile outdoor spaces that Cantabrigians miss because they’re focusing on the main greens.

Elizabeth, Amy and I had a long overdue reunion at Cherry Hinton Brook so we could cycle along it and sprawl on a patch of grass at the other end, along with socially distanced snacks. After Elizabeth had to retreat and resume baby care duties, Amy and I pootled onward to Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits. Amy loves an orchid, so we did a sweep and found one bee orchid, so named because the lip is highly adapted to mimic the appearance of a bee, attracting mates who come and transfer pollen.

On the gate to the chalk pits the local Wildlife Trust is advertising a summer evening activity to search for glow worms and eat cheese. These sites do need to be more accessible to people who wouldn’t be able to tell a slab of brie from a morsel of roquefort but overall I’m a fan of wildlife events like these being used as a source of funding for conservation activities. I think this event, not essential for society to function, signifies the UK really is ending the restrictions around coronavirus.

Amy and I hopped into the wooded patch adjacent to the chalk pits, which is another green space that I hadn’t realised existed. We couldn’t agree on the definitions of glade and spinney, which has been a long-running issue in our friendship.

I met my friend Wayne and had a couple of cans of cider in Grantchester Meadows. On the way back I passed a family walking and a teenage girl was arguing with her parents about the video of George Floyd’s death. She was begging them to watch the clip, and they were shushing her like her outrage wasn’t important or valid. I think public commotion over an event like that should break the status quo of wholesome walks in the park and stoic emotions. If it doesn’t, the balance of inequality and discrimination will never change. Good on her for pushing it.

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