What a weird night that was! Sleep disturbed by the following:
lack of air
sore arm from the jab
plants in the garden speaking to me in French, a language I only know in a lose sort of way
Told you the dreams were wild! But we both woke feeling a bit weird but perfectly OK for a birthday-day of celebrations. I had a lovely day feeling pampered and remembered and loved.
There were hand made and carefully chosen presents sent from the UK (no duty incurred - bingo!). There was a book or two and a light board sourced through Swedish Amazon (boo hiss but what are we to do in the pandemic?) And there was a lovely birthday song from Arthur aged two, on a video link with his grandparents. He really got into the serenading once the "Aunty Jan" bit was over and launched into the rainbow song, "and purple, and bluuuuue!" followed by the wheels on the bus going round round round round round round round. It was such a charming element in my day. Good to see Jude and Dave too, including a newly bearded brother looking swish and distinguished, I thought.
We had booked tickets to see Norrdans, our very own modern ballet group, dancing outdoors at Västanå - the marvellous waterfall I've blipped several times. It was a lovely lovely day for it! Sunny and breezy (no biters) and we got a bag of coffee and sandwiches as part of the ticket price too. So the 3 o'clock audience was scattered about the area, well spaced out, and the dancers performed around us. I am not a big fan of interactive theatre and was a little bit anxious we might be dragged into something - but of course we weren't. These are the days of covid restrictions, after all.
It was quite strange, and very moving to be danced at(!), and the young dancers were chatting to the audience beforehand, establishing a lovely contact with us. We spoke for a long while to a lass from the Netherlands, Jade, who was longing to go home and see her family. Her dance was all about being in her parent's garden and taking us on a journey around it. The dancers' costumes were all on the theme of flowers, they had chosen their favourite flowers and the costumes were made accordingly. She was a Japanese cherry blossom, I think Keith's blip will feature her. I chose this marvellous dancer Leo from Wuhan (!) in China (baby's breath) who we spoke to for a long time after the performance. He was also longing to visit his family there, but is being denied entry by the Chinese, and not being allowed to renew his passport either. Both these dancers were very muscular in their style, their dances were my favourites of the four pieces we saw.
The Chinese pheasant feathers were so spectacular and enhanced every move he made. It transpired that he'd been trained in classical Chinese ballet and opera, I could show off my knowledge a bit, and Leo was thrilled that someone knew the references of the feathers on the head thingy. He spoke about living for 4 years in the USA, doing his masters in dance and then not being able to get work "well you know, that um president?"... So in the midst of the lush beauty of early summer in this marvellous place, we spoke of discrimination and racism blighting people's lives. He had to move to Sweden to be able to work and was really happy to be here, "where the rich and the poor are not so far from each other." What an interesting, relaxing and beautiful way to spend time...
Martin Forsberg is the artistic director of the company, a man who grew up in our town dancing his heart out in a small group of young dancers. He trained in various places, worked in Copenhagen for years and is now back in Härnösand, much to the town's delight. He's good friends with our good friend Ann, but it's years since we saw him close up - it was so lovely that he remembered us. It felt like being blessed by royalty or something! He's a completely creative individual, brave and willing to try new locations, new ideas during the covid restrictions The dancers we spoke to were so grateful that they had been able to work throughout. They've been dancing outside old people's homes and for private gatherings, on lawns and in yards. Brilliant!
We drove back to town through the intense greens and blues, and landed at Rose's house to sit outside in the evening sun to have a celebratory G&T and some take away Thai food. The chilly time arrived and we retreated indoors to eat cake and ice cream, and of course the conversation flowed and the hour became late, and we got home at midnight. The sky was filled with peach and turquoise streaks once again, just 3 weeks to mid-summer means we are bathed in light 24 hours a day. What a fabulous day!
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