The Longest Day

Picture from

Picture from

I write late today, at 07:36 on The Longest Day.

Last night at 7pm, English Heritage opened access to the car park at Stonehenge, the beardy-weardy indicator of midsummer mysticism, in its annual acquiescence to New Age folk. And a couple of hours ago, at 6am, admission closed. If you weren’t in by then, folks, you had to turn the 30-year-old Volkswagen Camper, complete with customised flowers and rainbows, round and drive home again.

Or park near the pig farm on the opposite side of the road with large binoculars and cause a little A303 traffic chaos.

The sun has risen now. It was scheduled to rise at 4:52, though I can report that it will in all probability have had a murky welcome. Here, about an hour’s drive away, it is grey and overcast.

It doesn’t stop people celebrating though. All those druids in their regalia partying until they get kicked out of the car park at 12 midday.

Here, we are celebrating too; a decade of Felix. This time ten years ago it was a Saturday.

It was my longest day.

I was wheeled up to the ward on a glittering sunny morning early, and as the sun rode in its chariot across the sky I bellowed for England. I have excellent projection and I think the nurses wished fervently they had better soundproofing. My choice of words was not sophisticated.

I had my son in time for the 5pm Saturday Sports Report.

Today, Maddie spent copious time filling in cards from The Owls, Macaulay and Bond, and of course, Bumpy The Elephant, Felix’s favourite.

The card from Bumpy was peerless.


Speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

Happy Solstice, folks.


39 thoughts on “The Longest Day

    1. I always get wistful about it, Rosemary. Heady days, these lightest. Loved that beautiful railway station over at yours. And most of all, the station clocks.

  1. Ain’t no party like a druid party?

    Happy, happy to Felix, and to you for all your best bellowing effort 🙂 And to Maddie and Bumpy? Brilliant!

  2. Happy Birthday, Felix! There’s nothing quite like being 10. It’s a magical age. Bottle up how you see the world right now and carry it with you for the remainder of your life. There’s magic everywhere, if we know where to look.

    Maddie, you are a lady of many talents. Enjoy the Solstice.

  3. Dear Kate, ten years old with a sister who enjoys and treasures him and parents who delight in him. Ten years old with adventures behind and ahead and a whole day to celebrate the wonder of being 10! Peace.

      1. I’ve got to get quicker off the ball on this flight stuff, Andra….alas, I am playing flute for Holy Communion at 10, and manning Felix’s school bric-a-brac stall at 1, and despatching Mads for a sleepover at HER fete in Reading with a friend, followed by church and dinner on Sunday morning….no rest in Lisbon for the wicked this time round…

      2. Kate ~ if you get selected as the Penguin Wayfarer . . . you’re going to have to master the art of DELEGATION.

        Perhaps Bumpy can pick up some of the slack? 😉

  4. Happy Solstice Birthday, Felix! You are fortunate to have both Bumpy and Maddie on your side.

    Loved this, Kate:

    I was wheeled up to the ward on a glittering sunny morning early, and as the sun rode in its chariot across the sky I bellowed for England. I have excellent projection and I think the nurses wished fervently they had better soundproofing. My choice of words was not sophisticated.

    1. 😀 No word of a lie, Nancy. I’m sure the nurses remember me to this day, a decade on.
      Thanks again for all your incredible help over the past few days. I’ll be posting something again tomorrow morning; I have until Monday. Lets see what transpires.

      1. You’re welcome . . .

        And more than worthy of the support you’ve been receiving from your followers. Fingers crossed . . .

  5. Happy birthday to Felix, Kate! I recall being very excited to turn ten and I hope his day is wonderful. Ten is indeed a milestone and as Rosemary pointed out, he’s entered the double digits, but he’s also inching more toward man and less toward child. I love Maddie taking dictation from Bumpy and the cartoons your multi-talented sketch artist daughter drew are delightful. It’s also refreshing that she and her brother are so close, but then again they are the product of you and Phil, two very cool parents. We have those 30-year-old VW campers on this side of the pond, too. I saw a few when I was recently in the SF Bay Area.

    1. The campers are iconic, aren’t they, Lame? Here they populate Devon and Cornwall, counties which can produce great surf, and the A303 road on which Stonehenge lies is the direct route to the West.
      Have you had a chance to read about my golden ticket? If not I could use your help…have a look at Kate Pitt on That’s me…

  6. Happy Summer Solstice and many Happy Birthday wishes to Felix. Ten is a golden age I think ~ one of the best times in one’s life . The card from Bumpy is priceless and feel sure Maddie will either be a writer or an actress (or both!) Wonderful and unique post as always Kate. ( I keep watching your numbers rise on the Wayfarers site ~ all my (handful) of friends have cast their vote per request. Fingers crossed)

    1. Valkrye, I’m very grateful for your support, thanks so much. We have until Monday to keep within the top ten, though I’m falling behind a bit now; time will tell. And whatever happens, we’ll have a golden Summer anyway.
      Glad you liked that card. It really shows how Felix and Maddie get on; not always, but they do have the best of times.

  7. Just won-der-ful!
    Happy solstice! It is one that certainly cheers me up – our days start getting longer again, now, and my morning swims are becoming a trifle chilly!

  8. Kate, I love the solstice, but the one that captures my heart is in December because from there on it, the days grow lighter and Christmas seems to add to the magic or vice-versa. Here in the Pacific Northwest, our summer light last well past 10:00 p.m. I loved your birthing yelling and that he was out in time for the sports report. I have a friend I”m going to share this with!

  9. Oh this is special! I love Bumpy’s wonderful birthday best wishes! So kind and thoughtful and very personal. 🙂 I hope it was a wonderful day for Felix, and for you, too, as you lovingly remembered your longest day. ox

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