Thursday, 26 March
I decide I need to prioritise exercise and do my 10,000 steps today; the lack of exercise is making me dispirited. My aim is to walk this far every other day with a shorter walk on the following day so that I have an average of perhaps 7,500 steps a day. Early on in my exercise programme I aimed at 10,000 steps every day, ignoring the protests coming from my limbs, which led to a very painful muscular inflammation, my first sports injury in my early 70s, and hospitalisation. The condition puzzled the doctors to start with until they found a rather splendid Greek name for it, which I later found to mean “a pain in the thigh”, somewhat reducing my scientific awe.
I followed the same track as before on to the Linnaeus path, following his “herbation”. I looked a bit more carefully at the old pagan graveyard this time, going someway along the moraine hill. According to the map, there were about 200 graves here but I found it difficult to work out which of the accumulations of stone were graves and which were simply detritus dumped by a retreating glacier. It would also be interesting to know where the coastline was at this time. It’s a long way away now but there was probably water much closer to the graveyard in AD 500.
Later I tried to find information on the site on the net but without much success. I’ll do a proper search post-plague when the libraries open for business again. I’d also like to check whether there are organisations that arrange guided tours to this kind of site. I’ve seen various “local area” (hembygd) associations but, judging from their programme, there would be a considerable risk of participation in their activities leading to selling lottery tickets on what is purported to be Sweden’s national day, and this is not quite what I had in mind.
I learnt one thing from a more careful study of the information plaque at the burial ground and this was that there was an area where folk lived nearby although its exact location isn’t known. The graves weren’t in other words just (or even at all) connected with Old Uppsala, although they seem to have been active at about the same period, AD 500-600. I shall check whether there is another graveyard closer to Old Uppsala. I am rather taken with the vision of the funeral procession walking across the plain (or possibly travelling by boat) to the graveyard on the hill but it might not have happened that way.
One of the stones that I thought might have belonged to the graveyard seemed to have a rough cross on it made from material twisted from a tree. Perhaps a freak of nature but it didn’t look natural. I wondered what dark rituals had taken place or whether it was (like the Mormons’ efforts recording old birth and death registers) to save the souls of the long departed in retrospect. I hope the pagans were suitably grateful when they realised they were approaching the pearly gates and didn’t behave like the West Vikings at Lindisfarne and sack the place (being proto-Swedes, they would probably have set up a study circle to hear everyone’s opinion and arrive at a reasonable compromise number of daily brutalities before setting to work).
This time, I found my way off the track at the right point on the return journey and didn’t blunder around in the brushwood.
Back home, I worked for a while translating Corona-related information for a website before moving on to my bookshelf cleaning. I’ve now almost finished my wall bookshelf in the study/living room so this project is well underway (and the air does feel more pleasant).
I’ve made a little more progress on my attempts to discover whether the signature Elsa Wolff on a book I have is from the Elsa Wolff, who was a correspondent of Romain Rolland. From a book of Rolland’s letters to her, I’ve seen that the book can’t have been a present from Rolland as I speculated as Elsa Wolff has dated her signature and the date precedes her first correspondence with Rolland. I also learnt that the Elsa Wolff, Rolland’s correspondent, who lived in Germany, did have a command of English as she apparently taught English for a period.
And that was about as far as I got before being overpowered by sleep, this time at least managing to get to bed at a more or less sensible hour. There’s a lot left to do in my plan of activity for the first Corona period and only a couple of days left. Crashing is probably unrealistic as well as being an unattractive prospect so I think I shall simply declare it a green plan and recycle what’s left to do to a second Corona period.