The Dumpster Chronicles: A Whimsical and Irreverent Guide to Nantucket, Being Part Six
By Kerry Hallam
Spring on Nantucket
If you have a penchant for cycling, walking, hiking, or getting thoroughly drenched with freezing rain, then we have the very best spot for you.
Overcast skies and the occasional dip in temperature makes spring a real challenge for the hardy traveller. Regardless, we still celebrate the vernal equinox.
Spring usually lasts for a day; maybe two at the most. As the result of some climatic aberration we go from winter to immediate summer. Spring gets left out of the picture. One day we are wearing our full winter gear including thermal underwear and fur lined boots, the next it’s T shirts and shorts.
It is frustrating, having stashed one’s winter clothing and finding that your lighter summer gear has shrunk considerably since it last saw the light of day, more often than not, you awake one morning to find a blanket snow covering your road. We could go into a meteorological examination of this phenominum but there is neither the time or space for it and, anyway, it happens, so get used to it.
The first of our festivals is Daffodil Weekend, named after the inventor and one time lady wrestling champion Demont “Babe” Daffodil. After a thorough trouncing of the Japanese champion at the Winter Olympics, she celebrated by distributing the yellow flowers island wide. Wordsworth would have been really chuffed.
This festival is in two parts. In the first, the ladies of the Island Club rush around watering and polishing the flowers in readiness for the parade. On Saturday, the cup is presented and ribbons pinned to the best Daffodils. There are several categories including the “wet t-shirt”, “most likely”, “more than likely”, “best original petals” and “not a hope in hell” awards.
This ceremony is followed by an event that, as far as I can tell, has absolutely nothing to do with daffodils: the antique car parade. An average of a thousand old cars line up on Main Street before engaging in a most hazardous race to the finishing line in Sconset. The winner is the car that has run over the most daffodils. Speeds of well over twenty miles an hour are not unusual. The trophy is awarded by the reigning Daffodil Queen and a general piss up on the tree lined avenue ensues until it”s too dark to see.
Kerry Hallam was born and raised in the North of England. He was elected to the Royal Society of Artists and later established his first studio in the South of France. Kerry has lived and painted on the island for the past thirty years. He is represented internationally by Chalk and Vermilion of Greenwich, and has held extensive one man shows in the States, Japan, France and the U.K. His autobiography ‘Getting to Nantucket’ was recently published, and in the past few years, he has issued seven C.D.’s of own written and performed music. All illustrations are by Kerry Hallam. This column will appear regularly.