Four in a row

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The seeing was terrible: darkness barely falls, and the sky is thick with heat, cloud and muck.  Nonetheless the new refractor let me peer out.

First there was Venus, dropping into the trees but showing a fattish phase; then Jupiter, which graciously allowed me to watch Europa being occulted behind it; then Saturn, rings wide open, with Titan just visible; and at last Mars, almost at opposition but so low it was just a big orange fuzzball.

I’ve seen them all better; but this is a moment to enjoy seeing them at all.

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Well that was busy

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After significant wrestling with rugs, curtains, windows, tables, books, boxes, bargains, shoes, and incoming parcels, we got to the serious stuff.

This included corporate creativity in order to adjust the fascinator with two pairs of heavy duty pliers and superglue (a treasurable experience)

and discovering that we female rellies from far-flung places had instinctively colour-co-ordinated ourselves.

The view from the back of the portaloos was the best I have ever seen from a lavatory (the other aspects were good too) and strop didn’t seem to break out until later.  All good.

Meantime, writing a level 7 assignment with the other foot … yes, that worked.  Writing is agony, but here is a keeper (especially since I discovered that St Menas may have won the Battle of El Alamein):

It was lonely without the sky so in a heavily symbolic act … I may have overbought.  It came today,

and I have been using the cathedral spire to align the red dot finder.  Can’t see the spire?  The scope can.  In fact it can count each red warning light and the knobs on the cross on top.

But can it see anything else?  Naturally, the moon is rising behind a band of high cloud and has turned itself into a gigantic fuzzball.  Isn’t astronomy wonderful?

Backwards across Wiltshire

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Yesterday began with being towed backwards across Wiltshire.  Then some intensive looking.

Best seen across a vacant lot:

The fullness required many hours, which we were unable to give.

There was something appropriate about the power socket handy for St. Barbara.  In case her father needed it?

Finding Dewi Sant was like meeting an old friend…

It was a mistake to take an audio book.  The tunnels must be the noisiest on the network:  growl, roar, whistle and rattle in one excruciating go.

And there we were again: being towed backwards across Wiltshire.

Scrubulous

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It isn’t a word really.  But a scrubulous weekend is what I had.

I returned to muggy days and sea mists

and scrubbed ten windows, three double sets of glass doors, and a conservatory.  Both sides.

The seagulls were eyeing up the gleaming panes, sniggering to themselves.  So it seemed a good idea to get in first.

I was a bit surprised by these lacy ones.

Now I am back in the attic nest with a lot of books about icons.

 

Tacking and cats’ teeth

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Being underslept, I had difficulty keeping a focus on the official business of the day.

It was distractingly easy to consider munchy ginger fudge, since they keep the fudge shop so handy to the cathedral.  I leave it to each reader to decide on the wisdom of this policy. At lunch time thought became action.

A pamphlet:  less obviously enticing. I was nonetheless tempted by this distraction, and was only prevented from some old-fashioned reading under the desk by the very small class size and my corresponding visibility.

Part of the day was spent contemplating hand sewing fine hems of muslin.  Later I congratulated myself on the prescience which had caused me to pack pins.

The sea, the sea

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And I have missed it.

We trekked slowly over the ankle-breaking flint cobbles, which at this beach are usually an unlovely shade of orange.  The sea pinks’ sprightly defiance is always a welcome sight.

Returning, the falling tide made the upper edge of sand available to us, saving our ankles at the cost of having to nip suddenly up the shingle for the seventh wave.

I indulged in a few minutes’ smugness; the jokes about the Epistle of Barnabas don’t seem to have done much harm.

Generations

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What we know and what we don’t know about our families.

Margaret Forster exercised both her historical and creative imaginations to investigate her own female line, partly for pure story, partly for the whole mother-and-daughter commitment thing, and partly as an analysis of how women’s lives worked in the past and how they work now.  The result is sobering and tantalising.

I thought of the Mitford sisters’ lives, outwardly a dramatic contrast.  Forster’s mother and her sisters lived through the same decades, but as northern working women their lives could scarcely have seemed more different.  Except, of course, for their shared preoccupations with marriage, illicit sexual relations, and the question of balancing income, personal fulfilment and childbearing.  And they all had their secrets.

The secrets seemed particularly onerous for Forster’s mother and grandmother.  And exceptionally well-kept.  There is a large, secret-shaped space in their lives, but what is inside it Margaret Forster will never, never know.

Unnatural

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It seems unnatural:  sunshine on a bank holiday weekend.

Ne’er cast a clout …

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… till May be out.  So I took my jacket and woolly hat …   (Click a thumbnail for gallery)