At ten o’clock I put my nose out of doors. It was mild, still, more than half the sky clear. A bat was patrolling in front of the houses, careering eccentrically from side to side, showing off with sudden tight banking spirals, death-defying plunges and 180-degree turns in its own length. Once or twice it passed close enough for me to hear the flirrup of its wings. I wondered how it had lived through the appalling weather.
By 11 the stars were coming out. Of course, things being as they are, it was more of a hokey-cokey: in, out, in, out … It’s so long since I saw the sky that all the constellations have moved round, and I spent a while re-orientating myself.
Antares in binoculars has a curious way of flashing red and green. Sagittarius was fuzzy but visible, and I had a momentary glimpse of the star clouds above it. The Milky Way was not at its best, but at least I could see it, and the great rift through Cygnus. Delphinus and Sagitta and Aquila were present and correct, as was Cassiopeia, but Perseus never appeared at all. Andromeda was rising: could I get a hint of M31? Not a chance… Clouds were moving in, and I have to get up tomorrow.