Archive for October, 2009

The International Dark Sky Association..

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

From the Times Online:

”At the end of a garden path, in a home-made observatory overlooking Wee Glenamour Loch, there is an air of expectancy among a gaggle of astronomers.

Better late than..

Friday, October 16th, 2009

The radio’s still faintly playing the slow, lazy, heat-haze pick n’ mix of songs. Summer slumbers, still making blue skies and sunshine in her sleep. But there’s no mistaking Autumn. She’s already been in and put the first cup gently down, tip-toed out dropping drifts of leaves from orange skirts, exhaling damp earth, drawing cool mornings with long pale fingers.

So make the most of it whilst Summer still sleeps, breath deep the slight scent of lingering sunshine, scatter your tyres with dust whilst you can because Autum’s in the wings, ready with that second cup. And then Summer will peer blearily at the season’s clock, stretch out nut brown arms to gather in her skirts, and with them the sunshine and the flowers. The warmth will seep away, the heavy indigo will fade making way for brittle blue. She’ll leave softly making way for Autum to soothe the trees to sleep, rustling quietly past, cold breath hanging heavy in the air. She’ll have her moment and she has pleasures of her own: the cold start snapping you from your sleep and the pleasure of the still just warm afternoon.

Then in the blink of an eye Winter will be hammering on the door, dragging mud across the carpets, rain running off his great-coat, depositing cases full of doom and gloom. He’ll stomp on the trails in hob-nailed boots, freeze your toes, scratch frost across your window panes and drag the skies with grey. Just once in a while a smile will crack his craggy features and the skies will spread with blue, the sun will sink low and spread the land with ice cold honey from bees with frost coated wings.

Random Travelogue #1

Sunday, October 11th, 2009


Italy 1992, 2:00 am

Living hell boarded the train somewhere between Aora and Bologna. Where there was tranquility, darkness and the ignorant bliss of sleep came light, chaos and undignified waking. The noise and attitude of seven, very black, very female with a capital ‘F’, foghorns raised in tribal chaos burst into our compartment and proceeded to make themselves comfortable whilst making us very uncomfortable. Carol rapidly retreated into her sleeping bag and I conducted a non-verbal battle of wills over the window, light and silence. All of which I eventually got but not quickly enough…..

Later that day:

We learnt the hard way if some one offers you accommodation at a reasonable price, close to the centre of town just take it. By the time we’d walked half-way across Rome in the searing heat and queued for a room we weren’t allowed to take (it was a YHA and we weren’t) then found another, after a hair-raising whistle stop tour of the city in a taxi (traffic lights have no practical use in Italy aside perhaps for ornamentation) there was little time or energy left for exploring. So we set off in search of a swimming pool with the hostel ’staff’ (ie a stalled traveller) Simon the ‘water-diviner’. His divination was 100% accurate, but unfortunately it didn’t extend to opening times. As you’d obviously *expect* on a national holiday, in mid summer in the capital of Italy, all of the pools, including Mussolini’s grand masterpiece, were well shut, very shut.