It was phenomenal, don’t you just love that word, phen nom menal, it’s just so pretentious. The fact that the lunar eclipse was supposed to be the event of the century for sky buffs meant that we could not miss it.
All day I had been in a light flowing tie dye dress, otherwise known as a jersey tent for larger than life women. So, the idea of having to don a long-sleeved top and jeans plus walking boots was not one I relished. But the weather cooled and the idea of climbing the pike to get a better view of the blood moon, wasn’t so bad.
That was the first joke. We are, hang on, time for Google 384,400 km away from the moon, give or take a few km. So how standing on the top of a hill is going to give us a “better” view is anyone’s guess. All I was interested in was a walk with the dog, and maybe a bit of moonlight snuggling. Of course, there was the twat nav routine. The one whereby I tell Mark, “don’t go that way, never go that way,” just like the worm out of David Bowies Labyrinth. Not that I have been on that road a trillion times and I know that although the twat nav says there is a road, it doesn’t tell you that there is a bloody great gate across it.
Then there is always the parking routine. This is a notice to all those men out there that go from home to work and back again every day, on their own. “Passengers need room to open the car door, they don’t want to have to fight with vicious tree branches and they don’t want to have to jump over, wade through nor swim any puddles nor marshes. So, after we had awkwardly u-turned and found a place to stop, I got out, untangled the hedgerow from my hair, twisted my ankle in the ditch and found the path by sure luck rather than navigation as my eyes stayed closed rather than being gouged out by hawthorns, we began our journey.
I know the path well, I have walked the dogs that way on several occasions, but after the recent fires I also know that a lot of the walkways have been closed off. I took a chance and we managed a full five minutes uphill before a new bright shiny gate barred our way. For which I must admit I am eternally grateful. I am getting old and despite being back boxing on Tuesday night, I’m still not quite as fit as I would like to be. My chest tightened, my breathing became laboured and I honestly believed I was going to have a heart attack. The incline must have been all of 1:80. Ps when I say I was back boxing, I went in, complained a lot and then went and hid in a closet as soon as he mentioned jumping jacks. Without my super-duper, over shoulder industrial strength boulder holder, nothing was going to entice me to jump, in any shape nor form. And just as jumping was off the agenda, I was beginning to believe that hill climbing was going to have to be added to the long list of “don’t do’s.” Saved by the gate, we took another path.
The English Weather.
You just knew that I would have to have my say on the subject. What the frigging hell is going on. Where did… I don’t mean the heat wave we’ve been having, oh no, I understand that. It’s hot, get over it. As Brits we spend a bloody fortune pretending to be tourists and worldly travellers, by going abroad, moaning about the fact that chips should be on every menu and not understanding why the natives can’t speaks English. And ofcourse that it’s too hot. Heat comes and goes, it’s called Summer. Yes Summer in England is usually a mixture of heat waves, storms and muggy days, and we delight in reporting the hottest, wettest and even the most normal weather at any time of year, but yesterday the English weather just poked its tongue out a bit too much for my liking. It rained!
There I am, dog in toe, excited husband with his internal compass explaining where and when the blood moon was going to show, why and how it is formed and how spectacular it was going to be, walking along a path in the middle of the woods as the sky got gradually darker and darker. Reaching our destination, which for want of a better description was a marshy field that had dried up over the last few months, we found our way to a point where we would be able to see the beautiful grey and black clouds gather delightfully over our heads, pissing down in pockets over the town and generally marring the magnificent phenomenon of the lunar eclipse.
Oh well at least we had Google and I watched the live show over Turkey with their clear skies and magnificent forested foregrounds, on my phone. Mark took photos. I’m still creasing up. Why he took them, I can’t begin to understand but here’s the best one. Our record of the most brilliant longest eclipse of the moon in history.
I made the best of the romantic evening, whilst the spiky marsh grass stabbed into my cook’s crevice, (this is the point whereby all jeans come up short over the top of the buttocks, known by many as a builder’s bum, mine is more refined and appears regularly when I bend over to take things out of the oven, therefore aptly renamed cook’s crevice.)
I fought off the miniature dragons, as they played synchronised stabbing across my body, despite the long-sleeved t-shirt and jeans. I even managed to tame the horsefly that hovered seductively around me, licking his lips ready to dive in for his evening meal. I was a proper adventurer, all I needed was my pith helmet and the evening would have been complete.
We had a hot pasty I had cooked before we left, (dib dib bloody dob, be prepared) and had our green tea out of the flask. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anyone was to blame, but if you ask someone to sort the flask out, would you not expect them to sort out cups as well. I’m not complaining, I’m not saying it was anyone’s fault, I just saying that it shows that some of us aren’t as good at being prepared as others. (Dib, dib, dob, dob, bloody dob) Green tea just doesn’t taste the same drunk out of the doggy bottle!
The sky darkened, insert dramatic music for effect, as we realised that maybe it wasn’t just the clouds that encroached. That walking through a forest on a 10 foot wide unknow path in pitch black with only two mobile phone torches was going to be a challenge. As intrepid adventurers we set off on the perilous journey home.
There is always a point on every trip taken by any couple whereby they try to have that arm in arm meander. The romantic stroll that bonds them as one. What Mark and I had was a slow march, arms entwined, legs swinging in time as though they were strapped together for a three-legged egg and spoon race. Let me assure you, we are so in tune, we would have won it as well.
At the end of the path, a flicker of headlights and the sound of young men and loud music reached us. My overactive imagination cut in.
Ruffians, a band of unworthy men, out for mischief. I was ready for them, I would protect my dog, and if necessary my husband. This was it, my years of training, my martial arts skills and my prowess where honed like a fine-tuned soggy tissue, I was going to stand and fight no matter what they wanted of me.
It was dark by now and the three cars blocked the road, I motioned Mark to move to the right, the path slightly wider there. Being older than me, I had to get him clear first. Pippa would run away, but first I had to make her aware they these men were not to be….
“It’s that Solar Eclipse tonight innit?” We heard from a silhouette of the first boy.
“Yer, think so, saw it on Facebook.”
Mark just couldn’t resist could he. “Lunar eclipse, it’s the moon, not the Sun.”
“And you’ve missed it” I added.
Well that blew it, how could I fight off these vagabonds now that I had spoken to them. My Ninja Nanny cover blown, I added that they didn’t miss much, and why did they think that idiots like us had been out so late at night.
The car still in its spot, not stolen, not burnt out nor damaged in any way, I struggled past the trees and triffids to open the door and got in.
It was a good night, I was bitten and overloaded with sugar, oh didn’t I say I also took a bag of jelly babies, well why not after all it was a special occasion. Bitten, hyperactive and tired, we drove home. I never saw the eclipse and it has continued to rain on and off all day today. Oh well there will be another one in January next year, here’s hoping the weather holds.