Saturday, 22 October 2016

50 years ago

This weekend, fifty years ago, I went to stay with my school friend Gabrielle.  We were both at Basingstoke High School, and she lived not far away in the neighbouring village of Old Basing.  School finished at 3.30 pm, as usual, and as we left the school grounds a horrible smell drifted up the hill, from the direction of the busy A30 road.  At the bottom of the hill there was a big pond called Black Dam.  A number of small streams ran into it, and on a good day it would have been teeming with pond life, fish, ducks, moorhens and other water birds.  But this was not a good day, Friday, 21 October 1966, because a tanker had careered down the hill and overturned into the pond, spilling its foul smelling chemicals into the water, which then trickled out into the tributaries, eventually killing everything in its wake.

The smell of the chemicals hung in a pall over the area all weekend, adding another horrible layer to my memory of the disaster of catastrophic proportions which had taken place earlier that same day, in Aberfan,130 miles away.  For me, the two events are inextricably linked and have always stayed sharp in my memory, in the same way that everyone remembers what they were doing, where they were, and, in my case, what I was wearing when I heard that JFK had been assassinated.  How could any of us forget the scenes of devastation and desolation on the faces of the people of Aberfan, as they fought to come to terms with the fact they had lost a whole generation of children from their village.

So, with another image of my childhood, here is Peter Pan, in memory of all those children, who will remain forever young.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Mystery object

While I have been watching The Great British Bake Off, followed by The Missing, what looks to be a travelling Christmas tree has been making its way, v e r y  s l o w l y, up the Firth of Forth.  Now that it has drawn level and, worringly, appears to have halted its progress opposite our sitting room, I think that it might be an oil drilling platform, flanked by a couple of tugs.  There are a few of these further up and on the Fife side of the estuary.  The two tugs appear to be moving away from the glittering object.  However, these are not pretty things, and if it's still there in the morning, will be a blight on the horizon and hopefully won't stay too long!
Early Thursday morning update : it's gone!  Hooray!  Ted's very happy about that.

Monday, 17 October 2016

12 hours later

Not a full moon tonight.  That was yesterday, but twelve hours after we were enjoying that stunning sunrise, now, in the same spot, moonrise!

The tiny white dot on the left hand side of the first photo is the lighthouse on the Bass Rock. Sheer fluke it twinkled and timed with the photo!  

O Radiant Dawn

When I saw the sky this morning, just after 7 am, James Macmillan's wonderful piece 'O Radiant Dawn' popped straight into my head.

Put the two together - the images and the music - and see what you think.  I don't think the dawn can get much more radiant than this!