About Me

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Christmas Telly

There's been a few telly treats to brighten the dark, damp days and nights but the best thing this Christmas (even counting Dr Who) has to be last night's network TV premier of Alan Bennett's The History Boys, which I didn't get round to seeing at the flicks.

Bennett really is a nation treasure. Watching the History Boys was like finding a dark chocolate Brazil amongst a box of soft-centered dairy creams.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Festive Ennui

The frost has gone, replaced by rain. Back to the usual damp and soggy. Christmas is over, sort of, and it's that weird period between Christmas and New Year, which feels like Sunday has been stretched out over a week. Rain is forecast everyday till Sunday.

Friday, 14 December 2007

No star gazing here

So much for Geminidis. I spent approximately one minute looking up at the sky but it was too cold so I gave up and went to bed. What did I expect, I haven't even got a telescope? The gap between whimsy and reality remains as vast as ever.

The only time I've ever seen falling stars was a Glastonbury in 1978. Lying flat on my back outside the tent, with my boy friend; staring up into they sky, listening to music floating up from the Pyramid stage (it was quite a small festival back then) and watching stars slide across the galaxy floor above my head. A little slice of heaven.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Bound feet and Geminids

Christmas is around the corner and there's quite a lot of stuff still to do and I'm really feeling the lack of light.

It's very cold tonight. It feels like the coldest snap in a long time. There was frost on the ground this morning and, out of fear of slipping, I found myself walking down Heartbreak Hill like a Chinese woman back in the days when foot binding was a popular method of keeping the female population in their place. I looked quite ridiculous but at least I kept upright

Today and tomorrow are good times to see meteor showers called Geminads. Not quite sure what they are but a quick Google tells me these showers come from a certain part of the sky and were first observed during the C19th. They were left behind by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Wonder if I'll get to see any?

Friday, 26 October 2007

Arnside 25/10/07

A grey heron stands still in the estuary, waiting for a catch. Behind it the railway viaduct stretches out. The heron turns its head but, otherwise, is not disturbed by the rattle of the passenger train travelling north. At the edge of the water, a pair of redshanks skittle manically across the mudflat, seeking out worms and shellfish left behind by the outgoing tide.

This is dangerous ground. The coastguard office's warnings are clear: fast rising tides, quicksands and hidden channels. Faster currents disturb the slower moving tide as it tracks towards the sea. The Kent Estuary, like Morecambe bay where the river meets the sea can, as the Chinese cockle pickers tragically discovered, prove lethal.

The autumn light begins to fade over the Lakeland hills and the green, lowland meadows. The long, flat stretch of treacherous mud reveals ever more of itself as the tide continues to recede.

It's getting colder and I'm glad to board the train. A few miles down the line, we pass through Carnforth Railway Station. With its rescued clock and refurbished refreshment bar, it's become a heritage memorial to the British Film Industry. This is the station where David Lean directed Noel Coward's Brief Encounter, voted second in a poll to discover Britain's most romantic movie. It starred Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, all clipped vowels and crisp consonants. Not quite what you'd expect in this northern outpost. All that repressed emotion and need to do the right thing, I reckon that would have gone down well enough up here, though.