28 September 2015 (Monday) - Bethersden Again
There was a lunar eclipse last night. I had all good intentions of getting up and having a look but what with having come back from a busy hoiday I slept right through it all. Had anyone else been up for the thing I would have got up.
After all I had the day off work today just in case anyone had suggested an alll-nighter.
I had planned to rant about the eclipse today. But I don't really feel ranty.... I feel - I supposed "resigned to it" sums up my feelings. Earlier in the year there was a solar eclipse for which the astro club arranged nothing. On 23 May this year Saturn was at opposition which made for good viewing. The astro club did nothing for that either. on 24 May I whinged and suggested we might organise something for this eclipse. Nothing happened.... I realise I'm to blame. I should have sorted something. But part of me cynically can't help but wonder why are we trying to build a multi-million pound observatory when no one actually goes out and looks at stuff?
Over brekkie I looked at photos of the eclipse taken by people who did stay up. It looked rather pretty. I wish I had made a point of getting up now. And as I scoffed my toast "Furry Face TM" glared at me from his basket when he thought I wasn't looking at him, and made a point of looking away from me when he thought I was. Since collecting him from "My Boy TM" yesterday he had something of a sulk on.
When I was ready for the off I showed him his lead and he grudgingly got up. Usually he runs mental at the sight of the lead. Not today.
Today I decided to do phase three of my Bethersden geo-project. Having figured out where I wanted to have my geo-walk (after two reconnaissance missions) and having done all the geo-admin, today I went out and drop-kicked thirty-eight sandwich boxes into various hedges.
We got to Bethersden and had a good walk. Admittedly I would have got on faster had I not taken "Furry Face TM", but what is geocaching all about if not taking a dog for a walk. As we walked we acquired another dog; a sheep-dog joined us at one of the farms. He was very friendly and clearly had every intention to follow us on our way. I had to tell him "SIT!" as we left his farm and keep pointing at him to stop him following us.
A little way down the route we were crossing a field full of sheep. "Furry Face TM" started barking at them and the flock ran off. Or that is (to be precise) all but one of the flock ran off. One single sheep ran up to us and was every bit as friendly and affectionate as the dog we'd recently shaken off. I made a fuss of this sheep; my dog immediately started pulling away. I tried to get a photo of the two of them together. The sheep was up for it but Fudge seemed to be terrified of this sheep.
We left the sheep behind, and after a near miss involving a sandwich box and a river I saw one of the biggest birds I've ever seen outside of a zoo. It was about fifty yards away, circling. The closest thing I've ever seen to it was an eagle I saw when in Canada. I think this thing must have been a huge buzzard.
Andd just as we were on the home stretch we had a little entertainment. There is a part of the walk where the footpath goes rather close to someone's house. That someone was a nudey ladey without any clothes on who was sunbathing in the nip. I was shocked (!)
Unfortunately there are some people who shouldn't sunbathe in the nip, and this nudey lady was one of them.
We completed our walk; just over eight miles distance and just under five hours time. Once home someone had a bath. One of our number had been rolling in fox poo when the opportunity arose during our walk. I'm not naming names but I will say there were only two of us on the walk and it wasn't me rolling in the poo.
I fancied a sandwich for lunch so I popped up to the corner shop. There was a silly old bat in the shop who was loudly telling everyone that she hoped they'd all seen last night's eclipse as there won't be another for many years. I told her not to beleive what she read in the papers, but she loudly dismissed me. Eclipses are ten a penny she said, but last night's was special because it happened during a full moon. "How often do you think that happens?" she asked me with a self-satisfied smile. "Every single lunar eclipse - dur!!!" I replied, and before she could continue I launched into an ad-hoc lecture about the phases of the moon and eclipses using a can of Doctor Pepper to be the Sun, my sandwich to be the Earth and a lamb samosa to be the moon's stunt double.
As I concluded (to a minor round of applause from the assembled throng) the old biddy dismissed it all saying "well I've never heard any of that before and I'm interested in astromomy" (not astronomy!) By now I was getting hungry and was more than a little tetchy. So I told her that I had no doubt that she was interested in "astromomy", but if she was also interested in astronomy (as well) why had she never once shown her face at the local astronomy club which has been going for at least seven years. It was clear that this old biddy was not used to people telling her when she was talking out of her arse, and she tried to make out that there wasn't a local astronomy club.. I told her that as a founder member of the club and the club's current treasurer I could assure here there certainly was. I gave her the web address, details of the Facebook group and told her where to find us.
The old bat had a sudden change of attitude and then started treating me as though I was the Astronomer Royal and started telling me about her grandchildren who live in Cork.
It was at this point I realised I should have kept my mouth shut
I eventually shook her off, and then as the washing machine chewed on my smalls I finally got to scoff my sandwich. By now "Furry Face TM" had forgotten his sulk and he snored on my lap as I set about the final bits of geo-admin for the geo-project.
I had so much else I wanted to do this afternoon but by the time I'd fnished fannying about it was nearly 5.30pm.
With "er indoors TM" off bowling I found myself watching vintage Doctor Who on the horror channel whilst struggling with a geo-puzzle. If anyone can name the people in this picture I'd be grateful....