Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Solar Eclipse

Here are a few click clocks of the recent solar eclipse. It was notable because of the confluence of Supermoon, Eclipse, and Spring Equinox heralding some kind of voodoo bewitchment probably. I ended up taking these as a bit of an error of approximation. I was resigned to watching it on telly, being in cloudy Manchester, but as maximum approached, I wondered if I could use the HDR exposure feature of my mobile phone to view a nice solar moment. Unfortunately it didn’t work & I all but blinded myself like the scientist people with big foreheads foretold. The clouds however were parting more sweetly than a purdy girls legs. So I reached for the comfort of my grown- up camera & its lavishly dark UV filter with 85% cocoa solids, and got some good views & thought why the hell not click a few. Worked ok in the end.

My original experience with solar eclipses was in visiting the total eclipse in1999 at Lizard Point in Cornwall. Me and a couple of mates rented a clapped out old Skoda estate, drove from Brighton via Stonehenge by accident (check that out on a map; I still don’t know how that happened), and spent £95 each to get in Harvey Goldsmith’s theme park of shitertainment, Lizard99. Hot Dogs cost a fiver; the main bands welched out of playing presumably because of bad portends known only to wyzarding folk as “being diddled”. Even the standard waiting- a- couple- of- days for the festival portaloos to glug up & overflow was unpleasantly premature. The only thing going for the place was the Mexican Hat ride which ran for about 20 minutes at a time and guaranteed a festulating brain embolism with every go. Standing as we were, in a muddy sewerage nostrilising field the middle of a crowd of dread locks and obscured by clouds of dope smoke, we decided with 15 minutes before the start of the eclipse to make a break for it and get to the coast.

Into the Skoda we jumped, I backed up & met some unexpected resistance. Not being one to take no for an answer, I backed up again to the deft crunch behind. And again & again. I got out & looked at the rear tyre & underneath it was my muddied metal frame rucksack resembling more the shape of a twisted oversized Quaver, but without the reassuring odour of fromage. We had minutes to go. I backed up over the rucksack; got out onto the country roads which blurred & fused into a kind of green & brown froth as fierce as any horses bit. The clouds were grey, sombre above but we pressed on succumbing to eclipse fever. In minutes we were at the National Trust’s Lizard Point. There was a spooky feeling a bit like that scene on Close Encounters when the invited people are waiting expectantly for the aliens to visit. There was a cool and reckless wind which writhed in the electricity of the moment. The eclipse had begun.

It didn’t take long for the full inexorable moon disc to move to about 90%, similar to the recent eclipse. But that last 10%, 9%, 8%... diminishing down to Totality, was so profoundly powerful I will forever remember it. In particular the very last moment before Totality, when compared with Totality itself, was a big difference in light level, as though a bedroom door, previously ajar & letting through weak light was suddenly shut on a dark room. In a linear, violent motion similar to that of an irresistible guillotine, a long shadow ranged along the English Channel, leaving boats with daintily twinkling lights parping horns musically to the accompanying cheers of delighted people. Just as with this recent event, the clouds parted at maximum, and the purdy girl was there again.

North Utsire

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