Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

Monday night was cold but clear. The Eclipse was due to start at 1.30 am and sure enough there it was right on time! That is one thing about the Universe and the Stars and the Moon - they keep to their schedules, always on time. Not like wives - or husbands for that matter!

Anyway, I got up and went out onto the deck to observe. One of our cats managed to slip past me out into the cold and kept me company for a while. I took a few pictures and then went back inside again, turned on the computer, and checked out the Lunar Eclipse on line, live! I was able to watch it in the warmth of my own home! How cool is that? But not as cool, in more ways than one, as watching it outside of your own home. It is quite dark here where we live and the sky was completely clear so I had a good view. I did notice that a lot of the 59,000 people who were watching on line said that it was cloudy - in California it was raining heavily. I wonder how many people watched on line, the number that I mentioned was just the site that I was watching, there could have been dozens or even hundreds of sites! And then there were all the people that just got up to see it, live - or real! (So there, 'reality TV', beat that.) I went in and out a few times, took more pictures, let the cat in, she didn't seem to be impressed, and after watching the full Eclipse when the Moon went quite red, returned to bed. Two hours seemed to be enough, even for something that last happened 400 years ago (Yep, that was the last time we had a full Eclipse on the Winter Solstice - the shortest day of the year) The next time will be another 80 years, I'll probably miss that one! (You never know, it might be cloudy!)

So I got up early today, at about 4.30am and called my parents, it is 5 hours ahead of our time, there in England, they were surprised to hear me. But my father, never at a loss for words told me about how things were delivered by horse drawn carts when he was a boy! He is 91 years old. That story came about when I asked him if they had any more snow - they had another big fall a few days ago. Can you imagine, that is at least two big snowfalls already this year, big enough to close Heathrow Airport twice, and most of Europe too this time, and all before Christmas! I can't remember ever having a white Xmas there, although it does happen very rarely. But the first fall of this season on November 30th has to be some kind of a record, especially as far south as it was. We saw satellite pictures on TV here of the whole of Great Britain snow covered, with the exception of a small part of Southern Ireland.

This enquiry prompted Dad to tell me how he remembered, when he was a boy, they often had snow throughout the winter, sometimes as late as May. They did not have snowploughs - unless they were horse drawn he said! Then he went on to tell me about how the milk and the coal and several other things were delivered by horse drawn carts. How one pony had been scared once and was running down the street scattering bottles of milk everywhere, with the milkman chasing him. Before bottled milk he even remembered the milkman coming to the house with a big "barrel" of milk, called a milk churn, that he would dip the milk out of into pint cans and bring to the door. He also remembered that the horse would move on to the next house that got milk and wait for him there! The horse knew the route and which houses were his customers!

He said they rarely saw cars and he could remember looking down the roads in Wimbledon - a part of London - and seeing no cars. One day there was a car near their house, a Bugatti, that they all gathered around to look at. It belonged to someone in films, a Director? Or a film star? He didn't know, but someone, he thought, who probably made 5 or 10 pounds a week! The average person then made 1 or 2 pounds a week. In fact he said, if you made 2 pounds a week you were "Rolling in Money"!

Well it is time to move on, hope you enjoy my Blog, leave me a message. Bye.

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