A beginners guide to star gazing

The night sky

This week I had the pleasure of spending time with two friends I have not really seen for years. In the meantime we have all had kids, hardcore jobs and life has just got in the way.

We took all the kids camping. For them (kids) it was an adventure, for us, a huge physical endurance act. I am injured. Don’t feel bad for me. It was an old injury, brought on by too much prosecco and arrogance. I rode my mountain bike home, in the pitch black, on a dew covered slope, while carrying a bag on each handle bar. My coccyx is smashed to pieces. Electric shocks of pain remind me what child birth was like.

The second night, we made a camp fire. For the younger kids, this was a new experience. As the embers died down, we started to put them to bed. As the stars came out, we opened the wine. Honest and emotional conversations always happen around a fire with friends, but when reduced to embers, when you can no longer see anyone’s facial reactions, it becomes more like a confession. You tell a story, knowing you cannot see a person’s reaction. It is a different type of conversation.

The day before we took all the kids to the swimming lake. Adults padded in apprehensively while the older kids (and toddlers) ran along the jetty and threw themselves in with gay abandon.

The third night, we were trying to be sensible. We had to sensible, we had to decamp, drive home, get food, wash clothe etc. As we tried to calmly tell each other it was time for sleep, we all grabbed each other….Did you se it?!?!?!?!? We all said. A fleeting shooting star!! How magical?! How exciting. Even as non-believers, we all silently made a wish, just in case.

I have never seen a meteor shower. I have seen them forecast, and then as it so much the case in the Uk, it was too cloudy to see anything.

We haved a posh telescope and it is really fun to see the actual surface of the moon in detail, but actually, just seeing a fleeting streak of light was enough to send us CRAZY. So, in conclusion, you need nothing. just remember that your night vision cannot kick in for 30 minutes. Like all the best things in life, you must be patient. x

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