Two ‘scientific’ failures this week: one fact, one fiction, but both real. First off, I got up around 0500 on Wednesday (no mean feat for me), and trudged out with white paper pad, binoculars and camera to hand, hoping to catch the transit of Venus. I decided to walk down the hill – not as daft as it seems: there is no solar vantage that time of the morning where I live, plus it was overcast and so didn’t bode well anyhow; but I reasoned there would be improved vistas down in the more spacious ‘valley’. Once down, however, rather than continue ‘flat’, I decided to turn right, and walk up the incline towards the golf clubhouse (which is the high vantage point in the valley, if that makes sense). This was (or would have been) inspired. After a short walk, I was forced to squint as I turned my head to the right, the low bright sun evident through the hedge gap access to one of the tees. I walked through and made a quick assessment. And thence made my mistake. With three items to handle, it was going to be tricky to keep a steady hand; and propping up the pad could only be done on dew-wet ground/hedge. It was around 0530. About twenty-five minutes left. So I decided, rather than sodden the pad, to continue on up towards the clubhouse, where there is apparatus upon which to prop things up at stable angles, so freeing up my focusing and capturing hands, and wherefrom I ‘calculated’ taking advantage of an improved vista. Except it was vistaless. Although still bright, further, but taller trees intervened. So, I about-turned and yomped back down to my original site, returning less than five minutes after leaving it to find the sun now obscured by clouds. I’d got my angles and my timings wrong. And so it remained, as I stood there looking up and cursing at the wind-blown inverted grey carpet smothering my opportunity. But in actuality, I was cursing myself: I’d managed the difficult part in hauling myself out of bed, then failed to get on with it during that brief bright window, when (as it turns out, although I’d set off unconvinced) my basic equipment would have done the job just fine – and I could have self-satisfyingly posted my own shot here. And my self-annoyance lingers, unquelled by reminders that there will be other transits (Mercury in a few years?). After all, there are no guarantees of being around for future eventualities. And I’ll for certain never get the opportunity to see a transiting Venus again. But I was alive last Wednesday.
I was still alive yesterday, when I saw something that, it turns out, I would not have been sorry to miss – I went to the cinema to see (in 2D. Please ) a hyperridiculous titanic turkey. I’d rather be tied to a rock.