Would jubilee vit - the transit of Venus

June 05, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Do you remember June 8th 2004?

Do you remember anything special about it?

Maybe you were married then or celebrated someone's birthday or anniversary?

Maybe you passed your driving test or started a new job?

Maybe you had your ex-fiancee's name removed from that drunken tattoo on your left buttock on that day?



Well.... I remember it  for sure - but for none of the reasons above.


I was unmarried at the time - I hadn't even had a proper date with my wife-to-be in the summer of 2004 (that came the next year if I remember correctly, on June 2nd).

I was living in Buckinghamshire, in an "HMO" (a House of Mixed Occupancy) made up of a couple of pals and two of their sisters and me.

I was baking for a living, in a tiny craft bakery a few miles away and nothing much was happening in my life.


But on that day (eight years ago) I do remember sitting out in the back garden, with a piece of card and a set of binoculars - and I clearly remember projecting the very clear image of Venus passing across the face of the Sun through the binoculars onto that piece of card in the garden.

I was watching the UK's last transit of Venus and intend to do so again at around 0500hrs (BST) tomorrow morning, if this blessed drizzle ever clears.

If (like me) you have no trouble getting out of your pit nice 'n' early on summer mornings (whether working or not) I'd probably suggest you try and (SAFELY!) catch a glimpse of this transit as its the last one you'll see. EVER.

Why do I think it's worth seeing?

Because it (kind of) reminds you that your particular existence means b*****-all in the grand scheme of things - it reminds me to not be so arrogant or self-satisified  - it takes anyone down a peg or two - its pretty mesmerising really and quite healthy I think, (to occasionally be forced to appreciate one's true position in the cosmos). 


So.... what about The Diamond Jubilee then?

Well.... I'm no monarchist (I balk at being "ruled" by unelected Germans and Greeks in the main) but I'm no republican either (I certainly see the Royal family's worth to the UK economy for example and regard the whole deal as immense value for money).

That all said, Anna and I watched most of the festivities over the weekend on the TV (we didn't go down to London) and it was very nice to see so many people having such a nice time in the name of our Queen.

The highlight of the weekend for me was this afternoon's fly past by the Lancaster, Spitfires and Hurricane.... especially as the River Pageant flypast was cancelled on Saturday due to quite atrocious weather.

The lowlight of the weekend was the BBC's truly awful coverage of the weekend - the flotilla in particular.

Fair play to her (she's pretty ancient after all) for standing up for the entire inane proceedings in the wet- but she clearly hardly smiled at all during the flotilla (in fact she scowled through most of it - not that I blame her for that), but the quite appalling TV presenters did try (every 30 seconds) to tell us (again and again) how happy she looked.

Lets not be silly. She didn't seem to enjoy herself at all - unlike her husband -good old Philip - who DID beam all day long - and unfortunately ended the weekend in hospital with a bladder infection. Poor bloke.

Annnywaaaay... the Jubilee did seem to take an awful lot of traffic off the roads today - which was very nice indeed.

On my weekend (of sorts!) run today, I didn't see one car in the countryside - but I did see plenty of wildlife - a beautiful roe doe (with hidden young I assume), the local barn owl and little owls (still to fledge), a pair of very underrated pied wagtails (which eventually got off the road as my size 14s pounded towards them), a very noisy green woodpecker, a red-legged partridge which set my pace for me for a hundred yards or so (running up the road ahead of me, looking round occasionally before diving into the roadside cover) and a big female sparrowhawk with some unfortunate passerine in her talons.

I like four day weekends  (and so does the wildlife) - so thankyou Ma'am for that at least...


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