Saturday, 13 December 2008

From Planets to Pancakes

One of the great things about living in Wensleydale is the view it affords of the sky. Somehow, your eyes are drawn to it: the sunrise, the sunset, weather fronts that fill the horizon with towering, chaotic jumbles of cloud. On a good night, the glow of the Milky Way is clearly visible and, if you know where to look, you can see the silvery smudge of the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye. You take notice: you become a sky-watcher. You realise just how much is going on up there. Over the years we've seen all sorts of things: sunlight glinting off space debris, shooting stars, comets, eclipses, a moon-bow, rainbow coloured clouds, satellites.

All this month Venus has been joined in the evening sky by Jupiter (see the Greenwich Observatory's blog). Looking up at these planets after sunset, though while the sun's glow still betrays its position, it's quite easy to visualise the solar system as you see it in textbooks and atlases: a huge, tilted plane made up of concentric rings. All of a sudden what is vast seems a whole lot smaller.

The Greenwich Observatory site has a chart with details of annual meteor showers for anyone who likes to keep an eye out for them. The Geminid meteor shower is due to peak this weekend, although the best of it will be obscured by the light of the full Moon. Unfortunately, we'll be lucky even to see that, as every time I stick my head out of the back door it gets soaked and there's nothing to see but dense, low cloud.


My friend Howard and I have revived our two-man musical effort, The Flying Pancakes. It's hard to describe what we do, but I tend to think of us as a kind of deranged Simon and Garfunkel. Imagine two older men playing (usually non-electric) guitar and ukulele covering The Pogues' The Sickbed of Chuchulainn (which we do) and you get something of the idea. Rather than organise gigs, we generally just turn up to places and play. Whether the surprise is a pleasant one or not is for the audience to decide: all I can say is that we've yet to be thrown out of anywhere. The plan is to take ourselves -along with The Big Bad Beast- to The Station in Richmond this morning.


Rachel Fox said...

Great band name! Hope to hear you some time. Get thee to YouTube till then...oh go on, it's fun!

Dominic Rivron said...

So it is: Howard the Ukulele thought of it. As for YouTube or MySpace, we may well, quite soon.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I have friends who coffee at The Station most Saturday mornings so may be getting feedback!!
Agree about the cloud on the night when the moon was at its perigree - very annoying. Sod's law I suppose.

Frances said...

Deranged Simon and Garfunkel sounds good to me.