Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Unusual Happenings...

Roly thinks better of it. Photo: Karen Rivron
Two unusual things happened yesterday. Firstly, during a break in the band rehearsal -spent, as usual on a nice day, on the bank of the River Swale- we decided to go for a swim. I don't remember ever deliberately swimming in a substantial river before, but this was quite an experience. Andy -who lives there- does it regularly and pointed out some dos and don'ts, after which we jumped in or rather, in my case, sat on the rocks on the riverbank and edged in slowly on account of the painfully cold water.

Once in, oddly, it felt warm and I was quickly pulled by the current into a deeper, less turbulent part of the river where it was easier to swim. Suddenly, I couldn't feel the pebbles on the bottom anymore - but at least I felt more in control and could just manage to swim upstream against the current. I swam back towards the rocks. It was a struggle to make headway in the shallower, narrower fast flowing part, and I had to resort to grabbing onto the branches of willow trees to pull myself along. Back at the rocks I thought, why not, and set off downstream again. It was great to get close up to the river, feel the current pulling you, see the ripples on the surface at eye-level, and feel the pebbles and rocks of the riverbed with your feet - instead of simply admiring it from a distance. It was great fun, too. Here's to more wild swimming. (Don't try this at home, as they say. Please don't go jumping into rivers on my account: check out the risks first).

If that wasn't enough excitement for one day, Karen and I were driving through Leyburn in the dark, about 9.15pm, when we saw what I can only describe as a UFO. I use the term in the strictest sense: it was simply a flying object we couldn't identify: I suspect there's a perfectly commonplace explanation for what we saw, but we don't know what it is.

It was a cloudy night. Looking out of the passenger-side window I saw a single light in the sky that seemed to illuminate something above it with an orange glow. I seemed quite close. It was moving Northwards quite slowly.Odd, I thought, that it should be close and slow-moving. Then I thought that it might be a microlight, flying at night (how would it land, I wondered?). At first, what I could see fitted that explanation, but then the "something" seemed to be oblong, the wrong shape for the delta wings of a microlight. Then slightly more of it became visible: there was more to it than the oblong, but exactly how much more was difficult to tell. We'd slowed down, but the car was still moving, and the buildings on our left obscured the view. We turned left in the Market Square and suddenly got a view of the sky again. The light in sky was still there, but it had moved off into the Northeast, and seemed to be a lot further away all of a sudden. At first I thought it was a bright star,and not the light I'd just seen, but the sky was cloudy and it wasn't quite the right colour for a star. Over a few seconds it got fainter and fainter before going out all together (presumably it had disappeared into the cloud).

What was it? It just didn't seem to resemble or behave like any aircraft I've seen before. At first it was low and slow moving then, in a very short space of time, it seemed to be higher up and moving considerably faster. I've heard of the military using small robot planes in Afghanistan and, from my very limited knowledge of such things, I can only assume that this was one of them, or something like it. (There is an RAF base not far away). Or perhaps we were visited by extraterrestrials? Personally, I doubt it, but it's quite amusing to think of someone travelling lightyears on a voyage of discovery only to discover Leyburn. It's a long way to come to discover the teapot shop's shut.

12 comments:

ArtSparker said...

One of those days to remember, sounds like.

Marshall-Stacks said...

maybe you saw part of the perseid showers -
Perseid Meteor Shower in August 2010 Continues to Illuminate the ...‎ - 1 day ago
In addition, NASA said that this year's Perseid Meteor Shower show is a good year for spectators since the Moon won't be up during its peak from midnight to ...
World Correspondents (blog) - 1052 related articles »
Perseid Meteor Shower 2010 Keeps on Glowing Til Rest Of August‎ - Keen Observers

Niamh B said...

most mysterious - the swim sounds lovely alright

The Bug said...

But what a shame the teashop was closed!

Rachel Fox said...

One of those paper lantern things that are very popular these days?
x

The Weaver of Grass said...

The farmer is highly sceptical of the UFO sighting - as you would expect him to be!

Titus said...

Definitely not the Perseid Meteor Shower. I watched out for the three bloody days they were meant to be raining down on the earth and saw one shooting star, which is my usual spot ratethe rest of the year.
(I sit outside the house late at night smoking quite a lot).
UFO! UFO!

Rashi said...

ya worth remembering..it is!

Poet in Residence said...

That UFO tale reminds me of my own UFO experience. It was on the moors above Pickup Bank at Darwen one starry night many years ago. A light, which a group of us took to be simply another star situated just above the horizon of the relatively flat moorland, suddenly started moving vertically upwards, and upwards and upwards at what must have been a tremendous speed! And then, as far as I can recall, it suddenly disappeared. I can only assume that it was some ball of illuminated gas released from the depths of the moorland peat. Another time I saw a ball of blue light in the sky not too far from the same location. It was the night York Minster was struck by lightning. I suspect there's a fault line or soem geological anomaly that must be responsible. Perhaps your sighting was something similar?

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments everybody.

The "object" was pretty definitely something - you could see it had a hull of some sort. Interesting speculations and anecdotes, though, so thank you. I once saw twinkling golden lights in the sky during the daytime - when I looked into it I found it was probably bits of space debris re-entering. Quite common apparently.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Feckin LOVE seeing weird things in the sky.And the really mad thing is that I've seen only 3 strange things in the sky in my entire life yet every single night I expect to see another.

Dominic Rivron said...

TFE: I suspect the weirdest things in the sky are the ones we don't know we're looking at.

However, at 3, you're one ahead of me.