• Eclipsed: Then and now.


    This morning brought back memories. Of Wednesday 11th August 1999. That was the day the UK experienced a total eclipse of the sun. Today the UK experienced a partial eclipse but it was still spectacular. There is a curious coincidence of geography here. For in 1999 the area of Cornwall in which I now live was in the path of totality. In 1999 however I was living in my home city of Leeds in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Thus I experienced a partial eclipse. Just like I did this morning. This morning was very similar to the morning sixteen years ago. There was a strange subdued quality to the light. The temperature dropped as did the wind. The birds sat in the trees. Things became quieter. It was a time for reflection.
    I moved to Cornwall on Sunday 9th February, 2014. Some people retire to a location after been enchanted by it following a holiday. The enchantment often wears off and they move back from whence they came.
    My decision to relocate was made for pressing financial reasons. Mine was a classic downsizing – selling a property, buying a cheaper one and using the difference to increase income. In my case it worked. Arguably, the one mistake I made was not doing so earlier. But it was a huge decision and one that the hand of providence forced upon me.
    Having lived here for just over a year, I have settled in. If I was to report that I now realised I made the right move – this would not be an entirely accurate description for I realised I had made the right move when I made the offer to the estate agent who was selling the flat. I made the move with my eyes open. I knew the area I was going to. I have friends in the village. I have made new friends. If, like the Rt. Hon The Lord Lamont of Lerwick, I had a bath – I have a shower – I would sing Je Ne Regrette Rien in it.
    Having said this the eclipse brought back memories. Good and bad. The bad are not so important and are not to be dwelt upon, but the city of Leeds and beyond it, Yorkshire is where I spent most of the previous 59 years of my life. I still feel and I have a great connection to the city and the county. My late father left Cornwall aged ten but never lost the connection to the county. I was in Yorkshire for nearly six times longer.
    Throughout his life, Dad would return to his beloved south west regularly on holiday. Up to that point, the south west always meant holidays and the North of England the place where the affairs of day to day live was conducted. Before I made the move I instinctively knew that this situation was now going to be reversed.
    Now, those readers who are astronomers and astrophysicists will be irked when I say that the heavens are constant – they are not – they are in constant movement – but it is a comforting delusion.

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