Monday, 28 September 2015

Supermoon eclipse vigil

After some camera preparation earlier on, I woke up just after one, and dozed until the eclipse of the moon began, then went downstairs and took pictures from the front lawn in a dressing gown and pyjamas, it was just warm enough, at ten minute intervals until complete obscurity. 

Surprisingly my little Sony HX50 did me proud until this point. The 'blood moon' effect was hardly visible through the viewfinder at any zoom magnification, so I switched to the Alpha 55, with its TTL electronic viewfinder and captured a few images, though none turned out to be all that satisfactory. If I'd persevered with changing settings maybe I'd have got better results, but by this time I was getting tired, and returned to bed. 

I woke up again with the dawn twilight and glimpsed the moon from the bedroom window as it was just touching the horizon, brighter than I'd seen it when it was full and high in the sky earlier, or so it seemed. Too tired to make the effort to reach for a camera, but the memory remains vivid and rather wonderful. In fact the whole experience was rather wonderful. The naked eye sees so much more than the above average consumer camera. 

After breakfast we returned to Cardiff, Clare driving most of the way as I was somewhat worse for wear. We stopped to buy a picnic lunch at a service station outside Ross on Wye. The checkout guy noticed my cross and said "Tell me, does that cross mean you are a Christian?" "Yes, all my life and proud of it." I said. "Do you know about what's happening to Christians across the Middle East?" he asked. I assured him that I did, and we talked for a while until his next customer came to the till. He said he was from Lebanon, but not what kind of Lebanese he was. An exile, for certain, worried for kinsfolk and neighbours back home, no doubt, since his homeland of 4.8 million people has taken in a million Syrians.

A documentary photographer friend of Owain's has recently been working over in Lebanon, profoundly moved by what he witnessed. He returned feeling deeply ashamed of British Government attitude and policy towards suffering on this scale. Sending aid to refugees in places nearer to the land they left may seem like a well intended gesture aiming to make it easier to return when order is restored, but the pressures on a small country the size of Wales with over 50% more population than Wales to start with, are simply inhumane.

We got home early afternoon, and I set about painting the front garden railings and gate, boosted by warm bright sunshine. I was out of the house again to make a bereavement visit in Pentyrch at six, however. It related to one of two funerals I have Thursday this week. I learned about a man who'd died six months before he was expecting to receive a telegram from the Queen. He'd lived in the same house in Ely since it was built 93 years ago, in a street that has changed its name twice since he first moved in as a kid.

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