Friday, August 12, 1983

Out, out, brief candle!

Andrew left at twenty-to-twelve; Dad ran him down to the station. He said he was nervous and hated himself for his irrationality. He aims to find somewhere of his own to live within the next week. As I write this, he’ll be in a pub in London somewhere. His nervousness will have gone now he’s actually arrived. He’ll be OK.

Mum's in a bit of a mood at the moment; no doubt she’s worrying over Andrew, but she seems stalled and very fed up. We watched Kenneth Clarke’s Civilisation this evening which featured the famous “life’s but a walking shadow” speech from Macbeth, which Mum said didn’t help her mood.

She says she’s been brooding on the passing of time and the ultimate point of “it all” for a long while now. I copped the blunt end of her mood when she quite snapped at me. “Just because I don’t blab everything I think to everyone all the time, you all assume I haven’t a thought in my head . . . you’d be surprised.”

After dark I watched for the Perseid meteors, which reached their peak last night. In the first few minutes of watching I saw several, and after about half-an-hour I’d recorded seventeen and a handful of sporadic meteors. Most were mere sparks, flicking across the edge of my field of vision and gone in an instant. but two flashed across the sky and left trails, which I observed with binoculars.

The first was a bright bluish ball of light which whizzed across the sky leaving a pale glowing train of ionized gas in its wake. This persisted for at least thirty seconds before it gradually distorted and broke up. I managed to drag Mum and Dad away from the television and into the darkness, and their patience was rewarded with a few meteors and a satellite.

After they’d gone in with aching necks, I tracked a couple more satellites as they glided silently towards the horizon and extinction in the earth’s shadow. It was a breath of the old times: when I spotted the first and most spectacular ‘fireball,’ looking for all the world like a firework rocket, I got a thrill of adrenalin, a real kick.

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