Friday, 20 March 2015

Morris men, flowers and the moon

I am again late in posting for Roy this time after a very busy week - more of that over the weekend. I have just a few yellow photos to post this time with no theme and a surprise (and maybe a breaking of the rules) at the end ...

The first shows a morris dancer dressed for action in Chipping Camden in the Cotswolds near where we live. We went visiting there last summer and found the town square full of dancers dressed in traditional costume and many wearing bells, together with  a forest of yellow traffic cones - a lovely contrast between traditional and modern.


The next is a clump of daffodils in perfect flower in a friend's garden. Daffodils are out all around us here just now.


And the last two have only a hint of yellow at best but I couldn't resist sharing them with you. I hope you will excuse my self-indulgence. They are the record of a wonderful event that took place this morning. Centred over the Faroe Islands northwest of the British Isles today, there was a total eclipse of the sun. 

We saw it here in SW England as an 85% eclipse. We felt very lucky. Early in the day, the sky was covered in cloud and we had expected to see nothing. We hadn't bought special eye protection and thought, if the sky cleared, we would have to make do with a pinhole in cardboard focusing the image onto white cardboard. But as the eclipse progressed to about 70%, the cloud covering the sun thinned just enough and we were able to see the crescent of the sun veiled through thin high cloud - no glare and very a gentle image so no damage to our eyes. We took many photographs, one of which is shown here. 


The other photo is one taken as the sun came out fully and was too bright to look at directly. It's not possible to see the crescent but I found the light extraordinary. It was like the light we often get around a thunderstorm - and it dimmed as the maximum eclipse approached. With my camera adjusted to cope with the brightness of the remaining crescent of the sun, I was fascinated by the silhouette of the trees and took this photo ... and there is just a hint of yellow in the sky ...


The birds seemed confused and flew into the trees to roost. After the eclipse was over, they sang again as if it was early morning - a second dawn chorus. 

We found it most moving ... a reminder of our insignificance and our position as a commentator put it 'on a small lump of rock rating around an insignificant star in the immense cosmos' ... Oh my!

There won't be another total eclipse over the British Isles for about 70 years ... I won't see that one!



17 comments:

  1. Hi Margaret- Thanks so much for sharing the solar eclipse photos and your observations...especially the wonderment of it all and the confusion of the birds..It must have been fantastic and awe-inspiring.

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    1. It was awe-inspiring - and such an unexpected pleasure to see it at all as the weather forecast had been threatening a veil of cloud all through the week.

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  2. We were not so lucky here outside Washington DC but I got that experience once when I lived in The Republic of Panama. Like you, I was fascinated with the reaction of the birds. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I think the USA is to have a total eclipse in the mid-west in 2017 ... not to be missed!

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  3. Thank you so much for the photos! And for the curious information about the birds. It is so amazing to think of the timelessness of it all. Turning, ever turning....I love it!! I especially love that last photo.

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    1. A reminder of our place as part of the immense whole, the inevitable, things outside our power to control, of our smallness and insignificance ... how we need it from time to time ...

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  4. Those photos of the sky/eclipse/tree silhouettes are amazing - and how lucky to witness the eclipse! The commentators on the live stream I was watching in the Faroe Islands also mentioned the birds' behavior. (The only unusual "behavioral" activities I noticed in Florence were people pausing in sunny spots with their pinhole or "professional" viewers/cameras.)

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    1. Everything stopped in this house - as it always does for any extraordinary event. My husband had a pinhole ready but we really only needed it towards the end. The fine veil of cloud was most obliging. How much of an eclipse did you see in Florence? Sadly on the Faroes themselves, it was cloudy and I'm not sure much was seen on the ground, The BBC had a plane up above the clouds which showed the whole thing beautifully so we divided our time between our own spectacle and the TV stream.

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  5. Thanks so much for sharing those spectacular eclipse photos! Of course, we couldn't see it here, but your photos are stunning!

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  6. p.s. forgot to mention that I love that dancer's costume, too!

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    1. Thank you Sharmon for both comments. The Morris dancers are a familiar sight around here in the summer months and great fun. I believe that this particular one is the jester and that every group (or side) has one. Morris dancing dates from medieval times and is closely linked to Mummers plays. The folk dances feature (more usually) men dressed in costume featuring bells, sticks and handkerchiefs. Variations of the dance occur across Europe.

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  7. Extraordinary event for sure...how beautiful that the birds accepted the changing light...!

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    1. It was inspiring ... and many years to wait for the next one here ...

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  8. Wonderful photos of the eclipse. As well as the dancer!

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    1. A total mismatch ... but irresistible!

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  9. Spectacular photos of a spectacular event ... lucky you to be able to witness it ! And, yes, we are so insignificant when it comes to the millions of years that events such as this have been playing since time began.
    Those Morris dancer costumes are fabulous ... and how nice that this event has been playing for hundreds of years ;)

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  10. A timeless post all round perhaps - with those daffodils so long a sign of new growth!

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