Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The moon (and sun) under water

The Moon Under Water is, of course, George Orwell's ideal London pub, drawn lovingly in an Evening Standard article in 1946. Many of its qualities would still be considered desirable today - good beer, decent basic food, friendly barmaids, open fires and above all, the background quiet to hold a conversation. Some of the attributes he sought are far more common today - particularly a women and children-friendly atmosphere. Others are so long gone that I hadn't even heard of them - beer in china mugs, for example.

We have now become a class of second class citizen, banned from many a lounge bar and restaurant, and entered the new world of the dog-friendly pub. Until now, this hasn't been too much of a culture shock. We have been taken by Rocky and his previous family to the Red Lion at Litton in the Peak District, where log fires, good beer and excellent beer are found to be perfectly compatible with canine companionship. The only thing we have to remember is to bring his blanket, for those authentic flagstone floors. Back in Newhaven, the Hope offers well kept Harveys, decent food, log fires and again, a warm welcome to Rocky - as long as we let the landlady know before we come in so that Pip the resident Pyrenean mountain dog (and mountainous she most certainly is) can be shooed behind the bar. But oh dear, down on the boat it was another matter. I hope to hear differently, but between Brewood and Wheaton Aston, only the public bar of the Bridge was reputed to tolerate dogs - and as a result was full of them, along with a great many children (in the public bar? Call me old-fashioned...) and worst, a very large, very loud, TV. For various reasons, largely mouse-related, eating on the boat wasn't an easy option for the first couple of days, and anyway, we'd been working hard and deserved a treat.

But this wasn't meant to be about pubs. It was about this sun and moon together under the water...

I'm not quite sure how the effect has come about - the actual eclipsed sun is lost in the glare, but a secondary reflection appears next to it. It's the same in most of the photos I took.

Here are some other people looking at the eclipse...

We learned that while a welder's mask was an excellent way of safely viewing the eclipse of 1999, modern polarising ones don't work - the light's either not bright or not sudden enough to trigger their darkening. Produced an interesting green effect in the photos though. A cardboard pinhole camera and a colander were also utilised. There was very little cloud in the West Midlands (as noted also by Diamond Geezer).

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