In 1999, during the total eclipse, we sat on Holcombe beach in South Devon and though it was too cloudy to see the sun at all, it turned very dark indeed and all the sea gulls went quiet and settled on the sea. And a wind arose and it felt somehow like we were on a rollercoaster.
Anything less than 100% totality lacks drama, but even 85% merits some sort of commemoration. Liza, Jennifer and I gathered in Bristol and went up the park.
Hard to avoid dire warnings about how looking directly at the sun causes sudden blindness. My feeling is that eclipses are rare things, and if you keep one eye shut, you not only get a better view of it, but you'll still have at least 50% of your vision left afterwards.
'Don't stare too long at the sun,' warned Liza's friend. 'It'll think you're creepy.'
Today was always going to be special. With the eclipse comes a new moon, of course. And it's the Spring Equinox when I have to try very hard not to think about how the getting lighter part of the year is half over already and embrace the next six months of light instead. So yes, welcome to the light half of the year. Plus, it's a Friday and I am Friday's child. And finally, it's Friday the 20th, so it's doubly my day.
Therefore, I took advantage of all of the above and did something long mooted, symbolic and timely in the company of those who shared the bad times with me.
The eagle-eyed might have noticed names and a date engraved inside my accurst wedding ring. It is my fervent hope that it makes its way down to the earth's molten core to heal a tiny wound there, rather than get swallowed by a fish who is subsequently caught and gutted by a do-gooder who makes it their lifetime mission to get the ring back to its grieving owner, studying marriage registers and calling in documentary film makers, etc, in the process. Because if they do, when they turn up on my doorstep with cameraman in tow, the programme will suddenly become unsuitable to be broadcast before the watershed.