The Stars Above

On our last night in Taynish, the sky was clear. I went out hoping to see the stars, and then stood there with my jaw open (admittedly in part because my head was so far back but wonder played its part too) looking at the numberless stars of heaven’s field. I’ve not seen anything like this for years. We were somewhere where the only artificial lights were our own, with only the faintest of horizon glows from the the direction of Glasgow, and the stars, the stars came out! Even where I could see no distinct points of light, there was an impression, a graininess to the darkness, that suggested impossible expanses of stars and galaxies receding into forever.

What we have lost with the light caps we’ve placed over our our cities, sealing ourselves away from any direct sense of the cold splendour and depths of the universe. Bring back the night, turn out the lights, and look at the stars!

Scotland Is A Different Country

My boys have never shown the slightest interest in doing museum quizzes, so we were somewhat nonplussed when, on being told by the kindly man looking after Oban’s small museum that there would be ‘a wee prize’ if they completed the questionnaire, they proceeded to hunt down every clue with all the diligence of dutiful bloodhounds. The quiz finished, and all questions answered, they presented their forms to the kindly man who gave them their stickers and certificates. They looked a bit nonplussed, but we put that down to their pleasure at completing the quiz. It was only outside that we discovered that they thought ‘a wee prize’ meant ‘a Wii prize’: a Nintendo Wii!

Scotland’s Rainforest

Tomorrow, we’re heading up to Scotland, to the Taynish peninsula in Argyll. When I looked the area up I found it is home to Taynish forest, a National Nature Reserve that’s subtitled, on the Scottish Nature page, ‘Scotland’s Rainforest’! We’re packing waterproofs (and life jackets – the place we’re staying has two canoes and a rowboat).

Taynish Peninsula
Taynish Peninsula