This was the sight that greeted me the other night, and what a beautiful sight it was too. As dusk fell the sky turned a fiery orange. A final moment of glory, blazing into blackness.
And of course, I had to get a photograph of it, although I’m sure you guys would have believed me without one.
It was reported that some Britons were puzzled by a yellow sky, some by a red sky, while where I was it was definitely an orange sky. But whatever tint you got, it turned out that the cause was a Saharan dust cloud that had made its way over here. Crossing borders with neither a visa or a passport.
This just goes to show how things happening elsewhere can have an affect on us here (wherever the ‘us here’ is, as the application is universal for you, dear reader, too).
The butterfly affect, six degrees of separation and all that. Nothing happens in a vacuum, there’s always a knock on effect.
The alarming conflict going on in Eastern Europe further illustrates this, as the ramifications spread across the globe like an unsettling web that we are all getting caught up in.
But it doesn’t have to be just negative things.
A fellow blogger (and honorary Manc) living over the Pond produced the latest of her musical ventures there which also had an affect right here.
This was her CD that recently arrived, and early one morning this corner of Northern England became transformed into the desert setting of New Mexico, the setting which, along with a family of rescue goats, inspired the music to be found on here. Something born there found new life here.
From New Mexico to Manchester.
I never checked, but maybe while I was sat inside listening to Laura’s music the sky outside was orange again.
So guys, how are things in your corner of the world? I thought I’d share these photographs to give you a rough idea of how things have been in Jackdaw town.
A friend took this photograph early the other morning from our town, when the sun, striking one of the Deansgate towers in Manchester, made it look like it was on fire. Maybe a beacon for the dark days to come, a beacon to last until the Solstice.
But don’t be fooled by those polished, fiery flames, though, as the following will explain.
My son and I travelled to Congleton in Cheshire. Cold, cold Congleton, to watch our local non-league team play away. The day was bleak, the performance was bleak, the corner flag lay horizontal in the polar wind. But that’s par of the course for us. Typical British footballing weather, on a typical British footballing family’s Saturday.
Then the next day the snow came. I’m not sure if it was forecast but it certainly took me by surprise. And also my nosey daughter who, if you look closely, you will see peering out from behind those patio doors there.
I’ve been blogging now for nine years. So that’s nine winters, and anyone who has been flying with City Jackdaw for that timespan will surely have heard me mention before about how we live on a hill; how just a dusting of snow can see us cut off by all public transport; how one day we might have to resort to eating each other.
But not just yet. The season is still early and the freezer is fully stocked.
But everything else is as imagined. The first real snow managed to halt a bus right outside our house. The passengers disembarked to walk, the driver disembarked to stretch his legs.
And look at poor Clifford, will he ever make it home? Have you ever seen such a hopeless, hapless face?
Later in the day the sun tried to rally but, barring another weather phenomenon that’s not been forecast (heatwave) that car of my wife’s would be going nowhere. She hates to drive in snow, and as one who doesn’t drive, I can’t (and wouldn’t dare) blame her.
She went to bed fearing for the morning commute, the kids went to bed dreaming of the next day’s adventures, and I went to bed to arise early to spy a cold, lonely moon, shining down on the hardened snow. Although it wouldn’t remain for long. The snow, that is, not the moon, for that silent satellite will outlive all of us.
I took this first photograph while waiting for a funeral cortège, a funeral we couldn’t attend. The mother of a friend had passed after catching Covid, despite being jabbed. We’d spoke with her once in our town centre, not long after lockdown had ended, and she was afraid of catching the virus. Despite following all advice and taking all necessary precautions, she caught it and having underlying health issues sadly succumbed.
My wife and I were waiting the results of our own PCR tests and so couldn’t attend the funeral. But, with it being local, we wanted to stand at the cemetery gates, away from everybody else, to show our respects as the hearse and family cars arrived. As we waited in the car, sheltering from the rain, the wind scattered leaves across the windscreen and this one caught for a few seconds.
The dark day had persuaded the streetlight sensor that night was falling.
The smell of wet leaves, that mulchy, earthy smell. This bench, on the cemetery edge, was waiting for Spring to bring with it regular occupants, to maybe bask in early sunshine and watch the world awaken. It helps to think of cycles and the natural order of things.
It reminded me a little of the more famous, Autumn bench that those four Swedes once sat on. I’ve actually seen that bench in Stockholm. Perhaps this one would attract someone of equal renown. Perhaps it already had. Who but the bench would know?
Another day and another break in the clouds. My wife, son and I all received negative results, but my daughter tested positive and so she’s isolating. With my Mum living next door, unable to remain out of our home due to her Alzheimer’s, we are having to navigate all that.
So far so good.
We nipped into Middleton and, in the midst of a deluge, the sun came out and I took this photograph. It could have been better but I was too slow – by the time I’d got my phone out the sun was already slipping behind a cloud.
At this time of year, a time of change and lengthening shadow, you have to be fast to catch any light.