Friday, 20th March 2015, was a pretty special day from the word go.
In a grey southeast London I had no sight of the eclipse and was barely, if at all, aware of a change in the light. The television coverage though gave me almost all I could have wished for. One of the things that amazed me, and others too I believe, was the very small window between light and dark. With over 85% coverage in my area I would have expected subdued lighting for some time but even in the Faroe Islands I understand there were only two minutes of total darkness. It seems just a little bit of sun peeping out from behind the moon is enough to flood our home planet with light.
Friday was a day of light in more ways than one. On this first official day of spring the clouds cleared quickly leaving a bright blue sky and a warmth in the air that refused to be ignored. After lunch my husband and I drove the one and a half miles to Greenwich Park and entered another world. Our first port of call via the flower garden was the Wilderness Park which is home to two herds of deer and is the oldest of London’s deer parks. The herds are small – sixteen fallow and fourteen red – and they were as far away from where I was standing as they could possibly have been. No photo opportunity but a lovely memory to take away.
Back in the flower garden we stopped at the large pond to watch the ducks and take in the very spring-like atmosphere. It being spring they were showing off all their best colours. Walking on we were approached by fearless squirrels whose kingdom is the garden, dogs not being allowed in this area.
Leaving the enclosure we crossed the park and passed the bandstand, devoid at this time of musicians but inhabited by mothers and toddlers instead. We were heading for the Pavilion Café and a shared scone with cream and jam. Half a scone didn’t seem to be too naughty and we sat outside in the sunshine watching the world go by. There was a very pregnant young woman contentedly reading a book, some children and their parents who had also come out for tea.
As we walked back to the car we stopped again and sat on a bench to catch the last warm rays of the sun. Such a contrast to the excitement of the eclipse that morning but a day that eclipsed many that had come before in many ways – and definitely a good to be alive day.