Monday, 27 September 2010

Stargazing And A Caravan Fire

Just lately - now I've got a new super-zoom toy - another of my other gentle pastimes has  has been rekindled, namely stargazing. Not the serious stuff, I'm not bright enough for that, but the easy to notice things like the phases of the moon and the planets that can be seen just by looking up.

To help with this I started following Jodrell Bank on Twitter, they tweet and re-tweet and I was lucky enough to have checked just at the right time on the MW zinc ii for us to dash out onto the veranda [no, we're not posh, we're just at the caravan], to spot the International Space Station passing over. I've since used the website heavens-above to follow the ISS and visible passing satellites.

I also downloaded a program called 'Stellarium', this shows all the stars and planets and where they are at any given time. You can fast forward and zoom in amongst other things, which was a great help for spotting the four largest moons of Jupiter through my telescope - 13 years old, in pristine condition, recently hoiked out of the cupboard it had been banished to shortly after purchase [a surprise Christmas present from the grumpy old man] and taken to the caravan where the lighting conditions are far better than at our winter abode.

Anyway, in-between taking photos of the squirrel, birds and some very obliging fungi [they tend not to dash off while I'm composing my shots] during the day and the badgers at night - although I've still not managed to get the elusive fox or owl to stand still long enough to have their pictures taken - I've taken some [not brilliant but wonderful for me] pictures of the moon and a few blobs of Jupiter and her largest moons.

I was tiptoeing the other night among the slugs to get a close up of the badger noshing on peanuts when he suddenly shot off [they can move fast] as he had been disturbed by a WHOOSH! He made a hasty retreat along the fence and into the dyke. The cat was in a state of panic too. We couldn't work out what would have made such a strange noise so late at night - most normal people [wimmin] were in bed snuggled up with their electric blankets while the others were watching football on the telly.

Then I spotted the flashing blue and red lights and smoke, oh heck, right where the gas tank is [or so I thought]. Yes one of the fire engines plus the ambulance were there but the fire was a caravan further down the site.

Of course, being nosy I went to investigate, well I was already dressed in my bright-cream-fleecy-stop-up-late-when-it's-cold-to-take-photos pyjamas over my normal flimsy bed attire. Some people gave me a bit of an odd look as they turned up to see what was happening, because there I was, armed with my camera. I explained that I'd been taking photos of the badger but I'm not sure if anyone believed me - our caravan neighbours are used to seeing me with my camera at night but I don't go far with it [not needing to] - they probably thought I was some sort of opportunistic ghoul who likes taking disaster photos.

We all stood around in the drizzle, comparing caravan insurance that we'd had to pay at the beginning of the month. And agreeing that we hoped it was a caravan that belonged to 'she who must be obeyed' - not out of spite, but if it was an owned caravan, then there's always personal stuff left inside, whereas if it's a site caravan, it's only fixtures and fittings.

We've since found out that someone was staying in the caravan but were out at the time and the fire was caused by an electrical fault - it was actually a bimbo's hairdryer with an intermittent fault, left plugged in - as you do [not]. What was left of the caravan has now been taken away to caravan heaven.

We've also all had to pay for an electrical check that we didn't need. But someone - in the right place at the right time has made vast amounts of dosh, charging £25 for approximately 8 minutes work, umpteen times over a few days [with a Leicester telephone number, so not local but cheaper than advertised onsite] - unfortunately, having retired the GOM is no longer certified to do any electrical work, even though he has the technology ... which I heard about, oooh, every time he saw another victim friend to harass tell his tale of woe to ... bless him.

Did I take any photos of the caravan on fire? Well of course I did, I couldn't miss an opportunity like that now could I? I'm as ghoulish as the next person ...

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