The eclipse was something not to be missed, and as luck would have it the skies over the Moorlands were (for once) clear enough to view a celestial event! There were a few high clouds but that actually made it easier to see the event by cutting a lot of the glare.
The light dimmed to an oddly yellowish dusk, and I could see the dark arc of moon creeping over the sun quite clearly reflected in the sun-tinted double glazing on our front windows.
I saw the eclipse in 1991, and though this was not quite as complete, the one thing that was most noticeable after that strange quality of light was the effect it had on the birds.
Today, as in 1999, the birds did quieten, a few robins even starting up their evening song.
Now our house is old – around 180 years old – as are most of the surrounding buildings, and we have a long-established Jackdaw colony who flit between here and the church tower a half mile away. All day long they flap around the place squawking and squabbling and swooping on anything that looks remotely like food.
At around 9.30 the trees at the back of the garden took on a macabre re-enactment of that most famous film, The Birds as our resident villains took to the surrounding trees and sat hunched in twos and threes muttering quietly to each other.
If I remember this eclipse it will be for those few moments of delightful menace. You couldn’t buy that kind of treat!