Thursday, 26 March 2015

A Natural Phenomenom

Everyone in this road seems to have gone health and safety mad, the most impressive natural phenomenon to happen in years and not to occur again any time soon, and all my neighbours can focus on is where to get the cardboard glasses. I am, of course referring to the solar eclipse.
The hoo ha started with Catherine, who, as usual, had read a headline and gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick, ‘We could all go blind on Friday, we need those special glasses, I’m very worried, I’m already short sighted’.
She hadn’t chosen the most sympathetic recipient of this information in Ken, he just grinned at her and said his usual, ‘Don’t worry woman, just don’t look at the sun’.

Catherine was ready for this, she had clearly given it some thought, ‘But that’s the whole point isn’t it, it’s psychological, if you’re told not to do something you invariably end up doing it. If I said to you don’t think about a penguin in a bowler hat with a cup of coffee in its hand, what would you think of ?’

‘The fact that penguins don’t have hands.’

Unimpressed with this response Catherine swept along the road towards the Spar, Harry and Gary she felt, would have taken the risk much more seriously and were bound to have the special glasses in stock.
Jacinta also had her own views on the solar eclipse, Pavers Primary were using the opportunity as a science/technology project and would be getting the children to make pinhole cameras, which would be safe to use when looking at the eclipse. Prithpal and Jacinta felt that this would be a positive learning experience but were amazed to find a letter stuffed in the bottom of Manjit’s book bag requesting signed permission to use the pinhole camera on the actual day.
‘Nonsense’, was the response from Jacinta,’ They’ll be asking our permission to let him breathe the air in the playground next’.
Gary and Harry had indeed managed to get a supply of the glasses and were charging £1.50 for what was essentially a piece of cardboard and some coloured plastic. Tom seemed to think that these were a fashion item worthy of note and wore them from the moment that he bought them on Wednesday morning. I don’t think they proved to be risk free when worn like this, I did see him trip up at least twice, even on the smooth bit of the pavement, and he became entangled in Ken’s bush which he also failed to notice; although that may have been due to him taking an overzealous interest in Shirl’s blouse, which as usual revealed her favourite assets.

On the morning of the solar eclipse most of the children appeared to be wearing the glasses to school, and when I saw Catherine she too had them firmly planted over her ears. I could see little point myself, the sky was overcast and gloomy, any blindness in the street would be due to a lack of carrots more than a solar eclipse.
Manjit looked quite green as Jacinta dragged him off to school and I did hear her telling him it was all the excitement and that he would feel better once his pinhole camera was in place, he couldn’t possibly miss the opportunity to witness this once in a lifetime experience.
As the moon moved across the sky the light in the road turned from a dull grey to moody darkness, many people stood in the street looking up with their cardboard glasses on, like a bunch of misguided celebrities, hiding their eyes from adoring fans.
At the same time as we all experienced the gloom Jacinta's mobile phone rang, far from witnessing the experience of a lifetime Manjit was sitting in the secretary’s office with his head in a bucket, the green hue had not been excitement after all. Catherine sympathised with his fate but as Jacinta headed off to collect Manjit she offered a different view to Tom.
‘At least you know where you are with your head in a bucket, not wasting your time staring at the sky, avoiding the onset of blindness'.

This was clearly too deep for Tom, he mumbled a response to Catherine and then sauntered off towards the Spar tripping over the kerb as he dismounted the pavement, the glasses still stuck to his head.


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