12am ( been awake since 6.45am up at 7am)

I took the children to see The Astronomy Centre last night. I have never been so in awe of a place. I have never been so in awe of the beauty of our skies. I saw Jupiter with its moons and bands of clouds. I saw Betelgeuse a red supergiant exploding star. I saw the blur of comet Love Joy . Naoise stood on top of little step ladders to gaze into the telescopes and outside he spotted Orion’s Belt . We gazed at Venus.

Syd seemed to enjoy it.

When we got home, Naoise drew stars and planets in henna on my arm, some of it smudged but I don’t care, I love his drawings. I love them enough to mark them in temporary tattoos on my skin. I drew a little man with punk hair on his arm, he smiled.

We slept and dreamt of exploding starts and planets and speeding comets.

Cloudy day. No ordinary cloudy day. I have never felt so excited. A solar eclipse. Wow. Never has a school run gone so smoothly, nothing like an event of  magnitude to get my family up in the morning.

At the breakfast table, Naoise drew the moon heading towards the sun, Syd drank tea in a very dangerous way and I nagged him not to. Patrick couldn’t find Naoise toothbrush even though it had been placed where he had left it. Naoise went to school with hand full’s of  fossils and drawings and a certificate from The Astronomy centre. We arrived in his classroom and his teacher had the live television feed of the eclipse projected onto the white board.

I drove up with my two beautiful women friends to the Astronomy Centre. We stood on the moor with about fifty other people, young, old, in-between and babies strapped close to mothers chests. So exciting. I bought my colander to try out the shadow trick, but there were more clouds than sunbeams so I left it on the back seat of the car. Shame there is not enough light, I love the idea of the moon and the sun captured in a kitchen colander.

We stood in the cold and watched the clouds filter the eclipse so we could see it without staring through the dark safety of glasses. The clouds hung heavy, silent, tinged orange, it became a little darker. I will never ever see a total eclipse again, when I am an old woman I will remember this day on the moor with great joy. There is so much beauty in humanity, we need to be kinder to our earth and each other. Seventy years from now, I hope that my children will look out into the skies as old men  and breath the love I felt today, and I hope too that they feel as connected as I do to our forebears, those from the beginning of time who also looked out in awe at the heavens above. ( Maybe too cheesy, oh well its an Eclipse, cliches are ok if used sparingly) 


Mum is coming over today its been three weeks since I have seen her. I am wondering whether she would like to visit the bearded astronomy men and their telescopes too, we could go again tonight.

Its been a stressful week, I am on a roller coaster of teenage angst with Syd, I would like to get off but I know that this is not possible, we need to grow together, up and down. We fought about nothing and everything and apologised afterwards. We fought about a misunderstanding. I think I need to chill out. I need to read that parenting book on teenagers. I need a text book, its becoming too complicated. I need to learn.

I saw a family of squirrels disappearing into the hole of a tree.

Its been a stressful week, I am on a turn table of testosterone and non-compliance with Naoise, I would like to get off but I know that this is not possible, we need to grow together, even though it feels like we are going around in circles. He is not listening to instructions, he keeps running off from me at the end of the school day. He keeps running off into the muddy banks of trees and bushes above the playground. He likes to live wild with a stick, but I am bored of standing on the cold of tarmac and pleading him to come home. I think I need to chill out. I need to take a book to read and a flask of coffee to drink. Find a bench to wait on.

I saw a flock of crows in a field of sheep, picking at the ground.



  • Alison Burrows

    Once more, very beautiful and moving. The teenage years just have to be endured, unfortunately. I despaired inwardly, and not always silently, but eventually all has come right. These are difficult times but you have two artistic children who need to express themselves, and it is not always easy. Good luck, Helen!

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