Saturday, 11 October 2014

More Journeying

Today started, as many, happily, do, with a feline rendezvous outside the back door. There is a great deal to commend such time as is spent watching the clouds scud past whilst stroking a small, fluffy, mammal. The mutual benefit is undeniable, and, though I can't communicate exactly what the cat was cognating, I, for one, am spiritually & mentally enriched by the times we spend together. He hangs around waiting for me, so I think I'm doing something correctly.
As all things must pass, it was too soon time to frappĂ© la rue. The day's first misfortune, other than the alarm clock sounding, was the impressive, unseen &  really rather rapid change in weather between one side of the house & the other: partial cloud to pissing down in just a few short strides. Bollocks.
So on with the oilskins and just get on with it.
Predictably, within five kilometres the rain had stopped, the clouds were thinning and I was sweating like a hippo at noon. A quick nip into Dulwich Park brought relief in the form of stripping off the (allegedly) breathable waterproofs. What a swizz Gore-Tex is. Something of a chilly ride after that, but that's always preferable to boil-in-the-bag.

Work done (W), and another bike ride awaited. This one was uncomfortable from the start; downing a couple of small beers before heading out is not a terribly clever idea.
Immediate indigestion gradually subsided into increasingly urgently needing to empty the soluble waste tank. Suburban London, particularly the South Circular, affords few opportunities for a sly slash, so it was not until the journey was well over half-done that the chance presented itself. A quick nip into Dulwich Park brought relief in the form of watering a shrubbery.
I've piddled in a few picturesque places, and while Dulwich Park in the dark is certainly atmospheric, it doesn't have much of a view.
...unless you happen to pissing toward the South at just the right time:

By complete chance, the highly distinctive, steadily shining, deceptively slow-moving star that is the International Space Station happened to be visible exactly where I looked up in relief. I would urge everyone to follow the link below to see when you might be able to catch a glimpse of a permanently crewed base in outer space travelling at more than 27500km/h. It could do my journey to work in about 4 seconds.
There's nothing quite like experiencing one of the Wonders of the Modern World (along with such things as vaccines, efficient mass crop production, increasingly efficient air travel & GPS) to buoy one's motivation on an arduous journey. And to arrive home to find the cat being extra fluffy & friendly, well, that just made the day for a wannabe crazy cat lady like me.

"But how do you know it's the ISS?"
Admittedly, until I arrived home and looked it up on spotthestation, I didn't know it for sure. Having seen it many times before, it does become quite distinctive: it's too slow to be a meteor, not flashy enough to be an aircraft, too bright to be (almost) any other satellite, visible for too long to be an Iridium flare; though it could have been aliens. Take 5 minutes out of a night when it'll be visible where you are and get acquainted with the glow.

"ZOMG, how do I know where & when I can see this miracle of engineering!?"

- jawj

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