Greg's Occasional News & Views

5 January 2020

And a Happy New Year to you all! We celebrated the arrival of the new decade in our usual fashion – by snoring contentedly through midnight and much of the following morning. We can always hope that the New Year brings some positive change but I’m not holding my breath.

We’ve done relatively little in the period between Christmas and New Year but what we have done has been a lot of fun. We went last Sunday to lunch in Stratford with our friend Vicky and then for a walk down the river and back up the old disused railway line. As we set off from Vicky’s we were accompanied by just about the whole of Stratford I should think, all of whom had a similarly great idea to go for a stroll in the sunshine on Sunday afternoon. The weather was grand but the hordes of people were somewhat off-putting. However, Vicky had a cunning plan and once we got to the river we set off on the path less travelled and trudged our way across some very muddy fields where we encountered barely a handful of other like-minded folks. A lovely day out.

On Friday we trundled ourselves off with Nick, Lucy and Annabelle to the Milton Keynes Theatre for the annual pantomime performance. Adam, Ava and Jessie met us there and we had a grand time.

I wrote last year, I think, about pantomime being a peculiarly British institution. It really is dire but the kids love booing at the baddy and cheering for the good guy. Milton Keynes is a “proper” theatre and the contrast between this performance and the one we enjoyed at Chipping Norton Theatre last year could not have been more striking. Being that year older Jessie was more aware of what was going on – poor child, last year when we took her she was barely speaking English so what the heck she made of all the comings and goings I cannot imagine. This year she was on the edge of her seat and I suspect it was all the more enjoyable for having her very best friend Annabelle at her side. Afterwards we retired to TGI Fridays for a meal which rounded the day off marvellously well. And, the parking machines were out of order so we didn’t have to pay for parking – Win, Win!

I made an interesting (well, it was interesting to me) discovery the other day. I was talking with Adam and then, later, my sister Susie, and somehow we got discussing how, thankfully, we have turned the corner of the long dark nights of winter. We all know that December 21 (or, occasionally 22nd) is the winter solstice, i.e., the shortest day of the year. However, Adam alerted me to the fact that although the days do indeed get longer and the sun sets later in the days immediately following the solstice, the sun also rises later! WTF! I had always imagined that the sun rose earlier and set later in the days following the solstice. Not so, as the following table (for sunrise and sunset in Birmingham, the location nearest to Moreton Pinkney for which I could find the data) shows:

Date Sunrise Sunset Day Length
18 December 2019, Wednesday 08:14 15:53 07:39
19 December 2019, Thursday 08:15 15:53 07:38
20 December 2019, Friday 08:15 15:54 07:38
21 December 2019, Saturday 08:16 15:54 07:38
22 December 2019, Sunday 08:16 15:55 07:38
23 December 2019, Monday 08:17 15:55 07:38
24 December 2019, Tuesday 08:17 15:56 07:38
25 December 2019, Wednesday 08:18 15:57 07:39
26 December 2019, Thursday 08:18 15:57 07:39
27 December 2019, Friday 08:18 15:58 07:40
28 December 2019, Saturday 08:18 15:59 07:40
29 December 2019, Sunday 08:18 16:00 07:41
30 December 2019, Monday 08:18 16:01 07:42
31 December 2019, Tuesday 08:18 16:02 07:43
1 January 2020, Wednesday 08:18 16:03 07:44
2 January 2020, Thursday 08:18 16:04 07:45
3 January 2020, Friday 08:18 16:05 07:46
4 January 2020, Saturday 08:18 16:06 07:48
5 January 2020, Sunday 08:18 16:07 07:49
6 January 2020, Monday 08:17 16:09 07:51
7 January 2020, Tuesday 08:17 16:10 07:53
8 January 2020, Wednesday 08:16 16:11 07:55
9 January 2020, Thursday 08:16 16:13 07:56
10 January 2020, Friday 08:15 16:14 07:58
11 January 2020, Saturday 08:15 16:16 08:00

So, 21st December is the shortest day at 7 hours and 38 minutes and the days do indeed start getting longer. However, the sun does not begin to rise earlier until 6th January. So perhaps we should really celebrate tomorrow as the day when the dark, dismal, dreary days of winter start to get longer!

And finally, I had to laugh when I read and then saw the video of motorists being trapped by tumbleweeds in Washington state.

You could not make this stuff up!

Lots of love to you all,





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January 2020
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