On Wednesday I was walking the wolfhounds when, to my astonishment, the clouds rolled back and revealed that the sun had turned black! I then noticed that the birds had stopped singing, the landscape was dimmed as if I was seeing it by moonlight, and the dogs had fallen asleep. Have any of your other readers witnessed such a phenomenon recently?
No. In fact, it is so rare for the cloud cover to break over the British Isles that when it last happened, in May 1933, the day was declared a public holiday. There are contemporary reports of bizarre behaviour - reckless indulgence in ice-cream, drinking espresso at pavement tables and a drop in steak and kidney pudding sales. There were even reports of Brits smiling at total strangers, but we should take these wilder claims with a pinch of salt.
Help! I think I've gone blind!
Don't panic. Reach up to your face, and run your hands along the line between the tops of your ears and your temples. If you can feel a ridge of plastic or cardboard there, press in and pull forward, thereby removing your eclipse specs.
In anticipation of a tourist rush that never materialised, we over-ordered and now have a surplus of 50,000 toilet rolls at our village shop. What could we do with them?
Well, there are a number of alternative and eco-warrior communities in your area. You could try selling them your surplus stock (still wrapped for waterproofing) as an alternative material to the now hackneyed strawbale house. They could decorate the walls with the several hundred thousand unsold festival tickets also floating around the area.
My wife and I have been stuck in a traffic jam on the A30 for the last two days. How can we pass the time in the 24 hours it's going to take to get back to London?
Bobby, Three Burrows (faxed from mobile)
Well, Bobby, what's the point in being married if you can't make use of it to pass the time? What you need to do is start drumming your fingers on the steering wheel/ dashboard and say "Well, this is fun, isn't it?" When your wife says something like "Don't start", say, "It was your idea to go down for the bloody eclipse in the first place." The row should keep you both occupied for a week at least.
What can one do with a used campsite?
Bryn, St Trefeller
Use your noddle, Bryn. You can make a fine living well into the fourth millennium by letting it out as overflow accommodation for Lambeth Council.
On the grounds that it is far, far cheaper to get the sun to go out than build the Greenwich Dome, we organised a total eclipse as a dry run for the millennium. To our horror, no one turned up. If this was such a disaster, what the hell are the end-of-year celebrations going to be like?
Pete, London SW1
What the hell, Pete. It's only taxpayers' money, after all. And look on the bright side; if no one goes out on the millennium, it won't be anything like the burglar heaven you're expecting.
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