Evening pursuits, pet.

Last Tuesday, I happened to be out in the garden and looked up at the crescent moon, a jetliner trailing a modest contrail was approaching from the east. The jet was heading for the crescent and looked as if it would pass directly in front of it. I considered for a fleeting moment whether or not to go inside to fetch the camera and tripod but adjudged that in the time taken to find, bring them outside and set them up, the aircraft would have passed the moon, so I just stood and watched.

Had I had the camera set-up in the garden I imagined that the resulting photo would be of the jet and its contrail passing the face of the crescent moon like an arrow about to be shot from a celestial bow. As it transpired, the jet passed just slightly below the moon, but it would still have made for an interesting photograph.

Of late, neither Kathy or I have been enamoured with most of the free to air TV offerings, so we’ve been recording episodes of “Vera”, of which there seem to be an awful lot at the moment, squirreled away on ITV3 at various times of the day. I do still have an in-built aversion to paying for something like Sky or some other purveyor of content, be it piped through fibre, beamed from the heavens or received via internet. I suppose I should just put my hand in my pocket and do it rather than bemoaning the meagre fayre available via Freeview in this part of the Kingdom.

Anyway, we both quite like Vera, the series and the character, a detective in the fictitious Northumberland and City Police. The character of Vera as portrayed in the TV series is probably the anthesis of most people’s idea of a police detective, and the series is based upon the Vera Stanhope novels of Ann Cleeves. If I had to compare her, Vera that is not Ann, to any other fictional police detective, I think it would be the character of Columbo as played by Peter Falk in the eponymously named 1970’s TV show. Columbo was a scruffy, ramshackle kind of guy and Vera as played in the TV series by Brenda Blethyn is also kind of scruffy and lives in an old ramshackle house and dresses in a most unfashionable way. I think Vera and Columbo would probably have got on famously, pet.

Being a slightly unusual character (Vera, not me, although I don’t know though…) I was intrigued by Vera and decided to buy one of Ann Cleeves’ Vera novels to get a handle on just who Vera Stanhope is. I started at the beginning, which is I’m given to understand, a very good place to start and I bought “The Crow Trap” which is the first of the series. “A VERA STANHOPE NOVEL” it very helpfully proclaims on the front cover along with “A cleverly plotted psychological thriller” The Times. It’s not my usual sort of reading material but I must say that so far, I am enjoying it.

Two days later, I was again out in the garden again, this time sitting and reading The Crow Trap. It was a lovely evening, and the sky was almost clear of clouds. The crescent moon was there again, albeit it two days fatter and I had set up the camera and tripod just on the off chance that another jetliner would dare to fly in front of or at lest very close to the moon.

I sat there with the camera, the book and a glass of beer and pondered the story so far. There’s been a suicide, or was it a murder? I’m up to chapter 25, not far off of halfway through the book and Vera hasn’t even shown up yet! My attention wandered, I looked up at the moon, I surveyed the entire sky, not a plane in sight. I gazed intently at the freckles on my leg, trying to discern a meaningful pattern.

Having been a ginger, freckly kid I’d run the full gamut of Ginger and Freckle jokes at school. In the sunshine a broad band of freckles broke out across my face from cheek to cheek and across my nose. Over the years the face freckles have mellowed, they are still there on my forehead, and of course just about everywhere else but not so prominent on my face as they once were. If anything, what with my hair lightening in colour until it’s almost blond these days (I don’t thing we go grey, us Gingers, we go blond) I look like a Viking now, I think the long hair helps, and do you know what? I’m quite cool with that.

I photographed the moon, I knocked off another chapter of the book. There had been aircraft, so I photographed some, high up catching the last of the setting sun, but none had been anywhere near the moon. There was no sign of intelligent life in the patterns of freckles on my leg and still no Vera. Or was there? Who was that “bag lady” that nobody knew who turned up at the funeral and sat at the back of the church? Red Herring? I suppose that I’ll just have to get on with the book to find out.

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