August 21 – Monday

They’re going to do a bunch of repairs on Big Ben in London so it’s being shut down for up to 4 years. It’s a pretty big deal for the Brits, so the BBC showed both the 11:00 bongs live and the final bongs at 12:00 noon. The only time it will ring again until the repairs are done will be a few special occasions, such as Nov 11 and New Year’s Eve. They’ve done repairs before, but not this extensive – I have a picture from September 1984 that has scaffolding around the clock tower but can’t remember if it bonged or not. I would guess it didn’t bong since it would have deafened the workers.

Totally overcast, but clouds weren’t really black so I was hopeful it wouldn’t rain. Left later than usual for my ride and despite the clouds it was warm enough (once I had ridden for a bit) to take my hoodie off. Rode south on paths, then around the edge of Nunnery Wood.

Ended up in an area of cul-de-sacs and dead-ends with no other apparent exit – I’m sure there was one but I couldn’t find it so went back the way I’d come. Took a different turn at one point and saw a sign for Lyppard Grange Grasslands, so got off the bike and walked down the little trail. I arrived at a beautiful field of bushes, grasses and wildflowers.
Apparently there’s much more to the Nature Reserve – this was just the ‘grassland’ part – but I re-mounted the bike and rode on home as I was getting pretty hungry.

The total eclipse of the sun was another big deal today – even bigger than the silencing of Big Ben (at least outside of the UK – ha ha). It wasn’t visible from here, but even if Worcester had been on the path I couldn’t have seen it – no blue sky or sun visible at all today.

I was face-timing Dominic while the eclipse was happening – I was watching it live on tv and when they showed the Oregon pictures Dom was watching the sun at home. It did get slightly darker and he took a pic and emailed it to me. It wasn’t a total eclipse there, but you could definitely tell that the sun was partially covered up. We discussed how freaked out folks must have been by such an occurrence hundreds or thousands of years ago (except the Greeks, of course, who actually understood science). It reminded us of the scene in the movie Apocalypto when the priest is about to cut out the heart of the captured guy and the sun disappears – the gods must be angry!

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