–          Which must describe precisely my state – uncertain where the east lies. How come people bang on about water down plugholes and fail to mention the reversal of the sun’s trajectory across the sky? OK OK I know the sun is doing what it always does, and anyway it isn’t trajecting, we are rotating, but nevertheless… it’s a big deal isn’t it? After a whole lifetime of rising on the left,  the celestial body which regulates dark and light, winter and summer appears to change direction, with the moon following after as sure as night follows day??? Mentioned this to an Australian academic – and journalist – whose face lit up as he realised why he got lost in New York. I would never claim to navigate by the stars but suspect the most urban of us use our local example to know which way is up more than is generally appreciated.

–          Also wondered if this simple left/right; right/left hemispheric division has influenced the direction of reading? Did Arabic writing take its lead from African/equatorial scribes – or is that nonsense?

–          Reminds of Penzance 1999 where my sister Kate and I did a mad 3 am dash from London to witness the eclipse. The clouds did not shift to let us see the stars but the midday darkness was so absolute, so out of season that it gave a glimpse into the vast mechanics of the universe, the extraordinary scale of space and time that frames our everyday reality. I suppose that’s one of the things about travelling – everything stays just the way it was, but your perspective shifts out of the familiar, renewing wonder.

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