Monday 16th April 2012
MARS in Sagittarius; Saturn rising; the Moon in one’s ninth house? Forgive me, dear reader, if you are into all that horoscope stuff, but, to my mind, it’s a load of Taurus droppings.
Among those souvenirs heading from the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet to the recycled paper bin are the first few chapters of a hardly-started, now-somewhat-embarrassing novel called Star Cross’d Lovers.
The starting-point was, predictably, boy astronomer meets girl astrologer. I’d even envisaged a twee ending: the happy couple living on a narrowboat, gazing up at the night sky.
By way of an excuse, I was living in Stroud at the time. For those of you unfamiliar with that particular Cotswold town, it has something of a reputation: think alternative therapies, chakras, ley lines, crystals et cetera.
Research led me to certain charts. These, I was informed, were used by astrologers to work out where any given heavenly body might be at any given time. Maybe the booklet I saw was beyond its sell-by date, for the naked eye told me otherwise: Venus was not where it should be – much to my, er… conster-lation.
“It’s wrong!” I objected. “Do you never actually look at the stars?”
“Of course not. It’s only the charts that matter.”
I turned to the dark side.
Unable to afford a good telescope, I started peering through binoculars, at the moon, the Pleiades, the Andromeda galaxy; read up on what to look for; began talking about Ursa Major, rather than The Plough, which was for pubs.
Orion: only visible during the winter; best about 4am, the book said.
I apologised to my girlfriend, kept the alarm clock under the pillow, slipped out of bed, tiptoed over to the window.
Wow! I grabbed a towel and binoculars, rushed downstairs, charged out of the front door, gazed up in wonder, heard the door close behind me, felt a complete idiot, soon lost interest, began to think I’d be out there shivering until dawn… and had to throw small pebbles up at the window for ten minutes before being rescued.