Dear Carol Kirkwood
3 August 2008
My first academic award was in meteorology. This was a boy scouts badge which I was awarded for a week’s diligent work studying and measuring rainfall in a jar, and reporting on the cloud formations, and employing the Latin names to do so: cumulous, and nimbus, and cirrus, and stratus, and any pairing of the four to make yet more impressive Latin adjectives to describe what I observed. These names have stayed with me for ever, and have earned me no cash, but have provided me with the occasional opportunity to show off as we drive along Marine Parade and gaze over the ever changing sky that hangs over the Thames Estuary at the end of our road.
My showing-off was usually employed to annoy Mrs Monk, who would ignore my pigeon-Latin, and would feign boredom with a disdainful yawn.
“Look yonder at the sunset behind the cirrus stratus”, I would say.
“Take me to Lakeside”, she would say.
Imagine my surprise when she recently presented to me a gift; The Cloudspotter’s Guide, by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, which I will now read and in due course, apply for my advanced meteorology badge.
Follow the FlickR link to Mrs Monk’s pictures of the sky.
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