That little white dot, there in the middle of the picture, is the sun. It’s a hundred and fifty million kilometres away, give or take, and it never ceases to amaze me. To put this in perspective I shall quote HG Wells’ A Short History of the World (1922) which I read, and thoroughly enjoyed, in my youth.

“If, then, we represent our earth as a little ball of one inch diameter, the sun would be a big globe nine feet across and 323 yards away, that is about a fifth of a mile, four or five minutes’ walking. The moon would be a small pea two feet and a half from the world. Between earth and sun there would be the two inner planets, Mercury and Venus, at distances of one hundred and twenty-five and two hundred and fifty yards from the sun. All round and about these bodies there would be emptiness until you came to Mars, a hundred and seventy-five feet beyond the earth; Jupiter nearly a mile away, a foot in diameter; Saturn, a little smaller, two miles off; Uranus four miles off and Neptune six miles off. Then nothingness and nothingness except for small particles and drifting scraps of attenuated vapour for thousands of miles. The nearest star to earth on this scale would be 40,000 miles away.”

Thanks for that, Mr Wells, most informative.

I arrived at the fifteen minute point today via a complicated process. I started into the town for what I thought would be a spooky, foggy picture of the Château but the familiar tones of the Emperor’s March (from Star Wars) coming from my phone meant that my lovely wife had other plans. I doubled back and gave her the remote control for her office garage door that she’d left in my car and, rather than double double back or triple or quadruple back, or whatever it should be, I went home.

So instead of walking into town I went walking out towards Chandon. It was foggy and cold and rather unpleasant but the sun coming up gave it all an otherworldly quality. At the fifteen minute spot the sun was perfectly framed above the footpath ahead. I took rather a lot of pictures with my inadequate phone camera and eliminated all but this one.

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