I often look at the sky and think how wonderful it is but in my writing I realise I do not pay enough attention to this great expanse which we all see above us wherever we are. What can be more romantic than the wide blue heavens with a few fluffy white clouds dreamily floating by, or what can arouse more tension or fear than storm clouds gathering ominously in a darkening, brooding sky. I love the clear white light of a full moon and I still remember learning Walter De La Mare's poem Silver - "Slowly silently now the moon, walks the night in her silvery shoon' I like the bit about the harvest mouse scampering by with silvery claw and silver eye while silver fish in the water gleam. Many songs have been written about walking with a lover by the light of the moon. Yet I knew one writer who said anything to do with moonlight made her feel creepy.
It is common knowledge that British people often remark on the weather, especially if they can't think of anything else to say, but our weather is so changeable and unreliable compared with many other countries. When I was young there were no weather forecasts readily to hand as there are now. Every morning my father looked at the barometer, tapped the glass and remarked that it was falling, meaning it might rain, or it was rising so it might stay dry.
He also studied the moon a lot.He used to say when the new moon was on its back it held water but I am no use at interpreting the signs. When we looked at the stars I could see the Great Bear and The Plough and a few others when he pointed them out but I can never see them myself.
The unpolluted Galloway sky is earning a lot of publicity as a place to visit for those wanting to see the stars. In 2012 the organisers of the Wigtown Book Festival are also reaching for the stars by arranging author talks and activities in conjunction with Galloway Dark Forest Sky Park.