It was a very hot sticky August night in the early 1990's.
Rick and I had been to our local (The Castlebrook) for an event, it must have been something linked to the local primary school, a fund raiser ? (although unusual outside of term time) so most likely it had been an invitation from one of the other parents.
We had a really great night, drinking too much, talking, laughing and dancing, I know this because I can remember being grateful for the cooling air touching the sweat on my skin, my wet hair stuck to my neck and the dampness on the backs of my knees as we left the pub.
It had been a very loud, hot and noisy night and as we shouted our drunken goodbyes the silence of the village enveloped us for the walk home.
It was a perfect night, the sky was coal black and the abundant stars shone brightly.
Today Compton Dundon still has the "benefit" of no street lights, so then, plus with most locals being in bed by now, there was zero peripheral light, only the moon helped to illuminate our journey.
I remember my heels clicking on the tarmac and the ringing in my ears left from the loud music and frantic conversation, these sounds were amplified by the complete heavy silence of the black sky - it was vast, you could reach out and touch it.
And that's when it happened the star shot across the sky, as quick as a blink.
"Wow, did you see that" ?
"That shooting star?"
I remember feeling sad that Rick had missed it, it was my first one, a huge event and I needed someone to vouch for it, but I was alone in my drunken discovery and I was sober enough to realise that my intake of alcohol would cloud the validity of my story.
I should point out, the road we were walking is completely flat, with very few houses on the right hand side,( the village hall hadn't been built yet), so there was nothing to interrupt my view, the sky just reached right down and touched the road and the distant horizon.
In other words you didn't have to look up, and that's when the "stars" fell out of the sky as you walked towards them, by now Rick had also seen them (you couldn't miss them). They were plentiful, silent and stunningly beautiful with shiny tails briefly confirming their existence, before disappearing, leaving you frustrated just hoping for a fraction longer, so that you could "actually see it"
As we turned left up the hill thru the trees past the church it was necessary to look upwards, that narrowness of sky restricted our numbers, but by now we had experienced the most exquisite and rare treat, a meteor shower.
Now, please can I remind you , - there was NO INTERNET, I was certainly no astrologer, I was a busy Mum with a sunday morning hangover and two "delightful" kids who needed stuff NOW, so the chances of investigating this occurrence was completely lost on me.
I had no way of finding out about the regularity of the Perseid meteor display until many years later.
But once I knew it could be forecast, I was hooked, my lot will tell you, it's nearly as important as birthdays, between August 12 - 15th every year, we crack out the reclining deckchairs, wrap up warm and hit the skies.
For me it is a profoundly moving experience, somehow the silence and the infinite vastness of the sky makes you question sanity of man, what we are doing to the planet and each other.
I very rarely have "deep" thoughts because I get too emotional and start crying ! So now we accompany the event with a little music on the radio, however, as we all know that can make you maudlin and reflective as well !!
Last night we were rewarded, a beautiful mild night, we got out early, and were very grateful we did, because the biggest and brightest of the nights bounty arrived between 10.15 and 10.30 with undoubtedly the largest & closest that I have ever seen going immediately overhead at 10.30.
The irony of Coldplay (NOT a favourite of mine, despite Glastonbury's best efforts) being the accompaniment was thought provoking, but the follow on track "Daydream Believer " far more up beat.
And that's how last night panned out, lying in my back garden, remembering previous skies that I have studied on different continents, not during the Perseid shower necessarily, but just scouring different skylines for Gods next treat.
Funnily enough, I shall be out there tonight as well, because thanks to that very first massive black night back in the 1990's I am well and truly hooked.