Monish took this photo of our happy band of eclipse-companions. Here is Pluvialis and her natty hat. Look, we've set up my spotting scope on the base of a broken column. And what you can see there, on the ground, is us in the process of focusing an image of the sun onto my Moleskine notebook. Which is exactly what Van Gogh, Hemingway, Bruce Chatwin or Céline would have done, if they'd wished to project an eclipse onto a flat surface.Yep, Moleskine notebooks really hack me off. Aaaargh. Have you reached the Moleskine Event Horizon yet, where you are? Maybe it's a curse of academic towns. I don't think you can get them anywhere else. Moleskine parasitises insecure writers and academics. Every bugger in Cambridge has one of these little black books. And the most irritating thing about all of this is there is reason behind it: they're by far the best notebooks around. The paper is of perfect weight; is creamy and smooth; the binding is faultless; there's a deep, card pocket at the back to Keep Stuff In, like moulted feathers and bits of twine and stamps and telephone bills; and they're expensive enough to make buying one an Event. Like buying a Good Fountain Pen.
We all want to say "No! I don't care that Hemingway and bloody Bruce Chatwin used these books! I don't care about the history! I'm not impressed! I buy them because they're functional" But it's probably rubbish. Because this morning, when I found grit and sand in my Moleskine's back pocket and pages, and examined the strange sand-scars all over its covers, I felt that it wasn't really an inconvenience; more some kind of heritage event. "Ah, sand from the 2006 Eclipse in my Moleskine Notebook" I thought, grandly. Ptoo.