I really, really do not want to become an app-bore so my apologies to anyone who can't even feign an interest in this, but now I have an iPad there are quite a few apps (as in 'applications' for those who may not know... programmes that do things basically) I am a bit taken with so I thought it would be a good idea to have a quick conflab with you to gather in some suggestions for more.
Flipboard is proving indispensable for bringing in all the news and website feeds I want thus saving me hours, and I will be writing more about Faber's app of T.S.Eliot's The Wasteland soon. Linda Grant convinced me to shell out a whopping £9.99 on it during that train journey to London recently. I don't know what I was thinking but I did and haven't regretted it, and will be the first in the queue for Faber's next app-offering which will be Shakespeare's Sonnets.
But currently our favourite app is Planets.
and I love the way it allows me to swivel the earth around and look down above the Arctic if I feel so inclined.
So we have lived beneath this planetarium sky for eighteen years now, pitch-black smooth velvet darkness thanks to no light pollution, uninterrupted horizon to horizon views from east to west, a clear view of the Milky Way, front deckchair seat for any passing meteorite showers (and yes, we have been known to sit out in hats and scarves) and stars...well, everywhere...and we stare at the sky just littered with the things and all we can say is
'Oh look, there's the Plough...'
and in the absence of Professor Brian (Cox) coming to visit that would be the sum total of our shared constellation awareness.
Until (and in the continued absence of Prof Brian) Planet App arrived that is.
Now just ask us which planets are visible right now and we'll reel it off... Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn and March 2012 is a bumper month for us here in the Northern Hemisphere, all five at once apparently. This week, as dusk fell up popped Venus and Jupiter (yes those two tiny white dots) and apparently we are due a 'conjunction' any day now. Then the waxing crescent moon will join the throng around about March 24th.
This app is too clever for words. With Location On we get a very exact chart which we just have to orientate in the direction we are looking, so now we can be heard to say...
'Ah yes, there's Canis Major...'
'Oh look Bootes is very clear tonight.'
'Goodness, that must be Sirius.'
I can see the summer ahead will involve much star gazing from the veranda.