158 days, that’s how long it’s been. 158 days, at least according to the Royal Meteorological Office and we have no reason to doubt them - their minute by minute 100% accurate weather predictions are appreciated by all. Today we’ll have rain, sleet, 90% humidity, cloud, hail and, at 18:17, a heat-storm. All of these atmospheric conditions will take place at exactly the time the RMO has decreed them to happen. I suppose that weather is better than no weather. What there won’t be is sun. Not for 158 days. Scientists have blasted off probes into the clouds, the satellite-stars have reported back reams of information, none of it useful. Some think that a meteor hit the earth, maybe somewhere out in a desert, and that governments have covered it up in order to stem panic about this nuclear winter. Successive emergency governments say that they can solve it; even hardened optimists don’t seem to believe them. Apart from food shortages, looting, muggings, newly formed gang violence, religious mania, fuel crises, power cuts, and a rising suicide and murder rate, everything is quiet. People used to talk about feeling small and insignificant when looking at far away stars, but it makes me feel comforted that we’re not the only things here, that some other planet or galaxy or universe could exist and could run life there better than we have, could even come to save us. God, I miss the red electric shock of sunset when seen from the wrong side of night, the violent sky just as it sets again. I think I miss that more than plants and light and food and normality, I just miss the colours of the firmament. Oh, you god-damn low down sun of a bitch – rise, god-damn it, rise to morning-time.