Silver Linings

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In the late summer of 2018 construction work began on two high rise tower blocks north and west of our flat. As seasons passed I watched as planning permission was granted, the old buildings on the two sites were demolished, foundations were filled and the steel skeletons of the two towers climbed ever higher. By the spring equinox I was worried that the tower to the west of us was going to block golden hour.

After consulting charts showing the position of sunrise and sunset at different times of the year, I came to the conclusion that it would only be a problem around the spring and autumn equinoxes when the sun sets further to the west than it does in midsummer or midwinter. In summer the sun is still higher than the new tower at the point at which it passes it relative to our flat, and in midwinter the sun sets further south and has a clear path thanks to the location of the canal and the railway lines.

What I didn’t factor in to my calculations was the light we would gain as a result of the new building to our north. Clad in shiny golden panels, this new tower bounces peach coloured light in through our windows on sunny mornings, illuminating surfaces and objects that are normally cast in shadow. It’s like a giant golden reflector. Of course sunny days are few and far between in the middle of winter in Britain but when the sun does emerge from behind the clouds, as it did on Saturday morning, it’s beautiful.

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