I've written before about how bright the full moon is.
Last night, I was driving to Sheffield, and at around half past ten, after about a hundred miles on the A1, I turned off the road into Sherwood Forest, and parked in a quiet layby for a smoke.
It was far too cold to get out of my van, which is a comfortable place to sit anyway, and so, for I think the first time since I bought it ten years ago, I lit up in the cab.
There was a beautiful German mass on the radio, which I hadn't been able to hear properly with the engine running, but in the quiet and the darkness it was entrancing.
When my cigar was finished I carried on listening to it until it was over. After fifteen minutes in the dark I could see for miles, snowy fields and trees under the moonlight through the clouds.
Eventually I remembered that I had promises to keep. I started the engine, checked the empty road, indicated and pulled out.
After I'd been driving a few minutes it occurred to me that the light was a bit unusual. It seemed more flickery than normal, like the light from a flourescent tube, as the most moonlit of the clouds was obscured and revealed by passing trees.
"Oops", I thought. "Headlights."
Slightly embarrassed I reached for the switch and turned them on. Suddenly the cone in front of the car leapt out, daylight bright and in shocking colour. And the rest of the world disappeared.