Astronomy with company at that, for as I craned my neck skywards, a hedgehog was snuffling invisibly, but loudly, through leaf litter and undergrowth as it hunted for invertebrate treats.
Above, the sky was panther dark and studded with stellar gemstones; the topaz Arcturus, pale sapphire Vega, setting citrine Capella, and the blood ruby of Antares, the heart of the Scorpion low in the South.
But it is only when you turn the binoculars on the sky that the true magic appears. Even at this early stage of summer when it is low in the sky, the Milky Way in Cygnus forms a tumbling river of stars waterfalling down into the North. There is the faint constellation of Coma Berenices, an echelon of faint celestial geese chasing Leo the Lion down into the West.
And then there are the globular clusters, smudgy and grey in binoculars - I observed Messier 3, 5 and 13 last night - but even a small telescope resolves them into glittering balls of stars.
Then when you turn the Hubble onto them, you see this...
|Messier 13, courtesy of NASA/ESA/Hubble|