IT was the day that the earth stood still.

Twenty years ago today, the anticipation was finally over for people all over Cornwall, who experienced a once-in-a-lifetime total eclipse of the sun.

I was working in Truro at the time and I vividly remember climbing up through the roof of the office building to gain access to the city skyline.

The south coast, including Falmouth where astronomer Patrick Moore was stationed, was thought to be the best vantage point.

In the week leading up to the momentous occasion, everyone talked about the weather even more than we usually do.

Would we be able to see it if it's cloudy? Will it still go dark? Where in Cornwall is the best chance of a clear sky? And what on earth are these ludicrous plastic glasses that we're wearing to protect our eyes?

So there we all stood, looking like a collection of rooftop robots from an Apocalyptic horror film.

Cornwall was the only part of mainland Britain to experience "totality" - the full blacking out of the sun by the moon.

But in true fashion for August in these parts, it was cloudy.

Grey, uninspiring skies inhibited our privileged view of this once-every-400-years occurrence (okay, they happen somewhere on earth approximately every 18 months, but in the same place, it is incredibly rare).

We assembled on the roof at around 11am, for what was an 11.11am event.

Ever so gradually (even to my cynical eyes), it started to get gloomier and gloomier.

A hush descended on the dozen or so journalists, who were usually capable of making enough noise for the entire county put together.

Seagulls - loads of them - were fooled by the imminent "nightfall" and after much squawking and flapping, settled in silence on nearby roofs.

Journalists AND seagulls simultaneously quiet - arguably even more rare than a total eclipse.

It continued to get darker - not middle-of-winter dark, but certainly headlights-on-full-beam dark - and we fleetingly stood in wonderment, all of us suddenly feeling two inches tall.

The dimmer switch effect then started again, this time restoring light and to some fatalists' minds, hope that the world wasn't actually going to end after all.

The moon had passed between earth and the sun and continued on its own merry, milky way.