A Grand Day out

Yesterday I enjoyed spending much time with the splending Lockyer telescope at the Norman Lockyer Observatory, talking to people and sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm for the telescope, Norman Lockyer and the Observatory.  The sun eventually obliged with a sun spot.


Life is fleeting

Life is fleeting
tis but a breath
from life to death

Sorrow and joy
like petals
strew the way
as hand in hand
we wend
with strangers
and with friends
through life’s
sometimes rocky path

Caring and sharing
to The End.


Wow.  Up in the clouds.  Bluebells, an orrery and held spell bound once more by the great Dr Allan Chapman.  His talk spanned the history of planet research throughout the 19th century encompassing the discovery of Uranus, helium, Norman Lockyer, orreries and much, much more!

Today was the official unveiling of the restored Victorian Orrery.  It was rebuilt by John and Bill.  Amazingly it even has the moon going up and down on its elliptical path around the Earth.  The unveiling was done by Dr Allan Chapman, a regular speaker at NLO events, and an all-round good man.  He is able to stand in front of an audience and talk to them naturally with no recourse to notes or pictures during the talk.  A real masterclass in how to give a talk.  I was thrilled that quite a few young ones from both Astroscout groups came along…a better attendance ratio than the adult Observers’ Group!  A member of the History Group introduced himself to me and offered to come along to one of our sessions to talk about space art.  John Bardsley was delighted to see a picture of himself with a write up on our display board.  He is such an inspiration to me and over the years he kindly and patiently showed me how to use the Lockyer telescope.  I also had an interesting conversation with Colin about the future of the observatory and the nature of Friday evenings.  I can see me becoming a Director one of these days…

The Friday evening Astroscout session went really well with the children using paper plates to record the information I had given them about A Trio of Stars: Arcturus, Spica and Antares.  I am trying to teach them to identify the first stars to appear in the lighter evenings and to inspire them to get out and look for them.  The whole plate represented Antares with a tiny, pea-sized circle for Spica in the middle.  It worked well in showing the relative scale of the different stars.

Devon is in full bloom now with the pretty wayside colours of pink, white and blue against a backdrop of varying hues of green.Allan Chapman orrery


Published Author

Having had a short story selected for inclusion in an anthology which has now been published, I can now count myself as a Published Author.  Exciting!  Gives me hope for the future.   ‘Trying for Boots’ is about an inspirational wheelchair rugby player and is included within ‘For Sale: Baby Shoes Never Worn’ an anthology to raise money for Make a Wish Foundation.  Available on Amazon.

Daytime Television

As much as I am enjoying the delights of Homes under the Hammer, Escape to the Country/Sun/Winter Sun or wherever and the many, many antique shows I do wonder to whom the programme of delights is aimed.  The adverts are definitely geared to the elderly and/or infirm.  Given that most views would tend to be housebound for reasons of age, infirmity or unemployment why not use the schedule for some decent drama repeats, or…deep breath…documentaries.  Maybe I am mistaken but surely the majority of daytime viewers would not have the means or the motive to upsticks or take up property renovation or go browsing around market stalls…

About a Fiji boy…


“Wow”, the young student doctor breathed in joy and wonder as my baby slithered into view, “that is the first time I have seen a birth.  Thank you for sharing this with me.”

I took my eyes off my newborn son and glanced at the young doctor.  All at once the years dropped away to a scene of blue sea, blue sky and a hot burning sun. We were hot, we were tired, it was the midday heat but we were determined so see something of this non-touristy Fiji island on our one and only day there.  What a glorious stopover to our main destination of New Zealand!  Fiji was the Hot House at Kew Gardens brought to life.  Eyes widening in wonder as we strolled down a road lined with grand colonial houses.  The rain hosed down yet we didn’t care; it was so hot the rain dried before it hit the ground.  We took a taxi to the nearest beach.  The sea was too hot to cool off in so my husband and I found a shady spot under a tropical tree.

“English?”  said a voice, breaking into our slumbers.

We looked up to see a Fijian boy looking at us eagerly, “I learn.  I go London soon.  I learn to be doctor.”

We sat up; the boy was about twelve years old.  We admired his ambition.  He told us he was learning English from a retired Englishman on the island as well as at school.  He was determined to learn as much as possible because all the scientific text books were in English. The University of Oxford was his aim. He told us about life on the island, about the seaplanes, the sudden downpours of rain; which we were to experience again later that day.  We took photographs and his name and address and promised to send him a photograph.

The taxi came to take us back to Nadi, the main town.  By this time the sky had been filled in with ominous grey clouds.  With no warning the clouds dropped their load.  The water emptied out instantly.  Later, the small village lake took on the appearance of a primeval swamp when the hot sun began to cause the water to steam.

Steam…water…my baby cried as the nurse cleaned him up before handing him to me again.

I looked at the young doctor and simply said “Emori.”

“Yes.  Hot English lady under shade!  I told you I would be a doctor.”

“We sent you the photograph – did it reach you?”

“No…but never mind.  I went to college and then to London University.  My uncle is a dentist in London.”

My husband reached for my hand and, looking at Emori, said, “what about Edward Emori?”

I smiled with pleasure; we so admired Emori’s determination that to name our son after him would be a reminder of a wonderful day and of a friendship renewed on the day of my baby’s birth.





Space stories

Following Tim Peake’s adventures in space there seems to be a pent up demand for space adventure stories tinged with realism. So frustrating to have a rejection from an agent at this time. Well, will just keep trying. Two books are already out there on AmazonKindle although it is difficult to publicise them.


Here is a little something that has been well received by Short Fiction Writers facebook group:

She checked all the machines. All were running nicely. No problems there. The day had been busy, busy. A lone worker. An isolated production unit. Washing now drying. Dirty plates being cleaned. Dinner prepared. She leaned back in her chair, savouring the moment as she sipped her mug of tea before leaving to do the same in her own house.

Meanwhile…Chris Hadfield is to visit Monmouth for a book signing of his children’s book.

Small Planet

Still in shock at the result of last week’s referendum. So sad. Especially sad following the global excitment at Tim Peake’s adventures in space. And seeing those photos of the beauty of the Earth. Hope the politicians can untangle the mess.