Blog No. 2

Following on from my comments about Lady Hale in the previous blog post, I was disappointed to see a small paragraph relating to the achievements of the female solo skier across Antarctica tucked away towards the back of a newspaper. With all the royal shenanigans it would have been lovely to have come across this achievement earlier in the pages.

An astronomical highlight was a visit to the Observatory on the night of the partial lunar eclipse (explain briefly) It was good to see the Astroscouts again and to ‘gate crash’ their visit to the big Connaught dome where we viewed the Moon. I am always bowled over by how near the surface looks through a telescope. It was great to show off the Lockyer telescope to a friend who proved an appreciative audience for my favourite telescope. For a first visit to the Observatory, that was hard to beat: sole use of the telescope, a lunar eclipse and a view through a telescope.

A bright sunny day saw Roy and I venture out onto the moors, albeit briefly, just enough to assess the suitability of our clothes and shoes. I need to get some new boots! For those following my fundraising efforts, this was a first step in getting ready.

Thanks to a kind gift from a friend, I have been reintroduced to the writings of Thomas Hardy. I am absolutely enthralled by the interweaving tales of love and astronomy in ‘Two on a Tower’. It was written around the time of the great astronomical discoveries in mid-Victorian Britain. His descriptions of human emotions and angst are enthralling and finely observed. I would have loved a chat with him. Some of his books I have found difficult to get into but this one is staying on the bookshelf!

Spurred on by Thomas Hardy’s evident knowledge and appreciation of astronomy, I took advantage of a particularly clear, starry morning to get my binoculars focussed on the waning crescent moon. I was pleased to positively identify Eratosthenes crater. This just serves to show that astronomy does not always have to involve late nights.

A chance conversation about music at work made me dig out my old LPs and I really enjoyed listening to Barry Manilow’s lovely voice once again. He is now 76 with a somewhat waxy smooth complexion.

Early signs of spring continue to delight with a hellebore in the garden and a display of daffodils down a Devon lane.

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