November Notes 2018
Definitely turning into an increasingly Grumpy Old Woman as Christmas advertising seems to be reaching a crescendo…and it’s not even Bonfire Night as I write this paragraph. The local radio station annoyed me even further with their announcement that after a big Firework Display the next major event would be the Christmas Lights Switch On. I messaged them that, actually, Remembrance Sunday was next!
And this year sees the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. It is extra special as well because the 11th November falls on a Sunday. I visited the Cathedral with its splendid display of knitted red poppies and purple poppies with a figure of a horse in memory of all the animals that died too. I remember visiting the Royal Signals Museum near Bovingdon in Dorset and seeing a video of a very proud pigeon (yes, it actually looked proud) receiving an award for bravery. It had delivered a message despite being injured; it somehow knew that the job it had to do was so important. I really enjoyed working for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission many, many years ago with a great bunch of caring people. The gardeners who tended the vast cemeteries in France were second generation who created havens of peace and tranquillity under the guidance of the staff at HQ here in England.
As a bit of light relief, I quite often run a session about star sizes in November for the young observers and use it as an excuse for some birthday biscuits. This year it was particularly appreciated as it was indeed a dark and stormy night and those who came along deserved a treat. Handily, the red star in Antares of the constellation Scorpius, is one of the biggest so makes a nice link between serious learning, fun and my birthday!
My birthday treat was to have an outing to the local theatre to enjoy a really splendid production of Shakespeare’s Henry V, accompanied by Roy and new son-in-law, Tim. We all enjoyed the evening very much. It also provided the opportunity of wearing a nice dress that was awaiting such an occasion. The choice of play was particularly poignant on the anniversary of the ending of the First World War and within all the discussions of Brexit. It just highlighted how intertwined England and France are in particular and how countries should be working together not pulling each other apart. And in these days of globalisation and multinational companies, it is well nigh impossible to separate any one entity be it country or company.
An absolute highlight for this month was the Pint of Science talk given by Astronaut Steve Swanson. He is awesome. He astounded us with the unbelievably wide range of tasks they have to do and the challenges they meet. I turned a shade of green when I saw my daughter go off with her colleagues for a drink at the pub afterwards with him!