100 miles done. 100 miles started.

Last month I rode 100 miles for Prostate Cancer UK with sponsorship from various friends. This month I’m doing the same but for Mexborough and Swinton Astronomy Society – a charity and organisation which means a lot to me and has meant a lot to me for nearly 40 years now.

I first joined MSAS in 1983 when I was just 10, and although it’s drifted into and out of my life and taken various positions of priority it still means a lot to me.

The last 100 miles felt hard. I was mostly on the DaHon which whilst a funky little bike really isn’t easy to ride, and my efforts only transferred to the Stowaway for the last week or so.

If you can sponsor me please do! I really appreciate it and I know a group of members who will really appreciate the help in these difficult times when we can’t open our observatory and all the events we used to fund our activities are currently banned.

The sponsorship link is here. You can apparently sponsor me without having to have a Facebook account.

Sponsor me here!

So many telescopes!

We’re trying to have a clear out of the club room and we’ve found that we are collecting a hell of a lot of telescopes; often donated by people who find them in garages and lofts.

Often these are broken in some way – but today we’ve cleared a load of them up and cobbled together some very good ones from all the broken ones.

Including the above one which is pretty much unused in the box. There’s hardy any scratches or dirt on the tripod legs which is a sign it’s been little used.

Open at last!

We opened the MSAS Observatory earlier. The mayor and our local MP came down, as well as the local papers.

We had Paul Money and Dr Allan Chapman give short talks for us.

Unfortunately I had to bail slightly before the end due to having a gig.

Super Wolf Blood Moon

In the early hours of the morning we’ll be treated to a lunar eclipse. Probably above the clouds, where we can’t see it.

As per usual, the papers are hyping it up because it’s a Perigee (close to Earth) moon. Wolf moon is just the old English name for the January moon.

It’s apt though, that in Zelda BOTW I had a blood moon.

The Oxford Trip

The Oxford trip was yesterday; meeting up with Dr Allan Chapman to go and the Radcliffe Observatory and then to the Museum of the History of Science.

After a bouncy journey down we arrived at the university. The Observatory was first on our itinerary.

Then on to Oxford town centre, and firstly a lunch in Wetherspoons. I don’t really like Wetherspoons. The owner was a massive Brexit supporter and I don’t agree with his ideas, but it’s where the masses wanted to go so we followed; leaving a little message to the next occupier of our table.

The Wetherspoons “experience” was spoiled when a group of families, obviously Eastern European came in, surrounded one table and then proceeded to try and envelop surrounding tables even though the pub was very busy and others were sat at them. It’s horrible manners, and it fuels the flames of racism when foreigners behave like this; especially in these Brexit intolerant times – but we should also remember that the English overseas are also massive dicks.

After a visit to the small continental market opposite to try and find Dutch pancakes (I failed) and ending up having a vegan Bakewell (which was very nice) we headed up to the museum.

I have to say though, that my beard was tidier than the ones on the statues outside.

Allan met us just after two o’clock and took us around as a personal guide. The upper gallery was closed briefly so we could enjoy the tour as Allan gave us a personal talk about the contents of the cabinets.

When we finally came out of the hottest museum in history, we decided to take Allan for a cheeky pint in the pub across the road to kill the time until our taxi pickup.

Amazingly, the taxi went into limp-home mode just as we pulled into Kilnhurst. That was a really close run one!

So, here are the photos. There are quite a few…


40 years!

The astronomical society I’m a member of has just celebrated its 40th Birthday.

It’s quite amazing to think that I’ve been a member on and off for 35 of those years! I first attended in 1982 and joined in 1983.

I’ve watched us go from a tiny society of about 15 people, all the way up to a charity with assets and property with substantial value.

It’s not been easy along the way, and the times I served on the committee are testament to that – many nights sat arguing my case over trivial matters.

Anyhow, we have made it to 40! Here’s to many more happy years, Mexborough & Swinton Astronomical Society!

RoSfest preparations

We’re now less than 90 days away from RoSfest and it’s getting rather frightening.We’re actually talking Visas, and flight times – now why are only the London airports the ones offering the cheap flights? Do you think it’s grossly unfair that anyone living away from London automatically gets penalised in taxi / fuel costs when travelling to the USA or some other far flung destination?

Also, last time I was at Heathrow, I do remember it was a bit of a ming pit!

I’ve started to unlock some of my flickr photos, but not that many… probably about 1% of my photos at any one time (I actually have over 13,000 photos now).

Last night on my way home from rehearsal I came down a little country lane near home and saw the most amazing sight – the milky way, Orion, and a gibbous moon all looking splendid so I stopped and took some photos… my picture of The Great Orion Nebula (adjacent) is one such example.

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I feel small…

The last few days have been an interesting time for me.

On Friday I popped into the Montgomery Hall to see Pallas and generally just see people (and drop off the Wasp box). The Montgom doesn’t feel nice for me any more since the events of earlier this year with Fireguard being c**ts. The nice thing is for every customer they took off us (that’ll be 1 then), we took… hmm… about 14 of theirs. The reason? – well I’ll leave it to you to decide, but I have a good relationship with my customers and look after them very well and always deal personally with their problems.

Pallas were great – I wish I could have stayed around for the gig. They played “The Cross & The Crucible” for me and it was muchly goodly.

Over the weekend I did very little – we had friends over and played games on Saturday. Settlers of Qutan (sp?) is a superb board game… must get a copy. It reminds me of Sid Meier’s Civilisation on the PC/DS.

I did venture up the observatory on Sunday and did quite a fair observing session… I did actually manage to see 3 of Stephans Quintet (a group of galaxies in Pegasus).

Yesterday – my Toshiba NB100 came back from the mending shop… aaaaahhhhhh tis good. I love my eeePC, don’t get me wrong, but the keyboard is horrible and the screen is cramped – but it’s so indestructable and thus perfectly suited to my job.

Finally… today, I am giving blood. My O- is very much in demand it seems and it’s the least I can do…

The Photo?… well let’s just say I like this place very much.