21 April 2010 (Wednesday) - A Day Off Work

‘er indoors TM has been abducted by aliens and has been replaced by a replica. This replica isn’t very good, and hasn’t fooled me for a minute. Not only did it let take stuff to the tip, it even gave me stuff to take to the tip. I hope ‘er indoors TM is all right, wherever she is.

After the tip I went to Tesco for more petrol (that’s expensive stuff now) and then to B&Q for small tins of masonry paint. For some time I’ve had this plan to paint the front of the house like a liquorice allsort, and now it’s done I’m not sure I like it. Some of my paintwork isn’t as straight as it might be – once it’s dry I’ll go over it with a fine brush. Or that is I will when I can find one. I want a kiddies painting brush – the sort of thing I used to use with watercolours all those years ago. I can’t find one anywhere.

Whilst doing the painting someone parked his car outside my house. Right in front of the “please don’t park here” sign. He asked me if he could park there, and I told him that it was a matter of the utmost indifference to me where he parked, but I did point out the sign. The nice man then got a bit cross and asked me where he was supposed to park. I replied that I’d got up early and parked my car three streets away, but it was entirely up to him where he parked – neither his parking nor the no parking sign were anything to do with me. As the nice man reached the beetroot red stage, and the vein on the side of his head started to throb, I suggested he spoke to the council, and I got on with my painting.

I then spent a few minutes chatting with the bloke next door. Relations have been strained in the past, and it’s good that we are chatting again. He was telling me that at the weekends there are a lot of low flying aeroplanes coming over – apparently our area is being used by trainee pilots. He’s written to our local MP about the matter – apparently no one owns the air rights to Ashford, and anyone can fly overhead. I didn’t know that.

I then got an email – my latest eBay purchase has been delayed by volcanic eruptions in Iceland. Last night a friend was telling me that her friends are stranded half way round the world, and that they are now booked on a flight home on 11 May. That’s ages away. I hope my shopping don’t take that long.

And having slept in front of the telly for the afternoon I brought offspring home from college and then I set off to Wadhurst. As part of a co-operative venture between local astronomical societies an exchange of speakers has been arranged. The people at Wadhurst were given a list of the talks we’d had at our astro club over the last year, and they asked for me to talk about the ice giants.

I’ve not been to any other astro clubs, and wasn’t sure what to expect, and as the evening started it was rather odd. At the Ashford astro club there’s over seventy people, with ages ranging from seven to seventy, and we have a very wide cross section of the public. Tonight at Wadhurst there were twenty two people (including me & Jason who’d come for the evening). With an average age of (about) mid-fifties, there was no one aged under forty there, and everyone was rather well to do. Having said that, they were very friendly and welcoming, but all were just a little bit normal. What would they make of me?

Having prepared my presentation it was too late to change it. I had two chances – they would laugh, or they wouldn’t ask me back again. I needn’t have worried - I had them all in stitches several times, and afterwards several people commented how no one’s ever been brave enough to admit they think that Ur-anus is a brilliant name for a planet. And several more said they agreed that Herschel should have gone the whole hog and called the thing “planet bum hole”.

After the meeting I went over the pub with a dozen or so of the members of the club, and I had a half of Finchcocks whist we waited for (and saw) an iridium flare. The people there were so welcoming. I’ve offered to do more talks for them, and I’d go to more meetings; if only it wasn’t such an awkward place to get to.

I got home at 11pm to find that neither ‘er indoors TM nor “My Boy TM ” had noticed what I’d done to the front of the house….

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