8 March 2011 (Tuesday) - Pancake Day

Following on from the success of yesterday evening’s stargazing, I’m quite keen to do something similar again. However… one of my failings is always to see the negative, and whilst I really enjoyed last night, car parking at the East Cliff was somewhat limited. Whilst I’d very happily go back to the East Cliff (and probably will in the near future), I’ve found myself wondering about where else we might stargaze. Ideally we’d like somewhere which is:
  • Within reasonable (half an hour’s drive) reach from Ashford or Folkestone.
  • Has no street lighting.
  • Up” – so we’d have a clear view of the skies.
  • Plenty of car parking space within convenient distance
  • No houses full of normal people nearby to get upset with us
  • Not already taken by the doggers.
There is a car park above Wye at the Devil’s Kneading Trough which may well be a good spot to go telescoping at, and a colleague thinks he knows of a sports field in Brabourne which might be good. There’s also the village green at Woodchurch.

Also we (I) need to establish whether any such nights are a bona-fido (sic) astro club event, or just me and a bunch of mates going telescoping.
At first sight this might seem a trivial and somewhat pedantic point, but let me ask a theoretical (so far) question: Should someone who has come to such an observing night go arse over tit in the dark and injure themselves, then what?
As far as I am concerned, that would be their own stupid fault. Certainly with the gang of mates who were along last night, that would have been the attitude of all present. However if there is the possibility of claiming that going arse over tit happened at a formal club activity, then there is the whole sordid question of claiming off of the club’s insurance, having risk assessments, rules and regulations….
I know of other societies which in the past have had problems arising from bunches of members thinking they were operating under the auspices of a club when in fact it was arguable that they were not. I’d like to thrash this problem out before it actually becomes a problem. I’ll email the committee (if they don’t comment on this post first!)

Meanwhile did you know that today is "International Women's Day"? No? Neither did I. Apparently it's a major day of global celebration of women. Originally a leftie political event in the former Eastern European communist countries, the day has now mostly lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day. Yuk!!
Mind you, in some parts of the world, Wikipedia tells me that the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

'er indoors better not get any ideas. My pancakes don't cook themselves….

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