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Friday 27 February 2015

Presentation: Basketballs and Beyond - Wonders of the Cosmos

My fun began with a Red Funnel ferry trip, in glorious sunshine, from Southampton to East Cowes where, met by my dearest friends, we took the chain ferry across to West Cowes. Instantly in holiday mode, the actual purpose of the trip had been instigated by an invite from Chris Wood, one of the two Programme Organisers of the Vectis Astronomical Society, to give a presentation to the Society’s members.

Having been collected by Elaine Spear, the other Programme Organiser, who was just so incredibly kind and tremendous fun, we headed off to Pizza Express in Newport for a get-together with fellow members: Bryn Davis (Chairman), who was equally lovely, genuine and had the most amazing smile; Brian Curd (Observatory Director) who was likewise great fun and hugely knowledgeable; Dudley Johnson and Graham Osborne.

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(From left to right: Brian Curd, Elaine Spear, Me and Bryn Davis)

No small talk here! Truly, it was great just to be able to sit down with people who were so welcoming, so NOT ego-centric, who were so enthused about their hobby/interests, who were clearly doing great work and who were genuinely easy company. I talked and laughed … probably too much!

From there, we headed around the corner to the Newport Parish Church Centre – just in time – to set up for my presentation; an hour-long tour of the Universe, from the tiny to the infinite. Always a little reluctant to present to astronomical societies, since I am so respectful of the hugely knowledgeable professional and amateur astronomers in the audience, I nevertheless seemed to have found an approach that presses all the right buttons.

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(In action at the Newport Parish Church Centre)

Feedback was amazing. Actually, I’m just me, imparting a subject I love from an angle that I know works … because I appreciate all the reasons why I didn’t ‘get’ astronomy for far too long! Above all, it has to be informative and engaging.

As Bryn said, the hour just “whizzed by”, but it was a real pleasure to stay after the break to watch Peter Burgess present the March Night Sky – really informative and great graphics!

Finally … what can I say but an enormous THANK YOU to you all: for Chris for inviting me, for Bryn for being just so lovely, for Brian who was such fun … and, perhaps most of all, for Elaine who made me instantly feel at home and kicked off all the enjoyment from the get-go. You were all fabulous and it was a trip I shall always remember with great fondness.

But … just a second ... I think I’m going back to be a speaker for the Isle of Wight’s Café Scientific! So, watch this space!

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