WYCOMBE ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY

Having, very kindly, been nominated by the renowned Nick Howes to stand in for him, due to a clash of dates, it was a terrific pleasure to join the Wycombe Astronomical Society to give a presentation on the evening of Wednesday 28 March.

The venue was the Sports Hall at Woodrow House just outside Amersham – surrounded by beautiful woodland and rolling fields. I arrived early, to avoid the clamour of a rush hour M25/M40, and had the chance to savour the location.

But all too soon I was in the capable hands of Jane Hawkins, wife of my contact, Neil Hawkins, and Jackie Harris, who, along with so many others, made me feel instantly welcome and at home.

I had anticipated perhaps a slightly smaller audience due to a clash with the BBC Stargazing Live broadcast. Not a bit of it! A packed hall and a perfect venue … and the warmth that came back at me only served to help me fly! A really lovely audience!

As always, I simply love sharing the subject, taking people with me on a journey from the seemingly tiny to the truly, utterly immense … with some beautiful images along the way and a few personal anecdotes too.

I don’t know, there’s always a moment during that voyage when I feel I have everyone in the palm of my hand … and there’s that inner excitement, that wonderful unvoiced joy, that perhaps you are taking individuals somewhere they have never been, in a way perhaps not witnessed before … and that their lives, their perspective will forever be changed. I love it …

Feedback was overwhelming, with words like “brilliant”, “jaw-dropping”, “loved it” peppering sentences … which is wonderful because it meant I had fulfilled what I set out to do … engage people, enthuse people … encourage them to look up … now … to live it … and love it.

A book-signing session followed, whence all my books were sold – wonderful – and all too soon it was time to head homeward …

A really wonderful evening – helped too by the fact that a couple of family members and their friends – Simon, Elena, Dean and Rita - who lived locally were also able to attend.

Thank you all … and here are a few images capturing a little of the occasion …

An enormous THANK YOU to Wycombe Astronomical Society for inviting me, for Nick Howes extending me the opportunity, and to everyone in the audience who contributed immensely to this hugely enjoyable night!

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