Jesus, Mary, Joseph, St. Patrick, St. Colmcille and all the holy hosts of angels help me in my hour of need.

Two months ago Ang and I struck a deal: I could let my ten-year old self run wild at Jodrell Bank if we spent the Wednesday before the Royal Wedding at Alton Towers. I thought I was on to a winner there, I loved roller coasters, I didn’t have to watch a wedding, and I got to play with big science: what could go wrong?  I hadn’t been on a really big roller coaster in ages which is why this was the result:

This is what comes from not having a fully rounded classical education. I could have learned from poor old Dr. Faustus.

Picture the scene – 1985, days before a bedraggled Irishman put on a little benefit show for Ethiopia, nine-year old me was brought to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. This was the year the Space Invader opened, a black hole ride that I’d just seen on John Craven’s Newsround and I wanted to go on. Dad hates roller coasters so I told him it was just a gentle indoor ride, I begged, I wheedled, I got my own way. Imagine a man terrified of all fast rides, his young firstborn, and a single car climbing up in the pitch dark.  That was the day I learned my first swearwords.

Ang just won free passes to another amusement park and this was my reaction:

Damn, Karma exists.

And she’s a bitch.

Radio Binoculars

Radio Binoculars

Radio Binoculars,
originally uploaded by Damien Ryan.

On the right is the original 76m Lovell Telescope, built in 1957, and has been responsible for keeping the UK at the forefront of space science.

On the left is the smaller (but closer) 25m Mk II telescope which forms part of the e-MERLIN network – a half dozen radio telescopes (including Cambridge’s own Mullard Telescope) connected via fibre optic cable that is sensitive enough to read a number plate on the moon.

Science is cool and so is the Jodrell Bank Visitor Centre; go while it’s still around.