Saturday, 30 April 2011

A Tough Act to Follow....


Friday night was the monthly meeting of the Astronomy Society. The guest speaker, Jason, gave a brilliant talk about 50 years of manned space flight. There was humour, pathos, huge amounts of detail and even props! All in all a brilliant talk. The hour and a half went really quickly and he had the audience enthralled.
Next month it's my turn. Back in 2009 I put together a weather satellite receiving station for 'Astrobash' which was the AAS contribution to the year of astronomy. I thought it would be a good idea to present a talk about the project, including it's origin and also a practical demonstration. Then our chairman publicised it as 'Space Weather' so I had to change the goal posts slightly, I am now giving a weather forecast for the planets of the solar system, plus an up to date solar weather forecast. I need to time it with a weather satellite pass as well, which I won't know until the day. All I do know it will be difficult to follow the last two presentations, which have been excellent!
I went back to Dartford Town Centre on Saturday. Now I normally go to Darent Valley Hospital once a week to do my Radio show there, but I never venture into town. Sadly, the Town is a shadow of its former self. The recession has hit hard with a lot of vacant shops. Plus I think Bluewater has really taken a lot of trade away from the town, with all the big retailers moving out. Even the 'very' camp (and funny!) waiter in the cafe has left! I met my cousin saturday night who was down from Nottingham. He had his new girlfriend with him. A really nice person. Anyway we all ate way too much chinese food and had a few drinks to wash it all down. A good evening, its not often we have a family get-together.
Sunday was normal. Get up slightly late, trip to Dobbies, lunch courtesy of McDonalds, Do bit more to the outside electrics then off to the studios of Dance Web Radio for the Soul show. We rounded of the evening with the latest Harry Potter film, Blu-Ray as well. What makes me smile is the surround sound always make the cats jump!


Sunday, 24 April 2011

A Cracking Easter


In previous years I've always found Easter time a bit of an anti-climax. You wait 3-4 months from christmas for another public holiday and then the weather is normally too dire to actually do anything other than trudge around the shops/garden centres/DIY superstores.
This year has been an exception. We have actually had some great weather which means Sarah and I have been out and about. Good friday was spent at the Nature reserve at Dungeness. I have said before in my blog how much I like Dungeness, but we only went to the RSPB reserve for the first time in January, and managed to spot a Bittern. Not bad for the first time twitching. Anyhow friday it was really hot down there, so we spent most of the time in the hide out of the sun. Friday night I took the Telescope up to Wye Downs but the visibility was poor due to atmospheric pollution. So we drove home and set up the 'scope in the garden. I showed Sarah's parents Saturn, M3, M13, Beehive Cluster and M35, plus we saw the ISS pass overhead. All in all a good evening.
Saturday we spent at the shops (some things never change!) but we had to get food in for the Barbeque that evening. I had a bad phone call earlier from my Mum saying that they had been in a car accident (they are OK) and won't be coming down, A shame. We have been after a water feature for some time after our old one sprung a leak. Bybrook Barn came up trumps with a half barrel and old water pump feature for 30 quid off. So we purchased it and had it delivered.Then it was barbeque time. A great evening with Sarah's family and a couple of friends.
Sunday we went to Smarden for the annual duck race. Basically you buy a plastic duck for a quid, they chuck it in the river with hundreds of other ducks and the first to the Town bridge wins. we didn't but the local butcher and one of the organisers did! We walked into the town from the farm, had a couple of beers in the pubs before and after then it was back to the farm for a BBQ courtesy of friends who invited us. It was a really brilliant afternoon. We also got to see some Sheep, Lambs, Cattle (British White Breed) and Ducks close up. We absolutely loved it there and I now know why my friends love camping there!
We decided to go to Canterbury on Monday. As the Park & Ride wasn't running we got the train. The journey is very picturesque. Once you get past the sewage works and factories of Ashford the countryside is outstanding. We did the usual round of Debenhams, M&S, and Benjis sweet shop which usually sells Sarah's favourite, Scottish Tablet. Not today though, it looks like they have discontinued it. After lunch (CJs Baguettes, a sort of posh Subway) We saw a new shop called FeetBliss. Basically you can get all the dead skin and foot munge eaten off by these tropical fish. Sarah had a go and described it as 'bubbly' and 'tickles' but it does work!
Walking back towards Westgate we decided to have a boat trip on the river. A 50 minute punt cost a tenner each but it was great, very relaxing and once you get out of the city it is so peaceful. We caught the highspeed back to Ashford and stopped at Pets at Home for some goldfish for the water feature. We bought four, two each of gold and yellow Comets although we haven't named them yet. Back home and a Chinese Takeaway to round off the holidays. Its back to work for 3 days and then there's some sort of Wedding on and another bank holiday. Fingers crossed the weather holds.......TTFN!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Sunday Soul Session and Top of the Pops remembered


Hi all

Back in the 1970s, when I were a lad, Thursday nights at 7:30 was Top of the Pops night. Without fail I would be there in front of the TV with my cassette player and mic recording the bands of the day from the TV speaker. I'm sure we all shed a tear when TOTP was cancelled by the BBC.

It was with much anticipation that I discovered BBC4 are repeating TOTP from 1976 onwards, every week on thursday at 7:30pm. V+ series link has been set!

However........The memory is much better than the reality. So far we are into the second episode and I now know that 1976 was a REALLY BAD year for music, as it was reflected in what was shown on TOTP. Brotherhood of man at No.1, old recordings of Abba, two unknown bearded blokes who's name escapes me, The Four Seasons without Frankie Valli and the Bay City Rollers pratting about on swings to one of their lesser known songs. Then there were the Presenters...Tony Blackburn, a hero of mine, did a good job on the first week, kept the chat to a minimum and seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the music. Noel Edmonds, oh dear, kept dropping into this stupid fake posh accent. It may have been funny in 1976 but it really does not stand the test of time! Pans People, the resident dancers performed some brilliant literal renditions of the songs, including a corny dance whilst holding books in both hands to the Beatle's Paperback Writer. I can see now why Punk gave the music industry of the time a kick up the pants....They needed it! I am looking forward to the late 70's though, there were some great tunes about back then. So for the time being I'm going to stick with it...


Back to the present day. The soul session has been going now since last August, I have listeners from all over the globe, Hi USA and Ciao Italia! To all my listeners I really hope you enjoy what we do. The station is going from strength to strength, mainly down to the people who run it, the presenters and you, the listeners. Dance Web Radio is the best!


Anyway heres the playlist for Sunday 10th April.

JACKIE MOORE : THIS TIME BABY


PATRICE RUSHEN : LOOK UP


GERALDINE HUNT : CAN'T FAKE THE FEELING


TS MONK : CANDIDATE FOR LOVE


SHALAMAR : TAKE THAT TO THE BANK


SHAKATAK : EASIER SAID THAN DONE


RICHARD EARNSHAW : WAITING


GQ : MAKE MY DREAMS A REALITY


RAW SILK : DO IT TO THE MUSIC


A TASTE OF HONEY : RESCUE ME


CAMERON : LETS GET IT OFF


NEW YORK SKYY : HERE'S TO YOU


ROXY5000 FEAT. TERRI WALKER : NEVER GOING BACK


HEATWAVE : GANGSTERS OF THE GROOVE


LINX : YOURE LYING


DONALD BYRD : LOVE HAS COME AROUND


TEDDY PENDERGRASS : YOU CAN'T HIDE (DIMITRI REMIX)


FIRST CHOICE : ARMED & EXTREMELY DANGEROUS


MAYSA : THE BOTTLE


ROY AYERS : DON'T STOP THE FEELING


JAZZTRONIX : REAL CLOTHES


AZYMUTH : DEAR LIMERTZ


HARVEY MASON : TIL YOU TAKE MY LOVE


INAYA DAY : NASTY GIRL