Monthly Archives: January 2011

Tube trains, toys, tat & toe rags!

So here we are at the end of January, it’s been an eventful month. I had two trips to astronomy club, the first was in connection with the BBC stargazing live, fortunately we were lucky enough to have clear skies for the event and we have several new members as a result.

On the home front it has been somewhat fractious with Richie being in complete hump mode as Ronnii hit the peak of her season. How Trudy prevented herself from going completely potty I will never understand, the noises Richie was making were quite annoying, I’m sure that there’s an audio out there somewhere. If you find it, put your speaker volume up as loud as it will go and then put the audio file on loop for three hours. He was making that noise for the whole time he was awake. Things got so bad for Trudes that she took Richie out for three hours walking him down to the beach and back. By the time they got home he was too tired to make any noise, but my girl was at her wits end. Fortunately the whining and moaning came to an end Wednesday night.

Wednesday I went off to the 2011 Toy Fair at London Olympia with Sue and Mickey. I have to admit that there are some fantastic things that will be released later in the year and there’s also a possibility that Sue has found an independent supplier of building models that are slightly cheaper than the all powerful GW. Having seen the boxes and felt the weight of the boxes, I’d say that you get your moneys worth.

Mike and I got there about two hours before Sue, we left home at 05:30, I was up and ready by 05:00. I left little Ronnii rocket sound asleep on my bed; it seemed such a shame to disturb her as she looked so sweet all stretched out and snoozy. I left the house just after five and had a ten minute wait for Mike. When he arrived he thrust a bottle of coke at me and then informed me that I’d lost him a bet. It turns out that my friends, using the term loosely, had had a bit of a wager as to whether I would need a phone call to get me up, to say that I was shocked and wounded would be an understatement. We arrived at the O2 by 07:30 and made our way to the venue via the tube, I hate the tube, it’s smelly and crowded and people are just plain rude. We finally arrived at Olympia and because we were there a bit early we headed in to the high street for some breakfast. Full English with a cuppa and a piece of apple strudel the size of a house brick for less than £8, can’t go wrong there. Then back to the arena to get registered and into the show. The only real issue I have with the toy fair is the fact that there’s so much to see, even removing the stuff Sue doesn’t sell still leaves a fair amount to take in, plus we were also looking for new suppliers. I saw some brilliant stuff, but as with any form of merchandising, for every one decent product, there are about 20 that are complete rubbish, the new inflatable Dalek is just one that I feel the need to mention. This thing is tat, it’s basically a battery operated mini dodgem car that has had a rubbish Dalek stuck to it, they’ve not even used a proper Dalek, and it’s a transparent version of one of the hideous power ranger Daleks that was introduced last year. The thing is going to retail at around £199, in my opinion, that’s about £175 to much. We left the fair all too soon, grabbing some nosh on the way back to the O2 and the car; how people who work in the city do it I shall never understand. More smelly over crowded trains and pushing and shoving. The journey back was fairly easy going, although I did get a bit of an odd look from Mike for using the Sat-Nav on my phone, but I explained to him that I was using it because I could, not because I didn’t trust his sense of direction. Although he did get us lost on the way home from London once. Arriving home just after 20:15 it had been a long day and my feet were very sore, if I’m honest they ached more than after the walk to Dover, probably because I was standing still for a while at certain exhibitors. Despite the sore feet I really enjoyed the day and I’m already looking forward to next years. My only real issue is that once again we didn’t get into see what a company called Character Options would be bringing out, They produce action figures and play sets for Doctor Who and Primeval, and with new series of both this year it would have been nice to see what was on the way. But due to the fact that they won’t let you on their stand unless you deal directly with them we stood no chance of seeing the new releases, and the Dr Who stuff is displayed in its own room so we couldn’t even peek over the barriers.

Friday 28th saw a trip to Woodchurch via Hythe to astronomy club, as predicted by the attendance of our Stargazing live event, numbers have indeed swelled and the hall was packed. This is brilliant as the more members the club has the better chance it has of staying strong, and I have to be honest but the last Friday of the month is something I really look forward to. Sadly cloudy skies put paid to any chance of observing, which is a shame. The month on the whole has been a bit rubbish, excluding the stargazing Live I’ve only been able to get a scope out once this month, the last time I tried was when Smiffy came over and we were going to be painting, I planned to do an hour’s observing with him, but by the time I had set the scopes up it had clouded over.

I am currently waiting for a flexible focusing rod to arrive, this will make focusing the Meade easier when it’s in a vertical position and I ordered a new webcam, birthday treat that will, hopefully, allow me to get some video and still images of the night sky.

Tuesday 1st February is my birthday and I must admit that I’m more than a bit curious about what Trudes has got me, she rushed out yesterday (Sunday) to get a couple of bits and she has said that the pups have got me something that is being delivered, so hopefully that will arrive in time. There’s a chance that she may also be getting me a pocket watch, the one I told her I liked is beautiful. It’s exactly the type I’ve been wanting for many years. I don’t yet know exactly what I’m going to do on Tuesday, I have the day off so I may get a lay in, although I doubt it as Richie and Ronnii will still be needing a stroll first thing so I shall still be up relatively early, but if I’m lucky there may be a bacon sandwich in the offing.

Two good things about February, my birthday, plus two other good friends have their birthdays later in the month, and only 28 days, so both payday and astronomy club come round a bit sharpish, I’m not sure what the talk is about, I was hoping it would be the one our chairman is doing about “Killer Asteroids” but that’s not until March, I’m looking forward to that one.

In closing, whilst I’m on the subject of the astronomy clubs chairman, Drew is an author and, from what I understand, a rather good one. Some of Drew’s books are available free of charge from his website. However an unscrupulous toe rag who goes by the name of Peter Michelsen has made some of Drew’s books available on Amazon and claims that he is the author, I suspect that the fella may be a bit of a brain below as the thumbnails for the books by Drew still have his name as the author. Anyways, this Michelsen character is charging for the download of books that are in fact free to download. Not only has he stolen my friends work but he’s also attempting to make a profit from his nefarious activity. The git! With luck the matter will be rectified and Drew will be able to claim damages from either the person responsible and/or Amazon.

Either way I wish him good luck in sorting this matter out.

That’s it for now; no doubt I shall be back with more mundane ramblings in the near future.

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