Voorwerp discovery Public appearances Astronomy adventures Everyday life Comic book Voorwerp discovery Public appearances Astronomy adventures Everyday life Comic book

In The Forest

Term break is almost over again and of course I didn’t finish everything I wanted. However, spending time reading and going for walks in the forest, is important too. Here are a few pictures I took during the walks, just because I like them. Carpe diem and all that. :D

IMG_8097
It’s a beautiful day…

IMG_8156
The sun is shining

IMG_8170
Colour!

IMG_8396
Sheep!

IMG_8408
“Shooting stars”

IMG_8577
Raindrops

IMG_8584
On the fence?

IMG_9071
A Moon jigsaw

IMG_9074
Set in stone

IMG_9076
Stick figures

IMG_9258
I’m your Venus!

Astrofest 2015

0 8 IMG_9500
 

With the sun over the water on a train over a bridge, with music in my own bubble, I can almost cry at the beauty of life. I kid you not. It was one of those breath-taking big orange ball sunsets, of which I couldn’t have taken a picture that would do it justice, while I was on my way to Astrofest for the 8th time. Steven and I met in Hook of Holland, where we had dinner in the harbour before we boarded the ferry. On the other end, there was a coach to London instead of a train, but it was a smooth trip and I even remembered the route to the venue from Kensington High Street.
 

I had forgotten my tickets to Astrofest, but the lovely organisers remembered I had been a speaker a few years back, so there wasn’t a problem. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful weekend. Steven and I first paid a visit to Robin from Canopus books. He gave me an awesome book, which I started reading right away (I will show you the book later). Then we met up with Graham and the boys had a look around all the astronomy toys. We said hi to Emily and Dave, Mandy and Ian and we found Todd lurking around the stalls too.
 

The pub we usually go to for lunch had changed their interior a bit, but it was still a lovely place and it was another cosy gathering of friends. Old and new. (Tom, it was great to meet you and I’m looking forward to catching up over Skype soon). Unfortunately we missed a few talks, but the venue was packed nonetheless. I especially liked the talk about Rosetta’s Comet and how it showed us the anatomy of the ‘duck’ (and that it would float on water too). Another very important mention was Asteroid Day (and I loved how people were asking about Brian, while he’s still touring of course).
 

A personal highlight was the lovely women at the stand of AstroCymru. They sold beautiful astronomy jewellery to support their work of visiting schools to teach kids about our planet and what else is out there. Steven (and I) especially loved their ‘down to earth’ box, in which they kept real fossils. I held a real vertebra of an Iguanodon dinosaur and a real meteorite. Steven, being a dinosaur fan, told the lady a few facts she didn’t know yet and I loved her enthusiasm!
 

Before we went for dinner, I had checked into the nearby hotel (where three men complemented me about the bag my mum had made, ha ha). The evening gathering was lovely too (not in the least because Annie gave free massages to us all). We managed to find a cosy pub, with a funny guy serving us and it was concluded that this was all we needed on a desert island. All in all, it was truly great to be over for Astrofest again and I already look forward to the next one!

1 IMG_9495
We took the ferry out

2 IMG_9501
Aw. Teddy bears on the road in Kensington.

3 IMG_9503
That’s okay, Central Line, WWRY has closed anyway.

4 IMG_9514
Lovely view from our hotel

9 IMG_7314
Me and the lovely Robin from Canopus Books

10 IMG_7324
Reading from my new book (more soon)

11 IMG_7333
Holding a real Iguanodon vertebra!

12 IMG_7336
And a real meteorite!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Lucie did a great job!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
My pal Brian was sort of there anyway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Steven and I captured by Graham.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The boyriend.

18 IMG_7339
Lunch with the Galaxy Zoo gang

19 IMG_7347
Dinner with the Galaxy Zoo gang

20 IMG_7350
Including weird faces…

21 20150207_195758
And free massages!

22 IMG_9691
The beautiful astronomy jewellery

24 IMG_9530
Bye London!

25 IMG_9545
Clouds from the other side, flying back

26 IMG_9559
The Dutch shore in sight.
 

Queen and Adam Lambert rock Amsterdam

0 IMG_9431
With the boys from Queen; Roger Taylor & Brian May, backstage
 

Of course we had tuned in on New Year’s Eve too and I had looked forward to the gig at the end of January even more. Because of course I would go to see my pal forever when he and his band would come to my neck of the woods. I knew ‘the new guy’ was great too, because I had already seen them in London back in 2012 and even though I hardly pay attention to what others have to say about this collaboration, I do have to admit I liked seeing so many enthusiastic comments on social media.
 

My vision? They. Were. Stupendous! Brian’s Dutch was better than I even knew (“Zingen jullie mee… with Dr Brian May”) and I LOVED how they did ’39 this evening. Besides the guitar solo (gawd how I love Last Horizon) and the guitar cam, I thought another highlight was Roger’s A Kind Of Magic. And I think I fell in love with Adam when he talked about keeping the music alive. He very much does that, in his own unique way, with a lot of respect to Freddie and it fits so well with Queen. And he is just good. Period.
 

Other highlights included the drum battle with Rufus Taylor, Lap of the Gods, Save Me and Who Wants To Live Forever. It was a sold out gig and I actually knew a couple of people who were going too. I went on my own though and I stayed the night in Amsterdam too. As per usual, I didn’t take a lot of pictures during the gig or even afterwards, as I tend to enjoy concerts better when not looking through my tiny camera screen. Here are a few shots though, to remember the beautiful day.
 

Aren’t we lucky to live in this day and age where great musicians like them Queen boys are touring still! I had Lap of the Gods stuck in my head the whole weekend, which was fine with me. It was also great to finally meet Roger (I usually don’t ‘kiss and tell’, but him thinking Hanny’s Voorwerp was some kind of fart from God, was too funny not to share). And I hope both Brian and Adam feel better. What an amazing job they did. Cheers, guys!
 

1 IMG_9419
Awesome combo.

2 IMG_9410
Yes, ready!

3 IMG_9418
Some of the audience… hi!

4 IMG_9420
The curtain

5 IMG_9422
Brian doing his thang

6 IMG_9430
What a show!

7 IMG_9424
Backstage…

8 IMG_9426
The Trucks (well one of ‘em)

9 IMG_9428
My weird but wonderful hotel

10 IMG_9433
The time machine shower in the middle of my room

11 IMG_9437
While having breakfast

12 IMG_9438
Another lovely view

13 IMG_9452
On my way to the station

14 IMG_9450
And here it is

15 Set_List_Amsterdam_IMAG1679_400
Amsterdam Set List, thanks to www.brianmay.com

Lecture in Dordrecht

0 panorama-dordrecht
 

Finally I gave a lecture for the stargazers in lovely Dordrecht! I say ‘finally’, because I think my Dutch Galaxy Zoo pals Arie and Jan (from Astroblogs) had already mentioned this when I met them back in the beginning of the Zoo. It took for André to ask me again on the Achterhoek weekend though: thanks for that! And also special thanks to Maarten for arranging everything so perfectly (really)!
 

The venue was lovely and so was the audience. (And the hotel/restaurant we paid a visit to prior my talk). It was great to see old friends again and to meet some new ones. Steven and I also both went on a tour in Jan’s antique car and we had a look in the observatory. But perhaps most memorable was meeting the lovely Marah, who showed me a picture of her solar system made of oliebollen. She had seen me on telly recently and she’s a keen amateur astronomer herself.
 

So I had a lovely evening. Thanks again to everyone in Dordrecht! We will be back soon…
 

1 IMG_7241
The water tower restaurant/hotel

2 IMG_7249
The presenter

3 IMG_7245
With André, Jan and Arie

4 IMG_7247
In the observatory

5 IMG_7250
Catching up before the start

6 IMG_7260
Doing a magic tric?

7 IMG_7263
All the cool things in the Zoo

8 IMG_7279
Answering questions

9 IMG_7295
Thanks!

10 IMG_7296
With the lovely Marah! :)

Valentine’s Holiday

20150214_092955 - kopie
 

Officially it’s the carnival break, but even though I live in Limburg, I usually skip that tradition. I never really did Valentine’s Day either, but it is nice to get Fifty Red Roses, of course (and I did surprise Steven too). Mostly I’m just glad to have the week off though. I am very happy with the new job, teaching English, and I’m also pleased to say another exam week as a student myself was successful (I thank you all). But now it’s time to catch up. On work (I should’ve put “holiday” in ironic quotation marks, I guess), mail (I will answer yours soon), on music… and also on showing some pictures here of a couple of events I recently paid a visit to…
 

(Some of you already noticed on twitter; I have one of those necklaces with which one can spell their name. I know it’s for twelve year olds, but Steven bought it for me – as a joke – and I decided to wear it anyway. I used it to spell the events I went to recently, so these give an indication of what I should still blog about…)