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

Memory-lane Monday: Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov in London


Earlier this year I was invited to an amazing lecture by the first man to walk in space (with whom I incidentally share a birthday), Alexei Leonov. Yes, being a well-known amateur astronomer has its perks indeed. The event was to be held at the Science Museum in London and other guests included my pal Brian May and Stephen Hawking. Robin Rees would also be there, making sure people could order their copy of the book “Starmus: 50 Years of Man in Space”. I was happy to come over for this!

The trip went smoothly. People are generally even nicer to you when you’re expecting a baby; they let me jump the queue at the airport and I was also allowed to drink the Innocent smoothie I had forgotten in my bag at the security check. The turbulence was a bit scary, but I had forgotten about that when I was on the DLR again, just smiling because I was here and it was sunny. I was early, so I had a snooze on the grass near Princes Diana’s Memorial Fountain, thinking that in a next life I wouldn’t mind being a squirrel in Hyde Park.

Anyway, the lecture was impressive! Alexei Leonov drew his story on a chalk board and while he was explaining the details of his space trip, I felt even more silly for not even being able to hold my cool in a roller coaster. Also impressive were the translating skills of the ladies live translating Russian to English and vice versa. My pal Graham Bowes wrote more about the event on another blog, so I’ll end this reminder of the day with a link to that. He is also responsible for most of the pictures, including the one of us escaping the crowd, while Phil was joking about me giving birth in the lift.

(I didn’t). It was another great trip and I’m a lucky girl. More pictures can be seen on my Flickr page.


Flashback Friday: Stargazing in the Achterhoek

1 IMG_7948

When I took part in this Achterhoek stargazing weekend last year, I already knew this was going to be an event in which I was going to take part annually. Even though I’m not a hard-core amateur astronomer, really. I mostly went along for the fun, the people, the walks, the music (I lalalalike it) and the chocolate Easter eggs were an added bonus. And of course, because Joep and I had assigned ourselves the task of dimming the lights on this camp site with garbage bags.

Unfortunately, the sky was only clear for about an hour or so, but we looked at the Sun during the day, tested telescopes and we did make the most of that one hour stargazing. As I don’t have my own telescope, I offered my help as secretary and writing down notes – exactly like they were uttered. (So my report had sentences in them like: “wow you can do a lot of things with just 8cm!”)

One of the guys had taken along his time machine (or some sort of telescope equipment of which I have no idea what it’s used for) and he needed to know how many cogs he had on this huge cogwheel. There were a lot, so I can see why he didn’t feel like just counting them. But I offered to do it, making a competition of it, which was like the citizen science assignment “guess how many beans in the pot”. The person who’d guess closest would win a hug from yours truly and with all the answers combined we could then calculate the average and see how well we did. Just for fun.

The answer was 631 by the way. Picture proof of these shenanigans can be seen on my flickr page. Thanks to all for being there and for sharing your pictures!

Throwback Thursday: CULTAVERDE 2015

As the title suggests (and as I mentioned before) I’m going to share a few things from this past year, which I haven’t been able to show earlier due to being too busy with life itself (and creating a new life). The first event I think I should mention in this online diary, is the annual school concert CULTAVERDE.

Amy and I doing “Sweet Goodbyes”

Although I had stopped teaching right after the auditions, I was determined to guide our artists until the final night of the show and it was as rewarding as the former two editions. We had many first year students this year and it was great to see their courage. And attitude: Noëlla blew us away with her ‘All About That Bass’ and Shania’s ‘The Climb’ had me teary-eyed.

“You can check out any time you like but you can never leave”

We also had dance acts (with surprising cool masks), our Singing Sisters took part again and we had a new wild duo: Silvana and Silvana. Our own ‘The Voice – Kids’ contestants sang ‘Everything Has Changed’ together and I also managed to get a few of my colleagues on stage to do ‘Hotel California’ – more or less spontaneously, which was a lot of fun.

The boss calling us back on stage.

At the end of the evening, my partner in organising-crime Bastiaan and I had a few ‘thankyous’ we needed to say. To all our colleagues for their support and also to all the lovely students who worked so hard; backstage as well. Sadly, our presenting duo was about to graduate, so we had to look for new talent. Fortunately, they both had their little brother and sister in school now and the talent runs in the family!

Our students thanking us!

So I was a very proud teacher again. We had a great time. The funniest moment for me was when we found a mother’s driver’s licence, which she had forgotten on a table ‘backstage’. As we announced on stage that the owner could ask for it back in the break, one of my students whispered to me: “That’s my mum! Now do you understand why I keep forgetting my books and stuff?!”

The amazing presenters!

And we thought that was that. We had organised the event and it had gone as planned. Our head teacher had thanked everyone for coming, but then the participating students took over to thank us for giving them this stage. They had planned it together all along, without us knowing; we got flowers and even a custom-made winning cup. A night to remember.

Sign of Life

Lately I’ve been rather absent from this weblog. I did do a couple of lectures and events in the past few months, and I tweeted the odd picture, but I haven’t had the time and energy (yet) to report about those here. This has everything to do with the fact I’ll become a mum within the next month, but I do still intend to write a few ‘throwback’ posts (if only because I promised some pictures and it would keep my diary complete). But for now, here’s what I have been doing mostly. My dear cat Poes (he really is the sweetest) is very much involved in the pregnancy…

Testing the baby’s car seat

and checking the crib

Hugging my bump

and making sure the hospital bag is warm

WWRY Germany!

I did it again. And I have now seen the show in three languages. This one was kind of a surprise, as there were only a few shows planned in Cologne. But I took the opportunity with a friend who’s a fan of Queen also and it was another great show, of course. Like the Dutch, the audience was a bit lame though. When Pop finally announced ‘Queen!’ nobody cheered?! Fortunately, by the end of the show they all understood what kind of show they were at and everyone stomped and clapped along. And I have to admit that the language didn’t bother me at all. ‘No-one but you’ in German manages to make me cry just as much.