Saturday May 9th 2009. Launch -5 days and Counting.


The last weekend. My strength is building back up, although from time to time something that I eat causes my some considerable gastric discomfort for a while. Today I had intended to get a haircut… such is my state of mind that I forgot to!


The whole grisly details of the football tournament on Thursday have come out. Herschel’s record was: Played 4, Lost 3, Drawn 1 – I’ll leave the reader to work out how many wins there were. Mind you, only 5 people turned out to play, one of whom had to retire before the end, severely damaged. We might make something of the fact that we had a girl on our team, but the team that finished 3rd out of 8 had no less than three girls on its team. Mind you, looking at them, you would have had to be suicidal to want to tackle them. One of XMM-Newton’s players was more used to rugby than to football and wore his protective headgear from the scrum. On one occasion he charged all the way down the pitch with his head down… he’s a big lad and no one could stop him until he made his way INTO the goal with the ball (I assume that the goalkeeper was cowering behind a post out of a sense of self-preservation).


It was a long night last night working on my monthly comets and meteors article (late… again). Finally, to the relief of my editor, it was sent mid-afternoon. After a nap it was off to the shopping centre with our retired banker to get a few essentials and, in the evening, “The War of the Worlds” (Tom Cruise version) on the DVD as I had a burst of enthusiasm and started work again on “The Physics of Cricket”. The film is very impressive and frequently chilling. It captures the intended spirit of H.G. Wells’ book perfectly. Wells wrote the book as an allegory on the British colonialisation of Africa, with the natives being overwhelmed by the technological superiority of their foe. In the book Wells had the satisfaction of watching the British being utterly overwhelmed by the immensely superior Martians. And, of course, the only thing that could stop the British in Africa was the ravages of tropical bacteria. For the colonialising British, read the world-dominating Americans who finally come to know war at home and don’t like it much. There are many very powerful scenes and the images of American refugees, looking for all the world like Bosnians, or Iraquis, or… was lost on no one. In the end, I worked far later than I intended to and made good progress with the book.