Girls in the garden, dad in space

Gorgeous weather at the moment (although, the forecast today is for occasional torrential thunder storms) so the girls were out in the garden yesterday, playing in the paddling pool and the water table.

Or, as you can see in the pics, Millie was in the pool – eBub is a touch sensitive to cold water and refused to even look at it to begin with.

She did eventually deign to notice the pool, however, and quickly got stuck into the play table in the picture.  Whereas a naked Millie ran riot around the garden, eBub is a bit more conservative and maintained a certain level of decorum at all times – as much decorum as one can muster when one is sopping wet, at least.

The Lovely Melanie also tells me that eBub can now play the kazoo!  A band called The Two Man Gentleman Band sent me one free with a t-shirt a couple of years ago; Amber picked it up yesterday and quickly learnt that if you hum into it it makes a funny noise, so she spent the next few minutes walking round and round the house proudly blowing her kazoo, much to the general hilarity of everyone present!

I didn’t see any of this as I was at work, but later on I did get to see a chap called Brent Buffington give a talk at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

Brent is a young guy, but astonishingly he’s also one of the people who “flies” the Cassini probe, currently orbiting Saturn.  He gave a fascinating lecture about a potentially very dull topic – Mission Design In The Saturnian System – during which I learnt all kinds of things I never knew, or even suspected, about the Cassini probe.  For instance, it is largely “steered”, if you will, by regularly swinging past Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.  I kind of assumed it was guided by regular firings of the onboard rocket engines, and to a degree it is, but these mostly make tiny course changes that can have a very large impact on its speed and direction when it swings by Titan.

Brent modestly pointed out that he’s not a scientist, he’s an engineer, but his lecture and the following Q&A, were a wonderful revelation to me – and I like to kid myself that I know a little bit about astronomy and space missions!

It’s at times like these that I really really love living in London – where else do you get a chance to see this kind of thing?


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