Enjoying the stars and bars of Cheshire

Who’d have thought, when Note to Boy hit the bookshops almost two years ago that I would still be fulfilling some of the gin pledges kindly made when I was crowdfunding the book? Covid and geography have delayed the process but at last we are getting there.

The latest of the book’s generous supporters owed a ‘gin experience’ happens to live with his family in the lovely county of Cheshire. So this weekend we braved the motorways – and an out-of-date but nonetheless insistent satnav – to travel there and enjoy a gin or two with them.

The sacrifices we authors are forced to make!

As if that wasn’t fun enough, just down the road we discovered the wonderful Jodrell Bank.

There, the following day, along with hoards of excited children we explored the new First Light Pavilion and its interactive exhibition, and visited the Space Dome for films and a … let’s call it a lecture, though it was so well presented, I for one didn’t feel I was being force-fed facts. If only science museums had been this exciting when I was young, I might have left school with more of an inkling of how space worked.

I couldn’t help but notice that when it came to asking the audience – ‘Who can explain what a black hole is?” “Can you identify this planet?” – all the hands that went up were children-sized! They were impressively well-informed.

Afterwards we strolled to the Lovell radio telescope, still one of the biggest and most powerful radio telescopes in the world. Seventy-six metres in diameter, amazingly it was constructed back in 1957. You only get to appreciate the size of this monster feat of engineering when you spot the ant-people working underneath it. You may just be able to make them out in my photo.

It may have been much delayed, but delivering my Note to Boy gin-experience responsibilities is proving to be a constant joy. I shall be sad when the last one is done.