The Blogosphere has been choc-a-block with comments on the late Neil Armstrong. No point in repeating what has gone before but it was indeed a moment to remember that first step onto the Moon! In fact while ruminating on this I drifted off into many memories of the time, including the trip before Armstrong's. On that occasion the capsule went close to the moon, and watching on our B & W TV It appeared to me that they were just skipping the surface of Earth's satellite. It was a fascinating close up of the surface of the moon, almost like being there, we were so close. The memory stays with me and by the time the actual Moon landing was to begin I, like the rest of the world, was agog!
In many ways it is difficult to comprehend the emotions of the time. Here was man, American or Soviet it mattered not, about to leap into space and stand on the Moon! This was indeed as important as those famous explorers of times past, and on this occasion almost the whole world would be able to see it happen. To place a man on that globe hanging above us, sometimes a thin crescent, sometimes huge and bright, all to often hidden behind cloud, was an amazing experience. Having been brought up during the 50's, fed on a diet of 'Dan Dare,' and guesswork regarding space exploration, reading about rockets that would soon speed through space taking us to the far corners of the galaxy was eye opening, and here we were actually doing it! Fantastic!
The night before they launched the BBC broadcast a special programme from the launch site. This ended with the camera slowly passing in front off the waiting rocket, this was lit by searchlights in the dark night, as the theme from '2001 Space Odyssey' (Zarathustra) played. It was an emotional moment. I was, as they say, 'thrilled,' indeed excited. Later my mother and I sat up late into the night watching the actual landing. Here was a historic moment indeed. One of the few real historic events in mankind's existence, and I (along with billions elsewhere) was there.
I had just turned 18, that year my father had died from cancer, and Jesus decided to inform me of his existence. Altogether a funny old year looking back. My dad was born in 1908, five years after man had conquered flight. In his time he saw the development of wireless, television, a depression and a major war. He also saw the new world in 1945, better housing and an NHS without which his illness would have been unbearable. He died when we stood on the Moon, how far had we come? Human nature has never changed and
while we conquer space we still cannot conquer famine, crime, ourselves.
By 1972 when the last man (who was he?) walked on the moon it had become old hat. Space travel rarely excited any more. The Voyager craft and their kind sailing to the edge of the Galaxy excite some interest but rarely does space mean much to us today. The recent Mars landing and the pictures returned have been worth while but far short of the adventure of reaching the moon.
A local scare has seen the police, sharpshooters and all, Zoo keepers, and helicopters aplenty scouring parts of Essex for a Lion! There are thought to be several large black cats, possibly Puma's that have once been kept illegally as pets and now released into the wild, roaming in various places. How true these stories are is debatable. However a large 'yellow' creature was seen, captured on film, and one man heard a 'roar,' and so a police chase was set off.
Nothing was found, and the chase called off as it was 'just a large domestic animal.' says the coppers. Hmmm I hope they are right, or a few dogs will get one big fright the next time they chase a cat.