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July 2019: Blackpool and the Lancashire Coast

It’s illumination time in Blackpool. Lancashire in October is not likely to be your choice for a sunshine break, but that is not why ...More
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Patrick Moore

The overused title ‘national treasure’ for once really applied in the case of Sir Patrick Moore, the amateur astronomer, moon-mapper and populariser of science who has just died. In him were encapsulated several of our most cherished characteristics: he was eccentric, playing the xylophone, a cricketer until his seventies and sporting a monocle; a gentleman amateur whose work annoyed a few academics but inspired untold thousands of youngsters (and was used by NASA); all who knew him acknowledged the man as generous and fun-loving; and he was enormously enthusiastic, his machine-gun delivery much mimicked. Add to that his war heroism – joining the wartime RAF by lying about his age and bypassing the physical that he’d have failed – and the phrase rounded figure fits perfectly (especially as in later life he was decidedly rotund). We can even pardon him his rather un-PC pronouncements of more recent days, and given the loss of his fiancée to a Nazi bomb we understand his unwillingness to forgive the German nation. His presence on The Sky at Night – missing just one edition from May 1957 until his December 2012 death – was a little bulwark of British civilisation that will be hard, maybe impossible, to replace.

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Love is the last relay and ultimate outposts of eternity. - Dante G Rossetti
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On this day:
Edward I Expels Jews from England - 1290, Authority of the pope declared void in England - 1536, British Cops’ 1-2-3 in Olympic Tug o’ War - 1908, Mein Kampf Published - 1925, Great Martinstown Downpour - 1955, First UK Broadcast of Big Brother - 2000
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