Thursday, February 12, 2009


Had another trip up to London today for a belated birthday meal. My wife & I booked a table at the Gaucho Canary in the London Docklands where we enjoyed a fantastic sea food starter followed by their renowned Argentine fillet steak with plenty of sides and of course some red wine to wash it down.
I thoroughly recommend a visit to their restaurants - we have also tried the Gaucho Broadgate in the past which is also worth a visit if just to admire the fantastic design of the restaurant .

After our meal we caught a train to Greenwich as I was keen to pay a visit to the Royal Observatory. The walk from the station across Greenwich Park and up the hill to the the observatory was just what we needed after such a filling meal.

On the way up I took a quick snap shot with my mobile of the view down to the Queen's House and National Maritime Museum with the Docklands in the background.

By the time we got up the hill it was getting on for 4:00pm so all we had time for was a show in the Planetarium. The last time I visited a planetarium was when I was a child. We intend to bring our two children back here as I'm sure they will love the experience, as we certainly did.

We bought my son Adam a telescope for his birthday a few months ago as he had expressed a keen interest in the stars & planets - especially after I painted his room with glow-in-dark stars.
It is a Newtonian reflector, and at first it was a bit daunting as I really had no idea on how to use the thing properly.
Luckily I had a lot of help from Andy from my wife's side of the family.

Andy is a keen amateur astronomer and showed me how to align the telescope's axis to the North Star Polaris amongst many other things. Before then had no idea where or who Polaris was or how to identify the myriad constellations that surround it. I am a bit better now and whenever we are out with the children on a clear night, I pass on some of my limited knowledge.

My daughter Hannah can now identify the constellation of Orion by finding the three stars that make up his belt. She can also point out Venus which is very bright in the sky at the moment and you can usually see it before it gets dark.

The weather suddenly changed on our trek home from the observatory and as I type this the snow is pilling up outside. The snow means lots of cloud cover so unfortunately I will not be able to venture outside this evening with the telescope : (

As a consolation I can always stargaze on my children's ceilings which comes a close second best : )

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