Museum of the Moon

magical moonIf you’re are anywhere near Rochester in Kent this month taking time to visit the Museum of the Moon at Rochester Cathedral. This artwork by Luke Jerram has toured the world and now rises above the nave of the cathedral surrounded by lunar inspired

Moon in Roc catherdral black and white with busy people

people are loving the moon

music and a programme of events. The moon is amazing in itself but it also provides some of the best people watching to be had as all ages interact with the giant globe. I am definitely going to take advantage and go to one of the evening viewings.

moon craters twoThe Moon is on view until the 4th March. For more information visit the cathedral website.

Happiness is..A wet day on a hill with the volunteers.

debbie in the field

The lovely Debbie enjoying a wet day with the gang. 

I love being out with the volunteers. Even on a day when the heavens open and it rains solidly. I walk across the site in muddy trousers and the rain is lashing down and still I’m happy. Why is that?

I think because this is life. Out here, in the elements, being rained on, with every other living creature. Not separate but part of it, the earth, and the woods and the season.

Life is here, slipping in the mud, using your muscles to chop and haul and climb, laughing with your mates as you hole up in the back of the Land rover for lunch with soup and sandwiches and hot cups of tea passed through the windows to you.

This is life, this doing and being and loving the moment. The thing we all did for millennia before urban life and technology separated us from the world, the moment and each other.

Something in this, something essential in this, feels like the very thing you were put on this earth to do.

Talking Telescopes – A day in the life of an environmental consultant – January 2020


photo courtesy of MLP

I love the work I do with farmers in the South East but sometimes it’s nice to mix it up, try something new or refresh my skills in other areas. I began working in conservation 25 years ago and found a way into the profession by using my Journalism and publicity skills before moving on to community projects.

It has been really interesting in January to work with Medway Council on their Talking Telescopes Project. This Heritage Lottery Funded project worked with visitors to the Strand, an enduringly popular Lido and Leisure facility which had originally been created on the River Medway in 1896.

The site encapsulates the history of British Lido’s, beginning with changing rooms converted from railway carriages and growing, during the 1930’s, to incorporate boating pools, putting greens, bandstands, and a miniature railway. As such, The Strand tells the story of British leisure time from the late 19th to the early 21st century and is the only surviving example of an outdoor saltwater swimming pool in Britain.

The Talking Telescopes team consisting of Medway Council, Medway Plus (a local charity) and Mid Kent College worked with students to capture memories from the areas heyday in the 1950’s and 60’s and made them accessible to today’s visitors through the medium of three Talking Telescopes.

talking telescope (2)The sturdy telescopes can be used to spy on the Medway Estuaries internationally important wildlife while providing an audio commentary of stories from the past. Two interpretation panels were also created and a well loved mural restored.

The role of assistant Matt Hawkins and myself was to evaluate the project. Online and face to face interviews were conducted. The HLF application was reviewed and visitors to the Strand were interviewed on site.

I’m pleased to say that the response to the new interpretation was overwhelmingly positive with one respondent calling it a “fitting tribute to ordinary people’s memories.” and another saying, “Before this project I looked at the Strand and felt it was dated, now I feel differently about it and see that the architecture is typical of the era and feel more positive and proud of the area. I imagine all the people who have used it in the past and feel I am part of this. It makes me more aware of the history of my local area and my role in it.”

It appears that this is a great example of Heritage Lottery Fund money being used to give people a real sense of pride in their local area.