Space School Cornwall Eclipse trip: Part 3

Link to: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four: Deconstructing 'C'est la vie' | Part Five: Our man from Japan | Part Six: A Rogue Train Traveller's Guide to the UK rail system

More sleep

Day 2 - Sunday evening

There was a 'Star Party' and lecture at the school in Tregony - the lecture, as usual, was sleep-inducing, and two hours long.

We found out later that there was no star-party to speak of, and we ended up just mooching around. Then it started raining. Again. There was also the curious incident of a girl speaking weirdly around the Chinese.

I'd better explain some of this. The lecture at the school was about solar eclipses, appropriately enough. Unfortunately, the speaker thought showing us endless graphs was interesting, and I ended up taking a short nap for a few minutes.

The 'star-party' consisted of us, and the people running the school. I don't know what parties they have down in Cornwall, but to me, it was a pretty poor performance. More poker was the call for the evening.

Day 3 - Monday

Truro, the 'capital' of Cornwall

Usual drill. Get up at 7 AM, play poker. This time round, however, there was a bit of excitement during breakfast. There were two choices for breakfast: full breakfast (£3) and children's breakfast (£1). Naturally, cash-strapped people that we were (I mean, Tak only had about £400), we opted for the children's breakfast.

Cue all manner of evil glares from the guy taking the orders, even though we worked out that they were profiting from this children's breakfast. Cornwall is not a welcoming place.

According to John, we'd be going to Truro because the Chinese delegation were in open rebellion - they hadn't had any Chinese food for three weeks, and they couldn't take it any longer. At this point, some of the people present who'd gone to China on basically the same thing started muttering about how there was no point coming to the United Kingdom if you were just going to eat Chinese food.

What they had forgotten to mention is that they themselves visited McDonalds three times in China while they were there - the height of hypocrisy, yes. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Truro is the 'capital' of Cornwall. At this point, a whole flurry of malicious jokes were dispensed at the expense of the Cornish, a good selection being:

'Truro. Population, 3. And a dog."

"Yeah, it's a capital. But it's only a capital in relative terms. Truro is the capital of Cornwall, relative to, say, a bungalow."

"Is that Truro over there? <pointing to a small group of houses>. Nah, that's too big <this wasn't a funny joke, but everyone found it hilarious at the time>"

The other reason we were going to Truro was because we wanted to show the Chinese Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. And we wanted to watch it, as well.

We did manage to find a Chinese restaurant, although it's what we Chinese would call a 'gwai-loh' restaurant - a 'white devil' restaurant. I knew this was the truth because it:

a) Had menus in English

b) Sold omelettes

c) Had (horror of horrors) knives and forks laid out on tables!

We weren't particularly impressed, although it did mollify the Chinese for a while. Except for one of them, who was sick.

Star Wars, is, in my opinion, a good action movie, as long as you don't activate your brain during any period at all during the movie. If you do, then you'll just find a million holes in the plot, and the whole thing'll fall apart. Look, it's got big explosions, nice computer graphics and a good looking female actress (whenever she's not wearing that ridiculous head dress). That's all I ask for in a movie.

Jar-Jar Binks, on the other hand... He doesn't even bear mentioning.

In the interests of multicultural harmony, we decided to show the Chinese a taste of English food (i.e. greasy chips from a take-away). And we wanted to have some take-away food as well.

Can't say much else interesting happened. During the nightly game of poker (we played far too much poker. Tasha's mum Rachel remarked on this one night. We responded by saying that we were aiding our careers in the space industry by studying probability theory and behavioural psychology.)

During a break in the game, Tak and I helped push a car up the treacherous slope beside the main tent - the rain, and the slope, had turned the thing into a stream. It did give my shoes the much-needed 'used' look that besets all buyers of new squeeky-clean shoes, though.

Oh, Frances and Laurance arrived that night. Richard, Tak and I had already agreed that, unless Laurance happened to be a foot high midget, there was no way he'd be coming into our tent unless he volunteered to be a pillow - I mean, there was no room left in our tent. Consequently, through a bit of nifty fast talking, we managed to get him to sleep on his own in the adjoining tent. I don't feel bad about doing this, 'cos I'm just plain evil.

Amazingly enough, the weather cleared up long enough for Tak to take a few long exposure pictures of the night sky, some of which he was kind enough to scan in and email to me. One will appear here soon enough.

This night was actually a bit of a revelation for me. It was the first time I'd ever seen the Milky Way with my own eyes. At first, I thought it was just a cloud, but then I realised what it actually was. Incredible. I'd never really seen it before, due to a combination of clouds and light pollution. There is something to be said, after all, for living in rural areas, even if it does mean there's no night-life and you're married to your sister.

<I'm laughing as I write this. I don't really think all people who live in rural areas are married to their siblings. No, they're married to their cousins>

Back to Part 2 On to Part 4, 'C'est la vie'