Country mouse on the wonders of astronomy

My physics A level has been of little use to me as an editor, but memories of Newton, Galileo and Boyle came flooding back when 11-year-old Anna returned from her school trip to the Intech Science Centre and Planetarium near Winchester. She was fizzing with excitement about the stars, the planets and the universe, so, in a moment of male gadget-driven rashness, we bought a telescope together.

It arrived two days later in a box the size of a coffin. Anna was beside herself. On the big present = good formula, I had risen from Dad to Super Dad. Mrs Hedges looked slightly less excited, and, being more practical, enquired where were we going to put it. She has a point.

More pressing, however, was how we were going to assemble it. Fiendishly complicated, the instruction manual would make Ikea blush, but, once I started to use it instead of guessing where everything went, we finally built the telescope.

It’s true that nobody can now get in or out of the study, which has caused distress, but more serious, for the father-daughter team of budding astronomers, is that it’s been cloudy every night for a week.

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