The Dish of the Day

Lovell telescope Our trip around the highways and byways of Britain took us through Derbyshire, across the Pennines and into Cheshire.

We passed through Smalltown, where I used to live, so we took a little detour to allow me to point out my old house to Mr TLC. It was rather strange to drive through the area where I grew up, but which I haven’t visited for more than two decades. A little nostalgia is always nice, but I can’t say I’ve missed the place.

We headed off for our first planned stop, which is one of my favourite places: Jodrell Bank, home to the University of Manchester’s beautiful radio telescope.

The first thing that strikes you about the Lovell telescope is its sheer size: with a height of up to 89 metres (depending on exactly how it is oriented) and a bowl diameter of 76 metres it really is impressive.

Mr TLC had his usual effect – he is after all the man who can make Tower Bridge open just by expressing the desire to see it do so. He casually mentioned that he would like to see the telescope move. Sudden creaks, whirrs and the sounds of various motors indicated that Mr TLC was about to get his wish. First we were treated to the sight of the whole structure rotating on the railway tracks it sits on. This occurred at a surprisingly fast speed  – the telescope moves constantly, to correct for the earth’s rotation, but normally rather more imperceptibly. Then the dish tilted downwards until it was almost facing us. It was a treat to watch.

There’s various other things to see and do there: a planet trail, an arboretum to visit, a couple of parabolic dishes that will allow you to whisper sweet nothings to someone standing several metres away. We skipped the 3D theatre, but we did stop off to say hello to Copernicus before heading off to meet some charming folk.

[more pictures coming soon]

1 comment to The Dish of the Day

  • Yorkshire Pudding

    You never said you were married to Superman! I suppose I should have guessed from your first name. Having the power to make inanimate machinery suddenly become active is quite awesome. However, how is he with a toilet brush?