KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

It’s rather a load of old bollocks! That’s probably what Sir Patrick Moore RIP would say to all the dedicated Apocalypse observers that have been preparing themselves for the end of the world—which they believe is tomorrow—while the rest of us are preparing for Christmas.

Many doomsayers view the end of the ancient “Long Count” Mayan calendar as a ticking time bomb while the planets align in the Solar System causing Earth to collide with a planet called Nibiru. But I think Sir Patrick would have alerted us if there was anything heading our way long before now.

I don’t want to get morbid in the mouth of Christmas but isn’t it a fact of life that the world will end for us all, sometime, just as Sir Patrick’s world did on the 9th December—though Sir Patrick claimed his world ended twice before, when he lost his fiancé and when his mother passed away. Apparently he never married because in his words “My girl, Lorna, was killed,” She was a nurse and she was in the wrong place when a German bomb fell. I still think about her all the time. There was no one else for me…second best is no good for me…”  Ahhh…who would have thought Sir Patrick was not only a scientist, a great astronomer, a good xylophone player, and a cat lover but a die-hard romantic!

I have to admit I hardly understood a word that came out of his mouth—he talked so fast—and I found some of his opinions a tad trenchant but aside from that and his obvious achievements I loved his attitude to life and his insistence on wearing the trademark monocle that kept falling out. After smoking was banned from public places I remember reading that when he was asked if he was smoking, he said no, stuffed his beloved pipe in his pocket and promptly set fire to his suit! In recent years he has been quoted as saying “I get up, drink my usual four coffees, have a look at the obituaries in The Times, and if I’m not in them, I’ll get on with the day’s work.” Neither was he scared of dying. “I’m not scared of dying. I believe in some form of afterlife. I just hope my uncle George isn’t there — silly, baldheaded old coot.”

It is commonly regarded that Sir Patrick had Aspergers Syndrome which may have contributed in part to his eccentricity, his whacky dress sense, his absolute opinions and his obsessive passion with the stars and planets but it was a passion that he shared with young aspiring astronomers. In his private life Sir Patrick was astoundingly giving. Right up until his death he replied to every letter, responded to questions, and helped students with gifts of equipment, finance. Above all he gave away his most precious gift of all—his time.

We can all learn from his dedication and passion and I reckon if the earth is going to crash tomorrow I think he would have been the man that would have told us.  Tomorrow will just be another day, marking the end of the 5,125-year “Long Count” Mayan calendar and the beginning of the winter solstice this year so heat up a bowl of soup, put another log on the fire and get ready to unwrap your brand new calendar! You’re going to be needing it. I hope you all have a brilliant Christmas, sharing laughter, cheer and fun times. Happy Christmas everyone!

© Aileen McGee

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