What do you wear when visiting an Astronomer Royal? Star socks of course. Lovely friends Bridget Marzo and Kit Prendergast invited me to join them on Christmas Eve for a festive treat – to attend a Kings Chapel Carol service then to a small party held by the Astronomer Royal and his wife. A professor of anthropology wearing a tweaked felt cap introduced herself and studied me briefly. ‘You’re not one of us, are you?’ Bother, I’d been spotted as an outsider in the rarified atmosphere of Cambridge academia. The blue streak in my hair was a giveaway apparently. Or the socks.
One of the many children’s books I’ve illustrated in the past is The Comic Strip History of Space which I rather shamelessly brought with me to give to the AS, although suggesting it might be a little on the young side for him, as it’s aimed at readers of six upwards. He has since told me he’s lent the book to a young space rocket designer (aged ten). The AS was a delight to talk to. We chatted briefly about the possibilities of future space exploration and its implications, and discovered a shared admiration for Frank Hampson’s 1950s comic space hero Dan Dare.