We all dream, I guess, but some of us make them come true. Have we all seen the summit picture of our forever-esteemed Ndaba editor nonchalantly posing atop Uhuru Peak, Mt Kilimanjaro? Well done, Ed! You stood above all of Africa, and your regal expression says it all. Gosh, I understand you were higher even than Bob Mugabe, and that’s saying something. We are in awe.

The symposium has come and gone, and I want to reiterate the sentiment expressed at our August meeting: Heartfelt thanks go to those ASSA members who did all the work. It was a great success, and you really did us proud. I applaud too your courage in inviting a paper from me, though in the end it was thankfully received without violence or bloodshed.

In my own life, things proceed apace. On Friday the 8th I did a slide show at the Botanical Gardens (great thanks due to Martin Clement for that wonderful event), the following Thursday a similar presentation at the Augusta Country Club in Hillcrest (arranged by the Kloof Conservancy). On both occasions the halls were packed to overflowing, which is an indicator of surprising enthusiasm amongst the general public for things astronomical. I hope we get a surge in membership as a result. On Monday 18th, I stood with terminal toothache on the howling brink of Kloof Gorge to say my piece for the upcoming SABC hour-long documentary South Africans in Space (Say whaaat? Did they mix me up with Mark Shuttleworth?). I must say, despite the raging mouth and arctic wind, it was great to work with a producer who had done his research and asked questions with relevance. And before you ask, broadcast hasn’t been scheduled yet. I will let you know, trust me! On Saturday 23rd I’ve been booked to address the “genius society” Mensa’s AGM, and the following Thursday, a breakfast club gathering with the directors and guests of a large Durban-based international company. This is all about astronomy, friends, so it would seem there is growing appreciation for our art.

One of the many invitations I have received recently was from the US publication 21st Century Science and Technology. They sent me a copy of the about-to-be-published book The Black Hole War – My Battle with Stephen Hawking to make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics by Leonard Susskind. Although somewhat taken aback that they should ask a Black Hole infidel like Skywalker Ratcliffe to review a book on the dark side of science, the title was intriguing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Click here to read my review.

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