A Long and Winding Road

Do you ever wake up in the morning and feel that you are standing at the start of a long and winding road? Because of what I am, I find it hard to reconcile why every day for me seems to much of a challenge. Analogies such as standing in the foothills of Mount Everest or the example that I give above, define how I feel about the start of my day.

Am I alone in thinking this way? I would love to be like those others who I share my life with, who seemingly seem to embrace each day with the sense of joy and relish any new challenges that it may present to them.

I so want to feel like that too. I will instinctively know that I am getting on top of my condition when one day, I wake up and feel that I want to seize the day and all it has to offer with both hands, and run with it like a rugby player or American footballer.

Alas, that is not where I am now. For me each day is something that I fear. The thought of having to interact with others – be they family, work colleagues or customers – fills me with dread and my instinct is not to stand and fight, but recourse to that other default position – flight. When the phone rings, I always think that the person calling has a problem and wishes it be mine, or the bearer of bad news. This is also how I view social interactions in general.

So now, that is why the image that I have chosen for this short post, seems to strike a chord within me. Each day I am having to walk this long road, or climb the mental Everest within me and having to figure out how to interact with people all around me. All the time I am seeking ways to cut those interactions short and looking for physical ways to extract myself from them and make my excuses and withdraw.

Before I even start these routine and everyday social activities, my anxiety levels are running high which ultimately leads to me feeling fatigued, confused and dull-witted.

I hope that one day I will be like all those others who view the start of a new day as something that is celebrated and as such, be embraced. I will know then that I am beginning to face down my demons and starting to walk along a new road, one that has lots of twists and turns and alternative routes that may offer delights and choices that I can only dream of.

. . . long time, no post . . .

It seems like a long time since I posted anything on my blog, for which to anyone out there who have followed what I have written in the past, I apologise profusely for what may seem a lack of commitment on my behalf. As I mentioned in my last post, it is my intention to alter tack completely about the subject-matter that I decide to write about. As much as I love all things related to human and robotic space exploration, I have come to realise that this is not the case for most of you out there. Continue reading . . . long time, no post . . .

. . . long time, no post . . .

It had to happen at some point and I hold my hands up to apologise for falling into that most obvious of traps – ‘Writers Block’ – followed by a period of total malaise and aversion to exercising my brain cells.

The catalyst for this was my spending 10 days in Majorca with my ever patient and supportive wife. The holiday was long overdue, especially for Nancy, for whom this break was needed and well deserved. Continue reading . . . long time, no post . . .

Too Upbeat For Cancer

My post this week is short and – believe it or not – has nothing to do with space, spaceflight or the Apollo Program. For those of you who have read my posts on a regular basis, know that those subjects are what interest me most and I hope if nothing else, I may have increased your knowledge or understanding of those heady days back at the dawn of the space age in the 50’s and 60’s

I am going on holiday to Majorca for 10 days from this Monday onwards and prior to my leaving, had fully intended to unearth another spaceflight related topic to share with you. However, that intent got swept by the wayside when I read a blog that a work colleague has created about his experiences fighting cancer.

My colleague’s name is Nicky Boardman and he is a senior manager at the Apple Retail store where I work at Bluewater here in the United Kingdom.

Nicky had a diagnosis of cancer last year and for the best part of it, has received treatment in the form of chemotherapy for an aggressive form of the disease that is now blighting his life.

Nicky is one of the most upbeat, kind and inspirational guys I have ever had the pleasure of working with. To be so universally loved and thought of in those terms, takes some doing in any walk of life. But considering the height at which Apple has set the bar when it comes to recruiting anyone to work for them, goes some way to explaining just how special a person Nicky is to all his work colleagues.

Having a diagnosis of cancer, is one of those life changing moments that nobody wants. There is no easy way to break that news to someone. The recipient has to figure out how to cope with and then learn to live with, this unwelcome ‘guest’ that has just decided to muscle into their lives.

Nicky – being Nicky – has decided to cope with this unwelcome intrusion in his own unique way by sharing his experiences with anyone who cares to read them, in the form of a blog. Which is why I am sharing this news with you all. It is brilliantly written and comes straight from his heart. It is both witty, eloquent and because Nicky is going through the treatment and writing about it as it happens, deeply personal. It will make you laugh at times and for those who may recently have had a diagnosis of cancer themselves, reading it, might just help tear down some of those inevitable fears of the unknown.

Nicky has called his blog Too Upbeat For Cancer and that title just about encapsulates the spirit of the man and how he is facing down this disease.

I urge everyone to take the time out and read of Nicky and his experiences. The more people who follow him by reading his blog, the more Nicky knows that he is not alone in his battle against it.

Click on this link here and read Nicky’s blog. You will not be disappointed.

Apostles of Apollo

The Apostles of Apollo
The Apostles of Apollo.

I am presently reading a very interesting book that I happened to come across whilst browsing through Amazon.co.uk a week or so back. It is a little known story but one that had to an air of secrecy about it, because of the sensitivity that revolved around the symbolism, politics and religious implications of those who would eventually takes those first steps upon The Moons surface. The title of the book is ‘The Apostles of Apollo’  Carol Mersch. Continue reading Apostles of Apollo

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – NASA is Go!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Thunderbirds are GO!! Along with millions of others – both adults and kids alike – I was expectantly ‘glued’ to the family television on a Thursday evening in September 1965, when the first ever episode of Thunderbirds was shown.

The creators of what was to become an iconic television series, were Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, who would later find more success with their ‘Supermarionation’ puppet format, with series such as ‘Captain Scarlet’, ‘Jo 90’ and a hybrid venture incorporating both real life actors and model machines – ‘UFO’, which I personally felt was a very underrated TV series. Continue reading 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – NASA is Go!


For those who have read my blogs in the past, will not be surprised to find out that I am a fully paid-up member of the ‘space cadets club’. Being a child of the 60’s and 70’s, my formative years were heavily influenced by the dawn of the Space Age and mankind’s first attempts to fly higher and faster and eventually break free of our Earth’s atmosphere and enter the realm of space itself. Continue reading “ABANDON IN PLACE”

‘Gravity’ – Art Imitating Fact

Art Imitating Reality

I had the pleasure of visiting the cinema recently and viewing the much lauded and Oscar winning film Gravity. This film has won numerous awards including the best director award at the recent Oscar’s ceremony, along with many more for the incredible special effects, which were devised by the UK based company Framestore.

Astronaut Ryan Stone working outside of the ISS.
Image taken from the film Gravity, shows Astronaut Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) working outside of the International Space Station. Image Courtesy of Warner Brothers.

The film is a visual tour-de-force in that the special effects are absolutely immersive, leaving you feeling that you are actually out there in Earth orbit with the two leading actors – Sandra Bullock playing the part of astronaut ‘Ryan Stone and George Clooney playing the part of veteran astronaut, Matt Kowalski for whom this will be his last space flight before retiring. Continue reading ‘Gravity’ – Art Imitating Fact

Remembering the Crew of Apollo 1

if we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us, it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.

—Astronaut Gus Grissom, 1965

Official NASA portrait of Virgil I. Grissom. Image Courtesy of NASA.
Official NASA portrait of Virgil I. Grissom. Image Courtesy of NASA.

I knew it must be serious . . . . . . I think I was down my grand-parents house and the old black and white television was on, sitting on its special table in the corner. We weren’t taking much notice of it, or at least I wasn’t. But then all the chattering stopped and I looked up from whatever it was that I was doing and noticed everyone was quiet and looking at the TV set.

On screen was one of the TV news presenters and under his image on the screen was the word ‘News Flash’ or something like that. The next thing that happened was that the TV was going ‘live’ to one of its reporters at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where reports were coming in indicating that a serious accident had occurred. Continue reading Remembering the Crew of Apollo 1

. . . . thoughts on manned exploration of space . . . .

‘if we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us, it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.’

— Astronaut Gus Grissom, 1965

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John MacDonald

Filmmaker | DoP | Photographer

Lofty Ambitions Blog

Space, Science, Aviation, and Writing as a Couple