A Walk to the Planetarium

I’m in London on Half Term Duty.  Zoë’s at Nursery, but William’s four, and at school these days, where an early encounter with the planets quickly turned into an all-consuming passion.

So I thought I should take him to the Planetarium in nearby Greenwich.  There’s not much he doesn’t know about the solar system (Makemake anyone?),so ‘Moons beyond counting‘ seemed a likely hit.  Twelve thirty, I said, that’s when we’ve got to be there.

At 8.30, William was all present and correct, dressed; rucksack packed with essentials such as a pencil case and an I-spy book of birds; shoes on; coat organised, demanding to leave.  I fobbed him off for a while, but by just after 9.30, we were on the top of a double-decker bus bound for Blackheath and Greenwich.

Not the normal view of Blackheath: a bit of a fairground and a rubbish lorry doing its work.

Greenwich has one of London’s lovieliest parks.  There are wide avenues, trees, green space – hills even – and if you walk to the far end, a wonderful playground.  William was persuaded that this was a good place to spend the two and a half hours before the show.  We trotted down avenues and gravelly paths.  We chatted to dog walkers – William, having given his full address to one, informed him that I was a visitor who didn’t normally live here.

We examined tree bark.

And we reached the playground, where William climbed, chased, crawled, bounced, made new friends and finally announced, round about 11.30, that he was hungry.

We climbed one hill and then another, looking across at the views of Greenwich below, and the City of London, just across the Thames.

And we picnicked pretty much on the Greenwich Meridian line.

Visitors to the Observatory and the Meridian Line enjoy the view.

Finally, it was time for the show.  We sat next to a boy called Jack who turned out to be just as much of a planet geek as William.  The performance over (it was very good thanks, and back home, William gave a far better account of it than I did), Jack and William hurled obscure facts and quiz questions at one another, and were half pleased and astonished, half vexed that each knew as much as the other.

We decided enough was enough, and took a different route back through the park to the bus stop and home.  Where we spent the rest of the day doing – what else?  – a jigsaw of the solar system.

The moon, seen not at Greenwich, but on the Rotterdam to Hull ferry, June 2019.

A walk for Jo’s Monday Walk.

43 thoughts on “A Walk to the Planetarium”

  1. You and William had a wonderful time. I used to be very interested in facts about the planets at his age, or just a little older – you’ve made me wonder how many of those ‘facts’ are still the same as the ones he’s learning now.

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    1. Well, some of the things he tells me definitely weren’t known about way back when we were at school. I was interested too, but not geekily so (historic army uniforms in my case. Where did that come from, other than loving the Changing of the Guard at Horseguards?). By the way, I accidentally trashed your comment from Edinburgh before replying to it. I’m so sorry. Trash SAID I’d retrieved it, but I can’t find it. I’ll look again.

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  2. Nothing I like more than spending time with little people (well, apart from cake, and naughty people 🙂 ). Another of my ‘home’ patches, from a life long ago. Thank you so much for your company, Margaret!

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    1. And thank you for yours! I hope you’ll do your walks at least from time to time. And I forgot to mention – William and I did cake too – lemon drizzle if you’re asking.

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  3. I’m impressed you had the energy to keep up with William, that’s a full on day. Young ones are so entertaining and full of curiosity, unlike the teenagers who grunt and eye-roll you all the time. You had a lovely day in Greenwich.

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  4. Special, memorable days that’s what grannies are for and you magicked up a fine winter’s day after the storms too. I admire your smart tactic to play and run off any hint of over-excitement before the show.

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  5. What a lovely (even if strenuous day) and how great to be a planet geek at age 4! I love your description of the two boys’ responses to each other after the show.
    (In the olden days when I was in the kindergarten glass, one morning the teacher dramatically closed the curtains and switched off the lights, and with amazing dexterity demonstrated the earth moving round the sun, while the moon moved around the earth, using a torch, tennis ball and a small lemon! We were all enthralled and for some reason it stands out in my memory to this day. How times have changed. Why do I have the feeling I have told you this story before? Perhaps I did!)

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    1. I don’t think you have. I’d definitely have remembered. What a great way to learn. My mentor is teaching me more about the Kuiper Belt et al than I’ve ever known. By the way, I have just discovered that some of your comments have been going to my spam box, together with others. I’ll put it right
      .

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      1. I have just had to look up the Kuiper Belt, so in a way I am benefiting from your charming mentor too 🙂
        Some comments being sent to spam and not others can seem totally capricious and random. It can be really annoying and sometimes disconcerting too. I hope it is easy enough to get sorted without too much trouble.

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