Another one of those “where were you when” days occurred forty years ago this week, and yes I can remember where I was. During the Apollo 11 mission my family and I were on holiday in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight , throughout the week my tiny transistor radio was never far from my side.
As a twelve year old schoolboy I was transfixed by the whole Apollo programme, I had the ‘Airfix’ models, the wall charts, the ‘Magpie book of space exploration’, the lot.
At that time I think I could recite all the Apollo astronauts as my schoolfriends could recite the members of various football teams.
Theres a great article about Apollo 11 here.
During that holiday I also bought my first Arthur C Clarke book, and devoured it on the long drive home. From that slim volume of short stories (which is still on my shelf somewhere) I became a lifelong fan of Clarke’s work, reading all his fiction and non-fiction, but drawing the line at the dubious Mysterious World junk he put his name to in the eighties.
Many years later, in 1999, on our first visit to Sri Lanka I happened to look in the local phone book, and saw that Arthur C Clarke’s number was listed, athough we were never close enough to Negombo to actually go and visit.
I confess didnt have the courage to phone my boyhood hero.
I bottled it, and to this day I regret that, but as the song would have it “regrets, I have a few, but then again, too few to mention” – that’s one of them.