The Great Geordie Space Race : News

Last updated : 12-Apr-24

12-Apr-24 : GGSR Next episode

The next episode of The Great Geordie Space Race will be slightly delayed - I'm still trying to get over a pesky little head cold that's been hovering in the wings for the last month. It's one of the less pleasant consequences of having two small, mobile germ factories in my orbit. They seem unable to keep their rotten germs to themselves.

Anyway, I'll get the next issue recorded and put to bed over the weekend with a bit of luck.

26-Mar-24 : Crook History Society

Last night's visit to Crook History Society marked the final event in our Winter 2023/2024 lecture programme, which began last October. Six months have just flown by. They really have.

Alas, now feels like a good time to put our principle subjects, Thomas Wright and Jeremiah Dixon, back in their respective boxes, at least for a couple of years, and move on to pastures new. I think those two gentlemen deserve to rest in peace after all their hard work.

I already have a few new talks in preparation and a few more candidates waiting in the wings. We'll see.

I'd like to thank all of those wonderful societies who have hosted us over the last few years and we look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

Best wishes,

David & Julie

24-Mar-24 : Astronomy Night (Review)

An excellent review of the Astronomy Night we put together for The Freemen of Newcastle appeared in the latest edition of the Freemen's Magazine.

Here's the full text:

On a freezing cold evening in late November saw us host out last Freemen Family Engagement event of the year.

The astronomy evening facilitated by Coopers Company Senior Steward, David Hughes who delivered an exceptional presentation/lecture on astronomy, the solar system and all using telescopes.

David's session was relevant to all age groups that attended the evening event and on this occasion the weather was kind to us. To rephrase that... the weather was good for looking at the night sky but not kind on the hands and toes as it was probably the coldest evening of the year so far!

However, we managed to keep spirits high with hot drinks and lashings of cakes and other goodies and the evening was well received by all that attended.

A huge thanks to David Hughes for his passion and support towards this event. We are proud to be supporting the wider Freemen community and future Freemen who are keen to learn new skills, understand our local area, how we support biodiversity and of course...have some good fun along the way! Looking forward to seeing many of you in 2024 as we plan further events.

Really chuffed with this even though I look like I have Frankie Howerd eyebrows.

11-Mar-24 : Programme #6 airs

Episode #6 of the Great Geordie Space Race will air this week on Radio Northumberland. Check the programme page here for full details.

29-Feb-24 : New web site. New domain.

So, here we are. Welcome to

If you were looking for our old site,, then don't worry - it's still alive and kicking although its days are numbered. I'll keep it going until the domain expires and then it will be deleted.

Hopefully, the new domain, the Great-Geordie-Space-Race will be easier to remember and more readily associated with the radio show and the book. Similarly, the re-designed web site won't take a life-time to load and it should also display properly on mobile devices. The gallery has been updated properly, too.

Oh, and the blog is back. Check the sidebar for a link. I'd forgotten how much I missed filling this thing in... :)

One more thing : I've restored the programme archive so you can listen to past shows. Use the Hamburger side panel navigation and look up Radio Show. From Radio Show click on the link marked Programme Archive or just follow this link here.

News : Astronomy Night for the Freemen of Newcastle

28th November 2023

Saturday night's talk for the Freemen of Newcastle was a success. The weather was kind to us and those attending were treated to views of The Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and The Space Station.

At the conclusion, the feedback was superb and, from the overall response, I think it likely that another talk will go ahead sometime in the near future.

Looking back, I'm genuinely surprised by the turnout given that it was so incredibly cold, and especially so given that Newcastle had just beaten Chelsea 4-1. :)

Edit : A lot of excellent photos have appeared following Saturday's astronomy night. I'll add a few to the gallery over the next few days though the bulk are on the Freemen of Newcastle's Facebook profile.

Other news... Episode 4 of The Great Geordie Space Race is presently airing on Radio Northumberland. We've changed the format a little and rather than concentrate on just one topic, we now feature pieces on Jupiter and her Moons, The Aurora and the launch of Starship 2.

Check it out on Radio Northumberland or ask Alexa to find it for you.

News : Lecturing News

21st November 2023

This has not been an easy month. The Great Geordie Space Race is still on hold whilst we sort out our production schedules. My talk for Cosmology Night has been postponed until next year and... well... this.

"To err is human, to forgive divine" is a quote from Alexander Pope's poem, An Essay on Criticism. I didn’t know that. I honestly thought it was one of Shakespeare’s. I looked it up just to be sure because I didn’t want to give a false attribution. I didn’t want to make a mistake.

I make mistakes all the time. I honestly thought that building a Log Cabin in the back garden would take no more than a long weekend, maybe a couple of additional days to fit the thing out properly and give it a lick of paint. Three months on and... The roof is watertight but I’m nowhere near finishing the shingles. The floor? Don’t ask me about the floor. Yuk. So, yeah. We all make mistakes.

I’ve found that the best way to deal with a mistake is to take responsibility for whatever you did that was wrong, and try to correct that error. In other words, own it. I also firmly believe that you should be wholly honest and own up to your mistake. And if your mistake has hurt someone or caused offence then you must absolutely try to make amends. That’s just me though. Call me old school if you want.

What’s the point of this missive? I was booked to deliver a talk on Jeremiah Dixon at a local history society on Tuesday 14th November 2023. I had the invitation in black and white. From their Secretary. The date was in the Subject Line of the e-mail. Simple.

Then a new Secretary took over. I should have spotted the signs earlier, really. The Red Warning Light was already flashing when they declined to pay my full fee. They could only afford £40, which meant that once I’ve deducted the cost of petrol (£10) and using the Tyne Tunnel (£4) then I would earn just £26 for three hours of work. That’s less than £9 an hour. Hence the Red Flag.

What went wrong? The date of the meeting was actually Monday 13th November. Their Secretary had made a mistake. Well, both secretaries actually since the second didn’t correct the first.

An e-mail from the society's Secretary arrived at roughly 9 pm on Monday night. Is everything okay? Well, yes. Everything was okay because I wasn’t supposed to be there until the following day. I found a copy of the original booking. Tuesday 14th November in plain, old black and white. I kept my response cool. I kept my response polite. I included the original e-mail confirmation and pressed Send.

No response. A day went by and... no response. I messaged their Chairman. Do you want to re-schedule? No response. A week has gone by. Still no response.

Well, I guess that’s the measure of their organisation. Careless. Rude. Unprofessional. Needless to say, we won’t reschedule the talk. We won’t have anything to do with them again. I’ve already circulated their details to my small circle of speaker friends on the grounds that it might save someone a bit of time and money.

In context, this is the first time in twenty years of Public engagement that something like this has happened.

What it means is that we’re going to double-up on making sure that bookings are arranged properly. A confirmation e-mail will become a binding contract. Tough but this mistake has cost me time and money, and I can’t afford to treat either of those assets so casually. Not these days, anyway.