ESA astronaut reveals his song choices too!
Ask an astronaut with Tim Peak for Living Paintings. This question is from Patricia in Suffolk. Uh, Patricia is a massive fan of yours, Tim and followed your time in space. What is the picture in your mind when traveling to and from the international space station and how would you describe it to someone who has never seen this process?
Well, the journey to the ISS is absolutely incredible, of course, for a rookie Astronaut myself, it's, it's our first view of planet earth. So when you look out of the Soyuz window and you see earth beneath you, it's absolutely mesmerizing. We actually got launched into the night part of the orbit. And so all I could see was the blackness below me and then brilliant twinkles of lights as the city started to come out. And then of course, as you're traveling towards the space station, the space station itself starts to come out of the gloom, this massive 400 ton, piece of hardware, but you also get this feeling inside the Soyuz that you are very vulnerable. I mean, it's a tiny, tiny spacecraft, and you're looking out the window at earth and at the sun and the stars, and you suddenly realized how tiny you are in this big black vastness of space. So it's quite comforting when you do finally see the space station and you get to actually see something that's bigger than you are.
A wonderful taster of an atmospheric dramatisation of King Alfred, full version in Kings and Queens
Greetings, child. Are you one of my subjects? You’re not sure? If you live anywhere in England, you must be. I’m sorry, did you say something. Who am I? Who am I? Do you mean you don’t recognise me? How wonderful! Everywhere I go, people kneel to me, and call me ‘the great’ – sometimes I would love to be able to go for a walk or a ride, and pretend that I am just another person, not who I really am – KING ALFRED – one of the very first kings of all England. Now have you heard of me?
Just have a look at my face and you will see what a determined character I am…
Run your fingers over the thermoform, and then find the top of the picture. There, in the centre, is my crown. In the middle of my golden crown sticking out at the top is a shape called a fleur de lis – a lily flower. It has a pointed petal in the middle and one that is bent over on each side. You can find the same shape on the top right and left of the crown too – but they feel different here, because you can only feel half of each one. Between each fleur de lis, there is another small shape, like a cloverleaf, with three round leaves joined together. Below these there are three jewels – you will need to use your fingernails to find them. If you feel very carefully, you will be able to tell that the middle one is a rectangle, while the others are circles.
Now feel my face, my long straight nose, my determined mouth just below a moustache, my eyes – I hope the artist has managed to show my real expression. I was trying hard not to smile and to look kingly. Now, trace your fingers down over my beard – can you feel how it divides in the middle? This is the latest fashion.
A short extract, available in full in our Anglo Saxons book
Beowulf’s eye, penetrating the gloom of the den, caught sight of an ancient sword once hefted by a giant. This massive blade matched Beowulf’s muscular sword arm and with both hands he held the hilt in an iron-hard grip. Drawing it back over his shoulder, the warrior swung the sword in a powerful, death-dealing stroke. This time the giant-forged edge did not slide harmlessly off but, singing its song of blood and death, sliced through the muscle and bone of the monster’s neck.
Beowulf, standing there with the demon’s blood dripping from his sword, had fulfilled his warrior’s oath. Looking around the gloomy lair with a heavy heart, Beowulf saw the slaughtered bodies of the warriors who had been dragged away by the monstrous fiend. Among the butchery Beowulf saw the crumbled, slain body of Grendel. Seizing the demon by his hair, Beowulf’s sword sang through the chill air one last time as he hacked off its hideous head.