29.07.2009 08:48 - Career
Major Tim is looking for a house in Cologne, says my ESA contact, who just met him at Harwell, as are all the new Astronauts.
This reminded me of my own futile attempts at searching for a career at school.
1982. I am scheduled for an interview with my school's career master. Now, they don't call it a career for nothing - in the sense of "an object moving at great speed, but with little or no control". The careers master has already complained to my parents that I have shown little interest in the section of the library filled with pamphlets on such interesting life-choices such as joining the Navy and seeing bugger-all of the world whilst cooped up in a submerged nuclear submarine for six months with nothing else to do but make macrame owls, joining the Army to get shot at in Ireland or the Falklands (with a possible option of Iraq or Iran, depending on American Diplomacy), or going down the pit. Whoopie.
No. I'm a little more ambitious than that, and the sort of career I want isn't in the pamphlets.
I look the careers master in the eye, and say "I want to be an astronaut".
He stares at me for a long time, then gives me an answer that, at the time, summed up the state of the Space Programme in America, the likelihood of there ever being a manned space programme in the UK, and the tremendous competition and obstacles I would have to overcome based on my background.
"Astronauts," he said, "don't come from Rugeley. How about a career in the Merchant Navy instead?"
Nine years later, Helen Sharman became the first British Astronaut. I bet she didn't get told to join the Merchant fucking Navy.