Saturday, 17 February 2018

Hogwarts to Hit the Banquet

Regardless of your age, from nursery to pensioner and everything in between, why not let the Harry Potter theme on Friday night bring out your inner child at next year's Banquet in Peterborough. I for one will be donning a school uniform and flexing my wand. Thus I was doubly delighted at just how much yummy Harry Potter merchandise there is to choose from. From Primark to Asda, eBay to Amazon, there are cauldrons to take your fancy, and none of it should break the bank. It all makes for lots of easy costumes to suit every taste and budget.
My all time favourite find came this weekend when an outing into town found me in my local branch of Primark looking for a grey school jumper. No joy on that score, but I made this fantastic discovery instead. Available in black or brown, this Hogwarts satchel is perfect and a mere £12. Be warned, though, there are a lot of people selling them for a lot more on eBay and suchlike, so don't be fooled.

Returning to school uniform—the robe in particular, there is a large selection to choose from. Asda have a number of offerings for adults and children alike (below), all for under £20. Many are internet order only but with their refund policy, that shouldn't present a problem.

To add extra dressing to your costume, there are scarves, wands and ties. Interestingly, there are two versions of the school tie for Hogwarts dependant upon which film you watch, so don't be put out if your tie is a bit different from your friends'. The easiest option is the original gold/maroon stripe which can be obtained from most school stores. I picked one up for £3.99 on eBay, delivered free of charge to my door.

Wands are also widely available. I had one in with the cape I bought from Asda, but it was a pretty tacky, plastic affair (more reminiscent of something from Ann Summers than Ollivander's Wand Shop). Once again, though, eBay came to the rescue. I settled on a wonderful one for just £6.99.

So, with all that so easily to hand, how can you resist having a bit of Hogwarts fund?

Saturday, 10 February 2018

The Joys and Woes of an Arboretum

CAPT Anni Potts

When I first took command of Space Station Centaur, I was quite overwhelmed by the size of the arboretum. With a diameter of over 800m, it's a beautiful space filled with flora and fauna of all kind, and at the centre lies the beautiful, if not ambitiously named, Centaur Village, or the top of it anyway.
Centaur village is more of a glorified shopping mall filled with shops, restaurants and other eateries filling a total of six floors. The top floor opens out onto the arboretum and houses a small selection of shops: coffee bar, gift shop, quaint little wine bar, that sort of thing, creating an air more akin to a little country town square. It all sounds quite idyllic but it's not without its own problems. Take this morning.
As the station turned and the morning rays from the nearby sun cast its beams through my window, I mused at how, with the twittering of birdsong, it was just like at home.
"Oh, crap!" I shouted, realising that this was a space station. "We've got an escapee."
Fumbling on my uniform, I alerted the bridge and within half an hour a small team of us were wandering the corridors, nets in hand, stalking our little feathered friend. Once more I cursed the fact that sensors and transporters were down and made a mental note to chase up engineering regarding progress.
Holly led the way, being an expert on wildlife, and three hours later, we had a beautiful, pink breasted chaffinch in custody. Seriously, it would have been easier to catch a Ferengi with his hand in the till.
Especially pleasant, though, was the release. We all popped up to the arboretum, like a bunch of school kids on an outing, and released Mr Biggs (named after Ronnie Biggs, a train-robber who eluded capture for many years apparently) back into the wild. We all cheered ... until the little sod flew straight back down the stairwell and back into the depths of the village. We all stood around, looking somewhat crestfallen, our gazes focused on the stairs.
"Okay, guys," I said. "Round two ..."
Trying to organise ourselves more proficiently, we contacted Engineering who were able to erect a species sensitive force field. Apparently, it also emits an ultra-sonic signal that will deter birds approaching (I wonder how the Ferengi will fare with that one.) and just ninety minutes later, Mr Biggs was in custody again.
So, while the arboretum is a wonderful space, it brings with it a completely new set of challenges for us to tackle. It's not just birds either. We have a huge selection of plants, and plants require pollination, and that means bees. We also have a selection of carnivorous plants. Don't worry, no triffids but we do have specimens like the Venus Flytrap and various Pitcher plants. These all require insects to feed upon as well—and insects are even more adept at escape than the humble chaffinch.
To conclude this report, Security is very busy establishing new methods and protocols to ensure we have no more problems with rogue birds, animals and insects from the arboretum. I don't think they're very happy about it. Bless, they were trained to deal with smugglers and thieves rather than zoo keeping. I almost feel like hiring a couple of bandits to give them a project more suited to their skill set!

Saturday, 3 February 2018


For our little bit of fun today, how do you fancy navigating your way through this ...

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Personal Log

Cadet Sandy Joe Reid

I love living in the new space station and I like living near to Kevin and Ian. Kevin lets me help look after the dinosaurs and Ian is my fighting training partner and we spar every day and night.
My sister Rosie wants to come and visit and maybe I can show her round.
I have been training a lot for my security role, but I need someone to show me what to press on the phasers to put it on stun so I don't hurt anyone properly.
Grandma said I can take some exams too when I'm a bit older and she said we will be getting a patch and I can't wait to stick it on my new uniform.

Here’s a fabulous depiction of our new Space Station Centaur by our very own Cadet Sandy Joe Reid (aged nearly 5)

Saturday, 20 January 2018

I am Chief of Medical

CDR Erika Stroem

I am Chief of Medical
On board a Starfleet ship.
Come and see my sick bay,
It will be worth the trip.

My doctors and my nurses
Will care for all your pain.
They will not leave your side
Until you’re right again.

But I’m not like any old doctor
As I am based in space,
so it’s not just humans I see to,
I deal with any race.

I come across weird diseases
That can really drive me insane,
And I need to find an antidote
To make the crew better again.

Captain's ill? But Captain's stubborn.
“Don’t worry, I’m on my way,”
“So go to bed and do as you’re told
'Cause I outrank you today.”

In simple, I deal with all sorts—
Healing, surgery, concoctor
Or should I make it easier?
Damn it … I’m a Doctor!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Conventions: A Message for First-Timers

CDR Erika Stroem

I don't know how many of you know my background but I was a hermit for eighteen years, scared to go anywhere in case I bumped into anyone who was part of why I was like it in the first place. There then began a time when I realised how much of my life I was wasting and had to try to figure how I could get myself out and about again.

My first thought was, what do I love? Easy—the answer was sci-fi and science fact, so the next stage was wondering where I could go for this.
I tried to go to the space centre in Leicester several times and failed terribly because it was Leicester where all the bad things that had happened to me in the past, had taken place there. So silly to try really!
Going to a convention had always been on my bucket list and I discussed this with my family. The following year they put me right in at the deep end and bought me a ticket for my birthday to a fantastic convention. Where? Only flipping Germany! What the hell were they thinking? How the hell was I going to get there? But they had also arranged for my sister to go with me.
I won't go into all the details of the journey as it would take too long, but believe me, it was epic and cost me twenty-three of my supply of diazepam (and that was just to get there), but I did it and I loved it!
It gave me the want and need to go to more conventions. I found a convention the following year in the UK—not too big and it concentrated on sci-fi rather than the Comic-Cons which deal in everything. It was First Contact Day by FCD Events. Big problem, though. It was in Leicester. Could I do it?
Yes, I did! And it was the best thing I ever did! I made loads of fantastic new friends with the same interest as I have, but the best thing was, so many had similar problems or other problems which gave them empathy to mine. And even though I was in Leicester, I felt safe and among people who understood.
I know I am not alone in having problems going places and that others suffer the same for probably different reasons. They also finish up not going mainly because of the unknown, but I would assure everyone who has problems with stress/anxiety/panic attacks etc or, in fact, any disability you have, these people do not judge. These people understand. These people care.
I cannot say enough good about them—it would take me too long, but if I had not gone to this event, I would not have had a go at their raffle and then I would not have won a prize of a year's subscriptions to Starfleet. I would not have been the Counsellor of this station telling you all about my story. So if you too have any similar reasons that prevent you from going to conventions or any other event, come and talk to me.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

My Holiday

by CDT3 Sandy Reid, Aged 5

I am spending my holiday with Mummy, Daddy and Rosie and we went to Scotland to stay with my Daddy’s Uncle.
They have lots of snow here and we were able to make the biggest snowball ever and we went sledging in a wash basket down a mountain and it was such fun.
I am missing everyone on the Centaur and on one of the nights I wished that some of you was here.
It was when the big snowball started rolling around all by itself and it was making some funny noises. I saw it do all this when I looked out my bedroom window to say goodnight to you all in the sky.
I woke Rosie up for her to have a look at the snowball and she was scared. So I said I was going to have a closer look and she cried cause she did not want me to be got by it. I told her not to worry cause I do this all the time on the Centaur. I took some guns with me. I had a fire torch gun and an orange squash gun.
When I went outside, the snowball started attacking me, so I had to blast it with my fire torch gun and it started melting and screaming, so I squirted it with my orange squash gun to cool it down and shut it up and it rolled away, so I went to bed.
In the morning we went to play in the snow again and we see all the other children round a big orange thing, taking it in turns to have a lick.
They had found the giant snowball!
Grandma always says not to eat yellow snow, but that one was okay, cause it was orange.

I miss you all and Happy New Year
Love Sandy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx