An exhausting, productive day

TV Interviews outside Gran Telescopio Canarias, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma
Interviewing visitors outside Gran Telescopio Canarias

Yesterday I left home at 8 am for the observatory. The first group was routine, including overrunning by 10 minutes so I only just had time to eat a banana before the next group. I’d just started the second group when a car pulled up and the driver said, “We’re the crew from Canary TV that the island council organised.”

Excuse me, WHAT?

One frantic phone call later, I did the second group with a large camera pointing at me and a microphone under my nose. It wasn’t relaxing. I was also horribly aware that I hadn’t had time for make up and the wind was scrambling my hair.

That finished at 1 pm. Then wanted to interview first some of the visitors, and then me. Okaaaaaaaaaaay. I grabbed my chance to tidy up first. They wanted to do the interview inside the telescope with one of the nice photos in the background, so we went back inside and I asked permission. The boss sent us to the control room and the TV guys loved it! I did manage to fit in a plug for the observatory guide book and the novel (I MUST decide on a title and the Spanish title!) I hope that goes out in the final program.

Then they interviewed the head of operations. I couldn’t abandon them, because I brought them in, they’re my responsibility and they might just, say, wander into the clean room and track dirt in with them. I took the chance to have a lovely geek out with the team commissioning a new instrument for the telescope. (Commissioning is when you fix all the little problems that arise when you put something new on the telescope. For something as complicated as this instrument, it’s a week’s work for 5 people.) Bonus: I think I got enough information for a paragraph or so in the 3rd edition of the observatory guide book.

Then I was called over to translate from geeky-Spanish to normal-people-Spanish, which turned into a love-in about astronomy. We finished at 3:30 pm!

I had a very fast lunch in the residencia, and drove down the mountain. I didn’t have time to go home, so I went straight to the second day of the course for creative thinking for entrepreneurs (free, thanks to the island council). That was 5pm.

I left it early at 7 pm and went to German class because the certification exams start on May 9th. German finished at 9 pm, but I left late because I had to ask the teacher something.

Meanwhile my husband was stuck at work, so on the way home I grabbed at takeaway. It was almost 10 pm when I got home.

It’s a heck of a long time since I’ve slept 9.5 hours straight.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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