Category Archives: Beary Celebrations

Elevenses With Paddington Bear

Another day, another movie…

Today little bears are watching Paddington while enjoying marmalade and cherry jam elevenses.

Paddington is famously known for his taste for marmalade. We’ll have to introduce him to cherry delights 🙂

And for liking elevenses, Paddington joins little bears and Winnie-the-Pooh as one of the leading advocates of elevenses. A favourite scene from this delightful film is the visit to an antique shop for elevenses. Tea is served from a little spout in a steam train, and sugar served from one of the open carriages.

Little bears like having elevenses in delightful antique shops. Even better, antique shops called Paddington 🙂

Paddington Antique Centre, Brisbane
Paddington Antique Centre, Brisbane
Exploring Paddington Antique Centre

What do we know about Paddington Bear?

Michael Bond, who at the time was a BBC TV cameraman for a popular children’s show called Blue Peter, was inspired to create Paddington after buying a small neglected toy bear 😦 on Christmas Eve in 1956.

Michael Bond decided to name the iconic British bear after London Paddington Station because he and his wife were living near it at the time. The film crew had to get special permission to film on the concourse of the station.

Sally Hawkins as Mrs Mary Brown and Paddington at Paddington Station

In 2000, a life-sized bronze statue of Paddington was installed at his namesake Paddington station in London.

Paddington Bear Statue at Paddington Station

Google honored Paddington’s 50th birthday on October 13, 2008 with a Google Doodle.

More than 50 individually designed Paddington Bear statues were scattered across London to celebrate the city’s art and culture from November to December 2014.

Ben Whishaw, also known as Q in the James Bond franchise, is the voice of the iconic bear in its eponymous film Paddington.

The adventures of the little bear from “darkest Peru” have been delighting generations of children since 1958 when the first Paddington book appeared, A Bear Called Paddington written by Michael Bond and illustrated by Peggy Fortnum.

More than 35 million books have sold worldwide and there have been several TV adaptations, but this is the first big screen appearance for the marmalade-loving bear, who appears alongside a starry cast including Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Bonneville and Julie Walters.

Hugh Bonneville, Nicole Kidman, Samuel Joslin, Madeleine Harris, Paul King and Jim Broadbent attend the Paddington World Premiere in London Leicester Square on Sunday Nov. 23rd, 2014.
(Picture by Jon Furniss)

With its colourful shots of double-decker buses, red telephone boxes and black taxis, and cameo roles from some of London’s most famous landmarks, the film must feel like a gift to the city’s tourist board. Publicity shots show Paddington standing in front of Buckingham Palace, and the film’s climax takes place in the Natural History Museum, where the evil taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman) wants to add Paddington to her collection of endangered animals!

Buckingham Palace
National History Museum

Paddington 2 is scheduled for release at the end of the year.

Puffles and Honey met Paddington at Hamley’s 🙂

At Hamleys with Paddington Bear

They have a lot in common, as little bears with a taste for adventures and for elevenses 🙂 but not for the mishaps!

Paddington sent little Puffles a birthday present, a blue coat thoughtfully embroidered with his initials, Puffles Bear 🙂 He’ll have to grow into it!

The Big One

It’s here, it’s here!

My very own Saturn V rocket 🙂

We saw a Saturn V rocket model at the National Air & Space Museum

1:48 Scale Model of Saturn V Launch Vehicle, National Air & Space Museum

And then we saw the big rocket at the Kennedy Space Centre!

(Part of) Saturn V, Kennedy Space Centre
Saturn V on display in the Apollo / Saturn V Centre, Kennedy Space Centre
Apollo/Saturn V Centre, Kennedy Space Centre

The Saturn V rocket model has been released as part of the LEGO Ideas line of fan-designed kits. It is made of 1,969 bricks, a nod to the year in which humans first set down and walked on the lunar surface. Another group of Lego fans took their rocket to Space Centre Houston to meet its much bigger sibling 🙂

The Saturn V expendable rocket was a three-stage liquid-fuelled super heavy-lift launch vehicle developed to support the Apollo program for human exploration of the Moon. The Saturn V was launched 13 times from the Kennedy Space Centre with no loss of crew or payload. As of 2017, the Saturn V remains the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful (highest total impulse) rocket ever brought to operational status, and holds records for the heaviest payload launched and largest payload capacity to low Earth orbit of 140,000 kg, which included the third stage and unburned propellant needed to send the Apollo Command/Service Module and Lunar Module to the Moon.

We saw the Command Module that was the living quarters for Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins during their 8-day journey to the moon in July 1969!

Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, National Air & Space Museum

And we walked the very same launch pad gantry used by the astronauts of Apollo 11!

Walking in the footsteps of Apollo 11 astronauts, Kennedy Space Centre

Cool, more toys!

And a moon landing birthday cake for me!

Happy Birthday Puffles!

Mmmm, we got the chocolate side of the moon! 🙂

Time for cake…

And a favourite movie…

Hidden Figures

With a maths professor on set, the calculations that appear on screen in Hidden Figures really do add up – and that adherence to real-life accuracy permeates the entire film.

Hidden Figures

Rudy Horne, associate professor at Morehouse College, Georgia, helped the film-makers avoid mathematics mistakes by coaching the actors, as well as providing many of the equations seen in the film on blackboards or in workbooks. “I admit I was surprised that the folks for Hidden Figures had done their homework as far as getting a sense of what type of mathematics was being used at NASA during the time of John Glenn’s orbit,” he says. “I got this sense from my very first meeting with the production people.”

This attention to accuracy was also extended to the portrayal of the mathematicians themselves. Instead of perpetuating the usual movie stereotype of maths as an esoteric pursuit for troubled geniuses – think of Matt Damon’s Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting or Russell Crowe’s John Nash in A Beautiful MindHidden Figures portrays the subject as a part of normal life. Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan did their work and also had real lives, dealing with real problems.

Of all the contributions Rudy Horne made to Hidden Figures, the one that makes him particularly proud is introducing writer-director Theodore Melfi to Euler’s method, an 18th century procedure for solving differential equations. In the scene in question, Katherine Johnson hits on Euler’s method as a means of solving a problem that’s been perplexing all of NASA’s great minds. “That’s ancient!” says someone else in the room. “Yes,” replies Johnson, “but it works. It works numerically.”

It’s likely that only a tiny fraction of the audience for Hidden Figures will have heard of either Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler or his method, but the scene keeps its power regardless. And seeing inspiration strike a brilliant mind like Katherine Johnson’s, especially after she has been doubted for so long, is a pure cinematic thrill.

Out of This World Party

We can go anywhere we like! NASA gave us a passport to explore space!

This cocktail is out of this world! It’s a Samarian Sunset!

The best time to visit Mercury is in March. In March 1975, NASA’s Mariner 10 made its third and final flyby of Mercury. Then in March 2011, NASA’s Messenger became the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. Next up is ESA’s BepiColombo, undergoing testing now, set to launch for Mercury in 2018.

Mars just isn’t the quiet neighbourhood it used to be. There are currently six orbiters (NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, MAVEN, ESA’s Mars Express and ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, and India’s Mars Orbiter Mission) and two rovers (NASA’s Curiosity and Opportunity) exploring Mars. It is second only to Earth in the number of robotic spacecraft studying its secrets.

Galileo Galilei and Simon Marius apparently discovered Jupiter’s four largest moons, or satellites, around the same time in 1610. Galileo initially named his discovery the Cosmica Sidera (Cosimo’s stars), but the names that eventually prevailed were chosen by Simon Marius (suggested to him by Johannes Kepler) — Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. These are the names we use today.

Saturn was the most distant of the five planets known to the ancients. In 1610, Galileo Galilei was the first to gaze at Saturn through a telescope. He thought there were other objects attached to the planet. It was Christiaan Huygens in 1659, using a more powerful telescope than Galileo’s, who proposed that Saturn was surrounded by a thin, flat ring. In 1675, Jean-Dominique Cassini discovered a “division” between what are now called the A and B rings. We now know that the gravitational influence of Saturn’s moon Mimas is responsible for the Cassini Division, which is 4,800 kilometres wide.

Uranus was discovered on March 13, 1781 by William Herschel. The English astronomer wanted to name his discovery — the first planet discovered in recorded history — Georgium Sidus after England’s King George III. But he was overruled, and astronomers stuck with traditional mythological names — creating an opportunity for 236 years of student jokes at the expense of the ice giant planet’s name. Hee, hee!