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Shirley you can't be serious

13 December 2010

“Surely you can’t be serious,” I said to my wife when she decided that it would be a good idea to spend four weeks in Australia.

“I am,” she said, “and stop calling me Shirley.”

While we have been in Australia we saw the passing of Leslie Nielsen, an actor who has played a leading role in some of my favourite funny films – the Naked Gun trilogy and Airplane. The original of that dialogue came from Airplane, and, sad people that we are, our family frequently quotes from those films.

One of my wife’s favourite films is The Dish, the hero of which is a huge radio telescope which sits in the middle of a sheep field at Parkes in New South Wales and which played a key part in maintaining communication links between the earth and the various moon missions in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Fruity matters

Parkes now has a visitor centre but it has a quaint informality as shown by the sign for The Dish...

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