Friday 14 March 1986

…Got my 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m badges today in Assembly.
The football team and netball team went on tournaments today.
Netball team came third. Football team came second.
The Spacecraft Giotto passed through Halley’s Comet early this morning and survived…

Halley’s Comet was a really big deal in 1986.

This most well-known and solely-visible-to-the-naked-eye of all intergalactic lumps of ice and dust was making another of its 75-yearly appearances, and as such was turning up with near 75-second regularity on the likes of Newsround, The Sky at Night and Tomorrow’s World. The titular astronomer had even been reborn in the unlikely and frankly discomfiting guise of Tim Brooke-Taylor.

The European Space Agency had launched Giotto in 1985, with the intention of getting the craft in position ready to analyse and photograph Halley’s Comet on its much-vaunted pop-in 12 months later. Which it seemed to do with some degree of success.

Here’s what Giotto photographed 25 years ago today:

Paging Heather Couper...

Impressive stuff (it says here).

Yet despite this I relegated Giotto and Halley to third place behind me getting four swimming badges, and news of some mediocre performances by the school football and netball team.

My feet were firmly on the (play)ground, even if my head was in the stars.

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