Saturday, March 07, 2015

Lord Bonkers' Diary: Norman Scott and Rinka in space

On the radio this morning Danny Baker suggested that Rinka had been the first dog in space. Sadly, she was famous for quite another reason.

I was laughing about this with Lord Bonkers over tea in the Library, when he showed me what he had just written in his diary.


One of the disappointments of my long career in public service has been my inability to persuade Parliament that it should build upon the lead we gained in interplanetary travel when, in Coronation year, Raymond Baxter blasted off from Woomera to become the first Briton in space.

For a time Jeremy Thorpe shared my enthusiasm, but we never could agree upon the identity of the next British astronaut. I favoured a fellow called William Woollard, who appeared to have the Right Stuff, while Thorpe was all for a groom called Norman Scott. (He was also a model - as so many grooms are.)

Later it became all too clear why he was keen to have Scott sent into space, but our argument over personnel was rendered otiose when the International Monetary Fund insisted that the British space programme be abandoned as one of the conditions of its loan.

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