When I returned to earth I found it hard to reintegrate into the every day of life on the blue planet. I was used to a strict and exciting routine on the mission so when I was faced with refilling the ice trays and replacing the windows I suddenly felt a little meaningless. My wife understood my anxiety towards the trivial mundane stuff and would try so hard to pose me challenges that would stretch me. Bless her. I was sure it would pass, it is a classic psychological passageway for astronauts to go through when they return to civilian life. If Neil Armstrong can do it, so can I. I decided to just throw myself into the house. We[…]

When something breaks around your home, what the worst that can happen? You have to go out to the shop and get a new light bulb, maybe. You call in a locksmith and he gets the key out from where it’s been jammed. You need new carpet after the dishwasher flooded. Ha! On the space station, every single little breakage could mean life or death. If the door fails to close, that means you lose your air. Water purifier broken down? Well, you need to use your instincts and ingenuity to rig up a solution before you die of thirst. See what I mean? Space problems are just so much more important than regular, boring Terra Firma problems. Nothing down[…]

Lorne will always hold a special place in my heart, for obvious reasons. When we first came back to Earth after the space mission, our craft landed right on target in the bay, and we were pulled to shore with crowds cheering. At the time, I was still unsure about returning to Earth but it was certainly a buzz, plus the mayor threw us a welcome home breakfast right there on the beach, where we could chat to our fans. And after that, we collapsed into soft hotel feather beds, because we’d been up for 46 hours by that point and it was definitely time for sleep! I suppose I have a soft spot for all the hotels in Lorne,[…]

We always used to joke around in the space station by telling each other about the space chimp. The Russians sent a chimp into space- you may have heard- and it managed to do just fine. So whenever any of us had problems with a task, we’d just say something like ‘if a chimp could do it…’ It was funny at least the first few times! I still chuckle whenever I hear about it, although to this day I don’t really know what happened to the chimp. Maybe it founded a moon colony. Peggy was the only one who never laughed, because she’d left her beloved poodle back in Melbourne, with dog walkers on an endless duty to make sure[…]