I Need My Space

When Astronaut Dafydd Rhys Williams recalls his time working on the outside of the International Space Station, he emphasises the silence, the gentle hum of the life-saving oxygen pump in his suit, the infinite dark void, and the blue oasis of the planet below him. He talks about how he coped with isolation in a harsh, dangerous environment; learning to live with others under pressure, sharing with him the tiny space on the space station.

Some of the mental skills he learnt there are serving him well now as he copes with a different isolation. It also prepares him for the challenge of living a new normal with the threat of Covid19. In this programme he draws on the things he learnt, and interviews others who have used unique skills to overcome their feelings of isolation.

From his home in Toronto he talks to long distance runner Lowri Morgan, one of the very few to complete the Amazon marathon, about the skills she uses to get her mind to kick in when her body is failing. She may be in a race with others, but her feeling of isolation is immense.

Scientist Dr Huw Griffiths feels a different kind of isolation again – even though he may be on a ship with others, he is in one of the most harsh wildernesses on the planet, unable to go home, working on ice.

What was life like for a lighthouse keeper, how did they cope with that isolation? Dafydd talks to Gordon Medlicott who manned South Stack, Strumble, Bardsey and Nash Point lighthouses.

This programme explores how human beings cope and adapt, and how optimism, doing ‘what needs to be done’, celebrating life, and the beauty of the planet, can be forces for change as we face tomorrow. We all need our space.