Tuesday, 7 November 2017

George Nathan

           "I drink to make other people interesting"

     I like the George Nathan quote, painted on the wall by the fruit machine: "I drink to make other people interesting".  So true. I had 2 pints today which is most unusual, and we had some enjoyable conversation. 
     'H' had been woken by his hot-water system, John was furious with an electrician who wanted to charge 10 times the list price for a replacement wireless thermostat. John and I talked, as is usual, about aspects of safety in the London underground, the explosive properties of warm dusty air, and such. Attention turned to the Mail's Quick Crossword where there was one remaining clue:
 2. (down) — Toxophilite (6),   A-C-E-, 
I suggested ARCHER, to general amazement. Barry said he knew that fletchers made arrows, which seemed to me a golden opportunity to remind everyone of the Fletcher's trolly, as an ingenious way to neutralise friction and study gravity. That prompted Barry to ask the Speed of Gravity, a pretty big leap if you ask me; perhaps it was something that was bothering him.  'H' suggested it was 9.81 m/s, but we quickly persuaded him that his was the acceleration of something due to gravity (in one second), and not of gravity itself. John said he thought it was something to do with the warping of space-time, to which I nodded, but I could not think how to follow that up, so I proposed the experiment of rapidly producing a mass here and seeing how quickly you could feel its effect over there. I remembered the Schiehallion experiment, where someone climbed Mt. Schiehallion with a pendulum, to "weigh the mountain". I suggested that gravity would travel at the speed of light. Wikipedia seemed to concur. 
     I think we were all pretty impressed with ourselves. Someone hoped that Einstein would have been flattered had he dropped in, and another agreed that we seldom reached such philosophical heights in the New Inn.  
     I drained my glass. John offered me another but I declined and picked up my watering can as I made for the door, causing another guffaw from my merry companions: "Why did so few chaps carry watering cans these days?" etc. 
     Good place, the New Inn.

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