Thursday 22 December 2011

A Christmas advent (22)

Eric - who HAS been known to describe himself as a camel- was sitting opposite me the other day when he said,

“It’s not the 21st”

“Ah, really,” I replied, “that’s important, because if you are right it changes a lot of things.”

“I’m right,” he added. Eric is one self-assured camel.

Now I have always believed that it WAS the 21st but it turns out that Eric knows a hell of a lot more about this than I do.

“It’s when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun,” he continued.

“Eh?” I offered.

“It’s simple,” he explained, “all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north will be in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south will receive 24 hours of daylight.”

I was meant to be teaching this guy English; boy was I out of my depth.

Then he took the felt tip pen, with which I was cleaning my ear, and drew a diagram on the whiteboard.

MY whiteboard.

“The Winter Solstices is more readily observable by observing when the midday shadow of a gnomon is longest ”


Now I had him – “Gnomon, Eric, I think you mean Gnome, G-N-O-M-E,” and I took my pen back with a flourish.

To his credit he said nothing and duly wrote the word in his notebook.

How was I to know the word exists? It’s Greek! I only teach English for god’s sake!

So it turns out that today is Bleak Midwinter, not yesterday.

At 5.30am precisely, which is why I published this then.

I didn’t get up especially for the occasion; I used the forward-publishing-thingy before I went to bed on Winter Solstice’s Eve.

Of course some have predicted that 5.30 will be the End of The World in which case I won’t be getting up.

And you won’t be reading this.

And we won’t ever get to see the end of this Musical Bitsnbobs Christmas Advent Thing, which is a real shame as the best is yet to come.

It’s enough to make you moody and blue.


Mary said...

Beautiful and bittersweet - made me cry.


popps said...

Hey - that's two of us who have survived at least!
Have you seen anybody else today?

Mary said...

Full house here at work and at the dentist's office.

Predicting [ and waiting for] the end of the world is a pointless pursuit.


popps said...

As long as your underwear is clean!