Friday, July 12, 2013

Isaac Newton's birthplace

Today we went to Isaac Newton's birthplace, Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire. It's a nice little manor house, mostly from the 17th century. In the field opposite, there's a horse with markings exactly like a Friesian cow. We nicknamed it the moo horse.

More to the point, the house has drawings scratched into the plaster walls by the young Isaac Newton.

Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day, premature and so weak that he wasn't expected to live. His mother said that he'd fit into a quart pot (and they have a quart pot on display so that you can see how small that is).  And the poor mite's father had died some months previously.

Young Isaac survived and went to school. Although his father had been illiterate, Isaac loved books.

He grew into a rather odd child, and very absent minded. Once, his mother sent him to market on a horse, and he forgot the poor horse and came home without it. Another time he let the sheep out, and his mother had to pay a hefty fine for the damage they did. The family were comfortably off, but it must have been a worry.

They never did get him interested in farming. He was always fiddling around with lenses and mirrors and prisms instead.

And famously, he sat under an apple tree one evening.  No, an apple didn't hit him on the head.  But he did see one fall, and it suddenly hit him that the force which pulls things towards the centre of the Earth had absolutely no reason to stop at the top of the atmosphere.

That's why the moon orbits the Earth.

That's why the Earth and all the other planets orbit the Sun

Who needs light bulbs when you've got apples?

The tree's still there.

I knew there wouldn't be any apples on it in July, so we popped to the village shop and bought our own.  And I sat under the tree and ate one.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Other Travellers

So we were driving along in Norfolk, when we found this in a little village.

There was no sign of The Doctor, just a little note on the door saying that photos were fine in exchange for a charity donation. What a good idea!

Luckily there were no darleks around.

Unless, of course, The Doctor had to wipe our memories for our own good, like he did with Donna Noble.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Going on holiday tomorrow

Well I did nearly all of it.

The cat is safely installed in a new cattery since the old one wasn't available.  Both the yearly and quarterly tax returns have been done. My son has a new passport.  We have B&Bs booked for the beginning and end of the holiday. I have told people who employ tour guides that I won't be on the island. I have interviewed Pedro Álvarez, the director of Grantecan, although I haven't written that up.  But I can do that on the laptop and all the rest of the second edition is in Dropbox for layout.  I've posted a book to a customer. I've researched prices
for minibuses and excursions down lava tubes for a group of geologists who are coming later, but needed the prices now. I have booked tentative dates for two groups for private guides immediately after we
get back. I've sorted out the kerfuffle over my son's school books. I've even managed to get to Puerto Naos with more books for a couple of shops which sold out, and to get paid for some sales in Santa Cruz.  Oh and I packed 
my suitcase.

Now that I write it all down, I'm not surprised that I'm tired.

Updates will be sporadic while I'm on holiday.  The laptop doesn't run blogger and wordpress too well, and Facebook is slower than an arthritic snail trying to charge through treacle.

Monday, July 01, 2013

"The Mammoth book of Time Travel SF"

The cover of "The Mammoth book of Time Travel SF"

I came home from delivering copies of "A Breathtaking Window on the Universe" to the other side of the island, and found my contributor's copies of "The Mammoth book of Time Travel SF" waiting outside the house. The last I'd heard about it was in December 2012, so I'd forgotten all about it. Obviously, this was a lovely surprise. And seeing the other authors in there was even nicer: Kage Baker, Michael Swanwick, Christopher Priest, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Robert Silverberg and Liz Williams. Oh my. I'm going to have great fun reading this! You can pre-order it here: