Friday, 9 May 2014

93 million miles and one inch

Last weekend I did not do a great deal. I find I am doing a lot more of not great deal recently, probably in response to being utterly drained at the end of each working week. I am very good at doing nothing I find, which I'm not sure I could have said a couple of years ago, when I was unable to sit still for even one minute. This must be what they call the ageing process. If it is, it isn't so bad. Anyway, last weekend the weather was pretty nice, and consequently there was little reason to go birding. Instead, I largely watched various cricket matches, and for a period of time I reclined on a chair in the garden. Of sky-watching there was not a great deal, of gentle snoring and a small amount of dribble, quite a lot. And this is where interstellar (or interplanetary, I don't pretend to know which this is) distances come into it.

Depending on the Earth's orbit, my garden is between 91.4 and 94.5 million miles away from the Sun. Where in the cycle we are I have no idea, so let's just call it 93. Whichever way you look at it, a long way. As the distant Sun worked its magic, I fell into a stupor. Happens to the best of us, and actually it isn't a bad way to spend an afternoon. Better than gardening for instance. When I awoke perhaps half an hour later (2 hours....Ed.) and stumbled inside, I happened to pass a mirror. Horrific. A bright red thing slap bang in the middle of my face. I poked it, and discovered it was what was left of my nose. Burnt to a crisp. And as I type, peeling monstrously.

Here's the rub. My nose, at most, sticks out only an inch further than the rest of my face. In terms of how much closer to the Sun my nose is versus, say, my cheeks, what I am trying to say is that there is not a lot in it. My cheeks however are a normal colour, whereas my nose looks like someone has come along and painted it. I am at a loss to explain how that extra inch makes such a vast difference to the impact of an astral body that is millions upon millions of miles away. 93 millions miles, fine. 92.99999999998 million miles, nasal agony.

Tomorrow the forecast is for rain. 


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