Friday 24 February 2023

physics light-bulb

At the birth of The Blob - nearly ten years ago - I professed to be baffled by Physics insisting an inclined plane pushed back on a block sitting on top of it. At that time, my HoD had asked me to teach a couple of lab-sections for 1st Year Physics; which makes you wonder how deep was the barrel The Institute was scraping to find Effectives people to be the adult in the room to get the students' Learning Outcomes [✓] fulfilled.

Well I know all about that equal-and-opposite force physics now, having wet my pants in a most undignified vindication of the principles!

We are currently feeding our 15 sheep a supplementary ration of sheep muesli; and getting a nibble for myself as usual. YSMMV but ours are getting 100 oz = 2.8 kg = 5 scoops of an old milk-pan every day until the grass starts to flush. Like a good cavalry officer sees to his horse before setting camp for the night, it's only proper that the sheep get their breakfast treat before I have my pot of tea and two slices of toast. Accordingly, last week I was out in the fields by the dawn's early light to call the beasts to their grub. They were in the furthest field "The Field Over the River" from the trough. As always I counted t'buggers as they answered the call:  3, 5, 10,12, 15 . . . 17, 20?! We live in dread that the count will come up short - because that's either a sheep with its head caught in the wire OR a very still sheep with its legs in the air. Extra sheep in our fields is a different sort of PITA.

With commendable shepherd-kool, I was able to get myself between the five strange sheep [2 hoggets and 3 lambs] and our flock as the latter galloped up the hill to breakfast. With luck any disturbed alien sheep will head back to where the boundary has failed, so you know which section of the perimeter to remediate. Our small farmlet has >1,300m of perimeter hedges and ditches so fencers want to focus. Conveniently, they all headed off to the NE corner of our property and 4/5 of them squeezed through a gap between the end of some fence and a gorse bush Ulex. Unsurprisingly, the last of them flung itself painfully against another bit of fencing and then ran off in all directions. No point in chasing that sort, especially if a singleton. We've been marching with the NE neighbour for 25 years and have never had such issues before. It turns out that, as an experiment; or in pursuit of a bargain, neighbour had bought a bunch of shaggy-fleeced, thin-faced, spackle-headed, mountainy jumpers which are notoriously able to leap tall fences, fight off wolves etc. harrrumph! their bargain is my headache.

I set to repairing the wall and tightening up the surmounting fence, so that there was no gap between the two elements of the boundary. I quickly ran out of stones which had obviously fallen from our side of the wall and started casting about for suitable boulders on their side. The two holdings are there separated by a little stream 1-2 meters wide. The cartoon [homage to xkcd!] shows me with lump of stone twice the size of my head in the act of pegging it across the stream rather than attempting to carry it over the slippy, uneven river-bottom. The next moment found me on me arse, with boots full of water and a painful ding on my left elbow. That boulder had the inertia [hard to get movingness] of a steam roller and shoving it away from me just pushed my scrawny upper body backwards and pivoted the legs (rotation about my midpoint) out from under me in the opposite direction. Being bruised, dinged and sopping wet was the work of milliseconds; it took me 24 hours, and one sleep, to work out why [it's the Physics, stupid] my plan had gone so painfully wrong. 

Because I'm well 'ard, and because dry socks were a 400m uphill trudge away, I picked myself up and carried on fixing the fence. Mutter mutter, dang sheep, darned neighbour, fakkin' brambles, etc. etc.

Not a million miles from, and equivalent in pain to, Dr Johnson's response - I refute it thus - to Bishop "Tree falls in a forest" Berkeley's metaphysical woo.

No comments:

Post a Comment