Fei was telling us why she always wears black: -In China go see man. Man tell me my good colours. Ah, so he looks at your hair colour, your skin tones, eye colour, and suggests what would suit you best? -No, man no look. Man take hand, touch hand with fingers. Understand lucky colours. For me, black, grey, blue, lucky. Black number one lucky. So, he reads your palm, by touch, to pick your lucky colours? -Yes. But maybe he looks at your face first? -No. Man no look. Eyes no working. No can see. Your country no have? Blind colour consultants? No, there's not much demand for them over here.
Though sometimes I wonder.
Balls! with which Stephenson has tamed the steam and harnessed it to do the work of man, small as you are, each flywheel, shaft and beam is subject to your governance, your plan. Some, in their innocence, were unimpressed. 'A top, a whirligig, a childish gift, a bagatelle', they said, but little guessed: the faster you revolve, the more you lift. And even as you rise, you stem the flow through cylinder and piston, ease the thrust on cam and bearing, mollify the show to dignified decorum, as needs must.
There are two pretty good ways to weigh a car: Drive it to the nearest public weighbridge and wait your turn. Look up the manual under General Specifications, ‘kerb weight’ But let's suppose the nearest public weighbridge is fifty miles away and you've lost the manual (and temporarily forgotten how to use public libraries and the Internet) and the burning urge to weigh your car just won't go away- what can you do about it? The good news is, you need hardly any equipment. All you need, for a reasonably accurate result is: a hand-held tyre pressure gauge which can be analogue or digital a retractable steel measuring tape a calculator, pencil and paper, or a good head for mental arithmetic The method Park the car on some clean, level concrete Observe that the car is held up by its four tyres (!) Measure the width of the tread of one tyre: e.g. 6 inches Measure the length of tread in contact with the ground: e.g. 7 inches Work out the area of tread touching the ground: e.g. 6 x
It's not that the landscape's so different from the UAE. Yes, it's colder. Snow takes the place of sand; conifers, of palms; stone walling, of concrete. One leaden sky is much like another, whether laced with ice crystals or with traffic fumes. And after all, what is a hill but a plane, tilted? Yet here, there is the suspicion, however unfounded, that were attrocities to be committed deep in this frozen wilderness, justice might follow , in due course.
The Gorilla and the Three Bells is a serendipitous fusion of the lyric of Brother Gorilla by Jake Thackray and the original French melody Les Trois Cloches. (Les Trois Cloches is the song that was very loosely translated to become The Three Bells or Little Jimmy Brown). Of course, just because it is possible to fit Jake's lyric to that tune doesn't make it a good idea, but I had to get it out of my system.
When Matthew Gloag (no relation to his namesake who founded The Famous Grouse distillery) was five years old, he wrote, in his exercise book, "My cat is a nice cat" and was duly praised by the teacher who, unfortunately, did not suggest the obvious improvement. So it was that, satisfied with this construction, in his later school years Matthew went on to produce such sentences as, "The French Revolution was a very bloody revolution" and "The Tolpuddle Martyrs were notable m artyrs". Somehow, it matters not how, Matthew eventually found himself employed in a Health and Safety capacity by First Great Western Railways where, among other duties, he was assigned to produce platform signage. And that is why, on every lamp standard, on every platform between London Paddington and Hereford, we can read Mr Gloag's finest work to date: THIS STATION IS A NO SMOKING STATION We don't need no education...