Here are some more interesting facts that I have come across over the years.

Buzz Aldrin’s mother’s maiden name was Moon.

‘Here come dots’ is an anagram of ‘The Morse Code’.

The pound is so called because it was the value of a pound of silver in about 1280.


The earliest named period of time is the Planck Era, which ended when the universe was 10-43 seconds old. The last named period of time is the dark era, which will begin 10100 years in the future.

The planck length or quantum of length, the smallest length that has any meaning, is 10-33 cm, or 10-20 x the diameter of a proton.

On pages 89-90 of Six Roads from Newton by Edward Speyer I read ‘Quantum theory involves the most radical change in scientific viewpoint since the Renaissance.   From electronics to optics, from chemistry to astronomy, from radioactivity to lasers, to superconductors, transistors, superfluidity, the atomic nucleus – the applications of the quantum point of view are pervasive.’ I have since read many books on the subject, but I still don’t know how the theory affects these phenomena.

Every atom in the human body, apart from hydrogen atoms, was made in stars that were born and died before the earth existed.

According to different sources the mass of a neutrino is 1/500,000, 1/1,000,000 or 1/10,000,000 times the mass of an electron. Whichever source you choose, neutrinos are the smallest objects in the universe. Tens of thousands of them pass through your body every second.

According to different sources the number of chemical compounds is 4 million, 15 million or 140 million.

In the Rutherford-Bohr model of the hydrogen atom, the single orbital electron makes about a million million revolutions round the nucleus every second.

There are more atoms in a glass of water than there are glasses of water in all the oceans on earth.

The earth will be inhabitable for a thousand million years until the sun becomes too hot to support life.

The Structure of ribosomal RNA is the same throughout life, which proves that we are all descended from one species.

My walk to the shops

One of my greatest sources of pleasure nowadays is my walk along Garth Heads to the shops in Kendal. Nearly every time I see something interesting that I haven’t noticed before.

The route starts to get interesting when I reach the top of Kirkbarrow and enter a footpath marked by two stone spheres. Ahead of me is the beautiful Victorian mansion of Aireycliffe surrounded by fine trees. To the right of it are some of the easternmost fells of the Lake District and the Whinfell Ridge, which is featured in Walks on the Howgill Fells. Just to the left of the Town Hall is the hill known as Ulgraves, with Capplebarrow directly behind it. Ulgraves is featured in the second walk in The Outlying Fell of Lakeland, and Capplebarrow is featured in the last walk. They were easily identified using the Lake District one-inch map and a twelve-inch ruler.

At the foot of the steps my route joins Kirkbarrow Lane where it makes a right-angled bend. If the lane is followed to the right it becomes so narrow it is known as the Crack, but I go straight on and continue along Buttery Well Road. Chapel Lane goes off to the right, indicating its antiquity by diverging slightly from a straight line. Farther on Blind Beck flows under the road and continues to the right between high stone walls. In the other direction it is seen emerging from a tunnel so long that I can’t see daylight through it. To the right of the tunnel entrance, below an iron girder, is the site of the Buttery Well, which gave its name to Buttery Well Road.

After the beck is crossed the road is followed on the left by a stone wall that diverges from the wall of a house by such a small angle that the area enclosed must be extremely narrow at one end. My route then crosses Gillinggate, enters Buttery Well Lane to the right of a tiny shop, and follows a high curved wall. At the end of the lane I turn left into Captain French Lane, which, like Chapel Lane, indicates its age by slight bends. Almost at once I turn right into Garth Heads, where there are stone houses on both sides and cobbles underfoot. When the cobbles come to an end there is a steeply sloping wood on the left with no sign that anyone has ever been there. In the winter Aireycliffe is visible through the trees.

On the left are three flights of steps leading up to a Norman motte and bailey, and a fourth one ‘going nowhere just for show’ (as in Fiddler on the Roof). After the courtyard of number 4 is passed there is a narrow opening in the wall on the right where I can look down on a cobbled alleyway from a great height. Garth House on the right has a weather vane at the top and bears the date 1993. Then, on the wall of Garth Heads Cottage, there is an oval plaque bearing the face of a lady with roses instead of hair. The last door on the left leads to the cellar of a house in Beast Banks.

As I turn right into Beast Banks I pass a small statue on a gable mentioned in the plaque below. Viewed through railings on the right is the alleyway called Collin Croft, which is featured in one of my videos. From it a remarkably narrow staircase heads up to the right. Then, lower down, a level path on the right leads to two traditional front doors. Lower down still a door and two windows can be seen on the right-hand side of the alley; but the finest feature of all is the ceiling with its pale grey timbers.

Farther down Beast Banks I pass some stone houses on the left. They appear to have been built only recently, and yet the pointing is just as good as that of the older buildings. At the next junction I bear left along Low Fellside, passing an unusual modern house on the left. Then I come to Sepulchre Lane, which winds about in a delightful way as it ascends the hill on the left. Then I pass Quiggins, the oldest surviving producer of Kendal mint cake. Farther along on the right, unsignposted and marked by two standing stones, is a little path, and halfway along that on the left is another little path that leads down to the Old Shambles.

If I am going to Booths I stay on the road where it bends right; if I am going to the public library I continue along Low Fellside and turn right into Entry Lane, another interesting part of old Kendal.

Sometimes, on my way back, instead of turning into Garth Heads I continue up Beast Banks and turn left at the start of the green into a lane. Looking straight ahead from the junction I can see the windows of the flat where |I lived from 1999 to 2005. When the wall on the right comes to an end there is a perfect view of the Norman motte of Castle Howe with its obelisk and surrounding earthworks. On the other side there is a beautiful view between the trees of the town and the countryside beyond.

I then return to my outward route using one of the flights of steps leading down to Garth Heads.