Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell like to travel around Britain in a carbon lite way. On a recent round trip to Yorkshire we found a good way to break the monotony of motorway driving near Mrs Thatcher's old constituency of Grantham. This post is by Nicola, see more about energy efficiency in her most recent book, Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children at http://www.homemadekids.co.uk/.
When bird poo lands on your head - observers laugh. The recipient feels slightly sick, then remembers that this sort of accident foretells a good luck day. When the young Isaac Newton sat under a tree and an apple fell on his head (or on to the book he couldn't take his nose out of being a bookish sort stuck at home to escape the plague in Cambridge) he began to work up a theory about the first, second and third laws of motion. Everyone knows these laws now. And who doesn't get gravity?
Driving up the A1 from London to Scotch Corner - this week I needed to drive 772 miles which seems a staggering distance (although it was only just over one tank of diesel, ie approx £65 of the rented VW Golf) - so I was desperate for a fun stop-off rather than a "services". The answer is at Grantham, the fascinating National Trust-run Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire which was the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton. At the science centre Lola, 12, and I used a prism to see how red, green and yellow light beams become "white", we learnt that Isacc's dad (who died before he was born) couldn't write and how the boy Isaac built models of windmills and then powered them by mice! We also picniced near the famous apple tree (see pic above).
"His discoveries included revolutionary ideas in mathematics, optics, gravity and formulating the laws of motion. His theories and scientific methods underpin the world of science today."
NT guide book
Six fingers seen by people in a Sixt rent-a-car
Fascinatingly the house is also filled with anti-witch grafitti scratched into the plaster. It is at the front door, in the hallway, in the bedroom even. How strange that the man who did so much to make science accessible grew up in such a super-superstitious household. Or maybe that explains it? Lola and I drove off powered up by ideas that kept a conversation about how to make our own pet mice produce some renewable energy last many, many miles past York. And the fallen apple we took as a conversation piece is now tucked into my compost pile.