Chapter 13: A Traveller’s Tale
We present here a copy of a letter sent to us by a man who also supplied a brief covering note describing him as, among other things, an avid Madazine reader. Ah, so he’s the one. He has what we think is an intriguing slant on getting around. Editor
Dear Sir or Madam,
I hope some of your other readers will be interested to hear of an exchange of views I had last week with a friend who called to share a meal with me. During the pre-prandial chat he remarked that I seem to be something of a stick-in-the-mud, as I never venture more than two or three miles from my house, and then only on foot, whereas he and others known to both of us gad about quite a lot. He spoke of the alleged benefits of travel, especially the mind-broadening effect. I responded vaguely, sensing that there was an appropriate retort but being unable to give it.
The answer came to me as I was chopping onions. Incidentally, I bungled the culinary arrangements. The repast was a vegetable and lentil stew. Owing to either my intense pondering or my custom of dining alone, I failed to produce enough for the two of us, so made up the shortfall with cheese sandwiches. Happily, we are both somewhat bohemian in such matters, so neither of us cared much about my error. At the table, I imparted the fruits of my cogitation, as follows:
The Earth is turning on its axis, any given point on the equator moving at slightly over 1,000 miles per hour(mph). Owing to the latitude of my home, I don’t get full value from this, but do manage about 600mph. While it is busy behaving like a spinning top, our planet also clocks up about 580million miles a year, or 70,000mph in its orbit of the Sun, which in turn carts the Solar System around the Milky Way at about 500,000mph. On top of this, a recent survey suggested that our local group of galaxies is edging towards a larger cluster at a pretty brisk 1,000,000mph. I accept this figure pro tem, but realise that it will probably be