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Monday, June 22, 2009

I knew if I kept this blog going for long enough, I'd eventually come up with something worth reading. And after a mere 1,674 posts (not all of them about Amelie), that day has finally arrived. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm about to rewrite the laws of physics. Which is probably why I only got grade C in my GCSE.

Fortunately I'm not alone in this endeavour...

1840. That's about twenty to seven.
Think of me as Richard Allen's agent. He does the science, I take ten percent of the royalties and go on Parky. Oh, and before you ask, no, that wasn't written 26 years before the Battle of Hastings. That's meant to be an eight. It's not easy writing clearly in an opium war.

Anyhoo, Lisa's Mum went up to Woodvale Crematorium yesterday morning to scatter the ashes of her sister. We went over to see her afterwards, and she gave me a tin of old keepsakes to look through. Well frankly she needs to change her name to Pandora, because within five minutes of opening it, I'd unleashed all manner of mysterious powers. The only difference is I plan to use them for good.

Most of the papers inside belonged to Lisa's grandfather and great-grandparents, and included a programme from the Brighton Gaiety Theatre, dated Monday, January 15th, 1894, and a Birmingham Rifle Corps menu from 1876.

The Book RepositoryBut by far the most interesting item is a 59-page book, entirely handwritten on the 27th August 1840 by Richard Allen, and entitled 'The Repository of Arts and Sciences'. I've no idea what 'Plea. Expr.' stands for, nor where the first five volumes have gone, but this little booklet in my hand contains details of thirty-eight experiments, ranging from how to take spots of grease out of books and how to sign for the deaf, to methods for starting fire under water, and even designs for an early photocopier. Kind of. To be honest I didn't really understand that one.

I've absolutely no idea where the book came from. Most of the tin's contents date from the two world wars, and we've spent the past twenty-four hours assuming this thing was compiled by a bored soldier in 1940. It was only tonight, when I looked at the handwritten numbering on the pages, that I realised the nine is clearly an eight, and it's 169 years old. If I'd known, I wouldn't have been idly flicking through it over my dinner.

But I'm glad I did. Because the book contains the earth-shattering secret for which science has been searching for centuries. Unless you believe in the laws of thermodynamics, in which case you'd probably rather not hear it. But for everyone else, I can exclusively reveal...


Put very small fillings of iron into aquafortis and let them remain until the aquafortis is completely saturated with the iron, which will happen about two hours, pour off the solution and...
... put it into a phial an inch wide, with a large mouth, with a lump of lapis calaminaris; then stop it close, and the calamine stone will keep in perpetual motion.
I'm off to search Ebay for a lump of lapis calaminaris and a phial of aqua fortis.