Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The discovery of longitude

Marc had one sightseeing request for our trip to England.
Besides visiting our grandson and the graves of his ancestors, he wanted to visit the time museum in Greenwich where they apparently celebrate the discovery of longitude.
At least that's the way I see it.
They already had latitude but they needed longitude in order to properly and safely navigate the seas.
No one had figured out how to know where they were on the open water and they were limited by having to sail along the coasts.
Marc had read a book about how it all came about and he thought it would be so cool to see the John Harrison's clocks for real.
I was unimpressed with the plan.
I wanted to shop and go to the London Zoo and shop and go back to Queen Anne's Dollhouse and shop and see Buckingham Palace again and shop.
So on a cold and rainy day we set off to find the National Maritime Museum.
Me with a good attitude
It was a long walk from the North Greenwich underground station to the Royal Observatory on the hill next to the museum.
Added in was the construction which blocked the footpath and it became an even longer jaunt.
I had worn my Teva's with socks to give my feet a break from my other shoes and hadn't planned on the puddles.
Every few minutes or so, my socks became soaked through.
(I finally came up with this ingenious plan. I bought new, dry socks and kept changing them out with the wet ones, drying the soggy ones in the bathroom hand-dryers when I could.)
It was miserable.
I was cold and wet and bored.
I tried to generate some enthusiasm but I couldn't come close to matching Marc's even when we got to stand on two meridians at once (outside, of course).
I did kind of like the cafe where it was warm and slammed with people trying to get out of the rain.
And I really liked the lady who talked about her grandfather who went around in the ....1800's...selling the time.
I suppose I'm better educated for having gone and if I ever have to answer a TV trivia question about longitude, I can probably get it right. (It's the angular distance on the earth's surface, measured east or west from the prime meridian at Greenwich, England, to the meridian passing through a position, expressed in degrees (or hours), minutes, and seconds.)
But when people ask me what I did in England that I enjoyed the most, this isn't it.


  1. You are such a good wife!!! I'm very proud of you. I would have totally gone back to the Queen's dollhouse - that was one of my favorite memories of England.

  2. We have to keep these husbands happy, huh?