Tuesday, 29 April 2008

The science of big noses

Another train journey to York, this time with a frustrating, if inconsequential delay.

I arrive at Newcastle station with just enough time to buy my cheap day return and then dash over the bridge to the platform.  On my left is due the 09:30 to London; on my right is the 09:35 to Plymouth.  I note that the 09:30 is due at 09:37, so decide not to wait for that one but turn right to catch the 09:35.  I climb on board, dump my bags in the quiet carriage and retire to the vestibule (when did this word come into use on the trains?) to call Dad and tell him when I'll arrive.

Returning to my seat the ever-so-lovely conductor told us that our train was being delayed: they were allowing the train on the adjoining platform through first!  Aargh!!  I could have caught that!  We were only minutes later, but still - how frustrating.

Dad managed to greet some poor lady alighting from a completely different train but who was wearing a T-shirt like the one I'd worn on Saturday.  Does he think I don't change?  If she's reading this: my apologies for an old man shouting at you and waving madly.  He's really very nice, not the weirdo you spent the rest of the day worrying about.

On the way home in Newcastle, a tall lady got onto the Metro and sat opposite me.  I was struck by her big nose first of all.  She also reminded me of someone ... and then I remembered it was a friend in Zambia.  Presumably she also has a big nose: she certainly is tall.  The mind drifted and I began to wonder whether height and nose size are related.  And how do you measure the size of a nose?  A good patrician hook has a large area in profile but may not extend as far a standard honker.  If you get a tape measure from the top end of your philtrum to the nose-tip, how do you know where nose and philtrum part company?  The extra millimetre either way could be vital.

She's probably another lady I need to apologise to...

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