: Superman and the Half Life
it the fashionable lisp of an “f” for a “th”? Or
had I misheard? Stan doesn’t lisp. I was
sure he was talking about a half-life.
remember from my A level physics that a half-life is
the time required for a quantity to reduce to half its
initial value. In Tony time, when applied to a
pint of ale, it is well under 5 seconds but I presumed that
Stan was talking Nuclear Physics and the rate of decay
of an element’s radio-activity.
the most interesting one is Tellurium-128
which has a half-life 160 trillion times
greater than the age of the universe.
maybe Krypton-78 which is a wee bit shorter
and often confused with green Kryptonite,
the substance that deprives Superman of
I thought the most likely candidate would be Radon as
it can be found naturally leaking from the ground around
here- some houses even needing sumps to offset its adverse
effects. My suspicions were enhanced when Stan
talked about Whitbarrow Scar. According to UK
Radon this is
an Radon-222 hotspot.
insisted that today we must travel at speed. At least
an average of 3mph, which is some going for old men.
Is that the speed needed to outrun the Radon
radioactivity? We’d give it a go.
the wonderful weather forecast a few days back passed
through twenty four hours too early and we were faced
some snow on the ground. Stan and Martin could
smell the foxes that had left their footprints behind.
was the low cloud. Visibility all along Whitbarrow
Scar was fifty yards at maximum.
kept emerging from the gloom, as did the Lord's Seat
Martin and Mike not been so familiar with the area we
might well have gone adrift when, not for the first
time, my OMN mapping software went haywire on my phone.
the far end we dropped down to do a loop around Witherslack
gps reading was an average speed of 2.9 mph. Not
good enough. Rather than stopping for lunch, Stan
drove us on under the edge of the Scar.
Raven's Lodge we had reached 3 mph. Still he wouldn't
let us rest. He thought about it round by Gilpin
Bridge but now our end was in sight. Across the
marshes lay Levens.
some the attraction, understandably, was the Hare &
Hounds. For Stan, it was time to up the tempo
and hit 3.1 average mph by the time we reached the village
hall. Only then, 11½
miles under his belt, did he relax and accept Terry's
offer of a lift back to the pub.
This puzzled me. I knew that
Levens also was a Radon hotspot. "Why are
we stopping here?" I asked Stan. "Well,"
I heard him say, "I have completed my half-life".
"Yes Stan, you are well over 70 but we are
all still exposed to radioactivity. Aren't you
worried about the Radon?"
are you going on about?" he asked. "It’s
what you kept talking about," I replied, "Half
daft bat," he laughed. "Wash your ears
out. I was talking about half Lyth. The Lyth Valley.
It’s the That’s Lyth challenge on Sunday and I
wanted to do half the course today as a training run.
That’s why we had to go so fast."
now I understood. I have to confess that as well
as feeling a bit stupid, I was secretly proud of myself.
Well, wouldn’t you be? Averaging over three
miles per hour wearing a protective lead apron? Superman!
Thursday 24th January 2019