Wednesday, 11 August 2010
The wavewatcher's companion
I'm sure many of you will be familiar with the wonderful Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney which introduced us all to the concept of identifying different sorts of clouds in the sky. I was extremely excited to see that he had come up with a follow up book - The wavewatcher's companion, since I have always loved watching waves coming into a beach. And what a perfect book to take with me to read in the room with a view we had recently by the seaside.
I was particularly interested, being at the seaside, in his chapter on tidal waves and how these are governed by the earth and the moon, and the description of the wave that emanates from the Severn Bore. This phenomenon occurs because the tide from the sea is bunched up as it enters the estuary and progresses up the river, creating a wave that allows for a far longer "surf" than on any wave in the sea and it is from here that the longest continuous surfing record has been achieved. These sorts of tidal bores have been recorded on at least 67 rivers around the world.
What is especially good about the book is that it doesn't just look at waves of the beach variety, but also other sorts - sound, radio, light waves, electromagnetic waves, and those through our intestines. We learned about most of these at school, but I was hugely turned off by my physics lessons and never really got to grips with them - Pretor-Pinney makes these subjects accessible and most importantly interesting.
This is definitely a "dipping in" book, and definitely one to have to hand if you are lucky enough to be by the sea this summer. Many thanks to Bloomsbury who kindly supplied me with this book to read and write about.
In other news - it has been a beautiful day here, but definitely a hint of Autumn in the air. Whilst Autumn is certainly my favourite season, this displeases me somewhat as I don't feel that I have had my fill of warm and sunny weather this year. I am hoping that means it will be baking hot for our week in the Lake District in September, or if not then, absolutely glorious when we are in Austria next year for our weddingmoon (more on that in a future post!).