A quest of this nature always stems from Childhood. I am thin, tall and highly strung. Eight years old 1942 living in a Victorian semi. There is a fair sized wall garden to the rear with three enormous apple trees. Birds that flew over our garden must fly high. One hot summer i was standing in the garden enjoying the tranquillity of the moment when suddenly for no reason at all I went flat to the ground feeling most fearful. Feeling rather ridiculous I got to my feet looked around and would notice a Barn Owl had alighted on the eaves of the house nearby. What was clear to me as a child, an invisible fluid was passing through that Owl and through me and into the earth below making me aware that it was a predator on the hunt.

Experience two was far more dangerous.
Lighting in the Victorian house was by gas. Eventually this was replaced by electricity. My parents bedroom had a bedside table lamp with two sockets. One socket with an electric light bulb, switched on, one socket empty. Gas lighting now gone, this new arrival would fascinate. I would gingerly touch the two live prongs, a sudden surge of fluid would surge into my arm and then disappear. I would carefully consider what that experience would mean when carrying out research in the Brynmor Jones Library, University of Hull ’92-2001.

Experience three, the most dangerous of all.
A lad from school would invite me to his dad’s farm together with one other boy. We would play cowboys on top of a hayrick in an enormous barn. At my second visit to the farm I would jump over a bale of hay I had jumped over previously only to find the whole hayrick had been cut away. I would drop the whole height of the barn onto a wisp of hay in between two pitch forks. I was never invited to that farm again.

Sometime later I was invited to play on the flat roof of a five storey public house in the centre of town. We would play the usual game of cowboys, I was about to jump over a low wall when my previous experience made me pause. I would look over the wall and found I would have dropped five storeys to the ground below.

I fairly bolted out of the building and never played with those boys again.

It certainly had more effect on me then that apple on the scientist’s head.

Apprenticeship now complete.

My Gravity Apprenticeship