Poor lorry park­ers can take a fly­ing leap

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Nuts & Bolts -

Is it re­ally any won­der that many for­eign lorry driv­ers are treated with such dis­dain by some Ash­ford res­i­dents? They choke our in­dus­trial es­tates and res­i­den­tial roads with their HGVs each night, leav­ing be­hind a dis­gust­ing residue of hu­man waste and rub­bish when they de­part the next morn­ing.

And here’s an­other ex­am­ple of the com­pletely self­ish at­ti­tude some of them dis­play.

Th­ese pic­tures were taken by reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor, Andy Clark, in the en­trance road to the War­ren Retail Park, off Si­mone Weil Av­enue.

The for­eign HGV had parked up vir­tu­ally on the pedes­trian cross­ing, be­tween the Sta­ples car park and Sains­bury’s.

Andy told us: “I asked the driver to move, but he re­fused, telling me to ‘*** off you English’. Ob­vi­ously I have left out the ex­ple­tive.

“He then walked off to shop in Sains­burys, be­fore re­turn­ing to sit and eat his lunch in his cab.

“The lorry was parked for more than one hour.

“Sev­eral peo­ple with young chil­dren stepped gin­gerly out in front of the lorry to cross, with their view of on­com­ing traf­fic ob­structed. But the

driver did not care.”

Next Mon­day is a very un­usual day.

No it’s not ‘mis­er­able Mon­day’ or ‘mor­bid Mon­day’ but a day that only ap­pears ev­ery four years be­cause it’s a Leap Day.

Fe­bru­ary 29, the Leap Day of the Gre­go­rian cal­en­dar, is a date that oc­curs in most years di­vis­i­ble by four, such as 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020, and 2024.

Years di­vis­i­ble by 100, but not by 400, do not con­tain a Leap Day. Thus, 1700, 1800, and 1900 did not have a bonus 24 hours; 2100, 2200, and 2300 will not have an ex­tra day; while 1600 and 2000 did, as will 2400. Hope­fully you’re still with us? Years con­tain­ing a Leap Day are called Leap Years.

Fe­bru­ary 29 is the 60th day of the Gre­go­rian cal­en­dar in such a year, with 306 days re­main­ing un­til the end of 2016.

Ro­man em­peror, Julius Cae­sar, im­ple­mented the first Leap Day in his Ju­lian Cal­en­dar, which he in­tro­duced in 45 BCE (Be­fore Com­mon Era).

A Leap Day was added ev­ery four years.

At the time, Leap Day was Fe­bru­ary 24, and Fe­bru­ary was the last month of the year.

But, adding a Leap Day ev­ery four years was too of­ten and even­tu­ally, in 1582, Pope Gre­gory XIII in­tro­duced the Gre­go­rian cal­en­dar.

This cal­en­dar, which we still use to­day, has a more pre­cise for­mula for cal­cu­lat­ing Leap Years, also known as bis­sex­tile years.

Peo­ple born on Fe­bru­ary 29 are called a ‘leapling’ or ‘Leap Year baby’.

In non-Leap Years, some leaplings cel­e­brate their birth­day on ei­ther Fe­bru­ary 28 or March 1, while oth­ers only ob­serve birth­days on the au­then­tic in­ter­calary date, Fe­bru­ary 29.

There are around four mil­lion peo­ple in the world who were born on Leap Day.

Fa­mous peo­ple born on this day in­clude Gioacchino Rossini, Ital­ian com­poser of Wil­liam Tell and The Bar­ber of Seville (born 1792); Mo­rarji De­sai, for­mer In­dian prime min­is­ter (born 1896); Wendi Louise Pe­ters, English tele­vi­sion and theatre char­ac­ter ac­tress (born 1968); Di­nah Shore, Amer­i­can singer (born 1916); and Ja Rule [real name Jef­frey Atkins], Amer­i­can rap­per and ac­tor (born 1976).

Al­though most mod­ern cal­en­dar years have 365 days, a com­plete rev­o­lu­tion around the Sun (one so­lar year) takes ap­prox­i­mately 365 days and six hours.

An ex­tra 24 hours there­fore ac­cu­mu­lates ev­ery four years, re­quir­ing that an ex­tra cal­en­dar day be added to align the cal­en­dar with the sun’s ap­par­ent po­si­tion.

With­out the added day, the sea­sons would move back in the cal­en­dar, lead­ing to con­fu­sion about when to un­der­take ac­tiv­i­ties de­pen­dent on weather, ecol­ogy, or hours of day­light.

A so­lar year, how­ever, is slightly shorter than 365 days and six hours (365.25 days).

More pre­cisely, as de­rived from the Al­fon­sine ta­bles, the Earth com­pletes its or­bit around the Sun in 365 days, five hours, 49 min­utes, and 16 sec­onds (365.2425 days).

On th­ese fig­ures adding a cal­en­dar day ev­ery four years is an ex­cess of 42 min­utes and 52 sec­onds each time, or about three days ev­ery 400 years.

To com­pen­sate for this, three days are re­moved ev­ery 400 years.

The Gre­go­rian cal­en­dar re­form im­ple­ments this ad­just­ment by mak­ing an ex­cep­tion to the gen­eral rule that there is a leap year ev­ery four years.

In­stead, a year di­vis­i­ble by 100 is not a leap year un­less that year was also ex­actly di­vis­i­ble by 400… as we ex­plained ear­lier!

The Gre­go­rian cal­en­dar re­peats it­self ev­ery 400 years, which is ex­actly 20,871 weeks in­clud­ing 97 leap days.

Over this pe­riod, Fe­bru­ary 29 falls on Sun­day, Tues­day, and Thurs­day 13 times each; 14 times each on Fri­day and Satur­day; and 15 times each on Mon­day and Wed­nes­day.

The or­der of the leap days is: Thurs­day, Tues­day, Sun­day, Fri­day, Wed­nes­day, Mon­day, and Satur­day.

So all we can say to any­one whose birth­day is next Mon­day is… happy real day birth­day!

A for­eign lorry creates prob­lems in the en­trance road to the War­ren Re­tial Park in Ash­ford

Pic­ture: Colin Var­rall

Julius Cae­sar

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