Bumbling through a door to ask directions, we are happy to bump into Glen, from Peterhead. Glen is looking at an interesting piece of equipment and Juan asks him what it is. He tells us that the device measures the accuracy of Dougal’s clock, and that it is accurate to four decimal places. I tell Glen that, the last time we saw Dougal, he had smashed his clock to smithereens. Glen sighs and says it is a shame that, although Dougal is a fantastically talented physicist and world-renowned chronogrammatist, he is so full of self-doubt and violence that he smashes all his experiments to pieces at the first opportunity. This is why, Glen says, Dougal’s results have to be constantly checked.
Juan says that Dougal’s clock is only accurate to three decimal places, and he asks how it can be checked to an accuracy of four decimal places. Glen explains that the fourth decimal place can only be a number from zero to nine, so the machine adds the ten numbers up, and then it divides the result by ten, to find the average, so the fourth decimal point must be a four. He asks us if we would like to stay and watch the machine place a four in the fourth decimal place, as, he says, it will be a breakthrough in metronomy. We take his word for it and, breaking open a barrel of Vintage Glenronach, we salute Glen’s wonderful machine. Then, wishing him the best of luck and explaining that, owing to contumacious delays, we are sloomishly behind schedule, shouting and singing and bumping against hard objects, we blunder on, as fast as we possibly can.
Professor Humperdink’s Diary