Isn’t Sand Swell?

Post 804

As if you thought this blog couldn’t get any more exciting after the last post all about socks, here we are, literally talking about sand. Actual sand. Strap in, this is gonna be a hoot. Enough to blow your socks off. Metaphorically, of course. And you aint seen what’s coming. Anywho, sand! What is sand? Oh, Lordy-loo, I’ve fallen to a new low. I’ll be doing a post about particles next. Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles. Ooh, look! I’m already talking about particles! Oh God, I’m talking about particles. I wonder who the first person to build a sandcastle was. What? We’re talking about sand! Sandcastles are all I have! There all I have, people!

So who built the first sandcastle? It must’ve been an accident, like that time that guy electrocuted his wife and accidentally invented the telephone. I think I learnt that in history. At least I think it was history. It’s hard to tell. My history teacher was an Elvis impersonator. Anywho, we don’t actually know who invented the first sandcastle. The first record goes back to the 19th century, but I imagine cavepeople were building them to pass the time in the olden days. You know, between avoiding being eaten by a jaguar. Or a mammoth. Or a… giraffe. I don’t know, my history aint so good. An Elvis impersonator!

In 1900, a sandcastle competition in Rhyl, in Wales, was sponsored by Bovril. Competitors were obliged to include the company’s name in the castle design. A whisky company did the same thing a few days later and, as you can imagine, the local and rather vocal temperance movement were not best pleased. Oh, before I forget, for anyone overseas, Bovril is… you know what, if I tell you, a little bit of light will go out in your life…

Did you know that sandcastles are more dangerous than sharks? Since 1990, there have been 16 fatalities involving sandcastles compared with 12 fatalities in shark attacks. How? People keep falling into the holes they dig. It’s a dangerous business. Especially considering the tallest sand sculpture ever was 50 feet in height and contained 4,800 cubic yards of sand, taking 10 days to build. Well, everyone needs a passion in life. For some, it’s ships in bottles, for others, it’s sandcastles. Nothing wrong with that, of course…

But there’s more to sand than just castles! Apparently. For example, have you ever wondered how much sand there is in the world? Nope? Well I’m going to tell you anyway. Seven quintillion, five quadrillion grains of sand, that’s a 75 with 17 zeroes behind it. I’d love to meet the guy who figured this out. I bet he’s real fun. That said, there are around 100 stars in our universe for every grain of sand on Earth. That we know of. We can’t see all of it, of course. Like Croydon, for example…

20% of the Earth’s deserts are covered in sand. These deserts are known as ergs. Don’t know why. Maybe they were stuck for a name. “What should we name them?” “Erg…” Interestingly, the word ‘desert’ originally referred to a place with a sparse population, from the Latin word ‘desertus,’ meaning ‘abandoned.’ Only 13% of the world’s population live in deserts, probably because 87% of the world’s population rather enjoy air conditioning…

The Sahara is perhaps the best-known desert, but only 20% of it is sand. The rest is bare rock. The largest sandy desert is, as I’m sure you know, the Rub’ al Khali (lucky Khali), located in the Saudi peninsula. An incredible 621 miles wide and 310 miles long. That’s bigger than Uruguay. And Iceland. And Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, so on, so forth…

Whilst sand can be used for building purposes, in Saudi Arabia, a rather sandy country it must be said, it actually imports sand for construction. Saudi sand is too fine for cement. Sand and buildings don’t always go hand in hand, though. St. Enodoc’s Church in Trebetherick in Cornwall was built amongst sand dunes, but, by the 19th century, it had become engulfed in sand, as you’d expect. But the Cornish are a hardy bunch. They didn’t rebuild it or move it. Nope, they picked up a shovel and kept digging it out. Although nowadays it’s been dug out for good, at one point, the entire congregation and the priest were being lowered in to the building through a skylight. Not kidding. Just picture that for a minute. A priest coming in through a skylight down a rope. Just marvellous…

One of the strangest things about sand is that it can ‘sing.’ Not well, of course. A bit like Cher. We’ve observed the strange singing sand phenomena around the world, emitting anything from a haunting hum to a booming roar. It never sings about life after love, though, for which I am very grateful. Some think the friction of the sand causes the noise, whilst others believe it’s the compression of air between them. Most of us don’t actually care.

Sand sculptures are hugely popular around the world. Like a glorified sandcastle, although sand experts or ‘sexperts’ as I’m sure nobody calls them, are adamant they are indeed sandcastles, but, of course, everybody knows that a sandcastle is something you put in a bucket, tip over, lift said bucket off, and watch your creation crumble into a bazillion pieces. But people take sand sculpting very seriously. For realsies…

Of course, it would be remiss of me not to mention the Sandman. Once upon a time, this mythical man was said to visit children whilst they slept. It’s said he would then sprinkle sand into the eyes of children to ensure they have good dreams, thus explaining weird eye gunk, when in fact, weird eye gunk is caused by fatty deposit build-ups in the eyes that we’d normally get rid of by blinking. Of course, all this does sound rather creepy and mad. A strange man entering the rooms of our children to chuck sand in their eyes is not something I’d tell my children actually happened, but that’s because I’m not an irresponsible dope. Well, okay, I am, but that’s not the point.

And then there are the oddities. For example, you can find green sand in parts of the world, such as at Papakōlea Beach in Hawaii, one of only four green sand beaches on Earth. It’s caused by lava left over after the eruption of a volcano. Volcanoes also give us black sand whilst white beaches are the result of eroded limestone and, sometimes, crushed coral and shellfish. Do avoid black beaches if you’re not wearing any footwear, they absorb the light like a bitch. I think that’s a scientific term. And, have you heard about the word ‘sandillions’? Whilst it’s now out of fashion, it was once all the rage. It describes the number of grains of sand on a beach. When you’d ever use it I don’t know, but you know, it’s good to know, right? Then again, maybe not…

I love sand! It’s far, far, far more interesting than… well, okay, slightly more interesting than any of us give it credit… well, okay, it’s sand, but ask yourself this. Where would we be without it? Ooh, I’ve just got an idea for another question! Yea, me!

Don’t worry, one more post this week and I promise, it won’t be as dull as socks or sand.

Almost, but not quite…

Ciao :)(:

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Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other blog:

The Indelible Life of Me
New Post Every Saturday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post


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