They walked towards Cornmarket filled with festive cheer – Oxford is truly magical at Christmastime – and as they approached the clocktower, Alice’s suggestion caught PW by surprise. But feeling mellowed and happy, he readily agreed. She undid her scarf and wrapped it round his head until he could no longer see. She led him by the arm through the throng of Christmas shoppers. All PW’s senses had to go on was the happy chatter of voices all around him, the fragrance of roasting chestnuts and Alice’s smell. Now and then, his arm would brush against her pregnant bump. PW was exhilarated.
“Enough, my dear Professor?” she asked laughingly.
“No, I want to walk more!”
And so they did, lost in a world of their own creation.
“Where do you think you are now, Professor?”
“I think you are leading me to Magdalen.”
“Blerrie hell, where am I?” He ripped off his blindfold, and was astounded when his eyes took in his surroundings. Though they must have been walking for what seemed like hours, they were still in Cornmarket.
“We were walking round the clocktower, PW,” Alice said. “You were walking in a circle but you did not know. You perceived the circle in a linear fashion. You thought we had walked to a destination a certain distance away. What I am trying to say to you, my love, is that you would have no idea whether it has a beginning or and end, or whether it was finite or infinite.”
“Son of a bitch!” PW exclaimed. “That’s what you’ve been trying to tell me, isn’t it? It’s in your book, your blerrie Precision & Accuracy. Like most scientists, I am so convinced that there is a Big Bang, starting from that point called Singularity, from where our Universe keeps on expanding and expanding, as proven by Hubble’s Cepheid Variable star. You, on the other hand, believe that there is no beginning, and that the Universe is infinite.”