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趣味英语阅读几乎从不准点的苏格兰塔钟

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趣味英语阅读几乎从不准点的苏格兰塔钟
  Arrive in Edinburgh on any given day and there are certain things you can guarantee. The fairy-tale Gothic of the royal castle, built on an extinct volcanic plug. The medieval riddle of alleys and lanes. The majesty of the churchyards and macabre spires set against a barb of basalt crags, all as if created by a mad god.
  Yet there is one other given in the Scottish capital, and it is the hallmark of Princes Street, the city’s main road that runs east to west joining Leith to the West End. The time on the turret clock atop Waverley Train Station in the east is always wrong. By three minutes, to be exact.
  While the clock tower’s story is legendary in Edinburgh, it remains a riddle for many first-timers. To the untrained eye, the 58m-high landmark is simply part of the grand finale when surveyed from Calton Hill, Edinburgh’s go-to city-center viewpoint. There it sits to the left of the Dugald Stewart Monument, like a giant exclamation mark above the glazed roof of Waverley Train Station.
  Likewise, the sandstone baronial tower looks equally glorious when eyed from the commanding northern ramparts of Edinburgh Castle while peering out over the battlements. It is placed at the city’s very center, between the Old Town and the New Town, at the confluence of all business and life. Except, of course, that the dial’s big hand and little hand are out of sync with Greenwich Mean Time.
  This bold irregularity is, in fact, a historical quirk first introduced in 1902 when the Edwardian-era building opened as the North British Station Hotel. Then, as now, it overlooked the platforms and signal boxes of Waverley Train Station, and just as porters in red jackets met guests off the train, whisking them from the station booking hall to the interconnected reception desk in the hotel’s basement, the North British Railway Company owners wanted to make sure their passengers—and Edinburgh’s hurrying public—wouldn’t miss their trains.
  Given an extra three minutes, they reasoned, these travellers would have more time on the clock to collect their tickets, to reach their carriages and to unload their luggage before the stationmaster’s whistle blew. Still today, it is a calculated miscalculation that helps keep the city on time.
  That the clock is wrong every day of the year is not technically true, either. Its time is stretched to accommodate an annual event. On New Year’s Eve, or Hogmanay as Scots call it, the tower welcomes a special one-off house call, when an engineer is dispatched to remedy the timekeeping error. Plain and simple, the clock needs to be right for the traditional countdown to the midnight bells. Beyond that, everyone relies on it being wrong.

 Today, the wrong time is taken for granted in Edinburgh, not because of retrospective sentimentality, but because familiarity breeds affection. There’d be a public outcry if it was ever on time. Remember, this is Scotland. People wouldn’t put up with it.
  在爱丁堡,人们觉得这座塔钟时间不准是理所当然的,这并不是因为人们感怀过去,而是因为熟悉会生发感情。如果哪天这座钟准时了,大众会强烈抗议。记住,这是苏格兰。人们不会容忍钟是准时的。
  In this city of meticulous town planning, dependable tourist crowds and annual festivals, that’s something you could set your watch by. Those extra three minutes reveal everything about living here, right now.
  这座城市里有着一丝不苟的市镇规划,值得信赖的旅游人潮和年度节庆,这些你都可以用来校对你的手表。那多出的三分钟则揭示了这里的生活和当下的一切。
  随便哪一天到爱丁堡,有一些景象是你一定会看到的:童话中的哥特式皇家城堡屹立在一座死火山的熔岩管道口上,那些充满谜团的中世纪小巷和道路,庄严壮观的教堂墓地与令人毛骨悚然的尖塔和钩状的玄武岩峭壁相映生辉,所有这一切都宛若出自狂放的上帝之手。
  然而在苏格兰的首府还有一件东西,是王子大街的标志。这条大街是城市的主干道,由东向西穿行,并在西端与赖斯汇合。东端的威佛利火车站楼顶的塔钟时间一直不准。准确地说差了三分钟。
  这座钟塔的故事在爱丁堡家喻户晓,然而对初来乍到的人来说它却依旧成谜。在普通人眼里,这个58米高的地标仅仅只是当人们从卡尔顿山丈量这座城市时所看到的“收官之作”的一部分,在卡尔顿山上人们可以俯瞰爱丁堡市中心。钟塔位于杜格尔德·斯图尔特纪念碑左边,仿佛一个巨大的惊叹号矗立在威佛利火车站的釉色楼顶之上。
  相似的是,当人们从爱丁堡城堡那居高临下的北城墙眺望城垛的时候,这座由砂石筑成的华丽塔楼显得同样宏伟壮观。它恰巧位于城市的中心,在老城与新城之间,汇聚了所有的商业活动和民生生活。当然,除了有一点——表盘的分针和时针与格林尼治标准时间并不同步。
  这一明显的“不合规”之处其实是一则历史趣谈,它首次出现于1902年,当时这座爱德华时期建筑作为北不列颠车站酒店刚开业。接下来,正如现在这样,它俯瞰着威佛利火车站的月台和信号塔,仿若身着红衣的列车服务员在车外迎送旅客,带着他们飞快地从车站售票大厅来到酒店地下室的互通接待处。北不列颠铁路公司想要确保他们的旅客,以及爱丁堡步履匆忙的大众不会错过火车。
  他们认为,将钟拨快三分钟能使旅客们在站长的口哨吹响之前有更多的时间去取车票、到达车厢并放下行李。直到今天,这一误算仍然有意为之,以帮助这座城市保持准点。
  所谓钟的时间一年到头都不准,严格说来,这句话并不准确。钟的时间会有所调整,以适应一件年度盛事的需要。在新年前夜,或者说苏格兰人所称的大年夜,这座钟塔会迎来一次特别的钟鸣,那时一位机修工会被派到这儿来改正这一计时错误。简单直白地说,这时,钟的读数得是正确的,这样才能进行午夜钟声的传统倒数。除此之外,大家都依赖于钟的不准确读数。

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趣味英语阅读几乎从不准点的苏格兰塔钟:https://www.ryedu.net/syy/zxyy/202008/59222.html