Nell asks about Electricity.
Nell: Mr Meese – what makes the lights work?
Me: Like what makes them come on when you switch the switch?
Nell: Yes, like that.
Me: Well it's to do with electricity.
Nell: Like chemistry?
Me: Erm... no Chemistry is different. That's to do with how things react.
Nell: But the light reacts when you switch it on. That's what I want to know about!
Me: Yes, quite so, I didn't explain the difference well, but let's leave Chemistry and get back to the lights.
Nell: But I never left the lights.
Me: Nell are you sure you're going to want to know this?
Nell: Of course! Why not?
Me: Oh it was nothing. So, look at the light on the wall.
Nell: Yes, I'm looking.
Me: Ok, so hidden with the wall are wires that join the light to the switch and the switch to the electrical supply that comes into the house.
Nell: Like secret wires?
Me: Well they're hidden more than secret, it's ok for everyone to know about them.
Nell: So why are they hidden?
Me: I think we should stick to how they work, but they're hidden just to look nicer..
Nell: That wasn't so hard was it.
Me: Ok, electricity flows through the wires when the switch is switched on. Electricity is a kind of energy. Now inside the light bulb there's a really thin wire and when the electricity has to squeeze through the thin wire inside the light bulb it all jostles about and the wire gets really hot. It gets white hot and starts to glow bright, and that's the light we see.
Nell: Well that sounds nice but I don't understand it. I prefer to think of electricity as a kind of wavy wobbly stuff that flows through everything, walls and you and me and space and everything. How do the lights work when electricity is like that?
Me: Nell electricity isn't really like that.
Nell: Well you have your electricity and I have mine. Mine is like that.
Me: Nell, I don't think you can just have your own kind of electricity.
Nell: It's just how I see it that's all Mr Meese. You have your way and I have my way.
Me: Well shall we both use my way?
Nell: No, you can use your way but I'm going to use my way.
Me: Nell, I don't think this is going to work.
Nell: Start again Mr Meese– I'll just translate.
Me: Ok, well electricity flows between up the wires hidden in the wall...
Nell: And through the walls and everything else.
Me: ...and it gets to the thin wire in the bulb where it can't fit so easily...
Nell: so it turns all spiky and goes from blue to puce...
Nell: Yes, then what happens after it goes puce?
Me: Erm... well, I'm not sure but you can think of the flow of electricity as a bit like loads of tiny tiny subatomic balls which start to bang into each other as they all try and get through the thin tunnel of the the thin wire.
Nell: And is that them going spiky or puce? Or both?
Me: Well I really don't know.
Nell: Don't worry Mr Meese. You can't know everything.
Me: Hmm, evidently not. I thought you were going to translate?
Nell: Well I am doing but I can't do it all myself.
Me: So how about just learning my way? It will make much more sense.
Nell: I've told you before Mr Meese. You can't make me think things I don't want to think.
Me: Nell, I'm not trying to make you think anything bad.
Nell: Don't take it personally Mr Meese. We just all have different perspectives and different ways of understanding things and you can't make me think your thoughts.
Me: Nell, you asked me a question!?
Nell: Yes, and you're telling me about the lights, which is lovely, just don't think you can make me think it your way.