I was working in a scrap yard in Southern England during summer vacation at
an engineering university. I used to work repairing construction equipment.
One afternoon, I was taking apart a piling hammer that had some very large
bolts holding it together. One of the nuts had corroded on to the bolt; to
free it, I started heating the nut with an oxy-acetylene torch.
As I was doing this, one of the dimmest apprentices I have ever known came
along. He asked me what I was doing. I patiently explained that if I heated
the nut, it would grow larger and release its grip on the bolt so I could
then remove it.
"So things get larger when they get hot, do they?" he asked.
Suddenly, an idea flashed into my mind (I know not from where.)
"Yes," I said, "that's why days are longer in summer and shorter in winter."
There was a long pause, then his face cleared and he said,
"You know, I always wondered about that."