What is to be seen

Saturday, 10 May 2014

With all the new schools, new countries and new mathematical systems, I am mathematically illiterate.  I thought, fleetingly, that geometry was beautiful and precise and that algebra was essentially solving puzzles, but the majority of it was hieroglyphics to me.  With fingers, I can do any sum under twenty.  Sixty if the bots are at home and I can be arsed to take my wellies off.

I ended up doing Maths Studies for Baccalaureate - it is essentially colouring in tessellations and predicting whether you'll get an ace of hearts.  One of the few things I remember is truth tables - or was it logic?  The two were sadly not always synonymous in my chaotic school life.

Either way, I rather loved the spare, clear elegance of if and then.  If I get 39 points then I can escape to University.  If I hide my lighter up my sleeve, then I can have a sly fag before drama.   If I read Walden to the end without stabbing myself, then I will discover, allegorically, the secret of solitary self-reliance.

Poor Rose is mathematically blessed and will be doing GCSE a year early.  This weekend, as a sensible antidote to teenage hyperbole and contagious hysteria, school has taken her group far away to a forest, in tents, with three tons of pasta each and a squirty bottle of golden syrup.

Last night it threw down buckets and today is blowing wild and sunny; that fabulous, illogical weather that polka-dots the pavements with blossom confetti and induces madness with jangling new leaves and gusts of blinding, sunlit rain.

They will be soaking and starving when they get back; they have no phones, only maps and notebooks. They have to record fauna and count wild ponies and species of meadow-flower.  Thoreau would approve.

Thank heaven she's good at maths; it would be a nightmare removing those great sodden boots every time she got to eleven.


  1. Math was never my strong suit and my eyes glaze over at the sight of columns. I believe I failed Algebra 3 times in high school. It boggles my mind that I survived University. Rose must be having a blast :)

  2. I remember so well growing up and my cousin Ruthie loving Math, while my love was and is art! She is a CPA, so thank goodness! There is something for everyone!

    The Arts by Karena

  3. Hello Elizabeth,

    Well, in our chalk face days, one of us taught English and the other Mathematics. So, we have most bases covered, provided we stick together!

    Rose, we are certain, will be having a spiffing time. No doubt she is exploring in more detail the Fibonacci sequence of natural things, the Golden Ratio and how late she can stretch bedtime to. No worries, she will buy and sell us all in later life....at a profit, naturally!

  4. Clearly genius runs in your family.

    I love the idea of a daughter with Math skills. Does she program? She might, perhaps, love it.

  5. Ha ha :))) you are so funny! Thank you for painting us pictures with your genius words.


  6. I'm no good with numbers either, unless I can write them down, which is suppose is the same as counting on toes. Just can't see them in my head.

    Have had a wonderful morning making a start on your short stories. Oh my goodness, I've only read the first two so far but they are exquisite. Characters so full of detail, delicious descriptions - just love them. Once I get through them will leave a review on Amazon then give it a plug on my blog.


Please leave a comment if you can be remotely bothered - anything you have to say is valuable and I absolutely love hearing from you all. Elizabeth