Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The return, the arrival and the count.

1. Our boss is back from his holidays. He spends a morning smoothing out all the quarrels that have blown out of proportion in his absence. 'I need another holiday.'

2. Oli drops in to see us -- mother and baby are still a bit shy but will visit soon. He says: 'I'm different. I walked out of the birthing centre and I saw the sky, and I thought "How beautiful". And I saw my tomato plants had all died because I haven't watered them and I thought: "I don't care. It's not important."'

3. When I was six, they lined us up on the wall in front of the school and told us to count passing cars. We struggled, and they taught us how to tally -- using four lines struck through with a fifth to keep count. I thought of it as a little fence to keep sheep in order. It's one of the few things I learnt in maths that I still use today -- often when I'm keeping track of a repetitive task.