Time and Memory

Your child fusses with his uniform for a few moments, then goes around to the back of the car to get his bag. You watch him walk away across the car park towards the school buildings. He looks back only once and gives a gesture that might be a wave. You rest your chin on the steering wheel and watch him in the bright, cool autumn day with the leaves on the ground and try to fix the moment in your mind. It occurs to you that in a few decades time, when they are both grown and gone out into the world, you’ll remember moments like this. And then you think: what will it feel like to have carried such memories over such a distance? And then you realise that you’ll also remember thinking about that too: the anticipation of an understanding not then available to you. Time is so strange. The child is gone and you drive away to your work and the world’s new day.

Conversation with my five-year-old son

Him: Daddy. My brain knows the answer to every question!

Me: (Thinks) Ok. Is it possible to factor any number in linear time?

Him: (Without stopping to think) Yes!

Me: How?

Him: … I don’t know…

Me: Ah. Well… Which painting is better – the Raft of the Medusa or the Mona Lisa?

Him: The Daft of the Haducer?

Iron Woman

Congratulations to my sister Helen, who completed her first Iron Man yesterday at Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. She swam 3.8 km, cycled 180 km, and then ran a marathon (42.2 km) back to back. An awesome achievement – well done Helen!