For the past two weeks we have had friends staying with us. Four adults, four children, five dogs plus our two dogs and our neighbours two dogs. If that doesn't sound daunting enough our guests have what you might call a 'relaxed' attitude to punctuality. In an effort to entertain everybody during their vacation in sunny Devon we put together a schedule of things to amuse and inform. Surfing lessons, dining out, Bradworthy Carnival, Beer Festival and the like, all of which have gone down well and been a great success. But getting them there on time... well! To get everybody in the same place at the same time is like herding cats. Just when you think you have got them together you will notice one missing, when you get them someone else wanders off to do something equally unimportant. And so the process continues. Consequently, we have been late for everything.
We even devised a plan which involved telling them everything was two hours earlier. It simply didn't work, they would still manage to fritter away the time and we were still late! The kids would have their faces stuck in their ipads all day then two minutes before we are due to go announce they needed a shower or they have just got to do this or that. Frankly, the grown-ups were no better. It's been great fun having them here but for someone with a structured approach to life the chaos is rather disconcerting.
Personally, I don't believe in Chaos Theory. It is something made up by mathematicians and scientists to explain what they can't explain. Edward Lorenz is credited with coming up with it. He was a meteorologist, or a weatherman, that figures! So that is why they can never get the forecast right. The simplistic explanation is that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil changes the constantly moving atmosphere in ways that could later trigger tornadoes in Texas. Or, in other words, the smallest possible action can result in massive changes further down the line. True to a degree, but I would claim that if you do exactly the same thing you will get the same result. Basically, what they are saying is that a small outside influence on something can have devastating effect later. Well kind of obvious really, so put that in your calculations. That's the problem they don't have the ability to do it, so lazily they call it Chaos Theory.
In a similar way when I do a watercolour I often get what appear to be unpredictable patterns and nice effects. However, with experience and practise they are controllable. It may seem random, and to a certain extent it is, but a lot of thought has gone in to what is likely to happen.
So, to summarise, being half an a hour late for dinner means the chef has had to work late in a steamy kitchen and opened the window which let the moths in which caused a breeze to blow my watercolour paint in to unexpected patterns and, in turn, a tornado in Texas, which created low pressure over the Atlantic and precipitation off the South West coast and that is why it is raining today on an August Bank Holiday Monday! Sorry folks!
Here are some calming paintings of the North Devon coast by Mark Woollacott, now relax!