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Olly Buckle

Chance and judgement

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I was potting on some seedlings and had gathered together a mix of compost, some pots, and seedlings broken off from the seed tray. When I had filled the pots I found there were twelve of them, the compost I had mixed up in my tray was exactly the right amount to fill them, and there were twelve seedlings in the block I had broken off from the seed tray. It could be a one off, a happy chance, except it keeps happening. I cut off exactly an ounce of butter to put in the bread mix; I check the frame I am building for square, and it is exactly square, the handful of beans I am planting are exactly the right number for the pots, the piece of wood I pick up is exactly the right size for the job. I guess it is experience; people with long experience in things like carpentry or masonry make amazing judgements. My experience is a bit more scatter shot in its approach than many, but I still manage some pretty good guesses on a regular basis. The mind is amazing sometimes.

Strange things that occur irregularly should not be amazing, chaos contains all the perceived patterns. I planted a number of peas in pots to cheat the mice, and put two in each pot; peas donít germinate wonderfully and there are plenty in a packet. When I checked on them, to pinch out the weaker pea where there were two and discard the empty pots, I found one pea growing in each pot. Such things seem significant, it reminded me of someone giving me a head of cardoon seeds. I put a lot of them, randomly, in a seed tray, eight came up in two straight lines of four, evenly spaced, one line each side of the tray. Those two things, years apart get remembered, the thousands of seeds that grew in other patterns were forgotten; every pattern of germination was unique; two were memorable. A mental limitation?

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