Tag Archives: knowledge

The Learning Journey

I currently know more about the plot of Silas Marner, the filmography of A Christmas Carol and the life of Sir Alec Guinness than I did before I started writing my last post. None of this knowledge will enable me to earn money, which is a shame, but it will enrich my life and conversation. Probably.

There was a programme on University Challenge recently, as it reached its 50th year or something, and it featured some of the question setters. I’m not going to be rude about anyone but it did seem to me that the setters, at least in one case, were not the high powered academics I had been expecting. It has been noticeable in recent years that the questions were less difficult. I had been congratulating myself on my increasing intellectual ability, but the truth was slowly dawning on me – the questions were getting easier. Ah well . . .

The rest of the day proceeded much as predicted with food and TV, a few chores, a nap and some aimless rambling round the internet. I could call it “research” and dress it up as an activity or I can admit that it’s just a cover story for browsing.

This reminds me, one thing I do need to do (before producing a delicious dinner of roast vegetables and chicken pie) is order my pills for the coming months. The prescription date falls inconveniently in the middle of the Christmas holiday close-down. I’ve been meaning to do it for the best part of a  week but switching on a computer is a surefire way of diverting my attention from important jobs.

A Little Knowledge is a Puzzling Thing

First day back at work after Christmas today. Whatever kills me, it’s unlikely to be overwork or stress. I now have a week off, thanks to Covid. A whole week, and nothing immediately comes to mind – I have three haibun to refine for a competition by the end of the month and that’s it. The rest of the year looks comparatively easy.

I’m setting myself some targets to make sure I don’t drift off into idleness but that won’t take me all week.

One project is printing copies of my published submissions as I like to put them in a folder so I can leaf through them on the days when my confidence needs a boost. I have got a bit behind with this and need to catch up. The main problem is that the existing folder is lost. It will be somewhere lurking in plain sight, but I just can’t find it at the moment. For the moment I’m going to start a new folder and transfer them when I find the original.

Another is trying to memorise the capitals of American states, because they often come up on quiz shows. So far it’s not going well. Apart from the difficulties of an aging brain, how did Americans come to select so many unknown towns as capitals? Some of them are world famous and others are completely unknown. You’ think that being selected as the state capital would guarantee a place would become well known.

I then looked up the county towns of England, and found I don’t know as much about my own country as I thought I did, including the development of county names. THe county towns of Somerset and Wiltshire, for instance, were Somerton and Wilton. I’ve never heard of Somerton, and only know of Wilton because of the carpets.

As  a result of all this new knowledge I now find myself  thinking “Nebraska” every time I see the word “Lincoln”. I’ve lived in Lincolnshire, I can almost see it from here, but it just doesn’t seem to register. Lincoln, Nebraska is named after President Lincoln, not the English city. It used to be called “Lancaster” which is the county town of Lancashire.

I can’t help thinking that I might have been better not starting down this road as the more I learn, the more I realise that I don’t know.

If I carry on like this I might have to read more articles like this.