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When The Obvious Is Not The True Answer (Or - Why Life Can Sometimes Seem Like One Large Game of "Only Connnect")

There are times when you need to look under the surface before you can get to the facts.  There are also times when you need to abandon all your previous ideas and just take a totally radical approach.

A case in point is the mirror in the above photo.  It has been around for as long as I can remember.  However, the story behind it was a little stunning when I heard it.  In fact, that mirror has been mentioned in a blog post before - for that very reason.

I remember standing in what is now my back room with my Granddad when he asked me if I could tell him the object he had got for his 21st birthday.  I had a couple of guesses before I gave up.  Let's just say that a mirror which has always reminded me of a ship's portal was one of the last objects in the entire house which I would have associated with him.  He was happiest on dry land - in fact, to my knowledge, I have never seen him anywhere near a seagoing vessel of any kind.

However, you would really need to know me to know the connection between that photo and this one below.

You could say that there is a kind of watery connection between them.  You could also say that there is a kind of family connection.  You would be correct on both counts.

The watery connection being the North Sea.  The closest family connection actually being my Dad.  Well, he did marry the daughter of the person who made it.  (Yes - I had to get my Oma into my house in some way.)

However, the kinds of connections I am really interested in reading, learning, and writing about are the ones which seem to escape all known logic.

Here is a question for you - what connects the following;

Lemon juice


194 years


Royal Navy

British Board of Trade

(I got this little fact from "Black Box Thinking" by Matthew Syed).

Would you believe that three teaspoons of Lemon juice per day were prescribed to sailors on one particular ship sailing to India in 1601 - and were found to prevent scurvy on that ship (one of four sailing to India at that point)?

That isn't the worst part though.  It took 194 years for the Royal Navy to get round to ensuring that all sailors on their boats were given the anti-scurvy treatment.

If those two weren't bad enough - the next fact will probably horrify you.

It was only in 1865 that the British Board of Trade got round to ensuring all Merchant ships used the anti-scurvy treatment on their sailors.

(Just imagine the uproar if modern "cures" for things like cancer took that long to come into the Healthcare system nowadays.  There would be petitions and questions in both Parliament and the Mainstream Media.)

We can be thankful that there are people who "solve" as yet unknown problems with a mixture of "sideways thinking", frustration, and perseverance.  Take - James Dyson and his bagless vacuum cleaner for example.  We can also be very thankful that inventions and discoveries of new ideas don't take 264 years to come to our notice these days.

When I was little I used to love those "Join the Dots" puzzles - I still love things like wordsearches and arrowword puzzles (as well as those frustrating puzzles where you get a list of words and a grid to fit them into).

If you have spent any extended amount of time in my company you will probably have found that I can confuse people very easily at times.

The worst thing - though - is when people just think they know what they are looking at when they see me - only to be totally flummoxed when I either say or do something which they do not expect.

The worst example of that was when I attended a job interview.  I was asked a question which I answered very honestly.  The question was regarding the last film I had seen - I told the interviewer that I had problems with going to the cinema due to the fact I am Registered Partially Sighted.  I could have said or done something rather drastic when the interviewer said "you don't look Partially Sighted".

Please accept my humble apologies for attempting to live in the same way as everybody else and not wandering around with a White Stick.  I know people who use a White Stick - I also know there are people who do not dare to use White Sticks in certain areas because they know that doing so raises their risks of being attacked.

Look beyond the surface to find the real facts - and do not be afraid to ask if you do not understand.

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