I am no mathematician but I am good at tangents, as in the idiom:


Going off at a tangent – digressing suddenly from one course of action or thought and turning to another

We know I hear you groan!

I wanted to express my frustration and anger at the futility of counting.

No, I wanted to express my frustration and anger exasperation at my need to mark time. Marking time is where my thoughts started, I cannot help but be aware of the fact that it is very fast approaching the one-year mark in relation to the door closing on Gill´s African Adventure as I am sure my friend´s have dubbed it. This time last year I was deep in the process of “my end of term”. This phrase came to me as I considered how a president must feel as he or she approaches their statute defined / ordained end of term and stepping down from office.

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Why do they step down from office¿? Why not stepping aside? See – tangents!

However, my point was, why do we mark the anniversary of such life events? Who dictated that counting and marking time were so bl**** important?

OK so as I was saying, I wanted to express my frustration and anger at the futility of counting, that´s where it all started. Trusty google gave me a bullet point definition of the history of counting which grabbed my imagination. Easily done, I know.

The Egyptians were the first civilization to invent different symbols for different numbers. They had a symbol for one, which was just a line. The symbol for ten was a rope. The symbol for a hundred was a coil of rope. They also had numbers for a thousand, and ten thousand. The Egyptians were the first to dream up the number one million, and its symbol was a prisoner begging for forgiveness, which was a person on its knees, hands upraised in the air, in a posture of humility.

Image for a million
Number one
The bone found with score marks used to count

It was the million image that got me, are we humble now as we impatiently queue for our Euro Millions lottery ticket hoping for not one but several of those same millions?

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However, I quickly found several other interpretations of the symbol for a million and my mind meandered back to school days and projects; Superstitions, that was my project and I spent hours in the library (you may need to check the definition of this pre-internet/smartphone era) pulling up information on all sorts of interesting facts. But mostly, I remember my poor grade and the teachers comment that “whilst the content was good and well presented it was not what the title promised”. See – early evidence of tangents!

I had presented far more information on traditions rather than superstitions. It was the getting divorced by stepping over a broomstick three times that riled her I think.

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Anyway, my point is I wanted to wish you all:

Gōngxǐ fācái, hóngbāo ná lái  –  Wishing you happiness and prosperity; give me a red envelope.

February 16th 2018 Chinese New Year of the Dog. A day of great celebration for one quarter of the world´s population, a day when the greetings are all about wishing each other auspicious and beneficial things for the future. A day when one should not do the following:


Fascinating stuff? Still figuring out the no odd amounts of lucky money, but happy to oblige with no sweeping and nodding sagely at the no lending or borrowing money.

I digress  See – tangents! the red envelope was what caught my eye. given out from older to younger, from bosses to employees, and from leaders to underlings. It is a special New Year’s bonus. But to say “Hi, Happy New Year and where´s my gift?” Hmm…

Some of the various new year traditions I shall be looking out for over the next few years:

  •  Smashing plates in Denmark
  • Jumping seven waves in Brazil (yes, definitely number one for me) download
  • Eating a lucky number of meals in Estonia, specifically seven, nine or twelve
  • Ringing bells 108 times in Japan
  • Attending a Junkanoo festival in the Bahamas



I could go on (and often do) but for today my friends. I shall leave you with my personal favourite Chines New Year greeting.

Jíxīng gāozhào – Fortune will smile on you (‘lucky star high shines’)