I think I may be making some headway with Wren’s antipathy towards maths. She came into the tavern while I was doing some cleaning and we got to talking. I was telling her about Aoibheann fainting because of Riley’s shiny book thing talking. This, I learned was an iPad (not, as I had previously thought, an eye-pad). I am not entirely sure I understood Wren’s explanation, and I am not sure she understood what I meant when I mentioned Pianolas and Jacquard looms. I can imagine that some insanely complicated calculating engine could be constructed from cogs and levers and the technology that the looms and such use. I can even imagine that such mechanisms might even be able to encode music and images in some way, much as a music box can play a tune or a loom can weave a pattern. I have difficulty imagining how they get the mechanisms small enough to fit inside something the size of a slim book. Perhaps some other technology is involved.
Whatever the technology, in the process of explaining simple things like how a clock does division by 12 and by 60, I managed to get Wren to realise that maths is behind everything – in deciding the number of teeth needed on a cog in a clock, for example. She seemed almost interested, so I made a paper dart and threw it for her, explaining that maths allowed me to work out how to fold the paper, and would allow me to work out what shape to make it to fly well. I told her how maths could work out the shape for a ship, how much sail it needed. I pulled on one of the beer pumps and told her how maths would allow somebody to work out how big a piston was needed to pump the beer. It looked like I was getting somewhere, but what really got her attention was when I said that maths could even work out the best way to use her slingshot. That definitely seemed to appeal. I didn’t press it any further, thinking I would let those ideas sink in. Next time I see her, I’ll try her on the pack of cards and some of the permutations and combinations. She scurried off soon after, no doubt in pursuit of her pet rat. I amused myself by working out a few maths problems in my head, just in case she asked me how to do some of the things I had mentioned, until it was the end of the shift and time to go back to the apartment.
Productivity somewhat tapered off after that. I made some notes about the Black Friars and then drifted off to sleep with a glass of rum by my side.