An unknown unknown

To be honest, there is not a shared political ideology between Donald Rumsfeld and myself. Nor with D.H. Lawrence, come to that. But I do have some sympathy with the former’s ‘unknown unknowns’ speech. Though he was much derided and satirised at the time, it all made perfect sense to me, in a pedantic sort of way.

It is probably best to think of this common ground as an infinitesimal intersection of our respective circles. More figure-of-eight than Venn diagram.

So, what didn’t I know that I didn’t know, prompting the above title? It’s a long list, but I’m probably the last person to be asking, eh?

However, earlier today, I found myself in a corridor at a customer’s establishment, passing the time by looking at the pictures on the walls, whilst waiting for an invoice to be processed.

My gentle progress along the corridor, from beautiful image to beautiful image, was halted abruptly when I arrived at a copy of the Blaeu map of Orkney and Shetland from 1654. ‘Halted abruptly’? Let’s just say that I appreciate maps a bit more than art. Scanning the 17th Century place names, my eyes settled upon two words near the bottom of the Orkney page and… the world stopped turning.

Invoices were forgotten, senses began shutting down one by one, until all that was left was sight and those two words.

So the thing which I didn’t know that I didn’t know was…

I needed a new blog site.

I awoke from this reverie when the customer, from just behind me, said “Do you like maps then?” and I realised that, on autopilot, I had taken out my phone and was photographing part of the map.

Oops.

And so ‘Contrarie tydes’ was born.

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