I was so fed up that I went to Kefalonia.

I returned refreshed and full of resolve; firstly to complete my horrible dowsing project as quickly and as sensibly as possible, and then to find at last a really good recipe for melitzanosalata.

Day 5: 8 correct swings out of a total of 16 swings.

Day 6: 5 correct swings out of a total of 14 swings.

Day 7: 8 correct swings out of a total of 16 swings.

Day 8: 7 correct swings out of a total of 14 swings.

Day 9: 6 correct swings out of a total of 16 swings.

Day 10: 9 correct swings out of a total of 19 swings.

This makes a total of 79 correct swings out of a total of 163 swings.

If I had a one in two chance of getting the right answer, I could have got, by chance, half of 163. That is 81 or 82. I scored a little bit less than chance. Small wonder it was a depressing experience.

Counting only ‘yes’ swings, I scored a total of 27 correct swings out of a total of 67 swings. Much less than half. That is useless. I am the opposite of psychic. What would be the word for that, I wonder? We are in need of such a word. Could it be chipsy? I can imagine the coffee breaks at future conferences: ‘Oh, you must meet Doris. Her spirit name is Running Tallow. She’s chipsy, of course. It’s a wild talent, they say.’

I have discovered, fairly scientifically, that I cannot identify a hidden card using a pendulum. No doubt the results were depressed by my attitude towards the task, but I will not be taking that into account. If a skill is going to count as a real, usable skill, I have got to be able to use it even when I am out of sorts. Otherwise, it is not a skill, but something like a lucky guess; a by-product of feeling chipper, something like beginner’s luck. You can notice it as a feature, but you cannot use it or depend on it at need. I can still drive a car safely through a hazardous town even if I am in ten kinds of nasty temper. That is a skill. Being lucky when I am feeling lucky; that is just something which happens from time to time, even to the chipsy.

So that is how Science put paid to my pendulum. A shame, as I liked the dowsers, and they all seemed rather keen on pendulums.

On a more positive note: the secret to making a good melitzanosalata is to bake the aubergine until it is well cooked, then season it thoroughly with salt, pepper and cumin. The addition of a little Greek yoghurt improves the texture. You need less oil than you might think

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