the entry of each subsequent row is constructed by adding the number above and to the left with the number above and to the right’; pascal’s triangle. a beautiful arrangement of numbers and their relationship to each other creating a pyramid of values. but pascal’s triangle is not his, it comes from ancient manipulations of number systems of indian origin at the start of the first millenium. the pyramid contains the revered fibonacci sequence which became an approximation of the golden ratio, a proportion which supposedly all beauty answers to.

what a pleasing shape. ‘proportion is very important’ a relative uncle used to say. he was an architect, apparently he wanted to be an interior designer, but that was not ‘a man’s job’ in his time.

today is her birthday. i’m grateful she left. she’s in a better place i keep telling myself. her favourite perfume was shalimar, like a walk though the generalife on an early summer evening: spicy floral and amber wood mixed with sweet rose and vanilla. i see her waft past in a linen suit. pressed perfectly by her maid as always. she looks at the horizon and i can see she is happy. she was never happy, always bothered with some imperfection. she had a formidable eye which could pick up details hiding in every corner, she had the energy of an arabian mare. i miss her sometimes but then i think of her so often; when i look at the fabrics on furniture in hotel lobbies, when i hear the word verandah, but mostly when i look at fashion. is there something like benign vanity? i think she had it, it was her enduring curse. she was a soldier in the army fighting for beauty.

and when i asked her what gives her the strength to carry on, with curled drawn lips in a pasty watermelon pink she simply answered:’paranoia’.