I often visit a remote island off the west coast, as you probably know if you’re a regular reader. The people there are my friends, and I enjoy the peace and the quiet whenever I decide to absent myself from the city. It’s good.
Of course, I’m not the only one who enjoys the remoteness and solitude of the western islands. Far from it. Many have come to visit these wild parts with their soaring cliffs, their silent stone fields and the splendour of the Milky Way splashed across the night sky.
They come from all over the world. Not only from the mainland but from America and Japan. From Australia. From Tierra del Fuego. From Oresund and from Vladivostok.
But perhaps the strangest of all was an Austrian physicist, a professor in the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, a Nobel laureate. He came to Inis Mór to escape the hurly burly of academic business, and perhaps to rethink his outlook on life. A modest man, despite his gigantic libido, he settled in well, even buying himself a small herd of Limousins which he hoped to husband until they became lucrative beef on the hoof. But for all his learning about quantum physics, the Nobel winner knew little of Limousins, the meanest breed of livestock ever known to mankind.
And so it was that eventually he came to join that band of islanders who had bought these beasts and whose only hope was that they might be able to shoot them one by one, or perhaps to plant a landmine and blow them to small pieces, for they were never going to sell them.
One day, as he sat nursing a pint in Joe Mac’s bar, overlooking the pier, waiting for the ferry to pull in, and thinking murderous thoughts, the physicist fell into conversation with the proprietor.
Are you doin’ anythin’ at all with them Limousins, a mhac?
I am not, replied the scientist. They are all up there on the edge of the cliff. I do not care if they are dead or alive.
And that was how the world heard about Schrödinger’s cattle.