185. 10.30pm. Bottom deck, behind the back doors.

‘OK then: 64 plus 71… carry the 1… then plus 100!’

‘No, but that’s the percent thing, you have to…’

‘I’m working it out!’

‘I got it right again!’

A group of children was engaged in a number skills battle behind me. They were shouting out questions (mostly addition and subtraction but with the odd sneaky fraction thrown in) and then racing each other to find the solutions. It was a proper contest: there was a lot of wiping of sweat from furrowed brows, and air punches from whoever arrived at an answer first. I am a maths geek, so this display of enthusiasm made me feel like doing an air punch myself. (I did one mentally.)

A tiny boy in the corner was not feeling so enthused. He tugged repeatedly at the t-shirt of one of the older boys to get his attention. What was all this gobbledygook about threes and elevens and point eights anyway?

Ah, small child, one day you too will know the beauty of numbers! And when you do, hold on to that knowledge because there will be plenty haters out there telling you it is boring and uncool. They are wrong, maths rocks, woo! (air punch)


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