For someone who has spent a lifetime working with words, I seem to have developed a strange fascination with numbers.
I think it started back at high school when, for some unknown reason, I decided to memorise Pi to as many decimal points as possible.
I think I got to 12 and, yes, it did come in useful – once – although now I can only get as far as 3.14 and that doesn’t seem to have hindered me.
I was also delighted to discover that typing 1.2345679 into a calculator and multiplying it by the square of any single-digit number provided interesting results. Go on, give it a try.
Nowadays, I irritate my wife by refusing to accept that 9.15 is any more a conventional time than, say, 9.17.
And I was even quietly taken by the fact that my boss will only set in his alarm using numbers that add up to 11. Must give that a try myself.
But despite all this I was somewhat bemused by the guard on a recent trip who announced that we were on the 37 minutes past four train from Newcastle.
Now that’s just wrong...