In my Who’s Who entry I used to list manual labour as my pastime, which was true.  At one point I and my kids lifted 20,000 tiles off the roof of the house and replaced them, but I’m too old for that sort of thing now, so now I just say bridge and gardening.  Dead boring to anyone who isn’t a player or gardener.But of course there’s the other sort of interest– the stuff I think about when I’m not thinking about anything else. Death, for interest.  I’m 85.  Most Tuesdays I bike up into the town to have tea with a 92-year-old friend.  Week before last we laughed ourselves into hiccups talking about funerals.  Did us both a power of good.

I can’t do that on my own. but I’m still interested in other sorts of stuff.  Numbers, for instance,  I can still remember the moment of pure intellectual delight, almost eighty years ago, when it came to me that twice twelve had to be the same as four times six. And three sixes had to be the same as the same as two nines, which was even prettier.  It was in the new boys’ class of my new school and we were learning out multiplication tables by chanting them aloud, all together, thoughtless as birds.  Serious mathematicians talk about beautiful equations.  I’m not in their class but I know what they mean.

I was going to tell you that 37 is a much more interesting number than 38, but I ‘ve just realised that 38 has quite a bit to be said for itself .

God is pretty interesting too.  It’s a good thing I’m not a believer, or someone would be wanting to burn me at the stake for a heretic.  Though it would be pretty cool to have a heresy named after myself, like Pelagius.  (He was was a Welshman and his real name was Morgan, which means “sea” in Welsh.  “Pelagos” is the Greek for Sea.)