On my way to the hospital this morning, Monday 26th Nov, walking past HMP Wormwood Scrubs, I met a young woman, aged about 23, who asked me where she could find a cash point. I suggested she should come along with me to the Hammersmith Hospital entrance where they have one. As we walked she told me she was on her way to visit her boyfriend, aged 24, who is now in the Scrubs doing five years for fraud.
Apparently he stole all her money and defrauded about 40 other young women.
"But I still love him," she told me, "and I have decided to wait for him until he gets out."
I felt that she wanted my approval and felt a bit harsh for not giving it.
On the bus back home I sat in front of two well spoken school girls aged twelve. I know that was their age as it was discussed as one of them told her class mate that her mother is 36 years old. She also has a sister aged sixteen. The two of them set about trying to work out how old the mother was when she had her first and second child. They could not do it. They struggled with the subtraction sum for most of our journey and never hit on the correct answer.
I was very surprised firstly because my life has been blighted by my inability to do maths, but I could do that one albeit using my fingers. Secondly because I have been labouring under the delusion that maths teaching has been improved in our schools lately. From the sound of them they were attending quite a "good" school.