Part of the reason I write is because I can’t add up.
At school I got decent grades in both sciences and the arts. I could have lept either way when I made my A-Level choices. Bu a slightly creepy physics teacher, and a secret inability to do my times tables (I have to add them up as I go along once I get past the three times table), meant I jumped to the arts and humanities side of the tree.
All the mathematical neural pathways in my mind sighed a great sigh of relief, put their sunglasses on, and headed to the beach.
About six years later, after I graduated, I began to realise that a basic grasp of maths is actually pretty useful for every day life. Things like budgeting, and working out percentages, and dividing restaurant bills to make sure you’re not being ripped off by your mates.
My anxiety that I might have got something arithmetically wrong with my finances means that I have kept every bank statement I have had since I opened my first bank account in 1998. That’s a lot of bank statements. I’ve also got every pay slip, and the envelopes they came in.
So in an attempt to slimline my life a little, I cleared out my paperwork the other day.
I thought the bank statements from the 90s would reveal something fascinating, like the cost of a weekly shop was 2 and 6, but actually the only thing that looked noticeably cheaper were train fares. The envelopes for my pay slips were largely covered in frantic sums and crossed out calculations.
All except these, which show where my mind more happily resides when the talk turns to maths and money: