On the morning of January 30th 1988 I went swimming at Bedford’s Robinson Pool.
On the way there I recalled a scene from an excellent 1970s TV sit-com called Going Straight, which starred Ronnie Barker as the ex-con, Fletcher.
Fletcher is in a café when he spots a teenage girl about to pilfer some goods. He issues a hearty "Hello luv!", which pre-empts her theft.
Then he buys her a cup of tea and asks how old she is.
"Thirty-six", she replies, in a voice thick with sarcasm.
"You look older", Fletcher snaps back.
I had found that snippet of repartee very amusing and had several times thought about it over the preceding decade.
About one hour later I was resting at the pool’s shallow end.
To my right were two pre-teenage girls.
Suddenly the smaller of them exclaimed, "Thirty-Six??"
She had misinterpreted the figures 3’ 6", which were written at the pool side to indicate depth in feet and inches.