Daily Frolic 9: Strange but true

“They say reading broadens the mind, don’t they?”

“I thought it was travel.”

“Oh yes, yes, but reading is also awfully good for one, isn’t it?”

“Obviously: without reading, there wouldn’t … you couldn’t … it would be … I mean you would be completely stuffed.”

“Agreed. I have been reading the stuff in your archives – it’s mind-blowing: all the newspaper cuttings you have collected.”

“Oh yes, yes, I’m addicted to British newspapers: you always find something interesting there.”

“They say the British press is a cut above the rest, don’t they?”

“Undoubtedly. So how did you get on with your reading?”

“Very educational; it’s just that I’m not entirely sure about their grasp of geography …”


“Well, take this Sunday Times.”

“What about it?”

“That’s what they wrote.”

“A recent poll of Bloomberg subscribers found Britain has dropped behind Singapore into third place as the city most likely to be the best financial hub two years from now.”

 “Oh dear! It must have been a one-off, though.”

“That’s just it – it wasn’t.”

“It wasn’t?”

“Nope. Look what they wrote.”


“This Sunday Times.”

 “Every country has risks of inter-ethnic violence – from Syria to Stockholm.”

 “OK, OK, geography may not be their strongest point, but on the whole …”

“A-a-a-a, but it’s not just geography.”

“It’s not just geography?”

“Nope. Their maths – it’ also quite, quite … funny.”

“Funny? How do you mean?”

“Well, take this, for example – also from The Sunday Times.”


“The survey reveals that two-thirds of British children have televisions in their bedrooms, double the proportion for most of Europe. By contrast, only three-quarters of British children have a shelf of books in their bedrooms.”

“Just a sec, just a sec: two-thirds is … is …”


“And three-quarters is …”


“Oh dear! But, on the whole, British journalists are quite good with fractions and percentages.”

“Well, not those on The Rambler.”


“Nope. Listen to this.”

 “But at this point a mere three percent of routes had been reopened, leaving four out of five paths still shut.”

 “Just a sec, just a sec: four out of five is … is …”


“Oh dear, so what happened to the remaining 17%?”


“Dear oh dear …”


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