How much of what you learned at school have you kept with you over the years?
How much of it have you actually used?
I can honestly say that I haven’t the foggiest about long divisions, about Pythagoras’ theorem and about Pi – maths was never my subject, however.
For the past 17 years if I’ve needed to do a difficult sum I’ve just reached into my pocket, pulled out my phone and tapped away until the answer has presented itself to me.
Science is another subject that hasn’t proved particularly useful to me in adult life.
Granted, I seem to be quite good at periodic table questions on Pointless but, as I’ve never actually been on the show, it hasn’t really had an effect one way or the other.
There was one subject that I took at GCSE, however, that this week suddenly became relevant again.
I was proud of my grade B in Spanish and have always claimed to my wife that I could speak the language conversationally.
In reality, I hadn’t attempted it since Take That were at number one with Back For Good so it could have been a fruitless claim.
Then we went to Barcelona.
If you haven’t been I can sum the city up in a few words.
The architecture is stunning, the ports are beautiful, the food is remarkable and the people are friendly. And they speak Spanish. Fluently.
It was almost like I was waiting to sit my oral exam again. I knew within an hour or so of arrival I would be spoken to in the native tongue.
Was I going to understand and be able to reply, or would I end up insultingly pointing my finger at the menu and shouting?
You’ll be amazed to know that, aside from asking for menu instead of the bill, I spent a week in Spain speaking Spanish.
Actual Spanish! Who says what we learned at school is irrelevant!