Although I have no interest in maths I was enthralled by Alex Bellos’ book “Alex’s Adventures in Numberland”. In fact I couldn’t put it down and read all 410 pages in one weekend. I was telling Glen Isaac-Welcome how the abacus can be faster than a calculator and it turned out that this wasn’t news to him as he too has become fascinated by the abacus. Glen’s job is teaching children who have been excluded from school, many of whom don’t even have basic learning skills, and he had the idea of teaching them to do maths by using an abacus. He got the idea after reading that this is how Japanese schoolchildren are taught, to great effect. Glen had been trying for several weeks without success to buy an abacus in London. And then, while browsing the shops in Kendal today he found one in the Oxfam shop- which they told him was the first they had ever had in stock. This video shows how two nine year old Japanese girls can count a series of numbers displayed for a split second on a screen (which they do by using an imaginary abacus in their head), at the same time as playing the word game shiritori. Amazing stuff.