Hadn’t been up the health club for a while, what with the fabulous gardening weather and the car packing up, so it was refreshing to find today that the standard of steam room conversation was as diverse and intellectual as ever.

The debate segued seamlessly from Cucumber (the reported health risks thereof) to Horse-racing (the dangers of gambling thereon) to Beards (the cultivation and maintenance thereof), touching en route on Late Payment of Small Business Debts, the latter from a bitter salesman who’d had to drive to and from Scotland in one day to put a rocket up a client who seemed reluctant to cough up for products received.

By far the most fascinating topic was Beards, instigated by the newly-fungused face of one of our little group who had grown one of those doughnut beards seemingly overnight. I thought it quite suited him but I wondered if Rory’s face (I call him Rory cos he has a passing resemblance in a poor light to the tv personality Rory Bremner) would have caused unkind comment among the other boys in the steam room – known as they are for their witty repartee – but he assured me no-one had said a word – apart from “what on earth’s going on, on your face?” and “who’s that in the corner, behind the ferret?”.

Toby, he of the feckless Scottish client, did remark with a shudder that after his epic drive to and from Scotland he had some stubble which he’d rushed to remove, since beards didn’t suit him, but he claimed not have even noticed Rory Bremner’s new facial accessory, other than to say “I thought he looked a bit unshaven”.