"Oh!" exclaimed her ladyship. "Sorry! I thought I had counted them all."
For some reason (who knows how those links occur) I was immediately transported back to 1982. In April that year, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory some 8,000 miles from Britain in the South Atlantic. A task force was sent to drive out the invaders and it was accompanied by BBC correspondent Brian Hanrahan. His words about an air strike launched from the carrier HMS Hermes became the journalistic quote of the war. He was not allowed to say how many Harrier jump jets had taken part, but his words got round that problem and reassured the British public:
"I'm not allowed to say how many planes joined the raid, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back."
Although that was more than 30 years ago, the Argentine government has still not accepted that the population of the Falklands is British and intends to remain British. In a referendum last year, Falkland Islanders voted by 1,513 to 3 to remain British but only this week, the Argentine congress passed a law under which all vehicles used for public transport on road, rail, by water or in the air - and all stations - must display signs saying, "The Falklands are Argentina".
I do so hope that we are not going to see a repeat of 1982 but I have no doubt that if necessary, we will despatch a handful of troops and, maybe, even a warship. If it does happen, it will demonstrate just how ill-advised have been the government's cuts in our armed forces.