-I’m glad you’re here, keeping the road clear, I said. (Oops, no need to be sycophantic.)
-Mmm. West of Scotland weather- rain, then rain so fine it could be mist.
-Oddly enough, I am dry under all this.
-They do say, there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. (You’re usually safe with a platitude). He nodded.
-No-one would be chancing it, with you standing there?
-Actually, they do, he said, indicating someone pulling into the Disabled space diagonally opposite.
-Have fun, I said, as he went over to investigate, though it could be a disabled person. You don’t drive along with your blue badge on the dash.
After, I wondered if he had chatted because, standing there, I obscured the driver’s view of him. Surely that is too Machiavellian.
1.30am. I am awoken by banging on the door: Rapid knocks, then a pause, then more.
-Come on, Steph, let me in- (Steph is today’s pseudonym for my neighbour)
Thuds, as the side of the fist. I could go, but I am not as quick in intelligence or reaction in the night, and want my wits about me. I lay there, a bit frightened, actually, but if he would break in he would have done it by now.
-This is the Police! Open up!
That’s an offence, imitating a police officer. More banging- I would say twenty minutes, but people are not good at estimating time in these circs. Eventually he went away.
9.50pm. Loud knock on the door. No, I am not answering at this hour. Then I see the hi-vis jacket and radio through the window, so decide I had better open up. I wish I had cleaned today.
-Are you Steph?
-No, she’s next door.
-We were told 69. Can we come in?
-No, it’s 69A.
-Have you seen her today?
-You’re worrying me, now. I haven’t seen her, but I was out the back and I heard someone in the house.
They go to knock on her door. It is none of my business, but I am glad to notice they have got in- without breaking in.
At the bus stop.
–You see, when you’re seventy it’s just like when you’re twenty. You think you’ll live for ever, and you want to.
-OK. Say I told you you have twenty years of life left. What would you do with it?
They look at each other. “Mooch about, same as now.”
Hurrying into the town, I bid the postman “Good morning”.
-I’ll let you get past, Miss Flourish, I’m not in such a hurry as that.
-Oh wow! I would have thought you would remember street names, but remembering surnames is impressive.
-That is a high compliment, he said, from a member of Mensa.
Pictures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has just put a huge collection of images on line, free for non-commercial use.