Interrupted this morning by a knock at the door. It turned out to be a splendidly cultured lady in her 80s with a stick in one hand and a scribbled note in the other. She was looking for her friend who she knew ever so well but whose name she couldn’t remember. She has a little dog and lives here or next door. I explained there was no one who fitted her description in any of the adjacent houses and suggested she must have moved on. She wasn’t having this. Apparently her friend lived there (here) yesterday and was unlikely to have moved overnight. She wasn’t satisfied with my explanation and was obviously going to wait till I caved in and produced her friend who I’d clearly got tucked away somewhere out of sight. Eventually she confessed she couldn’t actually read her scribbled note because she didn’t have her glasses. I’ve got mine, I said, perhaps I could have a look? The note was a nicely handwritten invitation to call at No 11. At this point I spotted the first real weakness in her case. This is number 54 I said. She wasn’t a bit put out. Yes but number 11 is just there, she said, waving her hand in the general direction of No 52. I made a vain attempt to explain where No 11 ought to be but she wasn’t going to be deflected. At which point I gave up and said that in all the uncertainty the one thing I could guarantee was that her friend didn’t live here. You, she said poking me in the chest, don’t know her. She had a point.
If she’s still there tonight I’ll try again.