A small child, at that stage of development often called in the Media but nowhere else, "toddler", stops and stares at me. His mother like the owner of a dog allowing it to sniff at a lamppost, waits tolerantly a little ahead of him. The child's gaze is fixed and knowing. It is the sort of stare that grown-ups are forbidden. "It's rude to stare". But toddlers can get away with murder. A terrible, cold intelligence resides behind the eyes of this one.
There is an old boy, a widower, round here, whom I stop to talk to sometimes about this and that. He used to live on his own but for the last few years he has been joined by an old girl who wears brightly coloured, knitted hats. They both use walking sticks, a need which in due course, I will probably share. I remember his telling me that he lived on his own, but there was someone who had offered to join him. It was an offer which at the time he declined. In due course, it now seems he came to accept it. I see them out and about with their sticks, sometimes together, sometimes on their own. But when they are together, they do not, as you might expect, walk side by side, rather, she about five meters in front, he lagging behind. It is not, I calculate, that they are other than good friends, rather that they pace themselves differently, respond to a different beat.