I don't know if you ever have moments when you feel you've been plunged head first, against your will, into the middle of a Mike Leigh movie? (For American readers, I do mean Mike Leigh rather than Spike Lee. It may take a wikipedia visit to make sense of my ramblings.)
Anyway, last week I found myself eavesdropping on a group of women who had got together for lunch. The location was a pretty upmarket spot in south-west London, but their plates of burgers and chips were liberally sprinkled with salt of the earth. Three of the ladies were maybe late 40s, while another couple were younger - perhaps early 30s.
What can we learn from the girls' lunch talk? That it's easy to move pretty effortlessly from domestic violence to Primark and then on to chemotherapy. Along the way, we managed to take in driving habits, hygiene standards in catering environments and a bloke whose appearance who had been markedly transformed for the better by a girlfriend he'd found on the Internet.
'She's three times the size of me,' revealed one of the diners. Given that I judged the speaker to weigh about 25 stone herself, I could only presume that the lady to whom she referred had been found on a website that hired out cranes.
Another member of the group had a hubby who'd been banned from driving because he was over the limit. 'A hundred yards from our house... We'd told 'im...'. There was a general consensus that although he'd been technically on the wrong side of the law, he didn't actually drive drunk. That, presumably, is when you're feeding yourself intravenously with Jack Daniel's as you clutch the steering wheel.
Inevitably the conversation turned to shopping and the destination of choice was a half circuit of the M25 away. 'She loves a bitta Lakeland...'
Mike, you really should have been there. And just pressed record.