As I was walking through the West End this morning, I became conscious of a man talking very loudly on the opposite pavement. At first, I think he was addressing another passer-by, but when I temporarily caught his eye, he started walking in parallel with me and holding a one-way conversation across the street.
"When you haven't been out for four or five days," he yelled, "you just want to talk to people!"
I smiled, kept my head down, and headed for Lexington Street.
At the junction, he went in another direction, but not without this parting shot:
"I'll be alright. I have to be. My grandfather put spark plugs into Spitfires!"