‘I like your hat,’ I said.
‘Thank you,’ she replied, smiling sweetly.
‘Where did you get it?’
‘I made it. That’s what I do; I make hats.’
My next question should have been ‘And where do you sell them?’, but instead I was gripped by the strongest urge to ask ‘Are you from Tibet?’ I didn’t, of course, because I’ve learned to be diplomatic when talking to women wearing strange hats.
* * *
And on that Chinese note (by obvious extension) I finally came face to face with the Lady Coco in her money changing establishment today. I noticed that she was wearing a dress ring on the third finger of her left hand.
‘Are you engaged,’ I asked.
‘Yes. I’m getting married in May.’
I sobbed inwardly, of course, having held the remote – and one might say ‘inconceivable’ – notion that the Lady Coco might be my passport to a closer understanding of traditional Chinese culture. ’Tis evidently not to be, but I was a brave boy.
‘That’s nice,’ I muttered with conviction, and continued to pay the £5 cheque into my Building Society account. Am I a hero, or what?