This unusual ladybird, which has a hint of tortoiseshell about it, was on an urgent errand, when we met, across a pub table.
"Are you limping?" asks the young woman who manages the Compasses pub, as we pass in the street.
I don't think that I am, or have any reason to, but to acknowledge her concern, I reply: "No. I must be walking unsteadily because I've had a good lunch."Good for you", she says, touching my elbow.
What Lucy says in her comment on my post yesterday rings a distant bell. I do remember being told as a child not to be inquisitive. "Curiosity killed the cat", they'd say. She's right: a lot of people are afraid to ask questions. It's always struck me that such reticence is a mistake and a relic of a strange, bourgeois inhibition. It is a rule which I have resolutely ignored. Without curiosity, we would have no great inventions and no great novels, to mention just two areas of human achievement. Besides, for the most part, people like being interviewed and welcome the opportunity to talk about themselves, or to express their views.
I suspect that the reluctance of visitors to your house to let their eyes rest for a moment on your bookshelves or even the pictures on your walls, is another aspect of the same basic fear. Though of course it may be that they are just not interested.