Here was an academic-looking lady absorbed in some papers on the Tube. Very much a British type – perhaps an English type: sober, dressed in browns and greys. Flat, sensible shoes. Perhaps a flat, sensible life. But also a friendly, intelligent face.
The sort of lady I might have met after one of the Family Services of my childhood, standing about at the back of a chilly church among the musty scent of ancient choir robes, drinking coffee that came out of a fat steel urn into pale blue cups, perched on pale blue saucers. Rich Tea and Nice biscuits. She was a Rich Tea and Nice biscuit sort of lady.
Tightened up again, but perhaps because this guy was as tight as they come. He should have played a villain in Blake’s 7.
In fact, the glossy black jacket he was wearing, buttoned to the throat, was pure Avon. (Younger readers, stop frowning. It’s not my fault you missed out.)
He was strikingly symmetrical, which is always a bit unsettling. Large, round, dark eyes gazing steadily across the carriage at me. I’m not sure he believed any of the fake ‘subject studying’ glances I kept giving the chap next to him. I’m not even sure those gleaming eyes weren’t boring deep into the darkest secrets of my soul…