I don't think I have ever had time to really look at people I don't know before.
I sit here thinking about what I have just written - goodness me, in all my teaching years and Parents' evenings of course I have. People I don't know have arrived and sat down opposite me at a table to discuss their child and his/her work/behaviour ( in the widest sense). But then, of course, there has been an immediate connection - a common interest. A brief 'friendship' usually emerges in these circumstances if one has developed the right technique for encouraging it - because parents' evenings are a two-way thing. What the teacher learns about the parents - the way they look, the way they behave, their whole attitude - helps in every case to add to the teacher's knowledge of each individual child in his/her care. If the evening is a success then they are not 'ships that pass in the night' but just another addition to the teacher's mental build-up of each individual child.
Now - at 90 - (sorry to keep reminding you of the fact but believe me I have to keep reminding myself)- I have through circumstances become just an observer for much of the time.
Two choices (I am cutting out TV here) - either I sit at my computer and observe either the screen or the garden through the window - maybe at some times of the year an animal (beef cattle, sheep) might pop its head over the stone wall but rarely, so it is observe garden and/or wildlife. Or I sit in my nice new chair and look out of the window at the 'passing traffic'. After living here now for over five years it is amazing how familiar folk have become.
I can divide them into various groups (into my mind came the words 'Venn diagrams' - remember them from your school days?) - first and foremost dog walkers - 7 - 8am and again after tea. One soon learns who takes their pet for a short walk so that they poo away from their own doorstep and who is going for a 'proper' walk. Past they go - at a fair speed (depending on the dog - plenty of different breeds from chihuahua to setter). Those in the first category - back in a couple of minutes, poo bags swinging from which ever hand is not holding the lead) - the rest - some stroll back, others I don't see -they have a morning and evening route worked out and obviously return by a different way. 'By their dogs shall ye know them' has become my mantra with this group.
Mums with babies/toddlers pushing buggies pass later (do Mums still do as they did in my day - bath babies first thing, potty train, feed, dress, walk ) - I have no way of knowing. All I can say of this group is by golly how quickly newborns become toddlers (different vehicles sameMum pushing) become tiny tots on scooters, little bikes etc).
Ladies going shopping - middle aged walking briskly; only a mile into town so easy walking with a couple of shopping bags on market day. Older ladies go past later at bus time (stop at the end of the road) and then return using the next bus.
And then there are the walkers - usually in at least pairs - dressed for the weather, sticks in hand, waterproofs in rucksack if they have listened to the weather forecast.
I get to know some of them a bit - if the day is warm enough I take Priscilla outside and sit by the front door ready to call over the front lawn to passers by. Dog walkers are the best bet to elicit brief conversations (breed, behaviour, name etc) and some have become quite 'pally' - that goes for the dogs too.
Plenty of folk pass in cars - I am not interested in cars as long as they go) but that is only a brief glance.
But they are an interesting lot - dress varies enormously but only one thing stands out as worth mentioning. Sorry but I do not like tattoos. They might be 'fashionable' but now that the weather has warmed up a bit I do seem to be drawn to observing men in shorts, often fat tummies drooping over the waist line, and countless tattoos. (I recall an elderly lady in the village stopping me when I was about to marry the farmer a couple of years after being widowed. She remarked how lucky I was and said she would like to meet someone and remarry -( "but he must have his own teeth and he must keep his shoes clean."). So I will end by saying - never in my whole life time could I marry a man whose body is covered in tattoos (but then I am sure they would all say, without exception "never in my whole life time could I marry a woman of 90, unable to walk and nosey enough to sit there observing me as I walk past"