If you live in a big city like London, you rarely even talk to your neighbours, let alone strangers in the street. This wasn’t always the case. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my Mum chatting away to other ladies on a bus. Sometimes, the conductor would join in the conversation, and pretty soon people further away would be twisting around in their seats, hoping to get a word in too. Shopping took forever, as Mum would chat about the same stuff to every shopkeeper, as well as to all the other customers in the shop. I would stand pulling at her sleeve, wondering what the hell they were all going on about.

Some time later, this all changed. And I never really understood why.

By the time I was in my thirties, approaching strangers was considered to be weird. You might get someone at a bus stop…

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