Kew is a small place, and after you've lived here a while you recognize people on the street that you've seen around a lot. One such - who in fact I may well know from the bowls section of one of my tennis clubs, I'm never quite sure - is a tiny older woman with one of those iron-grey mannish haircuts. (I say tiny: she makes me feel BIG, and I'm only 5'6"). She was standing in the middle of the sidewalk (pavement, for Brits) yesterday as I came walking back home from an errand, and she stopped me with that: "You see that woman over there?" Across the street was a small, bent figure with a cane, wrapped in a long, camel-colored coat, a scarf over her head, and I think glasses as well: you couldn't really see the actual person. She was walking rather slowly, as you might expect.
"She's as old as the hills," said my interlocutor with admiration. "But she won't take any help. She did something in the War [World War II for Americans], but she won't ever talk about it." We watched a little longer, and then I said something like, "And how are *you*?" and she said, "Oh, fine", and the conversation ended. When I got to the far end of my street, I turned and looked back. The woman with the cane was just crossing the end of it, quite possibly on her way to the shop around the corner (Squire's). I will have to watch for her in future.