I have often heard people say this but I have no idea what it means, though the events of the last few weeks may illustrate it.
Three weeks ago, despite my usual precautions, I lost my bus pass. The next day I found that someone had posted it through the letterbox.The pass has no address on it, but it does have a mugshot straight out of the Police Gazette, so I had to assume that whoever posted it had recognised me.
Two days after that, I was leaving the recycling point when I met a woman who smiled and asked if I’d got my pass. I didn’t recognise her and wasn’t sure how she recognised me. And having recognised me, how did she know where I lived? (We live in a farmhouse which is relatively secluded.) I was so grateful I might have hugged her, but she was saved from this fate by the bag of shopping she had in each hand. A wise precaution on her part.
Today I was returning from my daughter’s apartment when I saw a young woman opening the door to a block of student flats. She dropped her purse on the pavement. I tried to return it but was baulked by the Entryphone security system.
When I finally got someone to open the door, she was Chinese. Do you know Rhea Fitzwilliam, I asked, in my best Cantonese? (We don’t have a Confucius Institute here for nothing.) She did not. But when I flipped open the wallet and showed her Rhea’s photograph she recognised her at once.