There’s a dear old chap living in the neighbourhood, who can’t be having with women. It was explained to me carefully when we arrived – it’s nothing personal, but he went through school and his working life without really meeting any, and now he’s retired he has absolutely no intention of changing the status quo. To him, women are just different – look different, speak different. Different. And as far as he is concerned, they can do the other thing. So what with one thing and another I haven’t seen much of him. But a couple of days ago we found ourselves in forced proximity as we were both waiting for different lifts, but in the SAME PLACE. He was alarmed, but stood his ground. I smiled gently, tried to radiate reassurance and said something bland about the weather. He didn’t reply but just twitched slightly, so I decided to leave it there and pray for my lift to come quickly. He was obviously doing the same. After a while he looked in my direction, though not at me, moistened his lips and said: “Do you know what to do if a skunk sprays your dog?” There is more chance in rural Wiltshire of my dogs being beamed up to Betelgeuse by an alien spaceship than being sprayed by a skunk, but I was so delighted at the breakthrough that I said: “No, do tell me!” He replied: “You drench it immediately in tomato juice!” and fell silent again. I was on fire to know (a) how he knew this, (b) where you could suddenly find enormous mines of tomato juice in a crisis, (c) why he felt I was a suitable recipient for the knowledge etc, but at that crowded moment his lift arrived and he leaped into a car and was whirled away. So I will never know how, where, why etc because I doubt he will unbutton that far again. But how deeply fascinating, for all manner of reasons!