It's made me realise what it must be like to be old and alone, where every visit, phonecall, letter or trip out is company.
When I'm out walking, older people are more likely to initiate conversation in a queue, say hello as they walk by or hover that bit too long to talk to the checkout assistant.
When I was working I was too busy to pay much attention, but now I too have to fill my days and find people to talk to. I get it and want to give them more of my time.
Last week an old man in front of me in a charity shop queue was chatting for a long time which held me up. My automatic response was to say excuse me or find a way to speed him up. I didn't, because I realised I had all the time in the world. For once I wasn't in a rush to go anywhere. That may have been his only conversation that day. Shame on me for not having the patience before. I guess the pace of London didn't help.
From now on I want to go at a slightly slower pace and take in my suroundings. 'What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.'
p.s. I must call my grandparents