... or the conversation went thus
once more this morning:
Older lady: Are you English?
Me: Yes, I'm from London.
OL: Are you sure that you aren't foreign (Spanish/ Italian/ Greek)?
Me: No, I'm a Londoner.
OL: Your family tree must have some interesting bits to it.
Me: The only foreign blood I'm aware of is Swedish
Then, after a bit of a pause:
OL: Your hair, it's really curly.
Me: Yes, I chose the right parents.
OL: How often do you go to the hairdresser?
Me: I just get it cut a few times a year.
OL: But to get the curl ...
Then another pause, and this time a bit of a variation:
OL: You need to use a wide toothed comb on it.
Me: I only ever brush it through when I wash it, but I wet my hands and run them through my hair every morning.
OL: Let me comb it through for you
Me: (trying to make a hasty exit from this line of conversation) No, it doesn't need it!
And then as we parted:
OL: It would be interesting to look into your family tree ...
This was a slightly different version of a conversation I've had many times in my life.
Yes, I have dark hair, dark eyes and darker skin than many.
But at this time of year, when I've seen a little sun it happens often.
This mugshot was taken in January a few years ago.
In the summer of '69 I was working in Selfridges on Oxford Street, London.
It was a fairly hot summer, and I couldn't face braving the tube at rush hour, so used to wander over towards Hyde Park for some "fresh" air before heading home.
On one occasion I was asked within 30 minutes both whether I was Arab or Israeli.
When in Cyprus in the summers of '77 and '78 all the older ladies in the village would be chatting away in Greek to me along much the same lines, assuming that I had some Greek blood.