I set out for a run at about five this morning, and wobbled round the corner up towards some nearby almshouses. In the faint light from at least 50 metres I thought I could make out a figure at one of the doors. As I drew closer I realised it was an elderly lady, on her doorstep, bent over and reaching down for something.
'Excuse me' says I, 'are you alright?'
Then I saw a pack of potatoes on the ground below a couple of steps. The woman stood in her nightie holding onto the doorframe, groping at and failing to grasp the pack (which presumably had been left by the milkman) and was in danger of toppling forward onto the path.
I passed her the spuds. And conscious that, déshabillé at that hour, she probably wouldn’t want to engage in any more conversation than I would, I moved on with just a few words. She thanked me laughing and said ‘Don’t get old’.
Incidentally, if you're one of these people who assumes that when you're sleeping, so is everyone else around you, you might be surprised. Neighbourhood encounters happen at all hours.