Why is it that when you are living in France it is perfectly normal to say “Bonjour” to complete strangers, whether you pass them in the street, supermarket or pass their table in a restaurant. Yet in England it seems equally normal to ignore people, to avoid catching their eye and pretend they don’t exist! For a short period I commuted into London and was struck by the fact that many commuters stood at the same place on the platform and often sat in the same seat. Yet completely ignored their fellow commuters, burying their heads in their papers, and doubtless sitting next to people for years without ever communicating!

I should say here that coming from the South my experiences are a little slanted. When I have been in the North I have found people to be much more open and friendly, so perhaps it is just a phenomenon in the South………!