The Space

speaking with strangers

Apr 28, 2024

 "You look gorgeous"

"That's so cute"

"Is that your cat?"

These are some of the things I said to strangers during my travels in London last week.

Inappropriate? Unprofessional? Too much? 

Let's see...

I am a Londoner born and bred. I lived in Glasgow for 10 years and have had stints* in Egypt, Malaysia, Morocco, USA, Bali, and a few other places. *Or stunts as the autocorrect tried to tell me :-)

I would also add that after years and years of doing my own work I am very comfortable in my own skin... And that means I listen to what is happening for me; what my head, heart, and gut are telling me. And I also observe for time... Was that a fleeting message or does it keep coming back.

I was sitting on the Victoria line from Euston to London Bridge heading to The Shard to interview the master coach Jenny Rodgers on behalf of Meyler Campbell where I am a member of the coach teaching faculty. At the first major interchange three women got on. They were exuding a lot of joy and happiness. It lifted the mood of the entire train. The energy and joy wafted over to me...

I looked up from the emails I was writing on my phone and stopped me in my tracks. After a few seconds spent taking in the atmosphere in I started to smile as I looked at the older woman and noticed the bag she was carrying with the words 'happy birthday' written on them. I couldn't help but continue to smile. I tried not to stare but she caught my eye. I nodded in acknowledgement. Bubbling up inside me was a real desire to tell this immaculately dressed older woman how gorgeous she looked. 

No one should do that right?

Not on a train, anyway!

The other women, who I assumed to be her daughters, had clearly had their hair done, their make up was on point, and they too smelt delicious. 

'Is that your mum?' I asked the woman sitting next to me. She nodded. I looked at her and said 'I just wanted to tell your mum she looks gorgeous.'

At this point the birthday girl looked at me and said 'Thank you. It's my birthday... It was my 60th yesterday and I am celebrating for a week.'

'Good for you' I said, beaming with delight.

I noticed that others in the train carriage were now looking at me and also smiling. 

It was a delightful moment that further lifted the atmosphere in the carriage...

We spoke a bit more...

'I hope when I'm 60 I spend a week celebrating and am taken for lunch in the Shard with my children. I hope you have a fabulous day. I have to run.'

Strangers, going to the same building, for different purposes...


On the way home as I got on the train at London Bridge there were some delays on the Northern line. As I was walking down the platform to find some space I stopped abruptly by something unusual I saw.

It was a man with a cat bag... 

...the fluffiest, cutest grey cat inside. 

Of course I had to say something! 

He could see me looking at him and was smiling.

'I bet you get lots of people wanting to say hello?' I said. 

We exchanged a few words and I learned a great deal about travelling with a cat in a pet carrier backpack!


I felt so much better having had these interactions. They were not profound, they were not complicated or long... yet, they were also deeply meaningful. The so-called rules of urban living tell us that we shouldn't speak to strangers and that we rush from one place to another.

Yet I don't do that... never have. I used to be uncomfortable about who I am and my approach to others but now I listen to my intuition and will speak to people if the message keeps coming to me...

If I see you wearing a nice pair of shoes I will tell you

If I see your cute cat I will say so

If I see you oozing joy and that makes me feel good, I'll tell you! 


When was the last time you spoke to a stranger?

What did you say?

How did you feel?


I'd like to invite you to look at people you encounter this week slightly differently... 

Who is making you smile?

What is bringing you joy?

What inspires you?

I'd love it if you let me know. 

All my best,


The Space

PS — The images in the picture represent:

1 & 2. I had a gorgeous vegan meal at a Michelin star restaurant in Soho. It is amazing how good vegan food can be... the ambience, company, and food was just awesome.

3 & 5. The view from The Shard.

4, 6, & 7. On Saturday morning I went about my day to day and observed the world differently: I saw my book on Wintering differently; had a delicious cup of coffee in Cafe Mondial, and noticed a poem written on the floor near the station. 



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