Early in the morning, I went to Lancaster station to pick up a prepaid train ticket for my daughter. It was busier than I expected. While I was standing in the queue, I became aware that the poet George Szirtes was behind me. He had once written an endorsement for my book Identity Papers. I struck up a conversation with him, and showed him the copy of Hinterland magazine that I happened to have in my coat pocket. It featured an interview with him by his daughter Helen. ‘I have a story coming out in the next issue,’ I told him, quite pleased with myself. As I was talking, George looked down at my feet. I looked down, too. I still had my slippers on. I asked him about his own work. He was travelling the country and writing a series of poems about the politics of Covid-19. As he talked, I found my eyes wandering to a woman in the queue next to ours. She had a red scarf over her mouth and nose, and I wondered if that counted as protective covering. George took hold of my chin and turned my face back in his direction. We ended up so deep in conversation, I actually followed him onto his train for London. Only when the train was moving, did I realise what had happened and got off at Preston, but not before having to borrow some money from George for the ticket back, since I’d left my wallet at home.