As my boys stopped to pat a gorgeous wee French bulldog at Broughty Ferry beach the other day, we said hello to the owner and her dad.
After a few minutes, the man said to me: “Do you know who you look a bit like? That girl on the telly. What’s her name . . . Maxine something . . . Maxine Maxwell?”
I’ve been called worse.
I told him I looked even more like her when I had my make-up on.
Mum was with me and suddenly the four of us were chatting as the boys played with Donna’s wee lad.
Harry said he was from Lochee and Mum’s eyes lit up.
“Me too,” she said. “I’ve lived in the Ferry for 30 years but I always say I’m from Lochee.”
“Where about?” asked Harry.
“Ooooh,” he said when Mum said Charleston. I always thought it sounded posh (I lived there with my mum and gran until I was eight) but I’ve never known anyone actually think it really was.
We chatted for ages – about nothing and everything – and it was, well, it was just nice.
After months of lockdown, I have a new appreciation of making a connection, whether a chat, a smile or an act of kindness.
To make that connection, I’ve learned it helps to have a dog.
Perhaps it’s a lockdown thing, but I’m drawn to them in a way I wasn’t before and my boys are desperate to have one.
We can’t pass a dog without the kids asking to pat it – and before you know it, you’re chatting to the owner about all sorts.
In fact, if you start loving dogs a whole new world of friendships opens up.
A few days later, I got speaking to two pals who were walking a wee white Scotty called Rory.
One of the men, both Dundee supporters, said: “I love Homes Under The Hammer,” while his friend said “Nah, that’s a show for women.”
Another lady with a lovely Cavapoo (I kid you not, that’s what a King Charles crossed with a poodle is called) told me anything with the word “cava” in it sounded good to her and gave me a run-down on dogs that might suit a family.
These “friendships” might be fleeting – they might last 20 seconds or 20 minutes. But they all offer something – from a belly laugh to a new fact or tail-wag – and they add a wee something to any day.