I have bought flowers from the same stall in a south London street market for more than ten years.
A typical exchange took place today with the expressionless blonde who stands beside her plants like the moron waiting outside Superdrug.
In all this time I’ve been buying flowers from her, she has never raised a smile.
‘Good morning? Nice day?’ Forget it!
Today she has an attractive bunch of violet and orange flowers, but I don’t know their name.
‘I’d like a bunch of those flowers please. What are they called?’ I said, pointing to the bunches in her black plastic bucket.
‘No idea,’ she replied.
‘I’ll have a bunch of no idea then,’ I said.
But I’d got to her this time as beginning low down her neck, a scarlet blush spread up beyond her ears.
c.Christine Osborne: Bird of Paradise flower Strelitzia reginae