a meal at a local restaurant last night. It is not a fancy place. There is no need to dress up. You just need to look "tidy". Prices are reasonable. Some local people eat there on quite a regular basis.
The service is perhaps a little slow - but those serving you are students who work there part-time.
The cuisine is largely Italian. They actually make proper Italian pizza - the sort without about a dozen different ingredients on top and without masses of grease either.
And, being a "local" place, you are likely to see people you know in there. The local state MP has his office next door. It is not unusual to see him in there. One of the local bank managers once told me he eats there most evenings. (He lives alone.) An elderly couple, quite well off, ate there each day before they could no longer drive. They then went to Meals on Wheels instead but they missed going out to be among people. The staff knew them well and, I suspect, they were often provided with meals more suited to their age and appetite. It is that sort of place.
Last night there were several people in there that I knew. One of them was someone my mother had known in her days as head of a school. I also knew him in his professional capacity as a psychologist. The Senior Cat had, surprisingly, never met him. I introduced them. They know more people in common.
My BIL was talking to someone he had been to university with - and had not seen since. My sister was talking to an old patient. My nephews were talking to someone they had met on the way in - the owner of a very fancy sports car.
It left my sister's father-in-law. I was concerned he might feel out of it and said something to him.
The response was a smile and a shrug, "Is like back in Cyprus. Everyone knows everyone. It's good. I like to watch it."
It is good. It is good that there are still a few small pockets of a city which are like a village where people might see other people they know and be acknowledged by them.
"And," the old Cypriot told me, "It is the difference between living and dying."
Perhaps it is.