Fiona Duff: Better Forrest Gump than Fiona Grump

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A friend who recently moved to Edinburgh was overheard telling someone how unfriendly he found the folk of this good city. As it was at a supper party to which I had invited him I was a bit surprised.

Mind you, I am also aware that as I tramp about the town there are many who think I am a tad rude. You see I usually don’t wear my glasses and so it is difficult to recognise anyone until they are virtually under my nose. By the time I then realise who they are, rack my brain to try and remember their name (my memory is appalling) they will be 100 yards along the road, no doubt seething about my lack of manners.

There are times when it goes the other way – I spot someone with a distinctive hairstyle and greet them as old friends only to discover that I have never met them in my puff. They probably go to the same hairdresser as whoever I thought it was in the first place.

Anyway, to remedy this I have decided just to smile and say hello to everyone. Apart from the aching jaw muscles, the only other result of this is that I am now becoming known as the grinning village idiot, a sort of female Forrest Gump of the New Town.

Going along Water of Leith with my dogs, it is quite acceptable to smile and talk to other canine owners – we are a club and it is almost de rigeur to admire each other’s waggy tailed possessions. We only ask for their names, not that of their owners. Indeed in my local park I am known to many solely as “Dan’s mum”, which is odd what with me not actually having given birth to him.

So if I smile at you, please don’t be afraid. The only emotion you should really feel is sorrow that I have neither the money nor the nerve to have laser surgery on my peepers. And don’t for a minute suggest that I am not being friendly.