It was a Thursday. 7pm. West Street, Sheffield. I was waiting for the number 52 bus home.

He came from behind me. Shuffled past me. Stopped. Looked me in the eye, then opened his mouth to speak:

Do you know who said

“This precious stone set in a silver sea”

I made a valiant attempt at not looking in the least bit surprised, and admitted that no, I didn’t.

“Shakespeare”

“I see”, I said. “And do you agree with him?”

I do, I love it here! He was Russian. Had only arrived in the UK a few weeks beforehand. He found this a good way to make friends.

Well, why not? I thought. After all, I used a pet penguin to do the very same thing in his home country.