Approaching the flats while still on the open common, Hermione was appalled to see Marlon step right onto a pile of dog poo! she shuddered, looked askance at the lumbering figure, particularly recalled that he had not even tried to avoid it—as she herself did—nor to scrape his shoe clean on the grass, his gait never changed and really, Hermione thought to herself, and not for the first time, what is Gramarye coming to, when dog-people ignore the rights and comforts of other citizens on our Sceptred Isle—more like Septic when you see how much poo is still left, when most of the dog-people she knew carried little bags to collect the deposits—and what kind of person is this MacFarlane who surely saw what he was walking onto? maybe he's autistic, certainly oblivious, and he had recognised her, but never said so before referring to her in several silly songs, that was weird, and now he is the Clan Chieftain, and she wondered if he knew, if no-one—apparently—was aware of his whereabouts, unless he had read it somewhere, or, she supposed, a friend in Canada could have called him but unbeknownst to the family; should she facilitate the search for him? ask Carla to contact Prince Edward Island and tell his aunt, or whoever, where he is presently living, but she didn't even know how long he'd been at the flats; should she initiate a discussion, an interview? obviously, she couldn't invite him into her flat, nor, just as obviously, would she go into his, one of the perks of Covid 19 Social Distancing was that it saved you from having to make excuses for avoiding people, they assumed you were being courteous if you did the wide sweep rather than them, if it was you who crossed the road, saving them the extra distance, they actually thanked you for avoiding them! and of course, the other journalist's fall-back, a cafe or pub, was now history; stand on the pavement with this oaf whose left shoe was still—she could see, and shivered with barely repressed disgust—caked with the muck, surely he would clean it off before going into the lobby, surely? maybe even take it off before going up the three steps to the entrance, demonstrating that he was going to clean it when he got to his flat, surely, surely, surely? and suddenly, a brightshine lifted her mood as Gretl Falber, radiant in lemon trainers, tangerine joggers and with a lime fleecy hoodie, stepped through the door, her platinum wig catching the last rays of the sun before it would be hidden by the trees, and give her her due, Gretl Falber had the omniscience of every Jewish Mamma Hermione had ever known, including her own: "stop!" she cried, imperiously, holding her hand up, palm facing Marlon, "you cannot come up these steps, Marlon, with that shoe in it's present infected condition," pointing with her other hand at the offending object, so that Marlon was obliged to look down, following the direction of her finger and either he was a consummate actor, always ready to ad lib, or he was truly oblivious, he looked, he saw, he jerked his body backwards and away from the cause of Gretl's command, and he swore: "oh fuck! fuck, fuck, fucketty fuck, fuck!" and Gretl's face coloured: "obscenities? in front of two ladies, tut tut, Marlon, better I would expect from the new Chieftain of your Clanship, already, moving with the times notwithstanding, here's a Waitrose bag, put it in there and if you're going to clean it, take it upstairs, if you can't cope with that, put it in the dog poo bin across the road, and don't be so prissy, if women can cope with childbirth and changing nappies day in, day out, you can surely manage one or other of the alternatives, isn't that right, Mrs Brown?" including Hermione for the first time although she had already referred to her as one of the offended ladies when MacFarlane had sounded more like he could have Tourette syndrome rather than Autism but then, as Hermione knew from her younger brother, Jack, the Spectrum was extremely wide and inclusive.