I have always loved the phrase “chewing the fat” when people refer to a catch-up conversation, mulling over ideas or just talking nonsense with friends, lovers or strangers.

Today I did all that. There was a photo to accompany a press release ahead of next week’s local paper, some research for volume two of Crewe And Its People, an impromptu natter with friends en route to rugby (C&N at the Vagrants), then some proper beery banter mid-afternoon with two random fellas I have never met before.

Now I should quantify the last sentence. I was not beery, but the chaps I engaged in conversation most definitely were. One was the kinda fella most would avoid on first sight; the other was a blagger and out for anything he could get. Well, at least a free pint.

The thing is, they were both people. They had stories to tell. They had lived varied lives. Bizarrely, as these things tend to be, I had overlapped with both gentlemen in previous situations without realising it. We also knew 10-plus friends who had a foot in both social camps.

Moreover, although both decidedly worse for the wear, they could hold decent conversations and there was no bad bone in either of their bodies. I gleaned a few nuggets of information, reminisced about older times, and the blunt, brash and occasionally coarse dialogue was genuinely engaging.

As ever, the morale of the story is that you should never judge a book (or a person) by its/their cover. We are all unique, awkward, ridiculous and boast many idiosyncrasies that probably drive loved ones insane.

That’s why life is so rich and fascinating. Make the most of it.

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