I had occasion to do some research in London, and popped into a Waitrose en passant.

My battery has a habit of dying in inconvenient places where I can’t easily change it, and in a lunchtime supermarket queue, juggling my lunch and one of those cardboard coffee trays (lovely self-serve coffee) certainly qualifies as awkward. So I reverted to my default deaf setting on being called forward to the till, and as I put my goods down and rootled for my purse, I evidently evinced sufficient lack of response for the assistant to twig that I was deaf.

He slipped into sign language, naturally, easily, not in the usual laboured manner of someone struggling to recall a single sign from a deaf awareness class five years ago, nor in the exaggerated style of an over-enthusiastic exponent who has simply been DYING to practise their fingerspelling. It was just as if it was a normal, natural, part of the job for him to switch into BSL as required.

Now that’s what I call service – and the smile on my face kept me warm on a perishing cold day in a London square, eating my picnic and being flashmobbed by pigeons.