I was in a waiting room yesterday. The upholstery of the chairs and the woodwork were lime green. There was an elderly couple seated directly opposite. I had a vague sense that a slightly strange conversation had taken place between the nurse and the man. A few moments after the nurse had gone the woman started counting, out loud, over and over again. She skipped a single number sometimes, or jumped from 29 to 40. I noticed that she was counting the legs of the chairs. Then she said to the man: "There's a lot of green in here, isn't there? Eh? Someone must like green, eh? I don't like green much." Then there was a moment's pause, and she repeated herself, almost exactly. She did both of these things a dozen or more times. Of course I soon realised that she probably had some form of dementia, and it seemed advanced. I wondered about the counting, and the colour, and her child-like fascination. Sobering and sad.

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