I suppose the first gentle push towards The Friendly Ones happened in the very early 1970s. My family was living in South London. My mother worked for the fire brigade, and had a friend in the office who lived very near by. The friend asked us round; there was some family event. She was Indian, and her house was not quite like ours. It was a house of gorgeous colours, an unusual perfume in the air, and a grandmother wearing something beyond my powers of description in both colour and construction – I think it must have been a brilliant pink sari. The manners of the family were unfamiliar – the four of us were divided into separate rooms to be entertained.. Afterwards the fact was clear: not everybody is like you.