Remember me?

It happens to me all the time. Someone will say to me in the street or in a shop or even in a restaurant; “Hello, James. How are you?”

Or words to that effect.

And I have absolutely no clue as to their identity.

I blame getting older and the fact I am, or as my plain-speaking-photographer-friend Lucy says “Well you are wrapped up in yourself aren’t you, James?” – and there’s no arguing with her.

So what do you do in that situation? There are a few options.

n Pretend to know them and hope the exchange will come to an end soon – often easiest.

n Carry on a conversation and hope you remember who they are mid flow – risky.

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n Admit defeat and fess up – awkward.

n Or, controversially, just walk away and assume they have made a mistake – possibly rude.

Usually, I suspect, people simply mistake me for someone famous – Daniel Craig or Jude Law or Christopher Biggins or someone – and I smile graciously and we pass the time of day.

But there are the occasions when you do it to someone else and that can be embarrassing – the self- induced scenario.

I found myself in a rather tricky situation this week in the west Suffolk town of Mildenhall while waiting in the post office queue.

I was sending some parcels up north.

“Hello!” I said to a lady behind me, somewhat over effusively.

“Hello.” came back the blank reply with no follow up.

By then I knew something was wrong so feeling a little awkward I tried the confessional approach.

“I do know you don’t I?” I said light-heartedly while desperately wondering who the lady was despite saying hello to her in the first place.

The hole I was beginning to dig was getting deep.

“Well,” said the bemused lady in question “I used to work on the deli counter in Budgens for 20 years.” Our close friendship was obviously formed over my penchant for scotch eggs and a few slices of tongue.

She must have just looked like someone I thought I knew – Judi Dench or The Duchess of Kent or someone

“Oh yes, of course, how are you? Not in cold meats any more?” I carried on unwilling and strangely unable to admit defeat.

“No,” came back the reply.

A silence even more awkward than the conversation fell.

Clearly this woman knew me not from Adam and typically, the person in front of me was involved in a very long discussion about the price of stamps.

Anyway, there was no escape so I fiddled with my phone and prayed I could go to “window number 4” as soon as possible. Strange she didn’t remember me buying that slice of gala pie in March 1998.