One way to measure change is by looking at the past.
'I've been carrying this around for at least forty years now,' laughed Dorothy Evans, waving the crumpled black and white photograph at her friend Jessie.
It had fallen out of her bag when she paid for the tea.
Jessie took out her magnifying glass.
'I'll have to check for small details, clues about your past, my dear,' she laughed.
They had only met a couple of years ago, but had hit it off immediately.
'People will think we are members of an Amateur Dramatic Society, playing Agatha Christie's sleuth Miss Marple, and her friend,' laughed Dorothy, looking around at their fellow customers in the Sunflower Tea Rooms.
'How else could they explain the sight of two eccentric ladies in their seventies, possibly holidaying together in a coastal resort, peering intently at an old photograph?'
'We do look the part,' said Jessie, adjusting her wide brimmed straw hat and smoothing her elegant floral patterned dress.
She peered at the photo.
'A springer spaniel sitting on the shingle, on a beach perhaps just along the coast from here. He must have been a beloved pet.
'I must admit, though, if we're in mystery mode, I am rather disappointed. I did at least expect a shadowy figure, a train in the distance, a burned out windmill, a mysterious woman on a bench.'
'Yes, my wonderful dog Ben, said Dorothy. 'I think of him often.' When the photograph was developed, though, something else appeared.
'Ah! Evidence!' said Jessie.
'Look at the sky!' said Dorothy, with a Miss Marple twinkle in her eye.
Jessie peered at a tiny white circular shape.
'Oh Dorothy, surely you're not telling me it's a UFO.'
'In fact, there were a few sightings around at that time,' said Dorothy, 'although I'd rather not call it a spaceship. I'd say it's a mysterious symbol representing unity, or perhaps light, or at least something that makes life seem worth it.
'It is lovely to think of Ben, but with this additional detail, this is my photograph from home.'
If Jessie had been less than a friend at this moment, she would have argued, quite rightly, that the shape was obviously a stain, a glitch on the photo.
However, the bond between the two ladies remained unbroken.
I felt it, and it warmed me. I was sitting a few tables away, trying to memorise what I could hear of their dialogue.
We writers do this.
I've made up the names of course, added fanciful speculation here and there, but I saw the twinkle in Dorothy's eye. Her dream was real, who am I to tarnish it?