The doorbell rings, the dog goes crazy and the friend I haven't seen in years walks through the house to have tea and a chat in my kitchen. Along the way, she passes walls that are clad in art.
Some of the paintings are mine, showing a progression over the years. Others are by friends, or have been bought on impulse through galleries.
But my dear friend – a cultured and refined woman who knows that I have thrown caution to the wind in my pursuit of painting - says nothing. She does not look at the walls. Not even a glance.
As someone who makes art, this is puzzling. And this happens all the time. Rare is the visitor who stops and looks and comments on what I have hanging on the walls.
So I have spent some time developing theories about is happening here. Humour me, and let me know what you think.
1. They are not 'visual'
People's homes tell you almost everything you need to know about a person. The things they covet, how they spend their money, their dirt and mess tolerance, their design preferences, the image they like to present to visitors ... and what lies beneath.
Not noticing these things is, to me, like missing out on a vital sense, like touch or smell.
But it is possible that not everybody seeks and takes in this visual information. I find it unlikely that this is the case in so many people, however, so there must be something else going on ...
2. They don't know what to say
Now, this is a likely factor. There is a not a high level of familiarity about visual arts in this country - apart from the annual circus of portraiture that is the Archibald Prize.
That lack of everyday conversation about painting could mean that people are afraid they may say the "wrong" thing and expose themselves as unknowledgeable.
They may also be concerned about offending an artist with the wrong comment – so it is safer to say nothing. It is the same response they may give to "Does my bum look big in this?"
3. They are French
I remember reading Almost French by Sarah Turnbull some (many) years ago and learning about how, in Paris, it was unseemly to comment on people's personal possessions and art.
Turnbull concluded that, to openly admire someone's art was to present yourself as someone who couldn't possibly afford to own such a valuable object. The appropriate and polite response was to ignore it, as if you always had lunch in homes that had Renoirs above the fireplace.
4. They are not interested
They have come to my house to see me, not my paintings. They want to know how my life is going, if I am happy, if the family is well and they want to tell me about their own lives.
They are not curious about what I have on my walls.
5. They are afraid I will try to sell it to them
I guess I may be nervous about asking my party plan girlfriend about her Tupperware.
6. They hate it
Well, there is that too ...