morning I had a little part to play in taking an elderly lady from a home to
her dentist. As we left the car park, I spotted a baby’s white boot on
the wet ground. I know from experience how frequently those things get sprung
off by recalcitrant sprogs, how annoying it can be to have to retrace your
tired steps to recover them, and the expense that is sometimes involved if you
snatched the shoe up and stuck it like a traitor’s head on the spiked railing
alongside - but gently. The railings are black so it was highly visible. (I
would proudly have taken a picture but my phone has snuffed).
gave me the chance to explain to my companion that I recently began writing a
long-pondered text about lost clothing, reflecting on the social tradition of
picking things up and placing them prominently for a stranger one is never
likely to meet.
40 minutes later we came back the same way and to our delight, the shoe had
gone, presumably recovered with relief by parent or carer. I really like the
anonymity of the sequence, when it works. And it happens all the time –
especially in winter – all over the place, and proves quite nicely that people
don’t have to receive thanks in order to repeat simple low-cost gestures of
As for the text, I'm working with photographer Martin Dudley and we hope to come up with a curious little illustrated booklet, which you can be sure I will mention here, in due course.