This 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 are unsuccessful.
I 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).
This 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.
About 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 consideration.
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.