Town Mouse

Off the street

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

IT’S as­ton­ish­ing what you can find on the streets of Lon­don. In­deed, my own en­thu­si­asm for aban­doned fur­ni­ture was an early source of mar­i­tal ten­sion. Now that I’ve suc­cess­fully tamed my in­ner mag­pie, how­ever, it seems that the spirit has passed to the chil­dren. They be­gan by col­lect­ing elas­tic bands (which may be dis­cov­ered in sur­pris­ing num­bers on the pave­ments of the cap­i­tal). More re­cently, there has been an en­thu­si­asm for dis­carded dec­o­ra­tions. Just this Satur­day, in fact, I found my­self try­ing to dis­pose dis­creetly of a golden Christ­mas bauble and— de­tached—plas­tic bell at Ham­mer­smith Broad­way.

How­ever, the real in­ter­est of the mo­ment is coins, which are un­der­stood to have value. For the same rea­son, if they’re seen to be dropped, the chil­dren will seek to re­turn them. This en­dear­ingly hon­est habit has brought home to me how care­less peo­ple can be of small change; it’s some­times even dropped like lit­ter. Out­side Far­ring­don sta­tion last week, I watched in con­fu­sion while the cop­per coins de­lib­er­ately dis­carded by a beg­gar from his bowl were care­fully col­lected to­gether and given back to him. He looked sur­prised and a lit­tle dis­pleased. He did, how­ever, cre­ate great hap­pi­ness when he mag­nan­i­mously of­fered them back to the col­lec­tor. JG

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