08-08-09, 11:32 AM
When I was small, my Nanny used to recite a poem which always had me in floods. It was called "Little Boy Blue," and told the story of the eponymous infant who, having put away his toys for the night, went to bed and promptly succumbed to some unspecified but fatal childhood illness, leaving the toys to spend many years wondering (if toys can wonder) where their young master had got to. I was reminded of this fearsomely mawkish piece today when I paid a visit to the lovely and historic market town of Ormskirk in West Lancashire. I enjoin all of you, in the most solemn terms, not to miss an opportunity to visit this delightful small town if you're in the area. There are few large chain stores, but lots of little individual shops, some in quaint, cobbled alleyways. There is even a bike shop. The parish church is notable for having both a tower and a spire, for reasons which now elude me. In a small car park on the outskirts, there's a bike shelter which is pictured below. Observe, if you will, the bicycle on the ground. It's a fairly nondescript Raleigh, which was made neither yesterday nor the day before. It doesn't seem in too bad condition. Nothing is actually missing, which is surprising, because that bike has been there, to my certain knowledge, for several months, and nobody has gone next, nigh or near it. It's locked up, but I'm astonished nobody has helped themselves to any bits. This just intrigues me so much. Why would anybody park up their bike, lock it up and never come back? Is its owner in hospital, in prison or, God forbid, in the canal?