Smallest boy dispatched into the school bus at a reasonable hour, I pulled on my boots, and headed out with the dog-of-small-brain for a nice long walk over the hill at the back on what they say will be our last dry day for a while. And what a glorious morning. It was cold, yes, but the air was alive with bees humming, blackbirds warbling, and various finches chitter-chattering. I saw a skylark, and watched ravens squabbling on the wing. And the woods were splendid, a mix of fresh spring green and dappled sunlight, the hedgerows beautiful with bluebells, buttercups and dainty stitchwort. I could quite happily have stayed up there all day.
On the way back down, we were making our way along a rough, windswept path, when we came across something unexpected, a lone shoe. Now, I don’t want to give the impression this is a common occurrence, but I do often see single shoes lying by the side of roads, and I always wonder just how on earth people come to lose them out here in the countryside. I mean, wherever people go, they drop all sorts of rubbish, but shoes, how does that happen? Recently I saw a smart pair of men’s loafers dropped by the side of the road. There is a story brewing somewhere, but it hasn’t bubbled to the surface just yet.
This morning, we found the lone shoe just off the path on the side of the hill. Actually, it was one of those trekking-type sandals, perfectly intact, no straps broken. I picked it up, puzzled. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not talking mountain walking here, but the terrain does require stout footwear. I don’t think anyone would choose to walk it barefoot. So how on earth does someone manage to lose a shoe up there?
Okay, I agree. It must have been one of a spare pair, although walking around these gentle slopes with spare shoes does seem rather over-the-top. My imagination dished up a juicier explanation. It probably belongs to someone who’s disappeared, maybe even murdered, it whispered. Put it down, you silly fool.
I dropped the shoe and hurried away. If my imagination is right, and it insists it is, the shoe could be a vital piece of evidence. And if that’s true, then, as my imagination keeps hissing at me, chastising me with the thought, my fingerprints are all over it now. I don’t think we’ll walk up there again for a while, and how I wish I hadn’t found it! Paranoid, me? You bet!