On one of my recent walkabouts I noticed a mysterious footprint in an alleyway near my home. The footprint was set in concrete, and pointed slightly south of east, as seen in the photograph below. It seemed to me that the footprint had been made by a right shoe, so I compared it with the right shoe that I was wearing. There was no doubt - the footprint was exactly the same shape and length as mine. This meant the footprint had been made by someone wearing a UK size 9 shoe (or European size 43).
A cursory inspection of the surrounding area confirmed that this was a solitary footprint. Or was it? I decided to conduct a fingertip search along the alleyway, whilst moving in a slightly south of easterly direction. My problem was that dusk was barely an hour away, and there was no street lighting in that section of the alley. So I had to stop when it became too dark to see. I used a chalk that I carry with me for such occasions to mark the spot where I temporarily abandoned the search. I knew I was onto something and was resolved to resume the search on the following day.
Shortly after dawn next day, my perseverance paid off. I encountered a strange grouping of 6 paw marks in a further section of concrete. The photo below shows these paw marks quite clearly, including the toe of my own left shoe. I was so startled by this unexpected discovery that I dropped my chalk. The white dot that the chalk made in the concrete is also visible in the photo.
Well, I continued my fingertip search on my hands and knees for a further two hours, and halted when I emerged from the alleyway at the point where it met the local High Street. I was quite thirsty, but luckily there was a bountiful supply of water at hand. I chose the last of the four available sources shown in the three photos below.
Of course it isn't easy to get a small quantity of water from such a highly pressurised source, so some water in excess of my immediate needs ran across the pavement and spilled over the edge of the kerb into the High Street gutter. That's when I saw the writing in the concrete kerbstone. You can see the writing in the photo below.
I quite like this final photo, because it proves I didn't waste too much water, and you can see a little more of my left shoe...
2 years ago