I can’t remember the last time I saw a blind boy chained to a shop front.
At one time it seemed that you couldn’t turn a corner without bumping into a girl or boy in callipers, three tiny kittens waiting to be drowned, a guide dog, a floppy eared spaniel, or a huge scary robin who had obviously been eating too many worms.
Yes, charity collection isn’t what it used to be. These days it’s all TV events, standing orders, free pens through the post, and enforced carrier bag filling at the supermarket - whether you want it or not.
The old ways seemed to work though. The blind boy and the children in callipers were pretty hard to pass without dropping a penny or two through the slots in their heads. The robin on the other hand was a little too scary for my liking, and as for those kittens and their damned milk bottles…
The high street used to be an assault course what with the big happy butcher and his cleaver, the paper boy in his thirties cap and the life size charity collection statues. Perhaps that’s why they seem to have disappeared, imagine the health and safety outcry if a small child got bitten by one of those fibre glass dogs or attacked by a ferocious robin.
It was the blind boy that I found the most upsetting though, eyes closed, angelic face, hands resting on a book he would never read. I used to think: ‘Well, at least he can’t see his bright yellow jumper. It makes him look a pansy.’ I was always a little worried that if I reached out and dropped a penny in his book that he might grab my hand and refuse to let me go.