On a mid-morning visit to the Horniman Gardens in Forest Hill, I stumbled upon a child’s exercise book abandoned on a wall, its bright blue cover incongruous against the grey stone. Imagine my delight when, upon closer inspection, this turned out to be not a Geography book or a History book but an Ideas book! What a wonderful concept, a book purely for the purpose of recording ideas. Surely it must have been full to brimming, for there are few places as fertile as a child’s imagination.
No school children were in sight, so class 3C must have moved on, perhaps into the Museum, taking with it the young Harrison Slocock to whom the book belonged. I imagined him searching in his backpack for his book as a thought occurred to him, with a view to documenting it for further investigation, and realising with horror that he had forgotten it, for who would deliberately leave behind such a book? Poor Harrison to lose his ideas.
Would we all not benefit from an Ideas book? Somewhere to note down all of those little thoughts that occur during the day, from inventions we ought to create, to inspiration for a song or places we simply must remember to visit. So much gets lost to the inefficiencies of memory that might otherwise be maintained and cultivated if only we made sure to write it down somewhere that we could keep it safe.
When, on my return journey, I passed the same spot again the book was gone. Vanished. Perhaps its author had returned to reclaim his ideas, or perhaps an opportunistic soul, devoid of inspiration itself, had claimed the book and was even then nourishing itself on a youthful mind’s outpourings. I shall never know.