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Donkin's World: Yesterday's Currency

Richard Donkin tells of two "old dogs'' in a park, one of them finding yesterday's currency.

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Back to the gym today. It's been a while and it was tough getting in to the routine again. I'd forgotten just how crass the radio sounds. Why do the gym people think we all want to listen to rap and pop stations? I'd also forgotten a 20p coin for the locker so carted my rain top around with me.

Walking the dog in the park afterwards, I bend over to pick up a conker. They're everywhere. When I was a little boy we had to search them out. A big, shiny new conker was a prized possession, like a gold coin. For today's children they're yesterday's worthless currency.

This conker is shiny too. It feels new, pristine, almost sensual. There's a lustre on the grained casing. Older, dull conkers settle in the gutter under newly fallen leaves. The air smells of wet wood, the smell of autumn.

The dog finds a puddle and starts to drink the water. He jumps with surprise when I throw the conker and make a splash beside him. He's getting old. I noticed he couldn't see me when he'd dropped about fifty yards behind. I'm getting old too. Two old dogs in the park, rooting among the leaves in the autumn of life, unnoticed and spent, like yesterday's currency.


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