QA 34. June 2012. Mr Needleman of Plein Street

I’m walking down Plein Street when he catches my eye. He offers a packet of sewing needles. “No, thank you”, I say, not breaking stride. That could have been the end of it, but he turns after me. Please, mummy! It’s my last one. I can buy some more to sell and get me something to eat. I show him my back. He follows, his tone darkening. Please, mummy. I asked you nicely. Well, no. It wasn’t nicely at all. When I join the stream of pedestrians at Golden Acre he gives up and turns back.

Such a small scene, but it stays with me. What just happened? Why am I left so irritated and bemused? Read more