The Shoe Trees

On a sunny but chilly walk this afternoon in Jesmond Dene we turned a corner along a winding path and were confronted with a sight which reminded me of seeing fruit bats hanging from trees in the Botanic Gardens in Sydney. On closer inspection, a group of trees had hundreds of shoes hanging from their branches: much more interesting and impressive than anything at the Venice Biennale.
Apparently, in 1627 a Mr Babington threw a pair of shoes into the branches to celebrate the birth of his first grandson, and people have been doing it ever since, to celebrate a special event. (Though I have to say that the shoes all seemed to be trainers, and I didn’t see any shoes such as you might find in a museum. In any case these trees, whilst mature, were not several centuries old.)
I have now decided to throw a pair of my shoes up there next time I have something to celebrate, which I hope will be soon!

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