Lost & Found (your help needed)

My lost pen

My lost pen

I’m just embarking on my next project here at Channel 4, an arts one, working with Tim Wright and Rob Bevan with whom I made MindGym in the pioneer days. It’s to do with lost stuff and we need to gather some people’s experiences to get the ball rolling…

Here’s the questions:

  • What was the last thing you lost that you really cared about? and when was that?
  • What was the last thing you found that might have been difficult for the loser to replace? and when was that?

Seems only fair if I kick off…

The last thing I lost: A Parker Duofold fountain pen, Mosaic model, red white and grey, limited edition. The first time I ever splashed out on a fancy pen. Loved the weight of it, the pearly surface, the resonance of the Jazz Age. Lost it in Dublin airport I think. Just over a year ago. Thought it was irreplaceable as it was an old limited edition, was gutted. But ended happily though it was never found – thanks to my trusty browser, found a bloke still selling them in NYC. It currently has Saffron coloured ink in it from Caran d’Ache – most decadent.

The last thing I found: A mobile phone in the ferns along the path up Slieve Foy, the mountain that overlooks Ceol na Mara, my mother-in-laws house in Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland. It turned out a fella had lost it mountain biking over the ridge near Queen Meabh’s Gap. I rang the first number in it which was the owner’s pal, he got the owner to ring me and we fixed a rendez-vous at PJ’s (officially The Anchor Bar but no-one calls it that) where he bought me a hot port and the Enfants Terribles red lemonade (it’s an Irish thing) by way of reward. That also was just over a year ago.

So now over to you – it would be really helpful if you’d spend a moment recalling what you last lost and found…

30 comments so far

  1. rebecca frankel on

    Last thing i found was a small pair of scissors, after they slipped out an old mans ruck sack at the station tonight, and he ran on to a train and missed my calls for him to reclaim. Last thing I lost was a stack of posters i took away from the modern art museum in Helsinki at the weekend, somewhere between leaving my friends apartment and arriving at the airport. These transit spots seem to be hot beds for possession transferal!

  2. Cecelia O'Rourke on

    Last thing I lost was a beautiful silver link bracelet that a really close girlfriend had given me for my 35th birthday…..I had it almost 10 years and rarely took it off….and yep, I’m out clubbing and it slips off me just like that…..I mourn it regularly and haven’t thought of replacing it….it just wouldn’t be the same!!

    Last thing I found…..believe it or not, I was out clubbing yet again and I sat down for a breather and there slipping down the side of the couch is a wallet. Now, there is this guy sitting on said same couch but he’s on the other side. I decide not to hand it over to the bar staff as they could easily keep it….I hadn’t even checked the contents. I thought I should keep it till I got out into the morning light and call whoever’s name I found inside. I slip it into my purse. Ten minutes later a friend of mine comes over to me with a couple of his friends and asks me have I found a wallet….now, there were a lot of people there that night and I guess I thought it uncanny that they should come to me…..obviously, I have a finders look about me. Needless to say, he was a very happy fella on seeing it.

  3. ArkAngel on

    Cecelia O’Rourke, it’s hard to believe both your last lost and found were out clubbing, what are the odds of that 😉

  4. ArkAngel on

    Rebecca, here’s a picture for you from the transit spot otherwise known as Florence airport: http://moblog.net/view/326618/lost-found

  5. Bridget McKenzie on

    Shall I go (nearly) first? I want to help with this as I have a thing about loss, and an interest in the emotions that make people want to keep and collect things. It is difficult for me to answer the questions however because I so rarely lose things, so concerned am I to keep them.
    The last thing I lost: It is true that I lost my blackberry on the tube, and the memory is vivid because it was such a pain, but it was replaceable and didn’t really matter. So, that doesn’t count. The last thing I lost that felt more sickening was several photos on a corrupt memory card. I took them in Northumberland on a short visit in October.

    The last thing I found: This is really hard as most found things are trivial, though sometimes poignant for that, or they have been dumped. As I’m not counting coins, broken earrings, books, scraps of writing, mystery socks in the washing, truly the only thing I can recall is a photo album. This is a large album representing at least 60 years of an aristocratic family, their travels around USA and Europe. I bought it 5 years ago at a boot sale for peanuts. I imagine the owner was a spinster aunt, explaining how the album could have been neglected by the family. I could never find her name online.

  6. lloydshep on

    Lost – funny story. Interrailing in the mid-80s with a friend. Florence, 2am. We’re heading for Rome. Train comes in at Platform 10 at 1.50am, as predicted by the station indicator board. We get on, and choose a compartment which just happens to contain two very attractive American girls. We ask them if the train is indeed going to Rome. They say no. It’s going to Trieste.

    Panic ensues. I grab my shoes and moneybelt, which I’d already removed prior to tying round my leg to sleep, and *threw them out of the window*. I grabbed my rucksack, and ran round to the door. Which slammed in my face, as the guard pushed me back on to the train, and the train pulled away. Leaving my money belt (money, tickets, passport) and my shoes on the platform. I liked those shoes, too.

    Found: my wedding ring. Four times. Once in a goalie’s glove on Clapham Common after a stint in the net. Once at the bottom of the water slide at Center Parcs. And twice (yes twice) in the *sea* off Brittany. I think I was meant to be married.

  7. ArkAngel on

    Lloyd, you must have lost something you cared about in the last two decades?!

    And have you found anything of anyone else’s?

    Sounds like it was almost worth losing the shoes for the memory and the story. (Bet you can remember pretty well what the two Americans looked like.)

  8. ArkAngel on

    Bridget, thanks for your input. Can you elaborate at all on your interest in and perspective on loss?

  9. Benoon on

    My lost and found occurred on the same day, in the same place and the whole thing happened with integrated irony you couldn’t make up.

    On October 12th this year I was walking with the woman I had been partner to for 7 years, the day after having agreed our relationship was, really and truly, over. I was commemorating the loss of something which had been truly precious. I can’t say it was ‘lost love’ because that would be untrue. In fact, I won’t elaborate on that too much here.

    Anyway, we were walking by the canal just next to Victoria park on a beautiful, unseasonably warm, misty morning. Just by the row of barges I saw something gold on the towpath — unmistakably an engraved wedding ring, physically and emotionally irreplaceable for whoever lost it.

    I did what anyone would have done, of course. I photographed it and left a geotagged picture of it on Twitter, leaving the ring in the custody of the nearest moored barge.

  10. ArkAngel on

    Benoon, I’m going to have to push you on that one – Lost love doesn’t count in this game, it’s got to be an object

    That said, I appreciate the finely crafted circularity of your story

  11. Bridget McKenzie on

    I’ll have to think a bit before elaborating on my ‘thing’ about loss. I’ll write a blogpost on it this weekend and link to it. It’s something to do with how our memories and knowledge are connected to objects, drawn out by them, how we interpret the world together in relation to objects. People change and die, so the objects get lost and moved to different places (museums, shops etc). They resonate more with mystery than with clarity of purpose, having lost their meaning by losing their owners and their rightful place. Maybe that says it all…

  12. ArkAngel on

    Thanks for that Bridget, this project touches on some of those themes – it centres on losing things you can’t replace (or at least not at all easily) but will also enter the area of things that are getting lost from day-to-day life over time and therefore things people collect and memorabilia. If you do get a chance to write at greater length, I’d love to read the post.

  13. Serena on

    The last thing I lost was a gorgeous heavy antique silver rope bracelet. It was bought for me in an antique shop in Westport, Co. Mayo for €20 on a weekend away with my boyfriend. It was really the most beautiful thing I have ever owned. I lost it one night when I was being a bit of a nightmare and frankly I think I deserved it. I have never found anything which comes close to replacing it.

  14. Alex Hryniewicz on

    Probably not the last thing I lost, but definitely the most valuable was my mobile phone somewhere near the Peru/Bolivia border in 2006. Was travelling so didn’t notice it was missing for about 3 weeks – went to an internet cafe and checked my online bill – how that Bolivian guy made £4000 worth of calls I will never know…never got the phone back, and had to cough up half of the cash…ouch…

    Last thing I found was a laptop on the train to London last week…went and handed it in at Euston Lost Property and cheekily asked if it wasn’t claimed within a certain time would I get to keep it? Went back last week and it had been claimed – good Karma but no free laptop for me (:0(

  15. ArkAngel on

    Serena, it’s amazing how far €20 can go. Have you found anything recently?

    Alex, it’s amazing how far 3 weeks can go. Good to see the government at least gets back to the Lost Property office http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Politics/One-Government-Laptop-Or-PC-Lost-Each-Week/Article/200811315157226?f=rss

  16. ArkAngel on

    Some replies from Facebook:

    Michal ‘scoops’ Page at 11:57pm November 20
    my sanity… :p

    Beverley Hills at 12:27am November 21
    My first boyfriends Lewis Leathers jacket which I kept all my life and was meant for my kids. I lent it to a depresssed friend to cheer her up (wicked jacket!) her husband took it to the Oxfam shop along with all my other outfits I lent her for the weekend. She divorced him.

    Paula Carter at 7:05am November 21
    Brown and white polka dot umbrella with a carrying strap to stop me loosing it. Left it on the train……

  17. holmes on

    Car Key – lost and found

    Earlier in the year we spent a glorious afternoon on the beach to the west of our house – bathed in the sun, chased seagulls, threw stones etc. The following morning Julie noticed that the car key had gone – (I had lost the other one in Whistable not that long before) – I retraced our steps along the beach path to the spot we had spent the afternoon…alas no key. £200 for a new key looning large, Julie took a walk along the beach to see if she could spot it. On the point of giving up, in an extraordinary moment she spotted something blue in the surf (the key was on a Channel 4 id card strap thing that you put round your neck) and there it was. The remote locking no longer works but the key does. I use it every day, but never take it to the beach.

  18. ArkAngel on

    Great story, Holmes, with elements in common with Lloyd’s sea story above.

    Have you found anything of anyone else’s recently – beachcombing or otherwise?

  19. technokitten on

    The last thing I lost was my favourite black needlecord jeans jacket at Glastonbury this summer. It was the Monday as we were leaving. One minute my jacket was there on top of my pile of stuff ready to go home and the next it was gone. I’ve no idea if it got dropped somewhere or if someone nicked it. Either way, it’s gone.

    The last thing I found was a Chanel black tweed and leather handbag on my birthday. I was in Soho after a great birthday night out which ended up at the Nothing But the Blues Bar in Kingly Street. My two friends and I thought it would be a good idea to go get a coffee at Bar Italia before going home so we wended our way there through the back streets of Soho. On our way there I spotted something in one of the glass recycling bins outside a club near Wardour Street. And it was a black Chanel tweed and leather handbag. All there was inside it was a purse with a couple of quid in change, some receipts and a credit card. The bag was pretty battered and very, very dirty and certainly looked like nothing special at all. But it eventually scrubbed up ok. Oh, and I did call the credit card company too in the US to see if I could return the lot to the owner, but I couldn’t get beyond the circular IVR system to speak to a real person.

  20. technokitten on

    I should add that the jacket had been bought in a charity shop in the first place and was vintage so very hard to replace.

    And as for the Chanel bag, I’ve no idea how hard or not that would be to replace.

  21. ArkAngel on

    Technokitten, all a bit Desperately Seeking Susan on the jacket front – shame no palpitating adventure followed… or perhaps it will when the owner of the Chanel bag, coming round from her drug-addled encounter with the triad gang, tracks you down as a result of the testimony of the drunk who you thought was in an alcoholic daze on that Soho backstreet but was actually working under cover for the CIA…

  22. tim wright on

    It’s always hats with me. I leave them in bars, on trains etc. Here’s a couple of pics of me wearing hats that have now long gone:

    sinking sand


    In a way it’s good to run through them. Makes me go out and find another one, one that’s always a bit different and which marks out a different phase of my life. (life marked out in hats not teaspoons – or is it coffee spoons i can never remember and what’s the difference anyway…?)

  23. ArkAngel on

    Coffee –
    “For I have known them all already, known them all –
    Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
    I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;”

    Coffee spoons are smaller. Coffee spoon is one of those red links in Wikipedia and I’m tempted to turn it blue but that might even be stretching my powers of bullshitting.

    It’s clearly a question that’s exercising the minds of many people: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_difference_between_a_tea_spoon_and_a_coffee_spoon but few have The Knowledge of the Spoon

  24. timw on

    alaskan ‘lost spoon’ story here: http://scribbit.blogspot.com/2007/10/battle-of-spoons.html

  25. timw on

    @technokitten lots of black jackets on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=black+++jacket&ss=1&ct=6&z=t.

    is there one here that shows us what we should be looking for?

    will, of course, refer your query to heads of both the lost jackets and lost black things depts. they should be able to cross reference their databases and come up with something.


    timw (dept of hats, vice president, EMEA region)

  26. ArkAngel on

    Tim W, what so spoons are like socks? what’s going on there? is it a tear in the time-space continuum right there in Alaska? As a Virgo, I’m disturbed.

    Dept of Pens, Notes & Notebooks, Acting VP

  27. Susi Oneill on

    Last lost…a pair of black velvet costume gloves – which were ripped off as part of a stage performance (singing NOT strip tease er-hum) and probably still at back off the Chameleon Cafe in Nottingham.
    Last thing found…probably the same velvet gloves a lady left after a Victorian themed role play evening in Belper, Derbyshire.
    Ownership, nowadays, is somewhat transitory…

  28. ArkAngel on

    Very impressive that you’re dealing in *pairs* – in my world they tend to come one at a time e.g.
    – though singles does open up a world of re-uniting…

  29. quinton stenson on

    The last thing I lost was $20 playing the pokies at my local RSL. What I found was a 50 cent coin on my way home.

  30. ArkAngel on

    Quinton, what’s ‘RSL’ in your neck of the woods? Here it’s Restricted Service Licence, Registered Social Landlord and Radcliffe Science Library. I’d like to add the Oz version to my collection of antique gold TLAs at https://aarkangel.wordpress.com/2007/10/11/tlas

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