Opposite our house in Hadley, the little Shropshire village where I grew up, there was a farm lane. To the right was a path leading to the back of the nearby pub, the Green Dragon, run my a fierce lady called Nancy Lockley. Often, on sunny days, Nancy would wheel out an old man in his wheel chair, and set him up on the corner of the lane. I think he may have been her uncle or her grandfather, but all we children knew about him was that his name was Jack Lockley and that he was weird. He was wizened, had withered legs, and a scrunched up face. He appeared to have no teeth, so that his chin practically touched the tip of his nose. He was mostly silent, but if you got too close, he would mutter thickly and wave a skinny hand at you. The other thing that was memorable about Jack Lockley was that he had his penis out most of the time and would fondle it in that unselfconscious way that toddlers sometimes do. We children took it in our stride, it was just part of the village scene, not rude, not funny, just part of the phenomenon that was Crazy Jack Lockley.
One day, a sunny one, he wasn't there, and we never saw him again. Can you imagine what would happen to a Jack Lockley these days? He would be arrested or sectioned, or he would be taken into care, analysed and given a course of therapy, or worse. One thing is sure, he would not be left alone to enjoy his moment in the sun.