I always have a handkerchief in my pocket.

I couldn’t tell you how it happened, but I suspect it has a lot to do with childhood hay fever which often reached epic proportions during exam times and Wimbledon fortnight. Mum would always press a freshly ironed square of white fabric into my hand and beacuse of this, I always get a little bit worried when I don’t carry one.

It’s a product from a bygone age and I like it. There’s nothing nicer when someone needs a tissue and you can pass them a freshly laundered handkerchief (equally there’s nothing worse than a used one). Buying them is more troublesome than you’d imagine – M&S have a reasonable selection, but they’re a bugger to find, tucked away in a dusty corner of menswear.

When running through the checklist of items before leaving the house, the handkerchief is the first thing I grab from the drawer, then its iphone, car keys etc. Writing this, it’s just struck me that the little square of white linen is almost like my comfort blanket and perhaps it is.

I felt moved to write this short post in praise of the hankie – for its link back to a time when things were very different, for its sheer eccentricity in the face of progress and just for being still around.