Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Traditional Marrage

I like shoes. I suspect that for women shoes are a symbol of financial prosperity or at very least stability. There were times in my student life when I simply did not go adequately shod. I am still grateful for the small pair of police boots my friend Trish scared up for me when I was an undergrad.

Now that the bony deformity has asserted its presence in my foot, buying shoes has new, unforeseen difficulties. The principal one is finding comfortable shoes that don't look like "comfortable shoes." When I was in a charity shop the other day, I picked up a pair of England-made navy blue loafers. Although they were not overly feminine, they weren't exactly gender neutral either.  I thought I had a problem solved, and all for £5,

But on the way home from a dinner party--as soon as we left, as a matter of fact--the sole began to flap off my right shoe. At first it was just the toe section, but then the sole peeled away right down to the heel, leaving me taking huge flapping steps like a clown. As I was wearing nylons, just walking along the pavement--and through the woods--without my shoe was not a comfortable prospect.

Fortunately, B.A. was  with me, and he nicked a strand of ornamental grass from a front garden and made a thong for my shoe. This was tricky, slippery work--especially at midnight after a boozy supper---and the sharp grass cut his finger. Polish Pretend Son looked down pityingly at B.A. kneeling on the pavement trying to lasso together my shoe and said, "Today I was thinking, 'Should I get married? And now...."

"Hey," I protested. "This is a beautiful argument in favour of marriage. My gift of love was not to spend more than five quid on a pair of shoes, and B.A.'s gift of love is to mend them with grass when they fall apart."

The grass thong survived to the other side of the street, after which B.A. and PPS found a plastic tie affixed around a lamp-post, cut it off, and made it into a more durable lasso. This one worked much better, and did not come off until I had climbed a flight of the Historical Stairs.

I think it was rather like a story out of the oeuvre of the American author O.Henry (of 'she sells her hair, he pawns his watch' fame). All the same, I may  make myself buy some proper new dress shoes, somehow both feminine and comfortable at the same time. The sad thing about women's clothes and shoes is that quality--real quality, quality like in men's good clothes and shoes-- costs a small fortune.

Baking note: I entertained a lot this week, so I baked a lot this week, and I highly endorse the healthy recipes of Hemsley + Hemsley. Their peanut butter cookies, the ginger cookies, the apple crumble with ginger cream and, to throw in an actual meal,  "Pablo's Chicken" are all excellent. The very small amounts of sugar--i.e. maple syrup, date syrup or honey--may come as a disappointment at first, but I discovered I quickly grew used to the new taste. Everything is flour-free, which means both an increase in nutrition, but also in calories and in price. I may have to start buying ground almonds in bulk.


  1. Haha, yep, grass thongs for shoes are a beautiful argument for marriage! PPS quotes are hilarious, but I suspect are not helping him in the marriageability stakes - what girl would want such easily flowing, casual condescension? Stand-up comedy halls may await PPS, tho... ;)

    (Quality) men's shoes are more durable than women's due to lower fashion expectations from men. Women change their shoes so frequently for fashion reasons that manufacturers see no reason to build durability into them...

    Actually, I really love the tale of your blue shoes. Reminiscent of the sort of tales my migrant grandparents told of early marriage frugalities born of mutual consideration (and wartime hardship!). And they had 70 years of happy marriage, so I reckon your mutual gift of cobbler's love is a good sign for many happy years with BA... :)

    Southern Bloke.

    1. Both my informants and my eyes inform me that girls regularly throw themselves at PPS and lie wriggling at his feet. 90% of the time he seems to regard them with a mixture of boredom and distaste. In some ways, he's quite a frightening chap. If men were cookies, he'd be a gingersnap, so he would do very well for a girl who likes gingersnaps (UK: gingernuts). She'd have to be a gingersnap herself, I suspect.

      As for shoes, fashion is dead. Women no longer have to follow fashion--as is quite obvious in Edinburgh where the vast majority of women wear bottom-hugging jeans or leggings year after year, day after day. Meanwhile, the navy blue or black pump has been a staple of women's wardrobes since I was 12, and likely before that. I think the "fashion" excuse is just manufacturers justifying their sharp practices.

      Yes, frugalities are where it is at!

    2. Bwahahaha! Yes, I can quite see how such a fella would be able to get away with viewing these poor girls with boredom and even distaste - it is most likely precisely that attitude that drives them into further frenzies of throwing at feet and wriggling.

      Definitely he needs a gingernut - perhaps you should introduce him to Julia from Oz? ;) She is of Polish extraction IIRC, and seems to have an incisive wit to match PPS... (hmmm, I appear to be courting 'drama' here. Sorry Julia! Tho weren't you going to Poland sometime? Maybe you should pay Aunty a visit when she has PPS home? :D )

      And yes, fashion is kinda dead, but people still adhere to it. You won't get beaten up for wearing the wrong clothes like you used to, but men still stick very strongly to mainstream clothing options (possibly out of disinterest in appearance of clothes, other than cleanliness). Hence 'fashion staples' exist for decades. Down here it is blue jeans and everything else black. We're sooo imaginative...


    3. Definitely too much drama. Besides, it's not clever to suggest pretty Catholic girls be introduced to other men when naturally you want them to be introduced to YOU.

    4. Ok, so I posted last night on the back of virtually no sleep in the last few days, and see today in the light of a bit of rest that my quick comment was well out of line! Sorry.

      I was *not* asking to be introduced to anyone, and apologise if I created that impression. I'm sorry if I created any drama or embarrassment for you Julia - my comment was because I was amused by PPS' sardonic humour, and I shouldn't have dragged you into it at all.

      I'll be off now.
      God bless,

    5. Poor SB. Get some sleep!

    6. No worries, SB! I wasn't offended or embarrassed at all!

  2. You can find great deals on shoes on Etsy, especially if you know the labels that fit you well.

    Etsy sellers (nearly) always give the shoe sizes in width/length, as well as standard shoe sizing, so if you know your foot measurements you're all set.

    You can also set up your search to pull up only Brit sellers, so you don't have high duties to pay on your purchases.

    Alias Clio