It must be nice, to be one of the Little People. What, you say, have I given myself Airs and Graces, fancy myself a Cut Above?
Fortunately not. It must be nice, being someone with average sized feet. You can go into any old store and buy yourself a pair of shoes, and you don't have to spend much cash to do so.
For once I'm not talking about unobtainable female shoes, either. The joy of buying any pair of shoes at retail has eluded me for decades, I mail order them and they cost me a fortune.
My normal footwear are those trainers that think they're walking boots. Or is it the other way round? Anyway, they're comfortable and will grip on almost any terrain, yet go very well with my normal scruffy work uniform of jeans, t-shirt and sweater. They even work as girl shoes with jeans, something I realised when I saw my sister wearing a very similar pair to mine.
They're tough, those shoes. They have to be, to withstand the British countryside in all its forms. Sadly though they do eventually wear out. Usually one side comes away from its sole somewhere in the instep and that's it, time to buy some more. I've hung on to the intact ones though and sometimes I can scrounge a few more months with a pair of New Balances or Columbias that only I know aren't the pair that came in the box together.
This week though I had a problem. Two decent black New Balance right foot shoes in the box, my current dark brown pair of Columbias with departing soles at the front and a light brown pair of Columbias with a split on the left shoe. Not even I can make a pair from those that would stand up to scrutiny. And cash flow crises being what they are, I can't buy a new pair until next month.
Fortunately my ongoing experiments with making footwear mean I have a big tin of impact adhesive to hand. The stuff where you're supposed to coat both sides with a thin layer and wait fifteen minutes before sticking them together.
Some chance of that happening with a shoe that's still held together enough to make getting the glue in the gap a bit hit-and-miss. So I try levering the soles apart on the dark brown Columbias , cleaning the inside with a file, and covering as much exposed area with glue as I can. Leave it for a quarter hour and hope for the best.
The light brown pair present a fresh challenge. A split doesn't have handy surfaces to glue together. I do my best, but it plainly isn't going to hold for long.
Salvation came from a woven plastic sack, one I think originally had seed potatoes in it. Impregnated with as much glue as I could and left for that annoying 15 minutes, a piece of sack fitted nicely over my dodgy glueing and should I hope hold it together.
An afternoon with both pairs of shoes held in arrangements of clamps and bits of wood, and I hope I have a choice of decent shoes again. Albeit ones with the odd visible bit of glue or small area of reinforcement.
If all this seems like a lot of effort, then yes, I guess it is. But I hate throwing out a good shoe when its pair is a bit knackered, and I have just put off having to buy a new pair that would cost about three times what a small pair might cost on the high street.
Of course, I have the date on my side. It's June, and a dry June at that. It's no hardship, putting up with mildly holey shoes when there are no puddles about.