The Aargh of Shoes

Some people enjoy shoe shopping, and who knows? I might be one of them, if there was any chance of me actually finding what I am looking for. It has been about seven years since I last found a suitable pair of footwear in a shop, and even those were one size too large (but since they’re boots, I tend to wear them with thicker socks anyway, so it works).

What I want is not, I would have thought, excessive or unreasonable. What I want is only one pair of Just Right shoes: a plain neat pair of brown leather shoes in size 5 1/2.

Sibyllas bruna sko - Livrustkammaren - 75398
My favourite shoe shop’s nearest equivalent (aside from the Ideal Pair which briefly appeared in only one width: narrower than most), was a clunky pair of broad-soled shoes in brown leather and purple snakeskin with neon orange stitching and laces. I am tempted to suspect that this may have something to do with why they are now in the hands of administrators.

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Wardrobes the Way they Were

Time immemorial…. Has a lovely sound to it, doesn’t it? Like days of yore.

In fact, in British law, time immemorial is defined as everything before the sixth of July 1189. This was decided in 1275, presumably because by that point no one could remember anything before the sixth of July 1189 and it was therefore literally time immemorial – a time that no one living could remember.

Hunterian Psalter c. 1170 feasting
Don’t worry, no one remembers you taking the last piece of pizza in 1170.
It is interesting to consider what time immemorial would be these days. It’s so easy to forget how short a time, relatively speaking, things have been The Way Things Are. Mass transport, antibiotics, Queen Elizabeth II, the Internet… Fast fashion has only been around for a few decades, and yet how strange it now seems to have just a few carefully tended items of clothing, worn for years and infrequently replaced.

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Gardening Clothes

Ever since Eve, gardens and clothing have had a problematic relationship – particularly for women. Before I even made my passionate avowal of regular gardening, I had made a frustrating discovery in this regard. As suitable as my long-skirted dresses are for many a pursuit, gardening is not one of them.

Ladies' Home Journal Vol.10 No.11 (October, 1893)
Elegant train – doubles as weed mat!
What clued me in? Standing on my hem with muddy gumboots when bending over my work. Frustratingly unavoidable.

And yet, women (and even ladies) have gardened lo these many centuries. The problem, I deem, is the combination of ladylike attire with unladylike gardening. A full sweeping skirt is all very well for a little light flower-gathering on a dry summer’s day with a Sussex trug over one arm, but squatting down in the muddy grass uttering dire threats against a dock root is in an altogether different class of gardening.

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