I can take pleasure in almost any sort of weather – ice, snow, wind, rain, sun, fog – providing I am prepared for it. They say there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. I concur – especially when it comes to footwear. I detest having wet feet and soggy socks. Unfortunately, I’ve been having a spot of bother in that direction of late.
It started with the snow. I love taking the dogs out for a tramp through those soft, white drifts. They absolutely adore jumping and chasing like bat-dog crazy things and they make me laugh out loud at their antics. During the first flurry of snow I pulled out my trusty green not-Hunter wellies and headed for the park. After a while I realised that my socks were starting to feel a bit chilly and somewhat damp. When I got home I found a couple of cracks and, with the help of some glue and gaffer tape, sealed the gaps. By the time our second spell of wintry weather had arrived my poor boots had more gap than seam and were consigned to the bin. I have been looking for new wellies for some time but have failed to find any that (a) comfortably fit my feet, (b) have room in the leg for my sturdy calves and the legs of my jeans and (c) are at a price I can afford.
Never mind. There are always my trusty white trainers – my dog-walking footwear of choice for many moons. Ah – not so trusty any more. Cracks had started to appear in the places where they bend when I walk and, suddenly, they were having an uncomfortable affect on my poor socks. Sloshing up the drive I decided that these, too, had come to the end of their working life.
So, last weekend found me on my knees in the bottom of my wardrobe, looking for neglected footwear that could get me through the spell of wet weather being forecasted for the Easter weekend. I always have a pair of black training shoes to wear for work and was delighted to find a worn and tatty pair hiding under some summer sandals. Brilliant! For two dry days they did everything I wanted them to. The dogs and I were thrilled. And then it started to rain. This time, I didn’t even wait to get indoors before ditching the damp footwear. I ripped them off my feet and chucked them into the wheelie bin, then squelched (my socks) and squealed (me – gravel drives are not the most comfortable things to walk on) to the front door.
Another day, another rummage round the bottom of the wardrobe and – joy of joys – I found the pretty purple trainers you can see at the top of this post. I hadn’t worn them for years and couldn’t remember why. It didn’t take me long to find out. They HURT! Fortunately, I had plenty of wildlife to distract me from the pain on our walk this morning. As well as the usual collection of pigeons, sparrows, blackbirds and robins I met a couple of surprising birds – not unusual in wide open spaces, but most unexpected in urban Basingstoke.
The first surprise was a cock pheasant. When I lived in the countryside they were a common site, but I can’t say I’ve seen one in the middle of town before. I certainly haven’t witnessed one scratching up the gravel of someone’s drive in its hunt for bugs.
The second bird is one I see frequently – a heron. We have streams and ponds running through the local parks and an egret and two herons are regular visitors. I’ve seen them sitting in trees in the streets adjacent to the park – and I have to say that watching a gawky heron trying to land in the spindly upper branches of a eucalyptus tree is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen – but to find one perched on the ridge tile of a roof in the middle of a housing estate is not so common.
By the time I got home, the heel of my left foot was totally shredded. So now I have a dilemma. Do I give my pretty purple pumps to a charity shop in the hope that someone else’s foot will fit into them more comfortably? Do I save anyone else from the pain and consign them straight to the bin? Or do I persevere in the hope that, in time, I’ll be able to break them in. After all, my socks stayed perfectly dry.