Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shoes, glorious shoes!


I received the maintenance payment this week from ex-h, so decided the time was ripe for taking Flora out to buy some new school shoes. I usually take her the Start-Rite shop in Harpenden where the two delightful Greek Cypriot owners fuss around her, offer her sweets and always find just the right shoe that fits wonderfully. However time was not on our side so I took her to Clark's in Dunstable, where the choice is somewhat limited.

Her feet were measured on their all singing all dancing machine and size 5 and a half was decided upon - the same size as me as it happens. Then I made the fatal error! I suggested that as her feet were adult size, it might be worth perusing the adult shoes too. Excited, Flora took a look at the choice in the exciting adult area and set her heart on a particular pair. At the same time we asked the assistant to show us some of the children's shoes in her size. The assistant emerged from the stockroom with three different styles, one of which I felt was suitable. Unfortunately the adult shoe was not available in Flora's size and I decided to plump for the least offensive, and actually rather nice, child's shoe.

That's when all hell broke loose! Flora was fuming and said she hated the shoes and would not wear them. I just looked at the assistant, gave her a wry and knowing smile and said we would have them. Cue more remonstrating from Flora and a wack across the legs with her boots for me! By this point I was furious with her, especially as she was telling the whole shop how much she hated me. To be fair, most people gave me sympathetic smiles - I'm clearly not the first person to be in this position.

On the way home I was accused of buying the shoes simply to be unkind and apparently I had smiled at the assistant when Flora said she didn't like them and had decided to buy them simply because she hated them. She was not going to wear them and that was that. I was horrible, unkind, unfair and never let her have anything she wanted.

I told her she was bloody lucky she wasn't me when I was her age. My shoes were purchased in Gordon Scott, a big old-fashioned shoe shop in Watford that sold Start-Rites. It's now in the Harlequin Centre but in those days it was on the High Street. I had wide feet with narrow ankes and high insteps so the only shoes for me were called Gina. Oh how I loathed them and oh now disappointed I was when every year the assistant would bring out Gina, yet again! The very name Gina fills me with despair even now.

The assistant did not ply me with Opal Fruits or even smile at me. She was a a very stern German lady with steel grey hair in a bun and a ferocious attitude to selling shoes. If I as much as dared to complain she would slap my legs and say 'In my day we had to wear hob nail boots'. I think my parents were as scared of her as me!

The sad thing is that from my earliest days, I had a passion for shoes. There are photos of me as a small toddler clerking about in my Mum's shoes and at five I remember having a burning desire for a pair of 'clip clop shoes'. I even used to swoon over my grandmother's little square high heels. In those days shoes were an even bigger outlay as a percentage of income, especially as my parents weren't particularly well off, and so your school shoes were it - for school and play. You might have one pair of bumpers if you were lucky but mainly you wore your school shoes as evidenced by photos of me as the school May Queen, all bedecked in flowery loveliness but with my Gina's peeping out from underneath the pretty dress my mother had made.

I've made up for this in later life by indulging my passion for shoes, as much as my income allows me too. And so I have pink shoes, flowery shoes, red shoes, little flat shoes covered in flowers. I love beautiful shoes and find myself hyperventiling when I see a pair I like. And so, I do have some sympathy for my horrible one, who incidentally apologised once she'd cooled down, and have agreed to take her to a bigger town centre where the selection is better and see if we can find a compromise pair. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

ynotoman said...

ah! - Mrs Clark was stern with everyone; she used her German accent to advantage to get her way. But you should have fed her chocolate to see her soften up.

Try the brand "Gina" stunning high heels and designs to die for