I had to say a tearful farewell to a couple of old friends recently. We’d been through an awful lot together, and while it pains me to admit it, they’d served me well, but in the end I just had to dump them.
Brutal, it’s true. In fact, I confess this was a classic case of my using, abusing and cruelly tossing them away. But in the end they kept giving me blood blisters, and I simply had to face the facts – I needed a new pair of walking boots.
I sensed something was wrong the walk before last. I’m no chiropodist, but it’s a bit of a giveaway when your heel turns purple. Even so, you never want to admit the truth, do you?
I got a bit of a hint the next time I set out – and barely got out of our road before I was wincing. Of course, I carried on walking. Well you would, wouldn’t you? You go for a good walk, and the Magnus Magnusson effect takes over – you’ve started, so you’ll jolly well finish. You don’t want a little thing like crippling yourself get in the way.
The resultant blood blister this time seemed determined to envelop my entire heel. Which was nice. If perhaps a tad over-enthusiastic.
I tried to persuade myself it was the camber of the road. Camber of my foot, more likely. See, I haven’t got the flattest feet in the world. I lurch to one side, more like (and that’s even before a drop has touched my lips).
When I finally took my boots off, the offending right heel had worn away, through repeated rambling, at about a 45 degree angle. I kid you not – I was like the Leaning Tower Of Frank.
The heel, which had started life nearly an inch thick, had worn diagonally almost down to the leather. If this boot were a car, it would just have been declared a write-off. Or a walk-off, maybe.
Clearly I could put it off no longer. Obviously I’d sensed this was coming – falling over at the slightest provocation does tend to give the game away. But when you do a lot of walking, you come to rely on your boots, and the thought of having to replace them fair fills you full of dread.
But I needn’t have worried, really. Especially considering, now I think about it, that tart that I am, there was a period when I did all my walking in a battered old pair of ordinary cheap shoes. Well they were comfy, see?
Perhaps not the final word in footwear protection, though. So steeling myself to battle a maze of walking boots, hill boots, mountain boots, trainers, and heaven knows what, I went to Norfolk Country Clothing on Lynn’s Hardwick, where the young lad who served me couldn’t have been more helpful. He couldn’t have had a customer who asked more questions, either.
And I emerged with a pair of boots that are, wait for it ... better than my old ones ever were. Wow! So what of my old faithfuls? Well, I was going to say a few words ... but in the end I looked at them, thought: “You gave me blood blisters, you did!” – and unceremoniously tossed them in the bin!