The Dubarry boots have proved to be a great success.
They're comfortable, sure-footed, keep chill breezes off my legs, look posh and distinctive, and I've seen nobody else wearing them, so they feel deliciously rare and unusual.
I've worn them every day on my holiday, and they have seemed right for all kinds of occasion, whether it's exploring Georgian Bath, tramping around fish and chippy Weston-super-Mare, or clambering onto rocks in rugged Cheddar Gorge. I can drive in them, walk along seaside promenades, wade through heather on moorland, or pop nonchalantly into smart shops. Having a stout rubber sole with plenty of grip makes them great on wet grass and all kinds of rough ground. And having no heel allows them to score over ordinary high-heeled fashion boots, which, I notice, are a wobbly ankle-twisting liability on cobbled surfaces. I suppose that's when a man's arm comes in handy: something steady to hang onto.
Boots are definitely a big part of the winter scene for women. Indeed for all the cooler days of the year. British men normally don't wear boots unless they are toffs riding with the Quorn and Pytchley, or attending a Country & Western show, when cowboy boots are just part of their yee-hah getup. Wearing boots is almost exclusively a feminine thing, and there isn't much else that says 'woman' with such a big shout.
Every woman is impressed by a pair of nice boots. There are all kinds. The cheapest seem to be those clumpy formless faux-suede fleece-lined objects that will look tatty after just a few weeks. Then there are cheeky and trendy ankle boots in proper suede or leather. And short perky boots that the girl playing Peter Pan might wear. But the smartest, the most desirable boots are the ones that enclose the calf and are knee-high. And the most expensive of those are always in soft, yielding leather.
I will admit that - given really good legs - a soft-leather brown or black knee-high boot that closely hugs the calf and reveals its shape, with an elegant heel, takes some beating. But if you haven't got Hollywood legs, then boots like my Dubarries hide all sorts of shape problems, and disguise the Awful Fact that the feet are Rather Big. Like wearing pirate boots, me hearties.
Have you noticed how women walk in their boots? The gait varies, but is not the same as with ordinary flats or heels. It's occasionally a strutting, no-nonsense march, like a Communist soldier in Tiananmen Square. Sometimes something more fluid, quick, and bouncy. But most often it's a slower, more deliberate waddle, with plenty of hip movement. And really wide or heavy girls seem to make a big deal of every step.
These nuances need study and close attention. I'm sure that every natal girl has watched her pregnant mum walk in boots and has aped her down to the last detail. Maybe such things as a wide pelvis and a low centre of gravity come into it somewhat. But I feel convinced that the accepted best way for a girl in boots to walk is like a potato with legs. And so this is how I walk in my boots. I'm certain that waddling as if I'm carrying an overdue baby gives me a completely authentic look, and wins unconscious nods of approval from women young and old. And after all, no man would (or could) walk like that.
So my boots - correctly worn - are a powerfully feminising accessory. Worth every penny then.