No, I've not decided to go on the game. I want to show you my new kit for urban walking, my necessary equipment for town and promenade exercise. I had most of what I needed already: leggings, socks, a variety of suitable tops, rainwear. But I was lacking some dedicated trainers for this kind of activity, and none of my bags was quite right.
Getting a decent but not very expensive pair of trainers was a no-brainer. I went straight down to Sports Direct in Brighton. These online retailers have a big shop there, a bit no-frills, pile-it-high-in-all-sizes, but you can see, handle, and try on an awful lot of stock in most of the usual brands without having to ask anyone to get things out for you. I quickly narrowed down my choice to a pair of Nike trainers that would cost me £32.99. I think they might in strictness have been a men's design, but they looked pretty unisex to me, and hey, what does it matter? Pink detailling isn't required. Black and white is fine.
Then it was merely a decision on size. That's not so simple. With ordinary shoes, I'm often a size 8. But 8 and a half is sometimes necessary, to give me enough toe room. The trouble is usually the width: ladies' shoes generally assume slender feet. These Nike trainers had plenty of width, but I was still doubtful about their length. Size 8 was definitely too small. Size 9 felt beautifully roomy, but I reckoned that once the shoes had flexed a bit, and given a little, they could prove to be sloppy on my feet - definitely not good for them. 8 and a half felt snug, but it was comfortable and I could wiggle my toes, so that seemed the best size.
Here they are, at home, before going out for my first walk:
And this is a close up view, next morning:
As for the bag, I wanted a clasy-looking one, but nothing too big. Something light and thin. I usually carry around a fair bit of gear, including my PDA, Leica camera, and minimum makeup items. But the only absolutely vital things were my keys, my purse, my mobile phone, and some tissues. I wanted a bag that would swallow these but force me to leave the rest behind, and so lighten my load for sustained powerwalking. Last week, then, while visiting Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, I bought a neat little number from John Lewis: a leather bag by Tula. That completed my kit. Here is the bag with the trainers:
The bag wasn't cheap: it cost me £69.00. But then I can see plenty of other uses for it. I don't like going anywere without a proper camera, but actually I can if necessary take reasonably good shots with the phone. They always need a bit of work on them at home to correct the pictures for exposure and colour rendition, but if something caught my eye while out walking those city streets, I wouldn't be without a lens.
Those trainers won't stay pure white for long! But I'll look after them, and they should last me the rest of 2012 at least.