Yesterday, I bought some boots for the winter. It hadn't been my intention. Frankly, I hadn't thought I could afford any this year.
By 'boots' I'd had in mind proper women's leather boots, covering all the leg below the knee. And not just any boots - they needed to be quality boots, which might mean spending anything up to £300. That kind of figure really was out of the question! So with a sigh I'd resigned myself to making do without.
But look what has happened.
I'd gone into Brighton in Fiona - who, by dint of driving her carefully, was exhibiting only small signs of her rapidly-growing auto gearbox problems. They were still there however. In fact I'd had a couple of surprise moments in the previous few days, when the auto gearbox wouldn't deliver power and speed when asked to. I'd had a dire 'low-performance' message on the dashboard display. When you get that, you have to drive along slowly until the gearbox recovers a bit. Thank goodness it happened while still in the village, and not going up some hill, or on the fast A23 road.
Such things were happening unpredictably. I'd already decided some days back that a crisis was brewing. So long journeys were absolutely out, and only local runs were prudent, even when the engine and gearbox had thoroughly warmed up and were working at best efficiency.
I had a worrying five minutes getting up a hill yesterday - it was Clayton Hill, the easiest of the nearby South Downs hills, but still a steep gradient on its north side. I had hoped to take it at a steady 40 mph, but I found myself stuck in a queue strung out behind a clapped-out French van, and forced to crawl uphill, with hunting gears and the occasional judder reminding me that all was definitely not well. It wasn't pleasant. But once over the hill, Fiona picked up speed again, and could manage a smooth (but hummy) 60 mph on the dual carriageway A23. In general, she felt happier in the higher gears, choppier in the lower gears. Really I shouldn't have been out in her at all. I could have taken the train. But I felt reasonably confident about a quick daytime visit to Brighton.
I was going in to have a fringe trim at Trevor Sorbie in The Lanes. Then I promised myself one of two things. A visit to the Royal Pavilion, not seen for over fifteen years, or, failing that, a look at the latest stuff in Fat Face. I found out on TripAdvisor that you couldn't take photographs inside the Royal Pavilion. What? Well that made it not worth visiting, so far as I was concerned. No shots, no interest. So Fat Face it was.
I selected three skirts to try on, then saw their winter boots. Two in particular caught my eye, in tan and in black, because they obviously had plenty of room for my wide feet, and especially my toes. The usual problem with women's boots is narrowness and lack of toe space, because Fashion insists on pointed elegance, and ignores the modern trend for women's feet to be larger and wider. But these Fat Face boots looked sensible and very comfortable. And they had them in my size (size 8)!
I took skirts and boots into a changing room. The skirts were fine. What about the boots?
They were half-length, not quite what I had in mind. But the leather was supple, the side-zips smooth, and they were well-finished in every way. I could get them on and off with no problem. Although the tan boots were very attractive, it was clear that the equally handsome black boots would be the more versatile choice. They'd go much better with my black winter coats - and with the red handbag!
The headless mannequin nodded in agreement. The price of the boots? £95. I could cope with that. The skirts? Two of them could wait for the sales. One was another example of the blue denim skirt, with buttons up the front, that I'd first bought at Fat Face in September. It cost £40, but having two such skirts would do no harm at all. And denim skirts went rather well with boots like these.
Back home - an easier northward journey for Fiona this time - I contemplated my purchases.
These half-length boots looked pretty good with my black tights and black skirt. My feet enjoyed the toe-room inside them. In the next shot, you can see the side zip. The black leather was quite shiny, but not so glossy as you get with a pair of Doc Martens, although on the whole my new boots did remind me strongly of classic black Doc Martens lace-up boots - but sans laces, and sans the distinctive very thick rubber sole.
No, they weren't exactly the same as the 'real thing' - but they would still do the job if it were necessary to pin an errant man down on the floor, dominatrix-style, as my photo clearly shows! Or as a kind of bovver boot, as once worn by skinheads, then by punks, and still likely to grace the feet of some of Brighton's lesbian ladies. Not that these boots signal my going in any new direction! I'm not a punk, nor a lesbian.
At any rate, I now had three types of winter boot, for different occasions, and different types of outfit:
Two of these pairs were at least four years old. It was high time I bought something new.
The tan Dubarry boots in the background were good for small country towns, and for short country or beach walks, but were too heavy and cumbersome for trendy shopping in Brighton. The short black pair in front were excellent with tights, but too short to wear with leggings, as the bottom of each leg tended to pop out. My new boots would be fine with both kinds of legwear.
It was a shame that purchasing a seriously-stylish pair of winter boots would have to wait for another year, but I could at least now step out properly-shod for any type of weather!