Readers may recall other boots purchased from time to time, but I got rid of each of them quite quickly, mainly because all were a little too small for my wide size 8 feet, even though they were supposed to fit. Whereas the Clarks ankle boots were a wide fit (and therefore nice to wear) as were the Dubarry boots.
For a long time my Clarks and Dubarry boots were sufficient for most winter occasions. Occasionally I hankered after some ultra-expensive boots to go with ultra-expensive daytime and evening outfits. But I couldn't afford either; and besides, the need was imaginary and not genuine.
The Dubarry boots were good for all kinds of cold-day occasions that might involve a little wet ground - they were in fact 'posh wellies', very 'county' - with the caveat that they were not lightweight, and unsuitable for a town or country tramp of more than two or three miles. I've cared for them, and they continue to look good, and remain my boots of choice for a bad-weather day. They aren't now quite as smart as when first bought, but still impress. Here they are when bought in 2011:
Here they are in my hall, drying off, four years later in 2015:
And here they are on squelchy Dartmoor in 2017 (I cleaned and polished them again once home):
The Clarks ankle boots have also lasted really well. Here they are soon after purchase (far left), with the other boots they instantly made redundant:
I looked after my ankle boots too. But a couple of years ago they began to feel a bit thin in the sole department, and would let in moisture if worn on a very rainy day. So I'd been wearing them less. And this winter finally decided that they would have to be replaced. I had in mind something similar, but coming further up the calf, so that if my leggings were on the short side and rode up, I wouldn't be exposing an inch of bare leg.
And last week I found exactly what I wanted. I was seeing my cousin Rosemary, and, as we always do, we went down to Canterbury for lunch (at Chom Chom) and then a mooch around the shops. As is our long custom, we popped into Hotter. I've bought quite a number of shoes there over the years. I used to think Hotter was just for old ladies, but it isn't so. They don't do Ultimate Fashion, but they do offer well-made, very comfortable shoes in sensibly wide fittings. And that's why I buy them.
Ah, I knew it - they had a good range of winter boots in. I checked the ankle boots out first. Nice. Then the boots that came halfway up the calf - and saw just what I was looking for. Trying a black pair on, they seemed perfect for fit, comfort and style. Rosemary thought they looked great, and was wistful about my having nice legs able to fit into them. Really? Were my legs that good? Well, another lady agreed. I bought them without further delay. The price was reasonable: £105.
Next day, back home, I lined them up against the old Clarks ankle boots:
As you can see, the Hotter boots come much further up the leg, but are very similar to the old Clarks boots at the business end, apart from not being encumbered with those pointless straps (which I never liked). No heel: I don't do heels. I don't want to totter. And I don't want to look any taller, even though five foot eight is no great height for a woman nowadays.
Later that day I put them on, and tried to take a picture of how they looked when worn:
The end-of-afternoon light in my bedroom wasn't really good enough. However, a few days later, my new boots had their public debut at a funeral. You can see them below, in natural daylight. I'd just arrived at the Crematorium, and my friend and neighbour Jackie took the shot.