x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

A well-shod affair

Love of beautiful shoes does not diminish over time.

This weekend I found myself buying yet another pair of shoes: bejewelled strappy sandals that are certainly not made for dancing and arguably not for walking either. How a simple trip to the Mall of the Emirates to purchase batteries for my Dictaphone turned into an accessories buying spree, I've no idea, yet I must admit this is not an isolated incident.

I've always been a firm believer in a woman's right to shoes - plenty of them.

My first memory of being well shod, apart from endless pairs of sensible Mothercare side-buckle shoes, was a divine pair of black suede pixie boots I received for my 10th birthday. Having always been forced to wear monstrous brown brogues for school, my reaching double digits was deemed an appropriate age by my mother for me finally to have some fashionable footwear.

More precious to me than Cinderella's glass slippers, I kept these beautiful boots in their original shoebox and duly groomed them with a special wire brush after each wearing. This was love.

Naturally, every birthday after that, all I really wanted was another pair of shoes - no Barbie dolls or My Little Ponies for this gal. My parents, however, had different ideas and I was more likely to receive books than anything else. That said, they did indulge me in a very special pair I'll never forget: burgundy patent ballerina flats with an oversized satin bow on the front (à la Sarah Ferguson circa 1986).

Bought from Russell & Bromley, this was my first designer pair, and I was warned by my mother that if she saw me sneaking them into my school bag to be paraded around the playground, there would be big trouble. If I hadn't been considering it before, I was now.

With no fittingly fancy occasion on the calendar for me to debut my shoes, it was all I could do to skid about the carpeted house in them. Until one day, I could no longer resist the temptation to show them off to my friends.

My school had a strict policy about "outdoor shoes" being worn around the grounds and "indoor shoes" being used within the hallowed corridors of the convent. Which was lucky for me, as I could leave the house in my ugly "clodhoppers" in the morning and Mum would be none the wiser.

That was, of course, until I returned home that evening and was forced to show her my grazed knees and scuffed shoes with decidedly bent bows. Being unaccustomed to wearing slip-ons, I soon discovered that they do so easily slip-off too. Worse still, I found out that when two patent shoes accidentally connect, they are far more effective in tripping up the wearer than shoelaces tied together will ever be.