You Know It Was a Good Night When a Fox Ends Up Wearing Your Shoes

There have been occasions when Him Indoors is away on business over the weekend and I have been left to navigate through a social evening on my own. Such an event is looming and I am not ashamed to admit I’m scared. It is not that I am completely inept as social gatherings; it’s just that sometimes I need his gentle hand of restraint to keep me in check when I am having too much fun. My last solo outing without a trusty chaperone is a case in point.

I had been invited to a good friend’s 40th birthday in a local pub. Things started promisingly: with Him Indoors away, a friend had offered to have my children for a sleepover so that I could attend the party. I dropped the kids off with plenty of time to help get them all into bed, which apparently required a glass or two of fizz to ease the process. I then teetered off to the pub decked out in my finery and wearing a fabulous pair of very high, silver Mary Janes, safe in the knowledge that I could party all night long if I so desired without having to rush back for the babysitter.

The party in the pub was an absolute blast – loads of great friends laughing and trading banter over yet more fizz. I am proud to say that when someone started ordering shots at the bar, I deftly avoided them and stuck to what I know best. My pride stops there. By the time last rounds were called, I was well into my second bottle of fizz and feeling very high on life. Then someone suggested a night cap at their house close by. It always sounds like a good idea, but never is. As we stepped outside into the cold air, my inebriation hit me like a truck and I was a goner. I realised quite quickly that trying to walk in my fabulous Mary Janes was proving difficult, so I took them off, tucked them under my arm and strode forth in my tights.

From here, things are fuzzy. I have flashbacks of drinking port, drunken dancing to the same three Example songs on a loop, bizarre rugby-tackling games on beanbags, and drunk-dialling Him Indoors to tell him how much fun I was having. At 4am, my friend and host disappeared for 10 minutes, only to reappear in her dressing gown (but still fully clothed), hand me a glass of water and suggest rather bluntly that it was time I went home. I also remember looking around for my beautiful Mary Janes and only finding one. Having gone beyond the point of sensibility, I shrugged it off, put one Mary Jane on and limped down the (thankfully short) road back home.

The next morning’s hangover green-tinged with morning after embarrassment and recriminations. And it was a Hangover to End All Hangovers. I dragged myself into a standing position in time to fetch my children from my friend, who took one look at me and sent me back to bed with promises to look after the children for a little while longer. She is a saint. Then I remembered my shoe. Had I really limped home in one shoe? I checked the state of the tights left stranded halfway up the stairs and noted that they were well and truly shredded in the foot. I phoned my dressing-gown-wearing friend who confirmed that my shoe was not left at her house and the realisation set in. I was convinced I was the drunkest at the party (I wasn’t, apparently, but everyone else seems so sober when you are reeling), so was suffering from Day-After Shame, and now had to admit that I had lost a perfectly fabulous pair of shoes! I contemplated retracing my steps and lost-and-found posters, but decided against it and resigned myself to the inevitable.

Later that afternoon, my friend rang me with some news. While in the park that day, her toddler was seen rummaging in the bushes and she thought the little explorer would bring her a stone or twig, but instead she brought out my Mary Jane! It would seem it had caught the eye of a fox, which had completely mauled and chewed it to the point of being unwearable. I really hope that fox danced in the street wearing it before she got her teeth stuck into it. Perhaps I will leave the other one out for her so that she has a matching pair.


These Boots Were Not Made for Walking

I promised a good friend that I would write a blog about ironing after I spent a marathon four hours on that most loathed of household tasks on Sunday, but I would prefer to inflict on you my thoughts on something entirely more interesting and cheerful: a woman’s obsession with the perfect pair of boots.

Any self-respecting shoe addict will appreciate that the footwear in our wardrobes tends to fall into three loose categories: shoes to throw on for the school run, trip to the gym, trolley dash at the supermarket, etc; shoes that can be worn out to the pub with friends, which are comfortable to walk there in but not exactly on the sexy side; and killer high heels that cause a stir, attract attention and literally cripple you within ten minutes of wearing them, but that you cannot take your eyes off when you are wearing them, to the point where you find yourself gazing at them in admiration and occasionally stroking when you think no-one will notice (they do). I have a number of the latter because, when it comes to sexy footwear, I am like a moth to the flame. Essentially, no matter what size I am from the knees up, my feet (I am a size 3 1/2) always look good clad in red suede with a high wedge. However, these shoes were not meant for walking. A friend and I were discussing Posh Becks the other day and the fact that she is always in sky-high heels, but then we figured out that she actually doesn’t have to walk anywhere. She is driven, delivered, collected, but never has to run after a bus or stagger home from the pub in the wee small hours through the rain.

I recently heard a pair of wedge-heeled, Italian leather boots calling to me from a rather expensive shoe shop window and went in to investigate further, since boots weather appears to be upon us all to quickly. Now I am sure you are picturing me as a tall, slender, Kate-Mossesque beauty; I’m not. I am the very antithesis. At 5 foot, I am the Ugg boot of women: comfy, warm and prone to sagging in wet weather. Therefore, purchasing a knee-high pair of boots that will fit my shorter than average calves is generally a difficult and trying (very shoddy shoe pun) process. As I stared with delight at the leather boots before me, I considered whether this would be the pair that would zip up over my ample legs. I was suitably attired for the task in skirt and tights, so asked the assistant for my size and made myself comfortable on the teeny-tiny square stool provided.

I have to say I let out an audible gasp when she brought out the boots and I knew that I had to have them, come hell or high water (or the bank manager on the phone). When something gets into your head, only throwing money at it will keep it quiet, I find. I slipped my foot into the first boot and hoped like hell that the zip would do up; it did albeit a little neat. Relief. Then came the second foot. Bearing in mind that we apparently all have one side bigger than the other, from feet to boobs, I slipped my other foot in and pulled like mad on the zip. It went up halfway, then needed quite a tug to get it to the top. I stood up and it became apparent that I would not be running marathons in these particular boots, but that they did indeed look spectacular. I was ignoring the fact that the legs were so tight, I couldn’t actually bend at the ankles, but I reasoned that the leather would give a bit with wear. After striding backwards and forwards in front of the mirror (and resembling a clown wearing stilts, to be perfectly honest), I was sold and sat back down to hand the boots back to the assistant with those joyous words, “I’ll take them!”

However, when it came to taking the second boot off, I couldn’t get the zip back down. It felt like it had snagged on my tights, and no amount of tugging and pulling would budge it. By now, I had started to sweat profusely in panic and the assistant – a skinny, pointy-faced woman with bold, pencilled-in eyebrows – had realised that something was amiss. In order to cover my embarrassment, I told her I would wear them home and got her to package up my old, scruffy boots, thinking that by the time I got home, the new boots would have loosened a bit.

This was not the case. Half an hour later, in the privacy of my own lounge, the boot would still not budge and I was puce in the face from the exertion, not to mention ripping my fingertips to shreds on the zip. I called a friend who, after howling with laughter for a good five minutes, offered to come over and lend a hand. She grabbed the bottom of the boot while I pulled down on the zip. Imagine the scene: she is holding my leg up at a 45-degree angle so that my skirt is riding up my thighs and flashing my crotch while I am turning purple and sweating. She then tried to pull from the bottom and I could feel my tights tearing but no other movement whatsoever.

An in-depth discussion then ensued about the best way to free my leg with minimal damage to the boot. It was no use; the scissors had to come out. I wanted to weep as the scissors sliced through the beautiful soft leather, but my relief was palpable when I finally felt cool air on my sweaty calf (now clad in a shredded stocking). I was furious. I had blown a ridiculous amount of money on a pair of boots that lay shredded on the carpet, not to mention the damage to my tights and my ego. In a fit of fury, I threw on a pair of oh-so-comfy Converses over my shredded tights and stormed back to the shoe shop, sliced boot in hand and still-giggling friend in tow. I demanded to speak to the manager and then presented him with the case that I had been sold a defective pair of boots and therefore deserved a full refund. His face when I thumped the boot down on the counter was priceless; he was momentarily speechless and gaping. I told him I was adamant the zip was faulty and therefore I could not be held financially responsible; his face easily showed that he was convinced my sweaty, chubby calf was to blame. But since the customer is always right, he agreed to refund me in full. However, he got the last laugh. He refunded me in credit vouchers, knowing full well I would never set foot in the shop again.

The next time it happens, I am going to take Winnie-the-Pooh’s approach when stuck in the rabbit hole: starve myself until my legs shrink enough to free themselves. Because there will be another time.