The Cottage Smallholder

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Well shod for winter


Photo: Handmade boots

Photo: Handmade boots

I’ve had a great pair of winter boots for about 8 years now and they are just starting to look a bit tatty. So I was browsing online for some new ones and suddenly remembered that I had a pair of boots – right at the back of the wardrobe – that hadn’t been worn for over 20 years. These are the traditional handmade boots that I mentioned in this post.

Why had I hardly worn this free gift from the universe? Well let me divulge a secret. They were not a matching pair. One boot was size 5 and the other 4.5. Most people have one foot that is slightly bigger than the other and these boots were perfect for me as the larger one matched the bigger foot.

I’m sure that no one even noticed the difference but I was convinced that one looked elephantine compared to the small hooflike one. So after a few outings when I kept my boots as far apart as possible, they were jettisoned into the wardrobe. I couldn’t bear to throw them away as these handmade boots from Northampton sold for well over £200.00 back then.

This evening I crawled to the back of the wardrobe and discovered a lot of shoes that I’d forgotten that I had – espadrilles, deck shoes, a pair of gold boots (these must be very old as I can’t even remember buying them!) and the handmade boots.

So I’ll be stepping out in these boots this winter. Twenty years on I don’t care if my footprints don’t quite match, in fact I think it’s rather fun. These boots will be worn with trousers unless I decide to audition for a remake of The Railway Children.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Veronica

    I have never considered that there is/was another pair of unmatched boots out there! You must be right – what shoe shop would stock an unmatched pair of boots.

    Perhaps someday a visitor to this site will introduce themselves as the other owner!

    Hi Celia

    Love the thought of hand knitted Danish socks. Perhaps D can get niffty with the needles 😉

    Hi SOL

    Well you’ve seen them on the next post – demurely extravagant!

    I also have gold loafers and bronze ballet shoes. Both lost without trace ATM!

    Hi Mandi

    Years ago in London I wore full skirts with three or four silk petticoats of different colours.

    Not the boots though.

    Hi Paula

    Now that’s extraordinary. I don’t think that I’d share shoes with my mum (even if she was the same size as me – she’s size 3!)

    Hi Ali

    I had the same problem wearing CATS to work when I was decorating out of doors 🙁

    Hello Ruthdigs

    Thanks for the thumbs up.

    Hi Tamar

    All I can say is that you must be tall and willowy – the shape I’ve always longed to be.

  2. Magic Cochin

    Listening to a great Radio 4 programme about DMs… apparently Tony Benn is a fan!

    I think yours could be collectors items 😉


  3. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    Elephantine? Because it’s 5 instead of 4.5?


    Come walk a mile in my size 11s and you’ll know what elephantine really is.

  4. Ruthdigs

    I think they look great. The shoes in the Railway Children are cool – mind you my sis said my boots this weekend looked ‘Edwardian’ – I took that as a compliment. Also have 1 foot half a size larger that the other, mine are 7 and 7.5 though so if you really want to see elephantine… 😀
    PS – can’t wait to see the glittery gold ones teamed with flannelette. lol rx

  5. Ali at Very Berry

    They look rather good. I hope they are nice and comfy for the winter. I stomp around the garden in great big walking boots… they get covered in our heavy clay soil and my feet get heavier and heavier.

  6. Hah! My left foot is a half size longer than my right, and oddly, my mother’s feet are the same size as mine and backwards- her right foot is longer than her left. You’d think we would buy two pairs of the same shoes a half-size apart and switch shoes to match our feet, but alas, we never had the same taste…although now that I’m in my fifties and the difference in our ages isn’t as great as it once was…she lives several hundred miles away. Sharing shoes is not to be, and I’ll always have more wiggle room in my right shoe.

    Enjoy your handmade boots!

  7. But are you going to be digging out the required flannette red knickers if you are going full on railway children??? LOL

  8. would love to see the gold boots! I am imagining platforms with glitter and a bit ala gary glitter.

    every girl should have some gold shoes. I myself hhave a pair of ballet pumps from France. never worn, maybe they will make “talking point” bookends?

  9. Magic Cochin

    They’re lovely Fiona!

    Last winter my ‘look; was handknitted socks (various elegant stripy shades kniited from Danish wool) worn with brown ankle boots and black tights under skirts (old long skirts I shortened).

    Will be adopting a similar style this year – but with my new knee high boots in colder weather. Not at all ‘railway children’ – rather retro and on-message in my opinion.


  10. veronica

    Those are charming little boots, so stylish! I’m now imagining you sitting on the pavement rooting through the pile for a non-matching pair 🙂 I wonder who got the other halves of your boots!

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