Pampered calves wreak reverse revenge

I blame my gran for surely one of the most soul-destroying hours I’ve ever experienced. If I think about it I could probably blame her for some of the most-soul destroying months, nay years, of my entire life, but let’s stick with Saturday shall we?

My gran, or the Mary Nana, made many pronouncements on many things, ranging from Oliver Cromwell through teeth to shoes. Many of these same pronouncements did in fact have a vestige of truth and were rooted in her early experience of life, as the eldest girl in a large Catholic family of girls, and one poor lad. Though she was also mistress of the biting wit and searing repartee and there was no questioning how funny she could be. Oft cruel but oh so funny!

I need you to imagine the following uttered in a faux genteel Glasgow accent, her Mrs McFlannel as we called it – never to her! – “if yourrr feet arrre soore yourrr face is pure scunnered.” I realise a bit of a translation might be necessary, so for ‘scunnered’ read sour, screwed up, pained. In other words, not pretty! I first remember hearing this in a Clarks shoe shop, in October 1968, on a Saturday afternoon at about 2pm. It was the day I discovered that I had big feet, while also discovering that I could actually get slightly cooler shoes because I had big feet. The very sweet shop girl pointed to the extended choice that was now open to me and I near swooned. The rest of me was 9 years old but my feet were teenagers!  But the Mary Nana scuppered those childhood dreams, and yes several more, but perhaps more of that in another blogpost. Her pronouncement boomed out across the shoe shop, terrifying the Saturday lassies, only just coming to terms with the technology of the Clark’s foot measuring stools so recently introduced. They were being forced to consider that they alone were responsible for all the sour faced Glaswegian women stalking the streets in shoes that looked fabulous but were in fact pure agony.

And that was that. Other than a predilection for platforms shoes (which to be fair are often only flat shoes perched on scaffolding) in the 70s to this day I tend to favour comfort over fashion. I love a brogue, and I have an embarrassingly large collection of Converse, canvas supermarket cheapos and Birkenstock look-alikes. All the boots I possess all manage to look slightly threatening in their utilitarian clumpiness, and are mainly chosen for the fact that in the unlikely event that their anti-slip soles wear out my local cobbler can replace with similar. I am after all a Scot living in Yorkshire.

I can remember every instance of the ‘pure scunnered’ face where new, usually high heeled shoes, were worn: a romantic stroll around London in fabulous green Dolcis strappy, wedges; a pivotal evening in a budding relationship that should’ve involved dancing, but couldn’t…. But every so often I want to look down upon the feet of an elegant, stylish woman;  to gaze upon the pointed toe and to wear heels that let me look into the eyes of the rest of world without feeling the shame of inadequate footwear. Nah, that’s not true! But the shoe lust does occur occasionally, as testified to by the boxes under the bed…

Right, back to Saturday.  For a while now I have lusted after boots of the sort that other ‘gone blonde’ women seem to sport as a matter of course. Their legs encased in trousers from Zara, or jeans definitely not bought in Sainsbury’s, and their lower legs gleaming in fabulous boots to the knee, they stride forth taking no prisoners.  The shops are full of the damned things so clearly I need to own a pair.

It should’ve been easy. I selected five different pairs, five different makes, of sleek gorgeousness, and the Saturday girl tootled off to the dark recesses of the pain chamber and returned under a pile of large boxes. I was near breathless with trepidacious excitement at the woman I was to become.

And the result? I have calves. Properly well-developed, indeed some might say shapely, calves; moulded and rounded through years of the sole of the foot properly connecting with the ground, not honed and narrowed through years of high heel-induced perching. I couldn’t pull the pull-up variety much beyond my ankle, or zip the zip that final all-important 3cm.  Yup, not for me the gone blonde, confident, stylish woman in her fabulous 50s stride. The Saturday girl, bless, made that sound we all know and love – ‘aaaoooh’ and was clearly flummoxed by what else to offer by way of commiseration at my calf quandary. It wasn’t anything she’d encountered before apparently. Yes, that helped my self-esteem no end.

I walked through the city, heart heavy with thoughts of my leg inadequacy, but the Mary Nana’s words came back to me and I let my eyes shift from those glossy gone blonde women’s boot shod feet to their faces. My heart soared once more. Pure scunnered looking, every one.

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Why I’m going to tell you about how this Christmas started with a pomegranate

This blog is starting to become yet another sort-of-started/not-come-to-anything thing for which I have a not inconsiderable reputation. You could name quite a lot of career possibilities and chances are I’ll have had a go  (if there are any I haven’t tried then it may have been because it didn’t occur to me, or it involved more energy than I could muster at the time. Or new clothes and he had a point that Wilde chap). I am never without ideas, and I have good intentions by the bucketful, but the actual doing bit?

Every fortnight I get a bit of a prod when my Guardian blogging case study update hits my inbox but although I read avidly and do all the doing stuff I still can’t seem to just get this out there. Fear of no readers, nasty comments, not being as good as the other blogs out there, hating confrontation (cos sure as Euroscepticism someone will hate me), waiting for my design chap to send me a logo, yadda yadda, blahdeblah. Today though I am suitably prodded by Andrea Wren’s piece on the  progress of her own blog to get going!

Currently I am under employed, ie. self-employed with not a lot of work. My couch is my office, though I have a very lovely office which I drift into occasionally to add a book to my gorgeous bookshelves (see?)





or to collect something from the printer.

When I decided to start a blog it was to use all the laptop on lap time that I was putting in, generously  sharing all the tedious notions, ideas and advice that meandered through my head. I wanted to vent my mild irritation at the adverts and suggestions for addressing my apparent need to reverse the ageing process, and I wanted to set the record straight – I did not tell Susan Boyle my story and want to disassociate myself from the content of her recent album release. I wanted to help parents deal with the vagaries of Student Finance England  and student bank accounts. I wanted to tell anyone who might be vaguely interested that empty nest syndrome was (is) horrendous, that as a parent I am quite hopeless and helpless some of the time but I think my children quite like me in between the pitying. And loads of other sage advice and warnings that you might find diverting.

Apparently my niche is ‘woman of a certain age’ and I do quite like the idea of a niche. Such a reassuring word, unless you say it too often and it starts to sound weird. Niche, niche, niche…

If you’re still with me, thank you, thank you, thank you. And if you come back I promise to both start and finish the pomegranate that started Christmas story.

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KnowingD, a woman in her 50s, poised and ready to share what she may or may not know about anything that takes her fancy! Once she’s cracked this whole WordPress and blogging mullarkey!

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