A look of disgust creeps over her face but she quickly looks away and try to hide it. I smile sweetly and continue past the stranger. The source of her concern – my Uggs. Not even proper labelled Uggs. Fake look-alikes we bought somewhere (I think B&H?) when the second winter in Ellesmereport got the better of us.
I know they are not sleek, stylish or even remotely attractive. Which is why I don’t blame the lady in the mall for frowning upon them. But they are my England boots, and they were made for walking – which is what we did.
They were my running shoes on cold days, mopping floors in the restaurant, dashing in the isles at Costco, Booker and Morissons to get stock for the day, floating between tables in the busy restaurant during service, and dragging tired feet to the shop during lunch break for a Cherry Coke and Peperami.
These boots carried my through small streets and big cities, shops and malls and castles and gardens. We walked on the town wall of Conway in North Wales, strolled down the beach of Llanelli in South Wales, and browsed the shops of Chester. In these boots I first set feet on London city ground, enjoying the sights, taking in the sounds, becoming part of the crowds. These boots saw Lion King with me, and these boots rode the London Eye with me. I slipped on snow a few time in these boots, and had to dry them in front of the heaters after rain a couple of times.
I took them off in Doha on my way back to South Africa the day I came back. I knew we had some way to go still, me and my boots. We’ve crunched the snow in Clarens, kicked a rugby ball at the Cheetah stadium in Bloemfontein, and gone on a game drive. Just Saturday we lay down on train tracks to take some photos.
When I got up the clouds were hanging thick and the cold was visible outside. So I put on my ugly Uggs. They keep my feet warm. And they were made for walking. You may frown upon my style, but you cannot touch the memories these boots carried me through. And until they start falling apart, we’ve still got some exploring to do.