Sunday, 27 September 2009

Time For Another Body Part

No, I'm not endorsing major surgery with these words, wonderful though that might be at times, simply focusing my attention on somewhere other than teeth. The wonderful array of comments on dental delights has covered those less than perfect adjuncts to the full in my previous post, methinks.

Let's look at the other extreme - feet- and by association, shoes. It was such a glorious morning yesterday that, though I was in theory shopping, I took time out to park myself on a seat near to where the flower lady had her pitch set up. Saturday in Havant is known locally as market day, although that's a slight mis-nomer if you're expecting livestock and home grown produce to be on offer.

So I sat and studied feet. It was not long after nine; shoppers hadn't yet arrived in droves, but the few who were about, seemed to amble leisurely before me, left to right, right to left across the part of the precinct in my view. Trainers seemed to be favourite choice of both male and female shoppers of all ages, closely followed by flip flops; granted, the ladies had slightly jazzier and often sparklier versions of these.

Many of the trainers adorned spindly, ancient legs of grandpa types , emerging bizarrely from three quarter length shorts. Who'd have thought the older generation would have cottoned on to this fairly modern trend? Young men too, had the same long shorts, but tended to opt for the flip flops to finish their ensemble.

Among the ladies, I only saw one pair of 'sensible' lace up shoes and one pair of wedge heeled sandals (on a rather short lady who obvious felt they gave her added stature !) Otherwise, flat, ballerina pumps appeared the favourite choice. The flower lady's were gold and sparkly, I recall.
Nobody was daft enough to be wearing high heels, I was glad to see. Fashion statements they may be, but uncomfortable they certainly are - I defy anybody to question this fact.

I only realised how quiet the passing feet were, when a little girl about eight or nine clattered past scuffily in a pair of shiny black shoes of what appeared to be hard plastic, even down to the soles. They underlined the lack of sound produced by everybody else.

Perhaps the one thing all this footwear highlighted, was the fact that none of it was the kind which could be repaired by a cobbler. Our throw away society must have almost rendered them obsolete... As a tribute to an earlier age, here's a poem by Marion St John Webb, entitled

The Boot-Mender

You open the door
and the bell gives a 'Ting'
but it's dark in the shop
an' they don't hear the ring,
'cos it's all full of noise
an' a tapper-tap-tapping,
an' old Mr Glissen's
hammer is rapping.

He's terrible old;
in a little black cap,
an' his head gives a nod
as his hammer goes tap.
An' he looks up an' says
'A fine day for wet weather!
Ah-ha! but the rain
cannot get through my leather!'

He's bendy and brown
an' his eye's twinkly blue;
he holds nails in his mouth
while he hammers my shoe.
Then he gets off his stool
an' around he comes hobberlin'.
I'm frikened to look -
he looks so like a goberlin'.

I b'lieve that he puts
magic nails in, you know,
when he's mendin' my shoes,
so I jus' have to go
where my shoes want to walk!
An' I get in such muddles,
'cos one likes it dry
an' the other likes puddles.

An' sometimes the shoes
make me run down the lane,
an' won't come back quick
when they're told to by Jane.
I esplain it's not me,
but it's 'cos Mr Glissen
has put magic nails in -
but Jane never listens.


  1. give me that cobblers address, i also want magic nails... lovely!

  2. Hi Jinksy

    You can still get shoes mended, but these days it's largely glues and synthetics.

    And it's likely that the only noise to drown out the shop door bell today, is the obligatory key-cutting machine and/or the radio!

    Liked the poem. Marion St John Webb is new to me.

  3. An interesting post, Jinksy. Only yesterday I bought new pumps, having discovered that the pressure on my big toes is non-existent when wearing the newly revived style. I only ever wore inch high heels anyway but it was enough to cause problems.
    After making the purchases I accompanied hubby to a long established company of shoe repairers. He didn't have shoes mended; he had his watch updated with new strap and new glass face.
    It had been some years since I went in the shop and I was astonished to find that the jewellery and gift side of the business was flourishing while the shoe repair side was shoved in a corner, unmanned and no customers.

  4. Surely a lost art, is shoe repair. And love the puddles and poem, Jinksy :) Happy feet!

  5. Ah you brought back memories of the old neighbourhood shoe repair shop in my home town of Montreal. A lost craft. There's just no.. soul to modern shoes. ;)

  6. jinksy what a find! the poem is so reminding of times gone by. i remember cobblers - the old school ones who had shops that were filled with the smell of leather and wax. the sounds of hammering and the clinking sounds of a spoon as he mixed strange glues in little jars and tins. in this town i know of one such person but he does his work in a shopping mall. the smells, the sounds are still the same but the ambience described so lovingly in this poem is just not there. have a peaceful day. steven

  7. I did a similar thing once on Darlington station while waiting for a train to come in, Jinksy - my general feeling was how scruffy everyone's shoes were - and how they shuffled. You are right about cobblers - when my last dog, Oscar, chewed the heel of my shoe, I took ages to find a cobbler who could fit a bit of leather in - and even he has gone from the shop now.

  8. If I walked past you, I would most likely be wearing sensible shoes on a cold day or sandals on a hot day. Maybe dressier on a formal occasion..... but NEVER high heels.
    Ruined my feet with winkle-pickers in the sixties!

  9. Oh dear, next subject will be ears. If you didn't hear the flipflopflipflop of the flip-flops, something must be wrong with your ears
    Great rythm in that poem. It seems that people rather throw shoes away than getting them repaired. Great excuse to buy new ones.

  10. Carolina, please note:-
    Strangely enough, not everyone gripped with their toes to make the flip flop sound - lots of 'em seemed to manage to leave the flapping sole to slide along at will, rather than grasp it to their foot as they walk - and from ten or fifteen feet (the other sort!) away, they don't appear to make much noise out in the open air. It did surprise me too. Perhaps the accoustics in that part of West Street were a biit odd? Well spotted , though...

  11. What a lovely observation, Jinksy. The poem carried us to another era. I wonder if there are any cobblers left.

  12. We had a cobbler shop in my family until it went out of business about 15 years ago. My sister to this day is the queen when it comes to repairing leather.

  13. I still get some of my shoes mended. It's tooo expensive to buy new ones when only the soles are worn....
    Thank you for a lovely always.

  14. I bought a beautiful pair of black leather loafers when in Italy and when my puppy got ahold of them, I had to look for a cobbler. I realised then that the occupation had all but disappeared. Never thought much about it, but loved your recount of market day and watching shoes.

  15. What an interesting day you had, I love people watching and that includes what they are wearing on their feet....the lost art of a cobbler shop is sad really, I used them often at one time but haven't even tried for years. I'm not sure if there is even one close by. I really enjoyed the poem jinsky...amazing how you find the greatest poems to compliment your post.....:-) Hugs

  16. Love the poem. I use to love to go to the shoe repairman's shop. It always smelled so good, I thought. Leather, glue and polish. I doubt you can even find a shore repairman around any longer. When we first moved to this town, they still had one, that was in 1962. The small town we came from didn't but about six miles north of it and also small town, a little larger then the one we lived in, they had one.

    Sad to think about some of the small shops that closed because they could no longer make a go of it. Some of the small Mom & Pop bakeries, meat stores and etc.

    Hope your health is doing great and you had a wonderful week-end.

  17. I do recall from my art school days that many of the students maintained that feet were the sexiest part of the body. They certainly did emphasise them in their paintings, but not the style of feet so avidly sought after today: big, flat ones. Other people seem to have an aversion to feet. Only the other day, a podiatrist of my acquaintance was saying much what you are saying here. There's never going to be agreement about feet.

  18. Oh, be careful little feet, where you go!

    I like the poem very much.

  19. Wonderful observations Jinksy! I love people-watching.

  20. What a lovely post!

    The poem is quite enchanting - I didn't know the author, but she sounds a lot like A A Milne.

  21. There is a cobbler near me. My last visit was to have a dog leash sewed a certain length.

    Love toe poem. I love the smell of the oobbler's shop.

    If I had walked past you I would have been "adorned" with laced leather walking shoes and dread I say SOCKS. I have artificial knees and was told what I should wear to extend their "lives." I abide by the rules as I do not want to endure the pain of those surgieries again.

  22. I never thought of studying feet while waiting for my wife. I'll have to do that the next time I go shopping with them.

  23. The poem is charming, Jinksy. I am not familiar with this poet, but I like the style very much.
    Reminds me of the shoe repair shop in a town where I lived as a teenager. The shop was on the main street, run by an Asian gentleman and later his son. The shop was dim and dusty, I used to wonder how they knew where anyone's shoes were, but they invariably came up with the right pair!
    Perhaps another facet of life back then (the 1950's) that has disappeared, is the fact that the whole family lived in a fenced in group of buildings behind the shop. We rarely saw them but often heard the children laughing and running about and from time to time one of the elder ladies would come to the shop door on some errand or other. They seemed to live a life apart, yet were an integral part of our community. Aah! Memories. Thanks again Jinksy. :<) Shirley

  24. I always notice shoes...probably because i have problem feet and am always on the look out for stylish, comfy ones. I am amazed how many people don't support their feet well!

  25. Ah, what a delightful little tribute poem! I only have one pair of heeled shoes - all the rest are reasonably flat.

    But TEETH however. My daughter's an RDN, Radiographer, Oral Health Educator and Implant Nurse - so any future dental enquiries just give me a bell! What she doesn't know about teeth is nobodies business. Actually, what she also doesn't know is that I'm needing a filling. Shhhhhh.......!

  26. Hello Jinksy,

    When I was a lad, a cobbler used to call round to our house to see if we needed any shoes mending. Father's were usually the ones needing attention. I can't recall how often the cobbler came but we seemed to have something for him fairly often! Enjoyed the poem.

  27. True about the throw-aways.

    My Dad always used to say you could tell a man's true station in life, as well as his upbringing, by the quality and condition of his shoes. That barely holds true now, if at all.

  28. Just thought of one you might enjoy...

    It concerns footwear and cobblers.

  29. I am a big proponent of comfortable footwear. Used to wear stilettos in my younger days though, long, long ago.

  30. The poem is nice. My shoes are neat as long as I have them on.

  31. Feet and shoes seem to be a perennial problem. I do not understand why the younger generation walk around with their laces undone. It seems so dangerous to me.

  32. what a lovely poem thanks for posting it. lovely rhythm. thanks for visiting my site

  33. Jinksy, your two blogs about body parts triggered a memory for me. A few years ago while waiting at a bus stop, I did some people watching. After scrabbling around my voluminous piles of poetry and writings, I found it. I have put it on my blog. Hope you enjoy it! :) Shirley

  34. Ah, so lovely!!!! Cobblers are not so prominent as once they's a shame really...there are probably a good many young people who think they are some sort of bakery treat...You have given us a little taste of the magical past with your wonderful post! Thanks, Jinksy! ~Janine XO


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