River Wissey Lovell Fuller


January 2005

Les tells us about his carefree decision to buy new shoes - even if they do cost £17.50

I have decided to throw caution to the wind, let's face it what is money? You can't take it with you so why not spend it? From now on that's my philosophy. Could it be that old age has caught up with me? I am from now on to live for today and let tomorrow take care of itself. I'm planning to catch the next bus to King's Lynn and unless I'm waylaid by some gorgeous female demanding my attention I shall be heading to meet my destiny. Yes you have guessed it; the time has arrived for an old friend and me to part company. All those years ago I bought myself a pair of best shoes the one's I wear for best. You know what best is, that's for when the Vicar calls, you put them on to cover up the holes in your socks. Unfortunately for me the Vicar never does call so I'm asking myself why the heck did I ever buy any best shoes.

Years ago people put aside one of their rooms as a best room, more commonly known as the front room. It was hardly ever used only on special occasions, but that was where the best furniture and so on was. Being one of a large family I can't remember us having a best room. We needed all the space we could get. I'm not sure if we had any best of anything, furniture, carpets, did I say carpets? I don't think we had any; it was lino if I remember. I seem to recall in our kitchen we had a rug, well it was a sack really and we use to cut up any old clothing in to pieces about four inches long and "peg" them in to this sack, that was one of our rugs. When you lifted it up to take outside to shake it you left behind enough dirt to grow potatoes there. What was then needed was a vacuum cleaner but it would be years before those sort of things came along.

So was life in those days pretty dismal? Well no because even if we hadn't got the best of this or that we had the very best of one thing and that was the best Parents in the world. So I don't think we lost out somehow. When I go in to peoples homes today I see the contrast between then and now; wall to wall carpets, central heating, and every electrical contraption you can think of and not forgetting the shining new car standing in the drive way. I even know of some people who now have toilets inside their houses! How they must miss the walk down to the bottom of the garden which was common in my younger days.

But then, I've been around so long I arrived in this part of the world before electricity did. I have a strange feeling that I have digressed somewhat. I seem to recall I was on about buying myself a new pair of best shoes, and so I shall, but this time it will be a little bit different. In the past I have spent as much as £10 buying my best shoes, but today I'm a changed man. I'm going straight in to that shoe shop, straight up to that shop assistant, flourishing a wad of notes as if I'm some Texan oil magnet, and I'm going for the very best. I'm prepared to pay at least £17-50, especially if they have laces, and who knows I might leave a tip. I hear "Round the Bend" in the 3-30 at Newmarket is in with a chance!

Les Lawrence

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