Celebrity Guest Shoe of the Week – The Not Drowning Mother

One of the first people that I followed on Twitter was The Not Drowning Mother.  She is a constant inspiration to me not least because we are both obsessed with excretiae, fart jokes & good looking boys (in that order). She protects her anonymity fiercely, so I am particularly pleased that she has chosen to expose her ankles (and her shoes).


To be quite honest, I’ve always been more at the ugly step-sister end of the shoe spectrum than the Cinderella end. Any time I try to shove my big ol’ wide hoofs into a narrow “lady shoe”, it’s less “pretty” and more “Miss Piggy”. As for heels? Anyone who has ever seen me in a pair can tell you that it’s like watching a random member of a circus audience attempt the tightrope. It’s completely and utterly terrifying for all concerned, particularly if I happen to be holding a hot beverage or a pair of sharp scissors at the time.

But listen, I never wanted to wear stupid glass slippers, anyway. For one thing, it’s little surprise ol’ Cinderella lost one of her shoes as those glass soles wouldn’t have had much grip to them, right? Also, they present real health and safety issues: Cinders should count herself incredibly fortunate that neither shoe shattered on those dainty feet of hers and severed an achilles tendon. And the Fairy Godmother is even more fortunate that Cinders didn’t then sue her fairy ass for coming up with such a stupid footwear concept in the first place. Honestly!

So bearing all of the above in mind, is it any surprise that my Shoe of the Week is the flat cork-soled orthopedic comfort of the Birkenstock Tokyo Clog? Comfortable, hard-wearing, adaptable: you can dress them up (with sparkly pink socks) or you can dress them down (with hairy ankles and the kind of bare un-pedicured feet that give children and adults alike nightmares).

When I posted about the purchase of these little beauties on Facebook, I was floored by the reaction I got. People were deeply affronted by my lifestyle choice – disgusted, even. Who would have ever thought that sensible shoes would attract such anger?

But as Atticus Finch said in To Kill A Mockingbird “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.”

And so I state for the record: I may have smurf feet, but I have happy smurf feet. And when I wear my Birkenstock clogs nobody is at risk of losing an eye or being doused in hot liquid. And thus everybody, ladies and gentleman, is a winner. Just don’t go asking me to any balls, okay?

Shoe of the Week

Everybody loves them

Loved by all...

The Caveat Calcei Inaugural Shoe of the Week Award goes to: my Amanda Starr Purple Mock Snakeskin Boots (circa 2003)

Once in a while I have encountered footwear that so  cheers my soul that I am convinced that they have magical qualities.

About 7 years ago one soft spring lunchtime, my friend Kaaren dragged me out of the office, hailed a taxi and bundled me off to a terraced house in North Sydney. The Possum Man had got there first as had an assortment of women who were fidgeting on the doorstep. Inside I encountered a range of brightly coloured boots, shoes & handbags that were bouncing with personality.   It was a toss up between a pair of silver boots and the boots pictured. No prizes for guessing which won

The next day in Hyde Park, a homeless man propped himself up from supine to his elbow as I strolled past. ‘Those” he said to me “are some sexy boots“.

So what’s with the all this Latin BS BTW?

If you have ever been to Great Britain you will know that the English love denigrating the Scots. Occasionally, the odd Scot has been known to woad up and over-react a wee bit but mostly we consider this wing clipping to be jolly good fun and [ahem] not in the least bit discriminatory or racist.

Until my first legal job I had not really met many English people.  When I finished my degree I took a legal clerkship with Firm C in Lincolnshire a place  famous for sausages, Margaret Thatcher & place names like ‘Little Twitching in the Woods’. Before Firm C allowed me anywhere near a client file I had to prove my self-reliance skills by answering the phone in an English accent; making the tea; buying groceries for the partners’ wives and fighting off the office letch at the photocopier. Thereafter I was assigned to WW a corporate/IP partner who swore creatively and delighted in taking the piss out of me at any opportunity.

How bloody pretentious’ he said catching a glimpse of my University of Glasgow degree ‘you can’t sodding speak any effing English and yet your &@###arse degree’s printed in Latin for some bollocks reason

And there it is in a nutshell, the reason for the North/South divide. We Scots are quite simply better educated than the English (and they know it).

In Scotland, right up until very recently, studying Latin and Classical Studies was compulsory (ancient Greek was optional). Scottish schools believed that study of classics gave us a solid basis for learning English grammar and modern languages. Now, thanks to Harry Potter, lots of little English people are learning Latin in school.

Now that the Pommy Soap Dodgers are wise to the incantation Petrificus Totalus, we’ll have to resort to ancient Greek spells come the qualifying rounds for the next World Cup…

Personally I Blame the Snail

In life there are doors that open, doors that close in your face and doors you ignore completely.

On Ignored Doors


What do I have in common with Gerard Butler, Gerry Rafferty, Kelly Marie, Trevor Sorbie, Tom Conti, John Byrne and David Tennant?


We are all from Paisley, Scotland.

According to Famous Paisley People, Gerard Butler studied law at the University of Glasgow at roughly the same time as me.  This may be spin doctoring as I don’t remember him at all and let’s face it, and how could I have missed him? He is tall, dark, handsome and really famous which usually comes hand in hand with plenty of chuztpah. It could be that I just didn’t notice, as I was besotted with someone my dad calls Airdrie Fats at the time.

Blinkers on. Door ignored. I like to flatter myself that this is just as well for my tall handsome husband, the Minx and the Noisy Boy.

On Closed Doors

Sometimes, even if you keep opening a door, it will spring shut on you until you get the hint or a nosebleed (whichever event occurs earlier).

If you are a lawyer, you’ll know all about Donoghue v Stevenson and if you are not, you could care less. Either way have a read at this article by Martin Taylor QC. It is entertaining, has pictures and will explain the snail reference.

May Donoghue was a wee Paisley woman who didn’t have five pounds to her name and yet she took a huge case to the House of Lords. Her case is the root cause of virtually every personal injury action raised in courts today. May strikes me as a pretty gutsy lady and inspired by her epic legal battle, I became a civil court lawyer.  I thought I would be a natural as I am both argumentative and persistent.  A sadistic judge at Glasgow Sheriff Court had other ideas. KM slammed the door in my face repeatedly until I turned to drink, gave up litigation in despair and switched to lecturing law instead. Door closed.

On Doors that Open

Now and again, on a spring day like today with the smell of jasmine in the air, I might look at the world from a different angle.  From that angle, I might notice a small door that I’ve walked past a hundred times.  If I’m still writing here next week, this blog may well be one of those doors.