“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” Samuel Johnson
There is only one piece of advice to give anyone who contemplates shoe shopping with two or more children under 10 – do not do it unless you have back up and a Christmas selection box full of chocolate.
Most children get bored and cranky if a shopping expedition does not involve purchasing toys, sweeties, ice cream or all of the foregoing. My children get so bored that they cannot be taken anywhere for more than ten minutes without one of them trying to bump off the other. At home, for example, the Noisy Boy and the Minx spend hours hatching up fraticidal plans with an cold genius that would impress Dick Dastardly and Mutley. Kitchen utensils, soft toys and the Christmas tree all played a significant role in their murderous games over the last weekend for example.
Faced with the prospect of taking my children with me into the fray of a shoe sale full of spiky heels made for gouging, I took the cowards way out and handed them over to their daddy. For a joyful ten minutes I gathered up armloads of shoes and used a full charm offensive on the shop assistants to acquire matching pairs before anyone else. I managed to try on seven pairs of shoes as my poor husband rolled the stroller up and down in front of the shop. Just as I had eyeballed an eighth pair to try on, one fierce shriek rent the air and my husband cried out in desperation “Make it quick!”. The Minx was attempting to break into one of those coin operated gum ball machines full of sweeties and lashing out at anyone who tried to stop her. Like a pillaging Viking, I grabbed what I could, which turned out to be three pairs of high heels and paid for these as quickly as possible.
Not that I did badly but I only went in to buy a pair of flat sandals not three pairs of peerie heels ranging in height from 3 inches to 5 inches (the ones shown above). No bloody wonder Avon reps target mums with kids outside shopping centres.
*Peerie-heels = Scots vernacular for high stiletto heels on shoes. See also The Banff and Buchan Collection
Wi ma peerie heels and ma pencil skirt, the mud wis jist like glue,
I thocht that I’d be bored tae death afore the week wis through,
But sine I met the shepherd, Tam, a great big handsome hunk o man,
And a man’s a man for a’ that in the country.