Guest Blog Post – Priscilla, the Pulling Shoes & other stories

It is not often that I meet my Guest Bloggers before I bully, ahem encourage, them to open up their shoe cupboards for me.  With Priscilla I was lucky in that I managed to feed her haggis, neeps and Cranachan first. When she got that first hit of Drambuie, I could tell that I had captured her heart. Our mutual friend Nomes did a great sales job for me too (she also took the pics for this post).  When I met Priscilla she was wearing the gold shoes (see below) and a ruby red dress. She looked a million bucks, has cracking legs, a great laugh, complimented me on my cooking (which if you know me very seldom happens) and is welcome back at Chez Calcei any time. If you have a Burns Night Dinner (or any other dinner) she would be a great person to invite to yours. If I don’t get in first that is.


I picked up the first time I wore these shoes out (two years after I bought them), they are very shiny gold Italian-style.

I moved in with my boyfriend and everything survived the move, even me, oh except the  microwave. Must have been the dodgy movers. I blame them. As I didn’t want to be the someone who left their slightly broken white goods on the curb destined for landfill, I determined to get it fixed.

The closest microwave-fixer man I could find was in St Peters, not a short drive from the beach suburbs of the east (did this carbon contribution cancel out an environmentally sound intention?). As I was moaning about where the fuck is Petersham, never heard of it, my boyfriend who used to do indoor rock climbing– he knew it. There is an indoor rock climbing facility, as it so happens, in Petersham. How quaint. Apart from the directions, he was the one that pointed out there was a Bally outlet store, on the way to St Peters and it was also, as I discovered, on the way back.

It was Saturday, it was summer, it was hot. I was on my way to St Peters. Focused on waste reduction. Shoe shopping didn’t cross my mind. Really, it didn’t.

I found the electronics store after navigating through some unremarkable light industrial scape, my eyes trained straight ahead on the double carriage highway and the back of the semi-trailer I was up the arse of. I did the microwave transaction – can you pick it up next week? Yep, no worries! THANKS

Feeling like Mother Earth’s baby daughter righteous in recycling, I turn my car east. A small electric wave began to pulse faintly through the grey pulp contained within my skull, sometimes that happened, and the message was translated into the thought oh yeah, now what about that Bally outlet store? I turned off a major road way heading onto another similarily functional, industrial byway , and dazzling in the bright sunlight, loomed the white factory store like the shimmering of the Taj Mahal’s white marble through the wavering heat of a mirage. The letters B A L L Y glistened high and large in the sunlight like a blinding siren.

In a split second I’d crossed two lanes of oncoming traffic and next thing I knew I was pulling into the customer-only car parking. A sign I was shortly to validate.

Often I had walked past the Bally store in the Queen Victoria Building. The shoes arranged sparsely in the window, so refined, so rare, the whiff of unattainable quality, lingering tantalising among my nostril hair.

And here I was among millions of attainable Bally shoes, totally cut price, maybe last season’s styles, but you know as well as myself that Bally surely – is perennially stylish.

Greedily I tried on pairs and pairs more pairs of previously unattainable shoes and I realised that there were not a lot that actually fit my size 9 and a half were actually that attractive. BUT I WANTED BALLY SHOES I REALLY, REALLY WANTED THEM, NO, I NEEDED THEM. The tsunami of rampant consumerism washed over me. Ironic. Given my original mission. Finally a pair fit me, and then there was this other pair. Oh my god, so comfortable, and these other ones, gold shoes, I’ve never owned gold shoes, they will go with my white pants. Reminiscent of Firenze.  All were strappy sandals to match the perfect summer weather.

So $750 later, three boxes in hand, I left the air conditioned factory outlet conditions and braved the withering heat . But I was in a jaunty mood, I had three pairs of new shoes, but not just any old shoes, no, Bally shoes that would last through the ages, these shoes would transcend fashion and they would last and last. Oh yes, I had made a life-long and prudent investment.

Oh these look nice, but very impractical, I don't know about you but the sling backs always slink off so I might as well be wearing high-heeled thongs.

Post Script

It was two years ago, this event I have described. The boyfriend didn’t last. The microwave, I broke the rotating plate and it now sits defunct in my storage unit. And that was after taking it back a second time to fix the problem they didn’t fix the first time. But I still have the shoes. One of them, the really comfy ones, I have never worn outside the house. I’ve WANTED to wear them. Oh yes, I have tried to make them work with this skirt and those pants. But at the end of the day, they are just a little bit on the nana hush puppies side.  Or maybe a lot.

The very Italian gold pair, with the plaited straps, I wore for the first time only two weeks ago, to my friend’s 30th birthday party. It was an all night affair involved dancing, the delicate sparkling leather cut into the tissue of my little toes leaving duplicate red fissures. I did however pick up that night, which may or may not have been the shoes. I’ve not tested the theory…yet.

And the black strappy pair. I admit to wearing these about three times. Maybe four, even.  Actually one outing was to Caveat Calcei’s famous Burns night. Quintessentially Bally frou-frou with the ribbon straps, intertwined with leather straps and peppered with delicate buckles – sling back pumps I think would amply describe them.  Eighties throw backs, they scream designer jeans and gold hoops and hermes scarves.

You be the judge.

I have never worn these shoes, they might look good in the photo but they are very nana. Something I plan to grow into. Or maybe something for Suri Cruise to consider.

Photographs Copyright Nomes Messenger 2010. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Guest Blog Post – Priscilla, the Pulling Shoes & other stories

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