I am packing for an adventure; we are off to the 'Centenary Chelsea Flower Show', My last visit was five years ago before BT, this visit I have a wheelchair on standby. I search among my shoes for Converse and flat boots as distant memories of high heels stamp into my mind.
My first recollection is of clip clopping around our Cul-de-sac dragging a pair of Moms' winkle pickers along on my tiny feet as I pushed my dolls pram. I stood tall as my clip clop, scrape, clip clop, scrape made the pavements tremble. I couldn't chase the boys when they stole my pram, the shoes were my jewels.
As I grew up I wore flatties from Clarkes; comfort was my game. Frustrated with my individual style my sister, an avid follower of fashion, insisted my new school shoes had heels. We walked into the shoe shop and Mandy took charge:
Try these on
No I don't like them
TRRRRY them on
Shoes shoved onto my feet, Mandy insisted I have them, even though I was like the leaning tower of Pisa. My eyes lingered on the rail of flat shoes; as an inexperienced stilt walker I peered down at the two inch heeled brown shoes. I stumbled out and like a circus clown clung onto the window ledge of Woolworths as I shuffled along sidewards, snarling at Mandy:
I hate them, I hate them
Back in control I wore flat shoes on the wards, but off duty my heels got higher and higher, in 1982 a black pair of winkle pickers became the centre of my world.
After the brain surgery my neighbour bought me a pair of ugly, functional navy lace ups to wear over my foot splints. My high heels were redundant but I knew it was only a matter of time before I would be clip clopping again.
At home I worked my lazy foot and ankle, I shouted at them, willed them to move, pulled them with a scarf, drove Mr H bonkers each evening when I squealed:
Look I think it moved; watch me, WATCH me...
Eighteen months later I dragged all my heels out onto the floor, staring longingly at each pair I slowly dropped them into a black bin bag. Like a sad pass the parcel the shoe bag was offered to the girls next door then Mandy and Lois; the remaining pairs were re-homed in St. Peter's hospice charity shop.
As we plan for Chelsea my collection of shoes has re-grown and like the flowers we will see, I have shoes of every colour.
I hope my 'Hotters' and 'Converse' attract a Gold Medal and Best in Show!