I have some beautiful brown leather brogues, bought years ago when we were not as animal-friendly as we are today, and paid for in lire! I think they make me look very English and I can assure you that gardening shows are the only place left to flaunt one’s Englishness with pride! So after several shows I decided to get out my shoe-cleaning kit and give them a polish.
I absolutely love cleaning shoes and I feel quite cheated by these easy-care plastic-y things we wear on our feet today! It brings back memories of home. When I was a kid my Sunday-morning job was to clean all the boots and shoes in the house. My grandfather’s Sunday boots were high ,soft black leather which you could work up to a really good shine; grandmother’s were usually black, very misshapen because of her bunions poor soul; my mum’s were normal, high-heeled court shoes generally in beige or tan, mine were ballerinas as befitted my age. I had a super harlequin pair but extremely trying to clean (all those different colours) Anyhow, I took great pride in all this. For the young people who have never cleaned any shoes, here’s how: first you brush off the dirt and dust, then you rub in the cream, then you shine with your black or brown shoe brush, and finally you buff the already -shiny shoes to a mirror-like quality!
Nowadays, you only see leather shoes very rarely. In the tube (having now given up taking pictures of manspreaders) I look at the floor, and what a pleasure it is to see really smart, beautifully shined shoes. The rest of the guy (it’s generally a man) is usually very elegant too .Come on, will anybody defend those shapeless smelly things everybody now wears? Absolutely awful and you can’t help remembering the famous scene in a Massimo Troisi film when he got out of bed to move the offending gym shoes.