Tuesday, 29 April 2008

A trip to the cobblers to boot!

(Image copyright Flickr's GazH)

"Twenty Quid?" I gasped in disbelief!

Twenty Quid to replace the soles of an old pair of boots that cost just 35 pounds in the first place! The same boots that have been in the boot of my car for six months.

I must have passed the cobblers over 100 times , but still they remained in the car-boot.

I remember buying them in Marks & Spencers, not too cheap and not too expensive, just priced nicely in the middle.

It had been a bit of an emergency. I had been walking in town, turned a corner and my heel suddenly fell off.

Oh dear, I've just re-read that sentence. Now that would have been a real emergency. Perhaps I should clarify.

The heel of my right boot suddenly detached itself from my FAVOURITE tan leather boots. They were about a year old, and had been a great purchase in a sale at Clarkes and I loved them to bits, quite literally.

I went straight to the cobblers for an emergency repair. I had to wait in a queue, balancing very carefully as not to attract attention and when it was finally my turn, I asked if my boot could be fixed while I waited.

The man managed a glance, looked at me and managed a very gruff "No can do" from behind his beard.

Not even a "sorry love".

So I gruffed off, headed straight to the shoe department of M&S and quickly found my £35 replacements.

But they were not quite as nice as my broken tan leather boots. The ones that fitted my feet like a pair of well worn gloves, in a manner of speaking.

They were not even as sturdy as the old pair and took just six months to wear down the soles, which is why they ended up at the cobblers, together with the original pair of boots that caused the trouble in the first place, with a total bill of £35, which included finally fixing the broken heel.

But can you believe that it took me six months to get there (or a year when you consider the original incident).

Well I wasn't planning on rushing back after the lack of customer service that I'd received in the first place and although there are other cobblers in town, they are off the beaten track and I would have had to have gone out of my way.

Besides, I had yet another pair of sturdy boots to replace the ones with the worn down soles, which were bought in the middle of a sudden downpour when I could no longer bear the squelchy feeling in my feet.

So I suppose I was pretty much sorted.

What worries me now is that both of these boots could have been candidates for landfill. In fact, the reason I've kept them in my car boot is not with direct intent to take them to the cobblers, but to save them from the hands of Mr A, who at one time would have just dumped them in the bin out of sheer frustration of having a couple of seemingly useless items hanging around the house.

Thanks to the Zero Waste Week challenge, I was able to justify my otherwise eccentric ways. At last there was an external justification to keep hold of them. I suppose I could have taken them to the local amenities site for recycling, but a dose of laziness intervened.

And I am so glad it did...

...because last week I collected both pairs of boots from the cobblers, the same store that turned me down in the first place. However, it's no longer run by the gruff man (who, I now know was correct in his assessment) but a cheery Scot who holds a great pride in customer service.

Hmmm, £35 to save two pairs of boots.

I suppose when you think they have been saved from landfill and you consider the cost of two brand new spanking pairs, that really does seem a bargain.

So if you have some old shoes that might be in need of repair, check out your local cobbler. Most shoes can be brought back to life whether they are in need of new heels, reinforced soles or just a pair of insoles. However, if after 20 years of service, they really have seen better days, don't just send them to landfill, instead drop them off at one of the local recycling centres that can be found at Recycle Now! The materials can be reused for other things.

My oldest shoes are about 10 years old, which is not bad going. I even think they'll be back in fashion this year, which goes to show there's plenty of life in them yet.

Ooooh did I say "fashion", better not get me started on that one!



Mel said...

Morning AMA,

Thanks for the link yesterday to Ruby's new blog - I've just had a read back through her entries so far (and added her to my feed reader), and have a little note of re-assurance for you: "proper" sellotape is compostable - it is made of cellulose, which comes from wood & is therefore biodegradeable.

Will pass some veggies your way if I'm in the area (not entirely impossible, my mum-in-law is in Bedfordshire, so not a million miles away).


Unknown said...

Excellent suggestion!

I'm a big "consumer" of shoes because I like to walk instead of going by car and my pairs of shoes have a really short life. But actually a pair of shoes, repaired by the cobbler, have a longer life than a pair of new cheap shoes. I have experienced too.

I wanted to add that I also found a cheap way to renew the old shoes skin reusing some cosmetics that are not used anymore. I accumulated several bottles of moisturizing cream for the body that I received as gift and I didn't use them because they are too fat. So I tried them to moisturize my shoes and it works! Unbelievable but true! ;-)

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Mel - glad that you're keeping an eye on Ruby and thanks for the reassurance on the sellotape. That's great.

As your mum lives in Bedfordshire and gets a chance to listen to Three Counties Radio, tell her to tune during lunchtime on Thursday...if things go to plan she may hear me talking rubbish in her area ;-D

Hi Danda - thanks for such a great top tip about shoes. I'll try that myself. By the way, I'm catching up with my emails and will email you soon. ;-D

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