Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Good news story coming up!

I bought my first pair of knee-high boots last winter. In case you're wondering, I just turned 45, so, yes, they were a long time coming. The only way I managed to get knee-high boots to fit me after all these years is that some clever, thoughtful designer put a gusset of strong neoprene in the calf area. My calves are substantial. Whether you put it down to cycling or genetics, most boots just don't have a hope of fitting over my lower leg.

I love these boots. They are comfortable and warm. I feel strong striding around in them. So you can imagine how I felt when I dropped the cordless drill and put a hole in the leather upper. It wasn't a huge hole--only about a centimetre across--and none of the leather was missing, but it was right at the base of my big toe and it went right through to the inside.

I won't go into the details of how I managed to drop a cordless drill on my foot. Yes, my foot was inside the boot at the time. No, I wasn't working with the drill while wearing my favourite boots, but remember, I've been using the word, "chaos" a lot lately. And yes, it did hurt a bit, but my major concern was for that boot.

I didn't have much hope of getting it fixed. The shoe repair man at the local shopping centre said he could put a patch on the inside, but that would rub against my foot. I had creative ideas about patching and decorating the boot on the outside, but it's a really clumsy spot and I don't really have the experience or equipment for stitching leather. I desperately asked around to see if anyone knew of a real bootmaker. D, from the Neighbourhood House suggested a place just in the next suburb, so yesterday I went to explore.

It's a stand alone shop-front and residence on Bell St, Coburg. It doesn't even seem to have a name. The door was closed and there were half a dozen conflicting hand-printed notices hanging in the window. The clearest one said, "Opening hours 10-1/2; 3/-5.30. I'm still not quite sure what that means. The door was closed and one of the signs said OPEN. But there was a phone number also written in black felt-tip pen. I pulled out my mobile phone and called the number. An old-man's voice with an accent--Eastern European?-- answered and said, "wait there", so I did. Well, he looks as though he should have retired long ago, but I'm so glad he hasn't. His assessment was that he could put a patch of fine leather between the lining and the outer leather! Time-frame? Lunchtime. Cost? $10! When I sounded excited and impressed--how could I help sounding excited and impressed?--he just said, "that's my job". I handed over my $10. He carefully wrote "paid" on a bit of masking tape and stuck it to the bottom of the boot and off I went. Two hours later I was back and my boot was mended. There it is in the photo looking almost as good as new.

I'm going to wear those boots today. While I'm wearing them I'm going to think grateful thoughts for the little old man and his skill. I'm going to hope that he lives a long and happy life--and keeps his funny little shop open for many years to come!

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