Thursday, August 21, 2008

These Boots are Made for Walking

I didn't tell you I was a shoaholic, did I? Can't ever buy only one pair of shoes. Well my writer friend Mary Sullivan took me out for a special treat and I wanted to share it with you.


I know, I promised more money information, but thought we might take a little side trip. Which is exactly what I did last week when I visited the Bata Shoe Museum here in Toronto.

And no, this boot was not actually made for walking. Any guesses? I wish you could see just how big this sucker is. Anyway, it is called a "postillion's boot" from the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. They were made to be worn by a coachman over his regular boots, which accounts for the sheer size of the thing, and they were made of hardened leather to protect him from low hanging branches, or in cases of accidents, from breaking his legs when hit bit the dust. A sort of airbag device for the legs. If you look closely you can see the rowel (spurs) at the back.

Some of them, the display said, had a metal cup set in the toe where the coachman could place hot embers to keep his toes warm on winter nights. Central heating anyone?

I should mention that the museum is very kind about allowing pictures, provided one does not use a flash. I tried really hard to comply, but sometimes my camera had a mind of its own and some of the pictures are a bit on the dark side.

This was the first case we looked at, and I was simply charmed out of my flip flops. These were cinderella shoes from around the world. It seems that each culture has its own version of the Cinderella story and they all involve a prince and a slipper. Who knew Cinders got about that much. In this display case there were Korean and Egyptian slippers.

Throughout the ages, porcelain or glass slippers have been considered an appropriate wedding memento. Could have some connection with the modern tradition of tying an old boot to the honeymoon car. lol



These were French, but as you can see they are of the ornament variety, and one pair is of course glass. So pretty. A bit hard to see, since they are clear, but I thought them quite lovely.



Aha.

Now what the devil are these for?

Well I'm not going to tell you. You are going to have to guess. And if you guess right, I will send you a set of Jane Austen Correspondence Cards that I bought at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath for just such an occasion. However, if no one guesses right, I will draw from those who comment. Similarly if I have more than one correct guess, I will draw from those. I will post the correct answer on Monday along with the name of the winner. Don't be shy. You have to comment, or guess to have a chance at winning.

I can see I am getting close to the limit of my attention span -- I really don't like blogs that go on and on, but since I am a shoeaholic it is very hard for me to stop.

Just one more. What shall I pick?



If you guessed these were Napoleon's socks, you'd be right!

They were worn by him on St Helena. All right, so they aren't shoes. But think of the famous tootsies that once wriggled inside them. Or that stomped around the headland, staring out into all that nothing and wondering if he would ever go home again.

That is it. We will have more shoes on Monday and probably Thursday too. Until next time, Happy Rambles.