Saturday, August 12, 2006

New Shoes

Dundee's a very different place from the grimy, unpleasant city I remember from twenty-five years ago. At least in the middle. They've spent a lot of money doing it up, shutting off some of the streets to cars and encouraging a better class of shop - like Anne Summers, for instance. They've even put up a statue to the city's most famous son, Desperate Dan. But the place still has a long way to go.

My faithful old shoes, that I bought in Swansea back in January 2004 and which have been once around the world, then half way there and half way back since then, have finally died. Well, to be fair, they died about a year back, but I'm too much of a skinflint to buy a new pair of shoes until wearing the old pair is slightly less effective than wandering around with none on at all.

there may be life in the old boys yet*

So today, having decided that walking around Copenhagen in a pair of bathies was not going to do my feet any good, the Horse Doctor and I went off to Dundee in search of shoes. And we had some success, since I am even now wearing a new pair of Karrimor Mocs, reduced in price by seventy percent (though not in size). And very comfortable they are too.

But Dundee. It's really got very little going for it once you get away from the centre. Endless rows of dirty grey houses, people shouting at each other in a dialect even they don't understand. And the centre's not got much to shout about either. It's an expensive place to park, too. Those canny bastards in the cooncil set the tarriff on the meters at a pound twenty, and the machines give no change, so if like me you've only got two pound coins you end up paying almost twice the advertised rate. Daylight robbery I call it.

Walking across town to the Wellgate Centre, yet another soulless mall full of mindless Saturday shoppers, I saw a woman who looked exactly like a Ferengi (a male Ferengi, that is, since she had hair). I wonder what she was hoping to trade. Maybe I should have offered her my old shoes, but for what in return?

Leaving Dundee behind and heading out over the Tay bridge, I was struck by the realisation that you have to pay to get into Fife these days. The Forth Road Bridge costs £1 and the Tay bridge is 80p, but you're only charged going into the Kingdom, not leaving. I don't know what that says about the place.

Back at the farm, Beetle, my mother's elderly Norwich Terrier (who has Dogheimers) had left a little turdhenge on the kitchen floor for our return. No doubt he was hoping I'd tread in it with my new shoes.

such artistry takes years of practice

* but nothing a can of raid won't get rid of.


Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Lol, how on earth did he manage to have the little sausages stand in line like good little soldiers.?

August 12, 2006 7:22 pm  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

Words fail.

August 13, 2006 5:16 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

I used to think you were a respectable, polite sort...

August 13, 2006 11:01 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Then you met me, Sandra, and the illusion was forever shattered.

Mindy? Speechless?

Gabriele, I think he was trying to build a miniature replica of Stonehenge, in poop, but his bowels ran out (hmm, perhaps the wrong choice of phrase there...)

August 15, 2006 7:44 am  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Maybe James decided to walk from Dundee to Wales in his new shoes? He must be having a good holiday.

August 18, 2006 4:02 pm  

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