A few weeks ago, I decided that the walking boots I bought last year were due for replacement – okay, overdue. Made for walking they certainly were. I don’t have detailed figures for the twelve months since I bought them, but my fitbit account tells me that, since mid-September 2012, I have walked a little over 5000 km and climbed hills and stairs equal to 22,223 floors (a total climb of 66,669m or 222,230 feet). These boots have probably done two-thirds of that.
We went to Decathlon in Clermont-Ferrand, tried on numerous boots, all of which had the characteristics I was looking for. I selected a pair that seemed comfortable and supportive, rugged and weatherproof.Damned things nearly crippled me. Where the seam is, half way up the back, felt smooth in the shop. Not so after a couple of kilometres’ walk on rugged, hilly ground. The right foot was fine, but the left was missing some essential covering around its rear extremity, thanks to the rubbing action of the rough seam. We covered the area and went back to the old boots for a couple of days before trying again. Three times we’ve tried so far, with the same result.
I went back to privatesportsshop.com, where I had bought the original pair, but they don’t do that boot any more. I searched for the make and type, without success. I did, however, find one very similar, available from a number of sources, the cheapest of which, by about 10%, was amazon.fr. A few years ago, I was having some really unpleasant experiences with Amazon France. During 2007 and 2008 I ordered a few items that were described as ‘in stock’. Each time, the order acknowledgement said the item would be dispatched between ten and fifteen working days later. Each time I cancelled the order, ordered from UK, accepting the extra delivery charge, and having the article in my hands five to seven working days later. How things have changed. I placed my order on Tuesday morning, with free delivery. I received an acknowledgement almost immediately; it showed an estimated delivery date of the following Monday. Mid-afternoon Tuesday, Amazon told me that the boots had been dispatched, with delivery now expected on Friday. The boots arrived with the post on Thursday morning; a mere 48 hours after I had placed the order.
Looking at the wear pattern on the old ones, and on all other footwear I have owned, they could last even longer, were I to learn how to walk properly!
I now know that I am rubbish at buying things in proper shops, but red-hot at purchasing on-line.
The only other event of any consequence this week has, not unusually, involved the hellhounds. This week’s excitement involves neighbour Pierre’s Breton Spaniel bitch, Deanna. Deanna is en chaleur. Although it means exactly the same thing, it does sound so much nicer than ‘on heat’, don’t you think? When Deanna is in that condition, she is desperate for any sort of coupling. Not any type, you understand, it does need to be canine in nature. She neither knows nor, it seems, cares that both Trevor and Ulysse are deficient two in the puppy-making organ division. She constantly appears in our garden, ripping away whatever defences we put up, with all the determination of a Colditz escapee. When we improved the security so she couldn’t make a hole large enough for her to get in, she made a smaller one for Trevor to get out. After more than a week of calling Trevor in, to avoid the risk of his being run over in the road whilst making a futile and ineffective attempt at copulation, we decided to abandon the security, and allow Deanna to enter our land. She brings with her, on occasion, a terrier that belongs to Pierre’s brother.
Our dogs’ relationship with this terrier has gone through three stages. When we first knew him and for a couple of years, he was very aggressive toward our dogs. The natural result of that, was that they went wild every time they saw him, too. On one walk, they chased him down and had a game of tug-of-war with him. Read the full story here. For some months after that, each time he saw our dogs, he ran for cover. Stage three? See for yourself:
He now acknowledges Trevor and Ulysse as his seniors in the little pack, that exists whilst Deanna is en chaleur. The three of them try to follow the urges of their gender, whilst lacking the size, the necessary equipment and the savoire faire needed to execute the deed.
Meanwhile, in the next house down, Jean-Marc’s dog Hairy (yeah, I know) spends most of his time out-of-doors, on a long lead, in a garden that has no fence for much of its boundary. He is about the same size as Deanna, younger than any of the three
stooges terriers, and complete. She has never shown any interest in him. She seems to have eyes only for Trevor, and tolerates the other two. Trevor was castrated as a very young puppy, and has no idea what he is supposed to do, or with what, or how, or where.
It just drives us nuts for a few weeks every six months.
À la prochaine