Odds and Sods Around Our House

If the foe shits ….

It has been suggested on more than one occasion by my faithful reader that I have an obsession with shoes. I will contest that based on the hard facts that are revealed when I check the number of posts tagged “Shoe” or variations thereof. In 3,164 posts there have only been 26 – 26! That is less than 1% and of those 26 only two indicated the shoes in question were for men. Okay so I’m about to bring that up t0 27 out of 3,165 but that is still less than 1%!

Below is a recent photo of “shoe tree” hanging in my closet. There are 12 pairs of dress or dress-casual shoes of various styles there and a miscellaneous collection of sandals, sneakers, slippers, and boat shoes on the closet floor.

Not all but a goodly number of my shoes all neat, tidy and, these days largely unworn.

Much of what hangs around in my closet does just that – hangs around unworn. Retirement and a more relaxed social scene here on the Island gives me few occasions to put on my best bib and tucker or shoes for that matter. And a little problem with my feet – which I must admit have been carrying me around pretty well for 27,617 days – many of them are too tight and uncomfortable. It has been suggested by a podiatrist that part of the problem may have been that they were too tight in the first place! But I digress.

I have decided to cull the lot and donate the unwearable to a local charity that helps helps new arrivals to our (and now their) Island. Most are in extremely good condition and in more than acceptable styles. However there are a few that I am reticent about giving away even though I doubt I will wear them again.

Case in point a pair of Mezlan dress shoes that I bought in Coral Gables back in 1996.

A combination of leather and linen they were made at the Mezlan facility in Almanza, the shoe making capital of Spain since the 14th century.

I was working on Air Canada’s US route expansion at the time and spent two months at Miami Airport training staff for several of the new airport offices. My colleague and good friend Frances and I would occasionally go out for dinner and one evening we went to her neighbourhood of Coral Gables. An after dinner stroll took us by this very upscale shoe store and in the window those beauties beckoned to me. Frances knew the salesman – they had gone to school together in Kingston, Jamaica – and very rapidly, and I do mean rapidly, in Patois negotiated a deal. I don’t recall what sort of deal it was but it must have been a good one as today the purchased of a pair of Mezlans require a bank loan secured by your first born.

I would love to say I have worn them often but honestly the last time I remember was for our wedding thirteen years ago this coming Thursday. This would suggest that I should either put them in the donation box or find a few occasions over the next few months to sport them. I am torn.

The expression for July 19th is:
Best bib and tucker
A very old phrase meaning: one’s best clothes.
A bib refers to both a gentleman’s frilly shirt front and a tucker is a lacy ornamental covering for a lady’s neck and shoulders.
It is an 18th century term, the first known citation of which is from a translation of the Marquis d’Argens’ ambitiously titled work New Memoirs establishing a True Knowledge of Mankind, 1747.

If the Slipper Fits ….

My good friend Dr Spo wrote last week about footwear around the house. His primary question, being an enquiring mind he had several, was if his readers discarded their footwear on entering the house. I had to answer that Chez Nicky and Nora it indeed was and that often naked feet were the style of the day – every day. It seemed that many of his faithful readers are indeed of the genre “Barefoot Contessa”* myself included.

I thought I’d do a quick little poll amongst my two dedicated followers and see how they clothe their ten little piggies when they aren’t on their way to market.

Barefoot boy with cheek**

Now on occasion, due no doubt to my postings on shoes while we lived in Italy, I have been accused of retifism. However in those cases it was mostly amusement that had me snapping away at window displays of fantastic feminine footwear not podiatric eroticism. I admit over the years I have succumbed to tantalizing window displays of men’s shoes on more than one occasion. And that has resulted in an overflowing canvas shoe rack in my closet.

The 18 pairs of shoes/slippers/sneakers that I own have a great deal to do with my life-long obsessive collecting sprees. Sprees that have included watches, vinyl records, CDs, sweaters, theatre programmes, t-shirts, Viyella shirts, Land’s End polos and pleated pants, and shoes. These sprees can last for several months – pax the winter of 2013 and the Viyella shirts – or for many years as witness the shoes. And to be fair much of the footwear have been in my closet for upwards of 30 years. Recent purchases have been almost exclusively winter boots which don’t really count!

As an example take these pair of dress slippers that I purchased in 1985 (that’s 35 years ago).

In January of 1985 I was in London visiting friends and as they were both working had unsupervised time on my hands to wander. They lived very close to Green Park and just happened to be within walking distance of Fortnum and Mason. I discovered that the venerable establishment have a very fine haberdashery; and as I wander through that fine men’s department I discovered these dress slippers; and these dress slippers just seemed to have my name on them! So damned the expense (there was some expense as I recall) without shilly-shallying or dilly-dallying buy them I did. And 35 years later they have more than repaid that expense as they are still stylish in an Edwardian way, comfortable and worn often when entertaining.

So in answer to the title of this post – which was indeed the slippers still fit and I wear them.

*Ava Gardner fans will catch the movie reference though I’ve been told there is a possible cooking reference there too.
**Another arcane reference this time to a wonderfully funny book by Max Schulman as sharp in its satire today as when it was first published back in 1943.

The word for June 30th is:
Haberdashery /ˈhabərˌdaSHərē/: [noun]
1.1 Small items used in sewing, such as buttons, zips, and thread.
1.2 A department of a store stocking items used in sewing, such as buttons, zips, and thread.
North America:
2.1 Men’s clothing and accessories.
2.2 A department of a store stocking men’s clothing and accessories.
From Haberdasher – early 14c. (late 13c. as a surname), “seller of small articles of trade” (caps, purses, beads, thread, stationery, etc.), from Anglo-French, where apparently it was an agent noun formation from hapertas “small wares,”; sense of “dealer in men’s wares” is 1887 American English, via intermediate sense of “seller of caps.”
Strangely I thought it was an English term for a men’s ware department – should have listened more closely to that open theme of Are You Being Served.

A Bit of Sharing

It’s been a while since I shared a few of the posts or pictures that have delighted me over the past month. So here are a few things for your consideration.

Shod for Shrove

It seems that Epiphany was only yesterday and already we’re coming up to Shrove Tuesday. The events and parades have been going on apace in New Orleans leading up to Mardi Gras and Friday past the Krewe of the Muses celebrated their 20th year with Jennifer Coolidge as Honorary Muse riding in the big Shoe float. And once again my beloved Cecilia – Nicky and Nora’s godmother by-the-way – was the recipient of one of their treasured throws.

She can now add it to her growing collection which I highlighted last year.

To Charlottetown …. by canoe!!

Over at SailStrait local historian Harry Holman traces an 1908 journey from New York City to Charlottetown by Elizabeth Ogden and her husband Henry Wise Wood. And yes as the sub-title suggested they did it by canoe!

A click on the photo below will take you to their story.

Photo from Sailing Obsession.

Envy #1

My blog buddy Mitchell lives where I wish I could live about now – away from the cold. Along the beach front in his neighbourhood – yes the lucky %^#$@¥ has a beach front – he often comes across the work of a gentleman named Paul Blane who creates some wonderful sand sculptures. A left click on the photo Mitchell took of the sunrise on the (spurt… grumble… wail) beach will take you to his photo essay on Mr Blane’s latest work.

Obviously the good clergy are preparing for Lent. And Mitchel you know I didn’t mean that name I called you – I plan to give up being envious for Lent! A vow that will probably only last until you next photo essay!

Envy #2

A bit closer to home in an attempt to ward off the deep freeze chill of the Canadian West my blog buddy Debra went in search of a quilt. She finally commissioned one and I’m afraid that sin of envy was rearing its ugly head again. It’s a real beauty.

The word for February 23 is:
Canoe /kəˈno͞o/ /kəˈnu/: [noun or verb]
Noun: A narrow, keelless boat with pointed ends, propelled by a paddle or paddles.
Verb: Travel in or paddle a canoe.
Mid 16th century from Spanish canoa which Columbus took from the Arawak canaoua.

Lisboa VI

In which the author speaks of beds, tarts, shoes and wine.

Bedtime For Jesus

On our way up to Castelo Sao Jorge we get caught in a passing rain shower just as we reached the panorama at Portas do Sol. Ignoring the advise of our friends on the Weather App we had not brought our umbrellas so made a quick detour into the nearby Museu de Artes Decorativas Portuguesas. Formerly a private collection it’s housed in a elegant but slightly faded Royal Palace. As with most private collections there are some nice pieces and many of questionable taste and provenance. It’s a rather sad and dusty place and most of the exhibitions need a good cleaning but as always something caught my fancy and tickled my interest and in this case funny bone.

This little cabinet contained these detailed and beatufiully crafted doll’s beds.

However these were not for any ordinary doll’s bed. They were meant for a very special poppet.

In the 19th century there was a fashion for giving doll-like wax effigies of the infant Christ a bed worthy of a Prince of, if not heaven, the realm.

All Tarted Up

I have been told by a reliable source that there is only one place to get true Pasteis de Nata and that is where it was created in Belém near the Mosteiro de los Jerónimos. However that does not stop every pastry shop in Lisbon from claiming they have the original secret recipe for this tasty little custard tart. If that is the case then it is the worst kept “secret” in the world.

This shop on Rua Santo Antônio um Milagros had obviously prayed to the good Saint and the lost recipe had been revealed.

And just to reassure us of the authenticity the tiles on the shop outline some of the miracles the good Saint had performed. Strangely nowhere in his story can I find anything about egg custard but then perhaps it’s only apocryphal??? Just saying!

Shoes and Booze

Several years ago when we were in Munich Laurent and I both bought shoes in a store that sold postcards, good quality touristy knick-knacks, knit and footwear! But I honestly think The Lisbon Walker store can do them one better – they sell shoes and wine. And they also have Eating Bear, a restaurant and wine bar, next door. Can’t speak to the restaurant but the experience at the Wine-Shoe shop was a fun one.

The two young Brazilian ladies who served us, one had only arrived in Lisbon a month ago, were chatty and enthusiastic in their sales manner – something we’ve noticed in customer service people here in general. And they made a sale – in fact they made two sales.

And we got two bottles of very nice wine out of the deal! If only more shopping was like this ……

On this day in 1893: Women’s suffrage in New Zealand concludes with the General Election of 1893.

Shoes! Shoes! And More Shoes!

Based on some previous posts a few people have accused me of being a retifist, however during those years in Italy it was difficult to avoid shoes.  Every second store seemed to be a shoe store and often one pair was even more outrageous than the last.  But I have noticed that over the past year or two I haven’t posted anything about shoes.  So to make up for it, and to get the tongues wagging again, here’s more shoes than you can shake a shoe horn at.

This clip begins with Dick Van Dyke proving that he was a great song and dance man and continues on to justify the title of the show – The Night of a 100 Stars.  And yes Christopher Walken was a Broadway hoofer and gypsy before he became everyone’s favourite psychotic.



On this day in 1650: The Harvard Corporation, the more powerful of the two administrative boards of Harvard, is established. It is the first legal corporation in the Americas.

A Beijinger living in Provincetown

Life of Yi Zhao, a Beijinger living in Provincetown, USA

Moving with Mitchell

Jerry and I get around. In 2011, we moved from the USA to Spain. We now live near Málaga. Jerry y yo nos movemos. En 2011, nos mudamos de EEUU a España. Ahora vivimos cerca de Málaga.

Writing Archives — Gregory Josephs

So Many Years of Experience But Still Making Mistakes!

Old Lurker

The mouthiest lurker you ever did see

following hadrian photography

I came, I saw, I photographed…


The Early Postcards of Prince Edward Island

Simon's World

Adventures in being me

Fearsome Beard

A place for Beards to contemplate and grow their souls.

Larry Muffin At Home

Remembering that life is a comedy and the world is a small town.


Telling the stories of the history of the port of Charlottetown and the marine heritage of Northumberland Strait on Canada's East Coast. Winner of the Heritage Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and a Heritage Preservation Award from the City of Charlottetown

Tangled Histories

So Many Years of Experience But Still Making Mistakes!

Isaac L. Stewart

Historian & Genealogist


So Many Years of Experience But Still Making Mistakes!


Procrastination is the sincerest form of optimism

Harper's Valley

Adventures in Hubris


So Many Years of Experience But Still Making Mistakes!

She Who Seeks

So Many Years of Experience But Still Making Mistakes!


To live is to battle with trolls in the vaults of heart and brain. To write; this is to sit in judgment over one's Self. Henrik Ibsen

I'll think of something later

So Many Years of Experience But Still Making Mistakes!


So Many Years of Experience But Still Making Mistakes!

singer for all seasons

So Many Years of Experience But Still Making Mistakes!