How long is a piece of string?

I HAVE been uncomfortably aware for some time now that the lace on my left brown boot was about to rupture. But I have been unable to source a replacement, because apparently laces are like wing collars and spats. I presume it’s Velcro and buckles all the way for hip young gunslingers. Possibly wellies. I do not know. I do not live in Hoxton.

I appreciate that I could have visited a cobbler/keycutter, but in my defence I am stupid and kept forgetting whenever I was near one.

So today I went to John Lewis, because if any shop is going to have bootlaces, it is John Lewis.

I searched high and low and ended up in haberdashery because they sell wool, and wool looks a bit like laces so it wasn’t that ridiculous and you can stop oppressing me,  The woman sort of, but not quite, laughed at me and sent me to men’s footwear. I had already tried men’s footwear – I am an idiot, but not even I am that stupid, but I couldn’t find them.

Anyway, I would have arrived at work in the time it took me finally to pick up the pair of brown bootlaces I now own. As I walked to the counter, the heavens opened  and rain fell from the sky. I say rain, it was more like a swimming pool had been tipped out over South John Street. The rain wasn’t in drops, it was in mobs.

I didn’t have an umbrella for complicated reasons, and realised I was going to have to buy one in John Lewis, so I went on another search. In the meantime, a conversation like this must have occurred…

TERENCE: Oi, Clive!

CLIVE: What?

TERENCE: A swimming pool has been tipped out over South John Street.

CLIVE: Crumbs, people are going to get wet.

TERENCE: They are, Clive, Unless they buy an umbrella here.

CLIVE: Yes! We have many reasonably-priced umbrellas. I will put up a special sign.

TERENCE: No, Clive. What we are going to do is hide the reasonably-priced umbrellas and get out The Good Stuff.

CLIVE: Terence, nobody in his right mind is going to spend £25 on an umbrella.

TERENCE: You naive fool…

So I bought a £25 umbrella, because I am an idiot. I had spent £27.50 because I forgot to go into Timpson’s six days ago.

But at least I had laces. That was the important thing.

Back at the office, I pulled out the lace from my boot. It snapped in the process. “No matter,” I thought, “I have just bought laces. In fact, they are the reason why I felt able to remove the lace in the first place. Relax, it’s just a lace.”

Then I put one of the new laces in.

It’s quite a bit longer than the previous lace.


The new lace is on the left, the previous lace is on the right.

This is what it looks like in my boot.


My boot isn’t really that red. My face is.

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