Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Shoe Shine Boy and Putting on the Style

In the interests of equal division of labour, I have given Mr B a job to do as part of our packing. We are, regular readers will recall, off to celebrate both the Eldest of the Darling Daughters and her fella's Silver Wedding Anniversary and their elder daughter Katie's Eighteenth. As I always say, why have one celebration, when you could have two?


I am generally in charge of packing for our weekend away which involves the always tricky question of What To Wear. The party invitation directs "Smart Casual" which always seems to me to be a Contradiction in Terms. Asking for enlightenment, I discover it means no jeans, ripped of otherwise, or scruffy tee-shirts. Heaven forefend! Fortunately for me my own personal Style Guru, aka the Middle of the Darling Daughters, has already advised me what to wear and I would never be silly enough (or brave enough) to ignore her advice. Besides, nobody will be looking at me, anyway, will they?


I have selected three shirts from Mr B's wardrobe (which is packed with bowls clothes - "greys" for ordinary play, "whites" for matches: aren't you impressed with my knowledge of such Matters Sartorial?) All he has to do is select one of the three which I can then iron for him. So far they are still draped over the back of a dining room chair waiting to be either selected or sent back to the wardrobe. It's like the X Factor for Shirts.


In addition to choosing his shirt, the other task I have allocated to Mr B is the Cleaning of Shoes. Mr B is an absolute ace at this. Should we ever need to supplement our pensions, I shall send him out into the streets of London as a (rather elderly) shoe shine boy.


When our Foursome were small, Mr B took it upon himself to polish their school shoes each and every night without fail. It was quite a task and I would like to know if any Father of Four these days commits himself to such a testing routine. The shoes belonging to the Eldest of the Darling Daughters were always the easiest to clean, requiring little more than a top-up to maintain their shine. The shoes belonging to the Youngest of the Darling Daughters were not quite so good, but not too bad, all things considered. The shoes belonging to the Middle of the Darling Daughters required much elbow grease and plenty of polish to bring them up to scratch - while those belonging to Our Boy were a veritable disaster in shoe terms. Scuffed is too mild a term for their state after a day of kicking a football in the playground, climbing trees, falling out of trees, dragging feet along the pavement to steady himself when travelling on the back of some pal's bike and using the toes of his shoes as handy brakes when venturing out on roller skates.


Every evening their father would sigh as he picked up one shoe after another. Every evening, with eight smart and shiny shoes lined up before him, he would sigh again, this time with the pleasure of a Job Well Done. If anyone ever sought to judge how well looked after children were by the state of their shoes, then Mr B and I (thanks to his shoe-shining expertise) would be rated among the Very Best of Parents.


My black high heeled shoes shouldn't take too much shining, I reckon. Since I gave up being a Working Gal just over three years should, they don't come out of their shoe box very often. I have opted for comfort these days - like many an Artex ceiling I have gone "Back to Flat." But in compliance with the "smart" part of "Smart Casual" I think I should give them a whirl. How I will manage wearing them in the Wii dance competition which, I am given to understand, will form part of the party fun, time alone will tell. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters tells me that the Wii dance competition is purely for the kids - but her older sister (who is, after all, the hostess so should know about these things) has said she is expecting me to participate, encouraging me with the thought of the many splendid prizes to be won. She either thinks I am a big kid (which is possible) or is counting on me for Extra Entertainment Value.


Whatever, I shall take my place on the dance mat in my high heeled shoes, expertly polished for the occasion by the ever helpful Mr B. "Dance as if no one is looking!" That's what they say, don't they?


In any case, my shoes will shine, even if I don't...

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Latest comments

15.10 | 11:13

I don't remember seeing this first time round.... but thank you for sharing with me. You write beautifully, and brought a tear to my eyes. Lots of love xx

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10.10 | 21:37

Jaqui I think your grandchildren are very lucky. You have spurred me on to write a letter to Amelia who like Hazel is away from home for the first time. 💕

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03.07 | 22:43

Wouldn't have missed it for the world. xx

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12.06 | 02:31

I love that you talk to your plants ... I used to on my allotment ... seemed perfectly rational !

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