contributed by Anna Baker

Anna lives in Birmingham, England and is a member of Selly Oak Quaker meeting. However she has family in Canberra and visits often and is getting to know Canberra Quakers.

They’re maybe not the best things to haul half way around the world but travelling from the UK to Australia without my favourite, long boots seems out of the question.
They have largely been ignored during what passed for our English summer but while (don’t tell me ) it’s very warm in Sydney, my grandgirls were having a snowball fight in Canberra while I was packing my case early this September. They’re very soft and comfortable these boots, and can tell a few tales. Was it eight, or was it nine years ago that my German daughter-in-law and I went shoe shopping in Cambridge where the family lived before the great adventure? It was our joint birthday treat and we chose German footwear, sturdy but elegant and long in the zip – perfect for my high-arching feet which usually get stuck in the bend on their way down a boot. The first time the boots and I went long haul together, I travelled with them inside the legs of my jeans. Then came the mighty battle to remove them at the Customs desk whilst hopping around on one leg, hoping that my now unbelted pants kept their hold. Since then I wear them Cossack-wise with my belt stowed in my check-in bag. We’re planning to make more trips together, me and my boots. Back in the UK they will get their usual waxing and be left with my local Gujerati cobbler who knows them well. This time it will be new heels only, but they’re on their third set of soles. Would I chose leather boots another time? Maybe not. The global economics of footwear choice are complex, but longevity is surely a factor. This I know: I will not be recycling these treasures while there’s another mile left in them. So, shall we see you again in my springtime and your 2018 autumn, Canberra? I hope so. Thank you for your warm welcome and for the friends who have taken us for walks. Cheers m’dears!