When we were little girls we had summer sandals, winter lace-ups, party shoes and wellies/wellingtons/wellington boots. When we went to school we had what we called plimsolls named after a hero of mine, Samuel Plimsoll who saved the lives of countless seamen and gave footwear to countless school children. As we got older we began to have more pairs of shoes, but nothing like the number of pairs that most people have today. Because I am so reluctant to throw usable and serviceable items out (even to charity shops) I do have quite a few pairs of shoes and boots, but some are over twenty years old… actually thinking about it, some are a decade or so older than that… but there’s still wear in them, and i do use them – occasionally.
Back to wellies, or gumboots as we also used to call them (because they were originally made of rubber) they became popular after the Duke of Wellington had his shoemaker adapt what were called Hessian boots by cutting away the trim, lowering the heel and making them a snug fit round the lower leg. These were perfect for riding and soon became fashionable. As rubber technology advanced this style of boot was made by this amazing and versatile flexible and waterproof material. They were perfect for agricultural workers and anyone who had to walk wet or muddy ways. So as children, we had wellies.
My last childhood pair of wellies was probably before i went to secondary school, but later, when i had children of my own, I did buy another pair. However, I didn’t use them very often and eventually they went to the charity shop. Our lives have changed. We have a dog. When i realised both my husband and daughter wanted a dog (I knew she did from about the age of three, husband kept it a secret) after years of saying no, eventually I decided it was a bit mean of me so i relented. I made a secret pact with myself that having agreed I would take my part in looking after it, without complaining (well, not a lot, well, not too often) and be a responsible owner. This obviously means taking the creature out a couple of times a day – not just me, obviously, us as a family. We live by the sea so it’s sandy, we live on an estuary so its very muddy, we live by the countryside so it’s wet and muddy (and cow leave their deposits) we live near a wood so there is leaf mould – so ordinary shoes and boots are not enough to keep feet dry. So I bought some wellies.
I love my wellies; they keep my feet warm and dry even as i stride through puddles and waves. If they get covered in mud/cow pats/sand etc, I can just hose them off – with my feet still in them. They keep my ankles warm and my trouser bottoms dry. The ridges on the bottom keep me safe from slipping and sliding, they are light weight and comfortable.
I can’t find a picture of wellies, although somewhere there is a photo of me aged abut six roller skating while wearing them, but my featured image shows what you could use instead – putties!