So, the tale of Kristine's shoes continues. If you thought, because my feet hadn't been mentioned in the last few posts, that the problem had resolved itself, not so. I was still in pain, still bandaging my feet every morning and every eve. When last we left you, we had all been reunited with Victoria in the tea tent behind Buckingham Palace. Whilst I was glad to be reunited with Victoria, I was having a hard time keeping the grimace off my face. I had that morning decided to wear a shorter pair of black boots for our Royal Day Out, and they worked out fine - until the late afternoon, when they began to attack all the spots on my feet that hadn't been torn to shreds previously. By the end of our day, I was in real pain.
I must say that the Royals have really got the tourist dollar thing down to a science. When you end the tour of Buckingham Palace, they see that you exit at the tea tent, which leads down a lane to a huge gift shop, which then exits you onto a path through the royal gardens behind the Palace. All of which would have been a delight if every single step wasn't outright torture.
You've no idea how happy I was when we made a pit stop at the Bag O' Nails in Buckingham Palace Road for a much needed drink.
Now, I'm skipping ahead a bit here in order to tie up the tale of the shoes and for all of us to be done with the state of my feet. If you recall, our Royal Day Out took place on the Sunday, so all shops were shut. No hope of buying an alternate, comfortable pair of shoes. Next day, Victoria, Marilyn and I visited the Soane Museum, Covent Garden, the Duke of Wellington Pub and Cecil Court, amongst other places. I promise that we'll be covering all that in full in the near future. For now, know that at the end of that day, I made a pit stop at the Peter Jones department store in Sloane Square, just doors away from our hotel.
I was after a pair of flip flops. I'd go so far as to say that at that moment, I lusted after a pair of flip flops. Which was pretty funny actually, as I live in Florida and own numerous pairs of flip flops. In fact, as I'd been packing for this trip, a little voice in my head had encouraged me to throw a pair of flip flops into my suitcase. Don't be daft, I'd told myself, what are you going to do with flip flops in England? Throw in another pair of boots instead. Oy vey.
But I digress (again). I took the escalator up to the shoe department only to find that the selection of summer shoes was slim, indeed. Finally, I found a too large pair of plain flip flops and grabbed at them as if they were pure gold. Eureka!
Now, these are not the exact pair I bought, but they're close enough. Just a plain old pair of flip flops, the sort you can buy at any store in Florida for $7.99. These cost me twenty pounds - or roughly $35.00. A crime, really, but well worth the price for comfort alone.
I'd like to be able to tell you that the Tale of the Shoes ended there, but it didn't. A few days on, when the Duke of Wellington Tour actually started, we visited Apsley House. I'd been wearing my flip flops every day since I'd bought them, but really, one can't wear flip flops to Apsley House. It just wasn't done, or so I thought. So I put my short, black boots on for our private tour of the house. Again, Victoria and I will be covering our visit to Apsley House and the Wellington Arch shortly, but for now you should know that I did pretty well with the boots on until we got to the striped drawing room just beyond the dining room. My feet began to yell in protest and I made a beeline to the settee you can see in the photo below.
You may recall that this is the same settee that Hubby and I had sat upon together during a previous trip when we paused to admire the Thomas Lawrence portrait of the Duke below.
Upon leaving Apsley House, we were scheduled for a private guided tour of the Wellington Arch.
We made our way through the pedestrian underpass to the Arch, when I finally took my boots off and walked the rest of the way barefoot. I hoped that the Duke wouldn't perceive this as a mark of disrespect but, knowing how he felt about his soldiers being well shod, I took the chance that he'd appreciate my predicament.
Across the lawn I walked, barefoot, heedless of what, exactly, I was stepping upon.
Once inside the Arch, we climbed, and climbed, and climbed to the top. Reader, I would never had made it had I still been wearing my boots.
At the top, we had a true bird's eye view of the Guards as they made their way back to the barracks from the Palace. All went well until we reached the ground again and I discovered that the Guards, or rather their horses, had left me a few things to be avoided, especially whilst barefooted.
Back across the grass I walked until we'd reached our tour bus, where I put my flip flops back on and left them on for the remainder of the trip. And that, dear Readers, ends the tale of my feet. And shoes. Your sympathy has been much appreciated.
More Loose In London coming soon!