After yesterdays boot purchasing failure, I decided to try Winchester today. There is a Millets and a Blacks there and I figured one of them might be keen to sell me a pair of hiking boots. So, after chatting to mum about Audrey’s navigation skills and overwhelming desire to go to Brisbane even though it’s underwater, and after Mirinda had been to the gym and after we’d had lunch…we drove to Winchester.
We both love Winchester and today showed us why. It was wet and drizzly, grey and murky. Not at all pleasant. Arriving and parking then, disregarding any discomfort, we took our usual walk along the river, admiring the strength of the ducks, holding on against the rapids of the Itchen. We wandered beneath St Swithin’s cute little attic chapel. We strolled around the cathedral.
In the high street we popped into Nero’s for a coffee. Or rather, I had a coffee (my usual latte with hazelnut a habit my mother has also embraced) and Mirinda chose something sage green in a plastic cup which turned out to be a glorified milkshake. Actually it just turned out to be a milkshake but it had a glorified name. She said it was very nice…if you like minty milk.
And then the hunt was on. First up was Blacks. What a total waste of time and effort. The girl there (and I say ‘girl’ because I think she was an 11 year old on work experience) when asked if they had the boot I wanted in a size 10, ran off up the stairs. She returned to ask which boot I meant and took off again. I managed to ask her to bring down a size 11 as well if she had it.
Eventually she returned to say they didn’t have any of the boots I wanted. I asked her why they were on display then. She suddenly acted as if I wasn’t there. She wandered back to the pricing job she’d been engaged in before I rudely interrupted her with a purchase query, and put her head down.
I was aghast. I was tempted to say something but a man holding a couple of thick jackets asked her if he could pay at her till. She grimaced and replied that he could pay her or the guy downstairs, it was up to him. She then turned her back on him. He went downstairs. I shook my head in astonishment to no-one in particular and left the store. A little while later I saw the same guy walking down the high street with nothing in his hands. He clearly hadn’t bought anything.
I spotted Mirinda wandering aimlessly – something she calls “waiting for my husband” – and explained my empty hands with as much invective as possible. We started to wander back to Sidney, sad and disconsolate. And then I spotted the Millets. I didn’t want to be disappointed yet again but Mirinda insisted and, eventually I agreed to try one more time. I mean it was that or never go walking again.
What a difference! A young guy served me and couldn’t have been any more helpful. He wasn’t pushy but helped me immediately. He very successfully sold me a pair of excellent hiking boots. I was ecstatic and ran outside to let Mirinda know and we skipped back to the car, whistling a merry tune, dodging the raindrops and generally making people stare.
And, as well as being very successful with the boot acquisition, I couldn’t be happier with them. Very comfortable, water proof and breathable, they guarantee me a good long walk soon! And here’s one of them for you to admire: