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  • Bought for a bargain at TK Max one lunchtime, these shoes have seen the world. Their first adventure was to California, a fly-drive with my parents from the coast to Arizona. They walked the Castro at night and up the side of the Yosemite gorge. But it was just the beginning for these shoes.

    I was thirty two when I got them, and for the first time in my life I was – though I didn’t know it then – settling down. I had a full time job and I had found the town where I still, nearly eight years later, live. But I travelled a lot in the early life of these shoes. The year after that trip to the States I went to Canada. These shoes were there on the canoe trip from Saltspring Island, sitting in the bottom of the boat as I paddled through glass-calm waters under a perfect sky.

    These shoes have been to a friend’s wedding in the South of France. We got stranded after the weekend because of an air traffic control strike and ended up on a mad and happy detour to northern Spain, finding a perfectly preserved fishing village just down the coast from San Sebastian. We watched the sun go down from a little balcony in a private room by the harbour.

    These shoes have danced in Berlin and Barcelona. Walked around Grindelwald and taken a train to the Tichino.They have touched each side of the world from South Africa and to Australia.

    They were there the day I met my now long-term partner in a café in Manchester and were there the day we moved in together.

    As life calmed down, these shoes were neglected. No longer treated to new adventures, they were left in a cupboard under the stairs. But in the last year or so, they've been rediscovered and worn for walks and days out with Ruby, our dog. They've been though muddy fields and up hillsides and on the beach and been washed over by the sea. I think it was the sea that did it. That killed them off in the end. Dried out the leather and weakened the rubber glue.

    I've hung onto these shoes for as long as I can. But today, tidying out the under stairs cupboard, I realised that I had to do what was kind and let them go. They were disposed of without much ceremony in the bin behind our house. They will be missed and I fear I will never own another pair of shoes which will be so well travelled.

    Goodbye, old friends.
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