One thing I noticed about Melanie Phillips the other night is that she has big feet. Not huge, but big.

I observed this because I have tiny feet. Very tiny feet. This didn’t used to be a problem: I could always find shoes that fitted. However, it seems that these days, small feet are so rare they’re not worth bothering making pretty shoes for.

I spent a very long and boring Sunday afternoon at Brent Cross last week looking for new shoes. Nick is always complaining that I only wear shoes suitable for the most frumpy stereotypical lesbian maiden aunt, so I thought I’d try and find some new ones.

So I went to the following shops: Clarks, Barratts, LK Bennett, Dune, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and Russell and Bromley. In each I asked what their smallest size was and in each was told “36” and there was a limited collection of those. Size 36s have recently become TOO BIG for my feet, apart from certain styles and widths. So if the shoe has an ankle strap and a narrow fit, it’s OK. I’m sure one could buy shoes in different widths at one point, but now it’s either standard or w-i-d-e.

For a laugh, I tried on a wide fitting shoe in Marks and Spencers. Like Cinderella, the shoe fitted, and I could probably have fitted my other foot in there as well. Wide feet, or just fat feet? I wonder.

Now, I emailed the chap who runs Small-Shoes.co.uk with my feet measurements. In the FAQs, he states that a lot of women like to think they have narrow feet, but they don’t. With the prevalence of shoes wide enough to accommodate the wingspan of an albatross, this isn’t surprising. However, I *do* have narrow feet and they weigh in at an old-skool 3 or 35 in new money.

Back to Brent Cross. In Russell and Bromley, I was ready to give up when the shop assistant sidled closer to me and said in a lowered voice “go over the way to our children’s shop. We all get our shoes from there.”

So I went over the way and got some nice boots that don’t look like wellies (unlike a pair of lovely Boden boots at twice the price) *and* a pair of black patent party shoes with little diamante hearts on them. On me, an adult, in grown up clothes, they look fine. If I were to come over all Grayson Perry, it might be a bit strange.

But still. If my mother could buy a pair of 2 1/2s for her wedding, why can’t I buy them for work?

Sophie Kinsella has written a series of astonishingly bad books about “Shopoholic”, Becky somethingorother who likes to get into enormous debt buying consumer goods. In the only one I have had the misfortune to read (it came free with a magazine), Becky goes into even more debt in LK Bennett when she falls in love with a pair of sandals – in both colours!

I would fsking *love* to be able to do that. But unfortunately I cannot, so Sophie Kinsella’s pisspoor work does not speak to me. I am also very annoyed that someone who can write so incredibly badly (she writes in the present tense and has only a rudimentary understanding of grammar, let alone the crappy plots and cardboard characters) as Kinsella has made that much money.

Hey, you may say, why don’t you do better, then? To which I would reply, I probably could, but she’s already had the idea. I could hardly do worse. On the other hand, my tiny feet are preventing my doing any research in LK Bennett.

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