It looks like I am going to have to say farewell to some old friends. Moulded in rubber, coloured green, and always reliable, until yesterday. My Dunlop Wellingtons, constant companions for two years, are giving up their role, as my boot of choice. I went into the river, to retrieve a ball, for a friend’s terrier, Buddy. My right foot instantly felt the cold and wet of the water. On investigation, I discovered a substantial split in the rubber, just above the right big toe. It might have been the cold, keeping them outside, or the constant wear. Whatever the reason, they are unusable in Beetley, from now on. Whether mud, rain, river, or cold, I have to depend on my boots to endure anything that they might encounter. I can no longer rely on my faithful Dunlops.
They have seen a lot with me. Two years, in all weathers. Snow, Ice, constant rain. Mud, worthy of a Flanders field in 1917. They have been walked through rivers, tramped for hours in mud and wet. Fended off unfriendly dogs, tangled with brambles, overcome tree roots. Dipped in dog poo, cow poo, sheep poo, and rabbit droppings, and come out the other side, with a quick dip in the river. Leaves have been congealed on their soles, and twigs caught in their tread. Ploughed through snow, skidded over ice, and sloshed through floods, they knew no fear, avoided no discomfort.
OK, they may have been a little cold, during extreme weather, and needed at least two pairs of socks, to be bearable. But they were worn every day, even during summer storms. They have seen sand and beaches, forest and glen. Meadows, mounds, and paths, have all felt their tread, and they shrugged them all off, as part of a normal day. Even now, the soles are barely touched, and have many more miles in them; but that will never be. The split has rendered them useless, and if they could, they would be crying, and lamenting their demise. For at least two hours a day, normally three, seven days a week, for the larger part of two years, they have guarded my feet from all that nature could assemble. Without fuss, no difficulty in putting on, or getting off, standing like sentries at the back door, awaiting their next call to duty.
They cost the insignificant sum, of £10.50. If you divide that by days worn, at least 650, that equates to less than 2p per day. That is an incredible figure. Most people would not even bother to stoop to collect a 2p coin, dropped in a hurry. For that paltry amount per day, I have had security, waterproofing, a degree of warmth, and good protection from the elements. So, Dunlop Wellingtons, I salute your valiant service, and I say goodbye without chagrin. There is little else in this life, to compare with your value, and unstinting service.
I may even keep hold of you, for days when it doesn’t rain, just for old time’s sake.