I walk in, wearing my trusted worn out, lightweight, waterproof, non slip walking boots. The attendant homes in on me and ask so pleasantly “Can I help you?” “Yes I say” delighted that this promises to be a quick purchase. “I would like to replace these shoes” . She disappears and returns with a dainty pair of black flat shoes, comfortable looking. “No” I say “a pair of walking boots like these” pointing to my cherished boots. She disappears again, trying to help another old lady on the way. She is back again with two pairs of black boots to choose from. Very elegant and in fashion these are, but not exactly what i wanted to replace my trusted walking companions with. I had worn them for the last 10 years , rambling in England and abroad, but also in London to exhibitions and even to the theatre. I feel good in them. They support my ankles and do not slip on the slushy pavements. I feel secure up and down escalators, and battling amongst the crowds. “walking boots I say” while she shows the other old lady a delicate pair of black shoes. The lady replies looking at me with a wry smile ” I would like a more elegant pair”. The attendant has lost interest in me. I grab her attention, point again to my boots . “Oh I see ” she says in her broken English, “shoes for the young people”.
Was her English so bad that she did not understand that I wanted to replace my boots? or could she not conceive that an old woman would want the comfortable well designed practical walking boots targeted at the young?
Anyway I am off to the mass lobby of Parliament about the crisis in care in my wonderful new lightweight, waterproof, non-slip, walking boots with orange laces.
On Tuesday 6 March, campaigners will be flocking to Westminster to lobby their MPs, calling for an end to the crisis in care. The lobby is being organised by the Care and Support Alliance, an organisation of over 50 disability and age charities including Age UK.