dear annie

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Indy Lifestyle Online
My husband has always loved galoshes, or Gentlemen's Overshoes as I think they are known these days. He bought his last pair at a small shop in Grasmere about 12 years ago, but when he went back, the premises had been turned into an ice-cream parlour. We live on a damp hillside in one of the wettest areas in Britain and galoshes are a lot more comfortable than Wellingtons for pastoral visiting, which my husband does a lot, being a vicar. Please, please can you help track down someone who sells these useful items? If so, you would turn his mourning into joy!

Val Haynes, Halifax

I must apologise in advance for being in a terrifically bad mood this week. So, Val, galoshes. I haven't been able to find you any. Alexandra (the workwear specialists) do a welly-shoe, Innovations do a short welly (but only up to a size 41), and I have tried every department store and sporty- type shop I can think of. Someone out there, please help. The only thing I found was in the American catalogue LL Bean (I love this catalogue). They do something called the Hunter's over-boot, which comes in an attractive brown camouflage pattern (great for avoiding snipers on those hillsides!). I don't think they'll be right, but if you're interested call 001 800 221 4221 for a catalogue. Otherwise, I'll keep you posted when those "I know!" letters come in.

I have turned to you in desperation! My beloved digital watch has given out after 14 years and I can't find another one anywhere. I'm not particularly feminine but I don't want a monstrosity of a sports one, like in the shops, as I have a small wrist and hand. I also would prefer a leather strap, but I could change that. The absolute biggest size I could stand is about 2cm by 2cm and, please, something tasteful! My last watch was a Timex with a light and an alarm, and something with those would be brilliant. Otherwise, up to pounds 50 and anywhere in the country as I have relatives everywhere!

Miriam Osner, Sheffield

I find it hard to recommend anything, as digital watches should, to my mind, be worn big and chunky. Trying to mix digital displays with small, feminine styling looks yuk to me. I would much rather you got yourself to Cobra and Bellamy (149 Sloane Street, London SW1, 0171 730 2828) and bought yourself a lovely "old fashioned" watch with hands. They do a cheapie range (but frigging gorgeous) that starts at around the pounds 50 mark. Otherwise, Timex (0171 630 8180) do a small ladies' digital one, called the Ironman Triathlon, for pounds 34.99. Casio (0181 450 9131) do two possibly suitable ones with lights and alarms - the LW21B from pounds 19.99 and the LW210 from pounds 22.99.

This request is so pathetically ordinary that only desperation makes me expose myself to ridicule by sending it. Where can I buy well-made, elegant, silk, cotton or linen shirts in bright jewel or pastel colours? Not browns, not oranges, not sludges of any hue, not big overshirts - just tailored shirts to wear with suits? I have shopped in Knightsbridge, Bond Street, Oxford Street, not to mention the Boulevard St Germaine and the entire 6th arrondissement. You are my last hope.

Christine, via e-mail

Well, Christine, I have left your surname off to save you ridicule, although none is warranted. Also, you didn't say where you live (please do put this information on, all you e-mailers, as it helps and isn't at all obvious from your e-mail address), so I was a bit in the dark. Madeleine Hamilton makes "quality tailored shirts for women" that are perfect for under suits. Most need cufflinks, but I think cufflinks on a woman look divine. (Or on a man, for that matter. When I worked Somewhere Else, I had the most massive crush on a man named Robert who wore divine blue shirts, ironed to within an inch of their lives, and he always wore cufflinks. He was much older than I, and, ever since then, I can barely look at a cufflink without remembering his deep commanding voice saying "Have you finished?" as we met by the photocopier... sigh.) Well, this Madeleine woman can make shirts to order, but says there is usually no need as they are sized XS-L (or 8-16) and they can be altered. No bright jewel colours but plenty of pastels, including five shades of baby blue, lilac and pink. Mail order is available, although the selection is more limited (0171 404 8484 for more info). Thomas Pink do a label called "Ladies' fitted" in eight colours, including pink and lilac, which are available mail order (0171 498 3882). They have stores in Jermyn Street, London SW1, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Freemans Catalogue (p13) have a military-style jersey shirt in lots of colours, for example bright blue, order no WA 709 22, sizes 8-18, pounds 25 (0345 900 100). If you want my advice, Chrissie, and you obviously do, write in for a directory of dressmakers (currently being updated, so a bit of a delay may occur) and get the bugger made for you.

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