I recently worked in New Zealand and saw some wonderful boots there, and thought that as they were so popular there I could easily get them in the UK - BUT I CAN'T FIND THEM ANYWHERE!! They were like Chelsea boots but with a curved, moulded sole and quite a "welly boot" shape and are really comfy and were on sale everywhere. Unfortunately, I didn't see the make. If not this particular type, do you know of anyone who hand- makes boots or who produces a "hikey" style/walking boot-style Chelsea boot?

Yvonne, Lowestoft

Caterpillar used to do these exact ones, judging by your drawing and I'll bet those were what you saw. Unfortunately, however, they don't do them anymore (they're all lace-up now). Clarks (0990 785886) have a pull- on Chelsea-style boot with a thick, man-made sole and elastic side gussets in either brown nubuck or black leather. They're called "lava" and will be available from August (sizes 3-8, pounds 45). But that's all I could find. If you send me a large SAE (60p worth of stamps) I can send you our Big Shoe Directory, which lists people who do make shoes and boots (for any size).

Good luck with your cravings and weight gain! Thank God I'm not pregnant, BUT, due to hormone treatment for secondary breast cancer, I have ballooned to size 16/18 from a size 12/14. It is perfectly horrid. First, one has to go through the indignity of losing one's hair during chemotherapy then this wretched drug has made me feel bloated and given me a "false" menopause. Now here's my challenge... I'd like to buy a smock-type of top which would come about halfway down my thighs, covering my bulges. I have long tops which do up down the front and look OK over leggings or trousers, but I am after the sort of thing that I know I wore in the Seventies: long- sleeved, plain or with an ethnicy pattern, only a few buttons at the top so that it has to be put on over the head. I await your reply eagerly. Oh! I live near Portsmouth and have two small boys, so shopping in London is difficult. Sorry to make your task even harder!

Barbara, Petersfield

Oh Barbara, we've been in contact haven't we and I know that you found what you were looking for (see below) but I had, coincidentally, already started to reply to your letter, so here goes. Denny Andrews, also mentioned last week, does this sort of thing, not too expensive - pounds 17.50 for a blouse - and it's mail order, so you don't have to travel. Call 01793 762476 for details. Otherwise, in the Empire Autumn/Winter '97 catalogue (0800 220 230) there is a tunic blouse available in four plain colours, which pulls on over the head, stops at mid-thigh, has side splits and costs pounds 17.99. Available in sizes 10-18. Barbara herself recommends Rainbows, The Folly Market, Petersfield (01730 269991), which sells Indian-style clothes in batiks and patchwork, like she used to wear in the Seventies. All the best, Barbara.

I had to print this as it is so fab, plus with all the talk of gussets of late in this column. It's called "Anybody seen my gusset" by Jean Holder from Hanwell (stand up Jean):

A gusset's there to keep you dry,

Amidst the frills and lace,

Although I often wonder why,

Whichever pair of knicks I buy,

The gusset seems too low or high,

For its appointed place.

To keep the blasted thing on track,

Would drive a saint insane,

Whenever I pull up the slack,

It vanishes around the back,

Then disappears between the crack,

And saws my bum in twain.

I'm keeping up this undie hunt,

Through setbacks, blows and boobs,

I thought one pair were back to front,

The middle bit had done a shunt,

And ended nowhere near my ****,

But among my pubes.

Scour Marks & Sparks and such,

Probe every nook and cranny,

It's not that I'm demanding much,

Artistic flair about the crutch,

If only it would nearly touch,

My deshabille fanny.

Yours uncomfortably,

Jean Holden, London

GUEST APPEARANCE OF ANNIE'S HUSBAND NEXT WEEK: Quick final note. I am off for one week next week, on my own, and leaving my house, my pigs, my children and my column (this is in no particular order), in the hands of my husband. Yes, after nearly two years of on and off sulking because I "pay more attention to that column" than to him, I am shoving him into the limelight to answer your questions (I've given him easy ones). Read and enjoy. I will be back on 3 August.

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