Sarah Sands: I dig my kitten heels in, whatever the weather

Share
Related Topics

As the snow and ice hit the South-east midweek, I turned the pages of the Daily Mail, shaking my head over the stories of abandoned cars, grounded planes and commuters struggling to navigate Siberian-style streets.

One photograph particularly caught my eye. It was of a woman pushing her scooter along a treacherous, snowy road. What delighted the caption writer was that, in sub-zero conditions, the woman, unbelievably, was wearing satin kitten heels, with bows.

The reason I stared at the photo was that the woman was me. Obviously, I would have preferred the caption to say "stoic face of the whiteout", but it was not inaccurate to depict me as Bridget Jones.

I have witnessed two city catastrophes: the fall of the twin towers in New York on 11 September 2001 and the Tube bombings in London on 7 July 2005. Nothing could have been less important than shoes on those days, yet they became an issue because people had to walk everywhere.

Photographs show city workers wearing trainers and smoking cigarettes. But I strode from Canal Street to Times Square and back again, and from Hammersmith to Canary Wharf and back again, in my L K Bennetts.

The futile vanity was my flag for Western civilisation. There will be no Jimmy Choo once al-Qa'ida turns all women into enslaved crows.

I can see why the shoes could occasionally seem misjudged. Some years ago, while I was reporting on the Royal Navy, I was invited to have lunch with the captain of an American warship patrolling the Gulf of Aden. I had to climb down the side of the British frigate and into a dinghy, cross a couple of miles to the American ship and clamber up a rope ladder. The water was rough and it was hard to get a footing. Particularly in four-inch, black suede court shoes.

Each anniversary of my marriage, my husband, who is from Yorkshire, plans a short trip for us. We look at buildings of historical interest, walking miles from place to place. I blink at him rapt with gratitude and admiration. He stares at my feet with sorrow and exasperation. "WHY CAN'T YOU WEAR SENSIBLE SHOES?"

We will go through the same choreography as I bounce downstairs for our walk today in Norfolk. My husband will be wearing hiking boots, fiercely laced. The children will be in Wellingtons. I will be in pretty jewelled pumps and bare ankles.

As incomprehensible as it is to my husband, it is perfectly logical to me. I have feet, not hooves, and hate the weight of walking shoes. They blister and rub and take ages lacing and unlacing. They look so angry and utilitarian on the doormat. As for trainers, I don't think anyone over the age of 17 can wear them.

The weather may be cold, but it should not be grim. We need a little magic in our lives and it tends to be shoes. It is why women flock to shoe films such as Sex and the City while men prefer boots-and-socks movies such as Touching the Void.

When I first started riding my scooter, it took me time to master the balance. On one occasion, zooming along the Embankment, I wobbled and my delicate shoe fell off into the road. Lorries screeched and halted in fury.

But a woman passer-by, spotting what had happened, threw herself into the centre of the traffic to retrieve my slingback. She would not have laughed at my high-heeled snow shoes.

Sarah Sands is deputy editor of the London Evening Standard

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: International Trade Advisors - Hertfordshire or Essex

£30000 - £35379 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is based in Welwyn ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Controller - Response Centre

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Resource and Recruitment Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Resource and Recruitment Manage...

Recruitment Genius: Junior IT Support Technician

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Junior IT Support Technician ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Voices in Danger: With the drug cartels in control, a Mexican editor has been forced to flee for his life

Anne Mortensen
 

Here’s why I’m so full of (coffee) beans

Jane Merrick
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn