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

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee