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David Charters.

Byline: David Charters

THE central heating had yet to come on and the air in our lounge remained keen on that late winter's afternoon, as I rested on the armchair, while sensing that the crop of goose pimples then spreading over my thighs would have been sufficient for the opening chapter of a romantic novel in Braille.

But the chill had quickened the dance of my few remaining brain cells, which began devoting their energy towards one of the great topics of the day. A footballer had been sold for pounds 50m. This seemed a trifle excessive to a chap whose life had been immeasurably bucked by the discovery that a well-respected Scottish company was canning cock-a-leekie soup for little more than the price of a daily paper.

At this juncture, I should explain to those of you, whose wee eyes did not open to life in the alcohol-free parlours of Presbyterianism, that this is a nourishing broth made from leeks and chicken, hence its name.

Suppose that weaker foot martyr Anyway, I was contemplating why a footballer should cost so much, when the commentator on the wireless suggested that the price had taken into account the indisputable fact that the young man had "two good feet". Considerable bunions emphasis, I noted, had been placed on the word "two". This revelation stirred my brain cells to still greater efforts. New calculations whirred into view.

For example, what would your worth be if you were possessed of one superb foot - a supreme foot, a foot amongst feet - but your other foot was merely average? Even worse, let us suppose that your weaker foot was a martyr to bunions, blisters, chilblains, night sweats or in-growing toenails.

What would your price tag be then? In my naivet, I had supposed that most footballers from the higher ranks appeared on parade on what might loosely be described as two good feet. Furthermore, without treading too far into the treacherous waters of political correctness, I had assumed that the noble one-footers were usually confined to the lower reaches of our national game. Well, one lives and learns, or, perhaps, lives and forgets. There is a slow creak in the step of my trusty feet these days.

Suddenly the peace of the afternoon was pierced by a chirrup from my wife, who was curled on the sofa opposite, reading a magazine while sucking the vital fluids from a pear-drop. "You are so very hard on your shoes," she said.

This was a reference to the fact that earlier in the day our conversation had touched on my need for a new pair, as the soles on my old ones were now no thicker than cheese slices. But I have to confess that my expression might have conveyed something of the startled rabbit, as I blinked across the room at my wife, whom, at the last count, had 44 pairs of shoes and five pairs of boots in the bottom of the wardrobe. Here we have one of the main differences between the sexes, only learned with the corns of experience.

your Men buy shoes for walking.

was a to Women buy shoes for show. I would not be surprised if some pairs of my wife's shoes have not yet completed their first mile, whereas I don't feel that shoes have been broken in until they have covered at least 100 miles.

"Yes," I said, "it is regrettable but true that my shoes have to make contact with the gritty pavement during the process of walking. For years, I have tried to master the skill of floating to the shops, but the gravitational forces always come into play."

"There is no need for sarcasm," countered my wife, as the lovely turquoise surged back into the smile of her eyes. It is just that a girl sometimes wonders about the spoils of life. At one end we have a chap whose two good feet are valued at pounds 50m while at the other end you have feet that are a constant drain on the budget. It doesn't seem fair."

I nodded in agreement. "Even in my prime, my feet were never a prized asset," I said.

"You poor old duffer," she replied.


* Listen to David Charters on his picture podcasts at
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 15, 2011
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