My beloved Doc Marten boots.Black, eight hole, customised with football boot laces (when the local constabulary weren’t removing them for us at gigs at the Rainbow) After a wet motorcycle pillion journey from York to Newcastle (not recommended) I melted part of the rubber sole of the right boot by resting it on the glass door of the solid fuel fire we had as I tried to thaw out.
Apart from the phhht! sound it made when I walked, it wasn’t a problem. Until I came down to London for my stint working for Victoria Wine, Marylebone High St. in the week running up to Christmas; during which in 1980 (for ‘twas then ) it snowed, leaving quite a covering for a few days, even in central London, There was I, from dawn till dusk wheeling my barrow laden with cases of wine, crates of champagne, boxes of mixers, bottles of babycham, Advocaat and VAT 69 over the snow-covered streets for all the office parties* that were taking place. One foot getting noticeably colder than the other. Close inspection revealed the cause. As I walked, snow entered through the puncture in my right boot, filling the void that was the air cushion and packing itself into a hard, freezing sole- shaped lozenge. Anxious to save money (as the point of the exercise was to earn money to buy presents) I persevered for two days, after which I could bear it no more and bought a new pair. Could this be the closest anyone has got to frostbite in central London?
*Not as tiresome as it may sound. The shop had some very interesting customers: EMI Manchester Square being one; Hughie Green another. Mind you, for Hughie, meeting me was sadly lacking the impact I might have hoped for. I was let into the flat by his butler/housekeeper, shown through the lounge, past the sofa, on which Hughie was lain, wearing a grey shirt, open to the waist and and shorts, slobbering in a deep sleep (in which he remained for the whole of our encounter) to the kitchen, where I left his (sizeable) order.