My shoe wardrobe is much in need of a guid redd oot, as we say in these rural parts. Everything is becoming down-at-heel, faded and generally dowdy. I've only bought one pair of shoes in the last twelvemonth. Extreme restraint for a female, don't you think?

But choosing and buying shoes is such a palaver that I leave it until it becomes absolutely necessary. Not that it has ever been an easy task; with size three and a half feet, narrow and with a high instep things were difficult even when I could see. If I was lucky enough to find shoes which I liked and which fitted, I would buy them. In quantity and in a selection of colours.

Now that I can't see, things have become even more compromised. It's not just a case of finding shoes which fit; I have to be able to walk in them as well. Will they be worn on those occasions when I can hang on to my husband's arm, or will it be just me and Mr. Dog? Neither dogs nor pavements make allowances for high heels!

You see, when I eventually find the paltry number of shoes available in sizes three to four, I always zoom in on anything glittery teetering on three inch heels. Imagine! Wobbling along, clutching Mr. Dog's handle, doing a passable impersonation of Dick Emery. No, I can twist an ankle just stepping off a kerb. Of course, sequins and sparkle are that bit easier for me to see but high heels look ridiculous when their wearer has tripped and is sitting in a dishevelled heap, swearing.

So, it's practical flatties or pumps for me. Usually I do find something and I suppose it saves me a fortune but every female's wardrobe should contain a few pairs of frivolous, flashy, teetering stilettos.

And there's more to this frustration. Whereas I do usually find a pair of douce, serviceable flatties just try finding footwear suitable for any outdoor activity in size toty. Those of us with Cinderella feet are apparently expected to mince around bars and discos rather than yomp up the Scottish hills or race dinghies round the buouys. Whenever I have to buy wellies or walking boots, the hulking persons who staff outdoor shops gaze at my feet in disbelief. It reminds me of when I was teaching and in over twenty years, only once did a pupil have feet smaller than mine! I'm not talking about the sixth years, this was the wee squeakers, the first years. It was part of the school's tradition, comparing my feet with those of my new first year class. All those farmers' sons in boots and girls in trainers or Doc Martins, shaking their heads and sucking their teeth. Well, now it's the same when I am looking for walking boots.

Och, what the hell, next time we're giving Mr. Dog a good run up the hill, I should do it in strappy sandals; red patent leather with diamante on their three inch, stiletto heels!

© Charlotte Bennie 2007