World Exclusive from the cutting edge of journalism
Shanks’s pony. That’s the appropriate name for the means of transport favoured by our intrepid blogsworth as he travels ceaselessly across the great metropolis of London Town and beyond, to bring exclusive reports and features to our valued readership. But does he secretly have a convertible Audi TT hidden away in the garage to be used on rainy days or to swank it up and down the King’s Road on sunny Sunday afternoons with the roof off, you may ask? He does not! Ecological to the core, our man insists, come rain or high water, on putting the footwork in wherever he goes. No stranger to the demands of fashion and colour coordination, the observant reader will note from the accompanying photo that the boots are always selected to combine with whatever means of transportation they are partnering with on any particular occasion. In the case illustrated, the boot was chosen in order to match the luscious celestial blue upholstery of Southeastern Railways’ carriages. The assignment, on this occasion? A trip to the mediaeval town of Dartford to check out the checkout operation at the relatively new branch of Aldi. Working undercover he purchased three rib-eye steaks and a bag of mixed, prewashed salad leaves and some mashed potato, all destined for an afternoon barbecue at the brother’s house. But the opportunity was used to interrogate Sharon on the second till from the left as you enter the store.
“So, Sharon,” he asked, as his purchases whizzed past the barcode reader, “are you the fastest girl in the store, I mean fastest checkout operative, I should say, forgive me.”
And he blushed.
Sharon, turns out, is British, (twenty-seven years and nine months old, born in Wilmington, will be twenty-eight on the third of December), and she thus gives the lie to the rumour that all the discounter’s employees are sourced in Eastern Europe. Around 5’ 2”, blonde hair, worn short, nails with fashionably clear varnish but for the tips which are white; and as she answered you could hear that she was a proud custodian and practitioner of the Queen’s English, with just a hint of the delightful Dartford Loop twang.
“No,” she said. “That would be Stanislaus. He’s loads faster than me.”
“But how do you know?”
“The tills record our times, see, and calculate how many customers and how many items we process per hour. So they always know who is the fastest and who is dragging their fingers.”
“And is there a reward for the fastest?”
Sharon pauses and looks at him, conscious that he’s wrecking her chances, but unable to avoid a grimace of sheer disbelief. She has deep brown eyes, suggesting that the blonde hair may not be natural, and beautiful lashes. No wedding ring but wrong time to ask her for a date, he judges
“No. No rewards. No prizes. But we do get a right telling off [she used a more colloquial expression here] if we’re too slow.”
Niceties over, he paid quickly, marshalled his goods and left the store in a flash.
But back to the oil fat acid petrol and alkali resistant soles on the stylish DM boots. The famous Dr Martens air soles, to be precise. Rumour has it that a customized version of the same celestial blue boot (size 13) was provided by the company to Pope John Paul II, a celebrated advocate of the footwear. It seems that not content with splashing himself every day with Lourdes holy water as soon as he stepped out of his Vatican bath, the pontiff requested that some of his own supply of bottled Lourdes holy air be surgically inserted into the cushioned soles of his boots, and the manufacturer was only too willing to oblige this distinguished Eastern European customer. Whether there is any truth in this rumour, we’ll never know since the purveyors of boots to the papal feet were sworn on the Holy Bible to secrecy. So a leak? Cobblers, you might say, raising your eyebrows. Not to be trusted with the affairs of state.