Shameless Shoes


Clinker Plywood Manual
Larger Plywood Craft
Fit-Out for Yachts and Launches
Sails for the Home Boat Builder
Stitch & Tape Boat Construction
Strip Plank Boat Construction
Plywood Canoe Construction
Model Boat Building in Wood
A Slight Mist on the Horizon
Desperate Doorways
Shameless Shoes

A pair of shoes, is just a pair of shoes – or is it? Shoes, boots, slippers etc are tied inexorably to a particular time or stage in our lives and therefore, they can tell a story – about the person who wears them or perhaps, about those connected with them. ‘Shameless Shoes’, (which follows on from the first in the series, ‘Desperate Doorways’) is both an art book and a story book. Inside you will find 30 pen and wash paintings of shoes – some old, some new, some clean and some dirty and each with an accompanying short story to get your imagination going. You may want to finish the story or make up your own, using the artwork as a starting point - and do this with your children or grandchildren. as an exercise in storytelling. At the end of the book there is a tutorial on how I sketch and paint the shoes are sketched with notes on materials and tools used and on how I come up with the accompanying short stories.
Hopefully, this book will be the spark to start your own adventures into art and storytelling.

 And here are  4 examples taken from the 30 in the book:-

After Ol’ Tam ‘passed’ one of his nieces Clare, felt that she could blossom a bit. She was in her 30’s and attractive but Ol’ Tam’s dishevelled presence in the house curtailed her abilities to entertain men even just for a coffee. She loved Ol’ Tam but, apart from the fugg coming off him, she was scared that any possible boyfriend she bought into the house would rapidly wither and die under the possible bombardment of his verbal attacks.
 So, after the funeral, Clare went out for a major shop and came back with the most gorgeous pair of red heels and with these, plus matching dress and top, she set about ‘catching’ a suitable man. Most of her work friends were into double figures when it came to the number of men they had been with, and the others were married long ago and had several kids. She felt that she had been left far behind in the man chasing stakes and so, after consulting Doreen, a well trusted and, it has to be said, a well experienced man hunter with a collection of engagement rings from a long series of ‘near misses’, Clare took Doreen’s advice and went straight to a dating agency.
 She did not want just any man and certainly not the shamble of examples who spilled out of the Rose on a Friday night leering and cat-calling her whilst sliding to the ground totally blootered as she passed on the way back from the chippy – “Aw doll, gie’s a kiss an’ I’ll buy yoos a drink” before they puked up over themselves! There were not too many outstanding examples of fine manhood in the local area, it has to be said!
 So, after a bit of a hunt, she signed up with what she felt was a better class of dating agency, one which dealt with professional classes. she ‘tried’ several that they recommended, but what a disaster! It has to be said that Clare’s heels rarely stay together – no, it’s not what you’re thinking! It’s just that when they come off, they usually do so in anger and frustration, rather than as the beginning of a more enjoyable evening!
 From this supposed ‘higher-class’ agency Clare is dogged by the attentions of losers, charlatans and down-right liars! Take tonight’s disaster – the agency said he was an ‘executive’, a high-flying senior sales manager for a big multi-national company manufacturing high class perfumes and scents – she expected a man who knew about the finer things in life.
 And what did she get!? That’s right, she got a man in an ill-fitting ginger wig, with halitosis, nicotine-stained fingers and an awful excuse for what he thought were great chat-up lines – “doll, when I look into your eyes, I weaken at the knees” – I mean, give me strength!! – AND, he was only a salesman for car air-fresheners! 
 So, instead of Clare’s heels slipping off in readiness for an evening of seduction, they got kicked-off – one flying up and smashing the figurine her Auntie Jane gave her and the other rolling and tumbling to hide under the bed – MEN!!

 No one really knows whether Ms. Dennis really is a ‘Miss’ or a ‘Ms’ – throughout her professional life so far, no one has dared ask her – she is of such an age and demeanor, that it seems rude to enquire. Although everyone does wonder. She is known to live alone in a quaint little cottage at the end of Roriston Lane just as the little lane peters out and turns into the woods. Everyone knows that she lives there because, when she is not at school teaching or out on rare shopping trips, her little mauve Morris Minor sits just round the side of the cottage. And children, on their way to play hide and seek or to build treehouses in the woods will point at the cottage and whisper that she must be in there, as her car is sitting there too. But the children do not point and whisper to make fun or exclaim rude comments but whisper quietly because all the children respect her.
 Although there is always speculation from the children, their parents and her colleagues Ms. Dennis has never been seen with a man, she seems to be happy in her own company. Of course, that does not stop the stories from flying about – maybe she loved a man who had died, or perhaps she had unrequited love for a man or perhaps, men were not her ‘thing’ at all – but, it has to be said, no other women were ever seen visiting her cottage.
 Her clothes were never untidy, but she was definitely dowdy and restrained in her wardrobe, which always includes these constantly repaired crimson shoes.
 To everyone she is simply Ms. Dennis, who has always been perpetually, form mistress to the wayward children of 3C, the class into which all the slightly ‘slow’, clueless, or purely retrograde pupils go – the ones with little hope of academic success and for some, a greater chance of ending up, residing at ‘Her Majesty’s Pleasure’.
 The strange thing is, that at the start of the term, they go to 3C jeering, shouting and with 2 fingers stuck up in salutation at the confirmation of their status as ‘bad-uns’ - but, once in Ms. Dennis’ class, they are calm, quiet, and respectful. She does not wield a stick or shout, but quietly takes the register each morning and gets on with their lessons. Yes, many are ‘slow’ to learn but they feel that she respects them and in turn, given time and after a few ‘traumatic’ incidents, they all respect her too.
 Ms. Dennis never really frowns and usually always has a warm ‘inclusive’ smile and does her utmost to encourage children who are not academic but who are enthusiastic about sport or dance, like little Rosie who rapidly became her ‘star’ pupil.
 But she also has a stare, a deep piercing stare that can go straight to your inner soul and make you tremble and squirm. The stare is rarely seen, but once deployed on some careless pupil who has ‘forgotten their place and their manners’, the said recipient soon withers into quiet and humble acquiescence.
 Ms. Dennis – dowdy, quiet - respectful and respected - is, as a teacher, gold-dust.

 Gordon, or to give him his usual cognomen, ‘Gordon the Gland’, is proud of his reputation as a ‘bird-puller’, a legend on the dance floor and a man-about-town – at least that is how he thinks of himself. In reality, to his so-called mates and to the ‘birds’ he tries to ‘pull’, he is a bit of a joke.
 He has all the right gear – the drapes, the ‘DA’ hairstyle and best of all, his purple winklepickers – and he looks the ‘biz’. Gordon is tall, a good 6’4” and so he stands out above everyone else on the dance floor, the girls especially. It gives them the advantage in that his whereabouts on the floor is easily spotted and therefore easily avoided. He thinks he is king of the jive, but here his image falls apart – instead of displaying slick moves on the dance floor, his elbows go everywhere (and usually into the face of some unfortunate girl who loses sight of him and passes too close) and his lower limbs have minds of their own and no thought towards co-ordination – he is a disaster and the joke is, that he thinks he is so ‘cool’ – as Sylvia giggled, “if he’s like that on the dance floor, what’s he like in bed!? – you would end up in hospital after the foreplay!!”
 If Gordon is on the floor for a particularly fast number, most couples retire to the tables and sit it out, not wanting to end up like the poor unfortunates of previous ‘Gordon fast jive assaults!’ On one occasion, his moves were so diabolical he seemed to be deploying the scatter-gun approach to dancing with as many women as he could – there were limbs, shoes, the occasional wig (very embarrassing) and even a set of dentures (never reclaimed) flying everywhere – as Reggie put it, it was like Custer’s Last Stand! The amazing things was, as dancers were picking themselves up of the floor and reclaiming shoes etc, Gordon was seen to approach a table of girls, including Sylvia, who could see how the dance was going to go and had bugged out early from the floor to sit in relative safety at a table well away from the melee, and pronounce – “So which one of you birds is going to claim her prize then?!” Big smile, puckered lips, Gordon full of anticipation – it is said that you could hear the slap from the end of the pier!
 For all his bravado, poor old Gordon never has success with the girls - he never gets beyond the first dance and certainly never gets to dance that long slow intimate waltz at the end of the night. Some people are just not made for slick moves, either on the dance floor, or in bed – no matter how much they kid themselves - Gordon sadly, is to remain a jive virgin! 
 Jenny held the little blue shoes in her lap and dreamt of Tommy’s father, Craig. The shoes had been given to her by her mum Cathy, who had had them many years, having bought them long ago for Jenny’s brother, who had passed away in his early years and never got to wear them. Cathy hated the fact that her daughter had given birth to an illegitimate child and when Jenny had returned from the maternity unit, Cathy had almost thrown the little blue shoes at her – “you have these – they were for a proper little child, born into a family and not some little bastard dragged into this world by your sluttish behaviour – you might as well have them, they are no good to me! I rue the day the good Lord took my little boy and let you bear a child. And where’s the father? You won’t say, he could be some alley cat putting it about all over the place!” With that she turned and slammed the door leaving Jenny, who had closed her ears to her mother’s angry and venomous words. To dream again of her love, Craig and what might have been.
 Throughout his grandmother’s tirade Tommy was deeply asleep in his cot - he was as good as gold and rarely cried – full of beaming smiles, just like his dad – his dad who he would never know and who died in that awful accident not knowing that he had a son – life seemed full of tragedy which is why Jenny had never been tempted to ‘get rid’ of her baby even though she was strictly underage. And her mother was partly right, the conception had been the result of a teenage fumble that went too far. But she had fancied Craig for a long time and surely, if they had gone out together properly, which Jenny was sure, given time, would happen, they would have ‘coupled’ anyway and got married and had hosts of kids? But a quick fumble that led to a knee trembler in the yard outside his mate’s house during a party was good enough – surely, he would not have done it with anyone else?
 Before the party, Jenny had been a virgin – oh a few boys had got as far as a hand up her skirt which she had quickly brushed away but, apart from that she was ‘intact’. And Craig was the first lad she had ever slept with – well, ‘slept with’ was the polite way of describing what had happened! Anyway, it meant she definitely knew Tommy was Craig’s son and you could tell anyway, Tommy had Craig’s eyes and that same cheeky grin.
 Jenny had stood at the back of Craig’s funeral – just another one of his school chums – so Tony and Gloria knew nothing of her – she had just not been able to go up to them after the funeral with her ’bump’ and say “Hi I’m Jenny and I am carrying your grandchild” - she thought they would think she was after a handout – and even though she had heard how Craig’s parents had fallen apart after his death, she just didn’t know how to approach them.

Shameless Shoes can be purchased in 3 formats:-

As a CD in down-loadable Word.doc and pdf format with interactive Contents pages - cost £5.
Or purchase as a pdf file to be sent as an email attachment (no postage) - make sure we have your email address when you order.
As a Kindle book for e-readers - click on the image below to go direct to Amazon Kindle As a paperback - click on the image below to go direct to Amazon  

Sterling cost £5 + £3.00 P&P  in the UK.     For other countries add the following airmail - Europe -  £6.00, USA  - £9 ($11 USD), Elsewhere - £7.



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