There’s an old saying ‘No foot, no ‘oss!’ which in the days of horse transport made perfect sense. But the same can be applied to humans. No foot, no movement – ‘you rest, you rust’.
I’ve got a mild version of a condition called equinus, (yes – club feet!) which I was only made aware of 3 years ago.
I do remember being taken to a podiatrist regularly as a child for massage and exercises (but I was never told why) and at home I would sit listening to children’s serials on the radio as I rolled my feet back and forth over milk bottles to stretch tight ligaments and tendons. The strange thing is that such rolling is something a prospective dancer might do to give their feet the required arch and flexibility. Well, this amateur is streets ahead – I have arches you might kill for!
When Mum took me to ballet classes as a child, I now suspect it was for medical reasons and not because Mum loved ballet. Whatever the case, between the classes and the milk bottles, I stretched and stretched!
Even so, my senior ballet classes require some adjustment for my feet. I’ve internally padded each ballet shoe under the ball of each foot and I have sleeves to slip on any toe that is sore at any time.
In addition, currently I have to pad and strap the left foot because of a self-diagnosed overextension and bone-bruise from a garden misadventure. I did have an x-ray last week but am yet to hear the results. I’m sure it’s all age-related!
So one could say what’s the point of doing senior ballet at all, but I would argue because of the mental stimulation, the lengthening of the body from neck to toe, the added flexibility, the balance and of course the friendships (and I am not on pointe anyway). Besides, what I have to do to my shoes and feet is nothing compared to a professional ballet dancer, see below…
My mother had bad feet but she then she grew up in an era when women wore heels all day and so she suffered for fashion. When Princess Diana made ballet pumps acceptable again in the 80’s, Mum was delighted – she got to wear fashionable flat shoes. But in her eighties, her feet finally failed her. Not wanting to wear Old Ladies’ Orthotic Shoes, she became quite aggressively hard to please. During the day she would dress in smart jeans (at almost 90!) and so I eventually found her quite classy Merrell shoes, but to her they were gym shoes, and she never forgave life and me for the loss of what she perceived as ‘properly elegant shoes’.
Incidentally, I went shopping for shoes last week for myself and the shops were filled with so called dressy ‘gym shoes’ and all at once I could see where Mum was coming from. How nice it would be to slip my quaint toes and wide feet into slim little pointed shoes that make my feet look elegant?
Ah, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. (Image courtesy of https://schokoladenjahre.com/ )
Feet by Dorothy Aldis
There are things
That hands never will:
Of running down a hill;
The soft cool
When feet are bare
The summer grass
To most anywhere;
Or dabbling in
Slip-sliddering through toes—
Through fingers though why
No one really knows.)
“Toes, tell my
Said to them one day,
“Why it's such
Fun just to
Wiggle and play.”
But toes just
Looked at me
Solemn and still.
Oh, there are things
That hands never will.
I placed myself in writing purdah this week, isolated from social media and avoiding phonecalls, except from family. Thus I banked a couple of thousand words in the kitty. The terrier and I walked twice daily of course, and he sniffed for England, but I let my brain vegetate ready for the next round.
I made some cookies for the weekend and attended the fortnightly embroidery group so I could get a start with the Brenda Kinsel bag, but for the rest I just isolated myself so that the word was all.
Print. Looking at Gyles Brandeth’s biography of Elizabeth II and wondering. The only thing is that it’s very heavy to hold at night which is the only time I read.
Kindle: Book Two of The Glass Library - The Medici Manuscript by CJ Archer. I enjoy Archer’s approach to fantasy. Our world, with an entirely believable component of magic that fits seamlessly into normal (if magic can be called normal. Wonderous, fantastic, dangerous) life in post WW I England. The magic isn’t wizardry and faeries and the magicians remind me of the absolute best of our world’s showmen. And lest you think it’s banal and time-wasting, let me assure that the darkness and danger is terrifying.
Audio: Finished Forest of Foes and felt the need to write to Matthew Harffy and compliment him on one of his best books yet.
Moved on to Barbara Pymm. I chose it for one reason alone. The book is called Jane and Prudence which is actually my name in reverse.
In addition, I was heartened to hear that Jilly Cooper held Barbara Pymm in high esteem along with Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. Apparently it’s all about acute observation of village life. Perhaps it is if one reads it in print, so I shall reserve my opinion on that one.
I’ve always preferred male voices for narration (they can do female voices very well – listen to Richard Armitage read A Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer - it’s astonishing!) and I’m still of that view, this one being read by a woman. I believe in her time that the author, Pymm, had an enormous following, so I’ll listen to this book until the end but will be more careful with my choices of narrators in the future.
Queer Eye. I’m such a fan of these men. They get to the core of a person’s life and truly listen. They talk of ‘family’ - any group (gay, straight, whatever) that can be supportive of someone who has deeply hurtful issues going on, and I frequently have tears for the struggles that the individuals being helped are going through. It’s deep, but has a soupçon of creamy cappucino froth on the side to lighten the load.
Queen Charlotte. Interesting that they found it necessary to state that it was a work of fiction. Surely people don’t believe that the Bridgerton series and offshoots are anything BUT fiction?
But it is about Queen Charlotte and King George III after all, and one can pluck the odd titbit out and examine it for truths.
I felt there have been some very pointed moments in the script – directed at race, the goldfish bowl and the current Royal Family. But I enjoyed it greatly. Much more than Bridgerton, and well acted.
Heartland Latest series simply because I love old Jack, and the Canadian Rockies are sublime. Despite that the storylines get weaker with each new series.
The Summit I just need to get my fix of reality TV, don’t I? And the setting for this one is jaw-dropping. The Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island. It was the setting below that caught my eye and made me think that at any point, orcs would come raging down from the hills and that Gandalf would raise his staff…
Alone by comparison (set in the harsh lake areas of Tasmania) is brutal mentally and physically, even just for the cruel solitude and with nothing like $A1m for the winner.
Human nature is quite astonishing really…
I will always recommend Tom Ryan because he has taught me more than anyone except my terrier to open up my senses in nature. In addition, Tom led me to Mary Oliver and Henry Beston for which I’m forever grateful. And, he’s the consummate dog-lover. He’s one of a very small handful of essayists to whom I’m happy to pay an annual subscription.
I was really touched to see that Knots in the String has been recommended by two highly popular essayists:
Thank you, so much… that is so kind!
It’s always a pinch-me moment to hear that someone has liked one’s writing enough to recommend it. It helps a writer stand tall, to stand on their own two feet and be loud and proud.
Even if those two feet are a little bit clubbish and certainly the worse for wear…
My song this week?
Enjoyed your post...alas, I can relate to problems of the feet (in my case the foot). I've suffered with periodic plantar fasciitis and a plantar plate tear, which caused me to wonder why the right foot and not the left? My right foot has a 'Morton's toe' which means the second toe is slightly larger than the great toe. Could this minor irregularity cause so many problems? Google says yes.
Anyway, consistent stretching of a tight hamstring helped the fasciitis and I taped my toes and used a metatarsal pad for several weeks which a podiatrist on youtube advised. It helped the pain/buring in the ball of my foot, which I believe means the tear is healed, but that second toe still clings to his larger neighbor.
I began wearing Dansko brand shoes and I LOVE them. The larger toe box is quite comfortable and they offer a variety of styles. My athletic pair offers a 'rocker' in the sole that helps with foot pain and high arches, which I also have. They're pricey but worth it! I'd rather have a few quality pairs of shoes than a closet full of cheaper, uncomfortable ones.
I loved this post, Prue! Your comment about your arches made me smile - how lovely! I have a never-ending struggle with my feet - they're blunt oblongs the width of a plank, in a UK size 9 (US 11 - I don't know what size that would be Down Under, though!). Mind you, I'm a strapping 6-footer, so it's fair enough. 😉
I had a friend who used to do ballet - she would often suffer what would very prettily be called a 'strawberry toe' - which despite the name was sadly a thing of pain rather than prettiness!
Thank you so much for the mention and rec - you're so kind! And a lovely coincidence (as you'll see from my own post that's scheduled for a little later!). ♥️