Wellie, Wellie, Wellie – Ah

Regular readers will recall that my wellingtons exploded last week when I was attempting to become one with nature.

It was most aggravating.

Now I have to go and buy a new pair.

Which is even more aggravating.

Wellingtons and I have a long and chequered history.

People as old as me may recall that in the past, wellingtons only came in two colours, black, or green.

We were too poor (lived in a hole in the middle of the road – ate gravel), to have green wellies.  They were for posh people.

We had black wellies.

Usually black wellies that had come from a mysterious source other than a shop, hand me downs I suspect, although from where I am not quite sure. Possibly a jumble sale (see hole in road, imagine tiny violins playing – the pity).

These wellies never fit properly.


The problems with ill fitting wellies are multitudinous.

Mine were always too big.  I suspect this may have been due to mum’s adage: ‘You’ll grow into them”.

Let us not speak of the gigantic summer dress bought for my convent education which drowned me for three, entire years until, during the one term I had left at the school it actually fit me, I exploded a red biro down the front of it, and it had to be thrown away.

Never. Speak. Of. It.

You will grow into it – my arse.

If your wellies are too big, your feet slop around inside them.

This causes chafing, which as we all know, is an extremely unpleasant sensation, to be avoided at all costs. Nobody likes chafing.  Even typing the word makes me feel slightly unwell.

As well as chafing you have to endure the most frustrating sensation in the world, sock slippage.

Inevitably, during some punitive country walk or other your socks would start to travel involuntarily down your legs and off the ends off your feet, bunching up in desperately uncomfortable clumps around your toes.  Sometimes, to stop the sock slipping off entirely, you would find yourself gripping, sloth like to the ends of the socks with your toes curled until you started getting cramps and crying.


You also get a noise, when your wellies are too large. A sort of galumphing noise, which, if you are attempting to travel at speed, which is difficult at the best of times in wellies (ditto flip flops), leads to a sort of sucking, vacuum style problem which, if left unchecked could potentially rip out a calf muscle leaving you unable to consider a life as a champion hurdler etc.

Do not think that wearing multiple pairs of socks helps with these problems. They do not. You just get double or triple sock slippage issues and more trouble actually walking due to the fact that your foot is now a solid block of fabric which refuses to bend gymnastically as you try to force it into the toe of your hideously slithery wellingtons.

You would think that these things really wouldn’t matter, given the small amount of time per year one is required to wear wellington boots, except that I grew up in the country, in the early Nineteen Seventies which meant that wellington boots were a staple footwear item in my life for approximately seven months of every year.

It loomed large, the issue of wellies.

I thought all would be well the year that the ridiculous Moon Boots came into fashion.  For those of you who are unable to cast their minds back this far, or who were simply not born in the Moon Boot era (lucky, lucky people), these were wellies made of forty yards of industrial styrofoam wrapped around with nylon and considered to be super insulating.

The tragedy was that my mother was firmly against fashion. She eschewed fashion with a firm hand, due to its transient nature (no matter that this is the entire point of fashion).  My father was allowed to have moon boots. We weren’t.

This put me off for a start.  Whatever your father is wearing is just not fashionable.

This is non-negotiable.

Eventually, the summer after the moon boot hopes rose and fall in the space of a single day, my dad had no need for his boots, due to it being sweltering.  My friend Vicki, who had a stream at the bottom of her garden had a genius idea.  We stole our dads’ moon boots and wore them, with swimming costumes, to go and stand for three hours in the stream while we poked sticklebacks and built a dam.

They were surprisingly water proof for the first hour of wearing.

After that they began to spring a leak.

Soon we discovered the joy of wearing large quantities of sodden styrofoam on our feet and began pretending to be water logged giants.

By the time I dragged them home, muddy, fourteen tonnes heavier and leaking all over the road like a sieve, I was not a popular member of the household.

I had also concluded, after extensive testing (and having to stand with my feet two yards apart due to the bulky nature of said footwear) that the moon boot was a novelty item and not suited for my purposes.

Thereafter I shunned wellingtons wherever possible, going for years without them no matter what terrain I was required to traverse and what weather conditions I was required to traverse them in.

Who needs sensible wellingtons when you have Manolos, right, Sarah Jessica Parker?

It was only when a) wellies started to get more colourful, and b) I had to take the children to the darkest countryside for the weekend and wellies were considered mandatory by our hosts, that I bought another pair.  A pair of candy pink striped, Paul Smith esque wellingtons which fit like a glove and eradicated all the years of wellie trauma previously suffered.

Then, last week, after ten years of sterling service they exploded.

Which means the hunt for the perfect wellington is back on.

The game is afoot.



6 responses to “Wellie, Wellie, Wellie – Ah

  1. I never had cool wellies – mine were plain red I think. Better than black, I suppose but my brother got wellies that were made to look like frogs, with little eyes on the front. Frogs are a gazillion times better than plain red!

  2. Fat Face (the shop – that’s not an insult). The best wellies I’ve ever had

  3. Red wellies were cool – mine were shiny with a white sole (unlike matt black wellies). I thought I was Paddington Bear and so I ate marmalade sandwiches in them !

  4. I have a pair of Ilse jacobsen (http://www.ilse-jacobsen.com/contents/en-uk/d1_Ilse_Jacobsen_lace_up_boots.html) in grey with laces that I quite like. I’m sure I had wellies as a child, but I mostly remember having to endlessly wear black ‘ski-doo’ boots, which I loathed. Like you, I fought with trying to keep my socks above my heel for months at a time.

  5. Muck boots are supposed to be good. Equestrian wear (presumably for mucking out horses). They are warm lined and waterproof.
    I have some black and flowery gardening length Hunter wellies which are comfortable enough to walk in, I just add chunk walking socks (I soooo remember sock slippage!). Their standard gardener wellie’s here aren’t cheap but look robust and rather classic: http://www.hunter-boot.com/gardener-boot

  6. I bought blue wellies with blue spots in the end. They seem fine. As I am about to embark on an adventure day in the woods with sixty small children which involves tramping through streams, they will be tested to the max this week.

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