Monday 23 January 2012

Spit And Polish

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Years ago, I went to a Retirement Event for a Minister – and one thing that concerned me was the suggestion that his spouse was the Perfect Pastor’s Wife – because she always made sure his shoes were polished ready for Sunday. I freely admit that shoe-polishing is not high on my list of priorities for Being Ready For Worship.

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I am not sure it is terribly spiritual to hide behind verses like “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart” and make that an excuse. But I confess that although I have always ensured that we had the necessary polish and brushes in a box in the Utility Room cupboard, I am not very diligent about using them.

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However, the other evening, I was tidying the cupboard, and decided to sort out the box. Then one thing led to another…


“You’re very fond of red shoes, aren’t you?” said Bob when he came home. Yes I do. Well, in truth, I preferred the Powell and Pressburger film to the rather gruesome Hans Christian Andersen story.

I think you have to be tall to be a ballerina!

When I was a child, I actually met Esmond Knight, who plays the conductor in the film, when he came to our church for his stepson’s baptismal service, along with his glamorous wife, actress Norah Swinburne.

How often do you polish the shoes in your house?

And do YOU have any RED pairs? or other interesting colours?


  1. I really enjoy polishing shoes and my long boots and do them every week if they've been worn. I can remember my Dad sitting for ages polishing his army boots. The toes were like glass when he'd finished , and you really could see your face in them. He used polish and a small amount of water in the tin lid - I guess that was a substitute for the spit! I always look at people's shoes to see if they are polished - I've seen them wearing a nice outfit and then looked down to see scuffed shoes, which could have been fixed so easily by polishing them. I always made sure the girls' school shoes were polished each night, and 'brushed up' the following morning ready for the new day.Leather shoes cost such a lot of money that it seems sensible to look after them and make them look good for as long as possible. No polishable coloured shoes here , but I do have pumps in olive green, bottle green, royal blue, and red, aswell as more boring black and white. I look after those too - brushing any dirt off, and cleaning the rubberised parts with soapy water and a cloth.I've had them for several years and wear them during the Spring and Summer.

  2. I do have a red pair of summer sandals, Ang, but I'm sorry to say that I loathe polishing shoues. I'm blessed to have a husband who actually likes doing it!

  3. Steve used to do a Sunday evening weekly polish of all our work day shoes (5 pairs bless him). Now there are just two of us we have one of those tiny buffer sponge things that has a teeny bit of polish in - they are brilliant. We keep it in the shoe/coat cupboard and buff as we go out when needed.
    I am yearning for red shoes :) My friend at book club has some lovely red shoes too. As she arrived home she called to her teenage son "Were there any 'phone calls whilst I was out?"
    "Just Dorothy from Oz asking for her shoes back!" Cheek!

  4. I have to admit its my lovely hubby who cleans all the shoes in our house. Every now a then he will empty the shoe cupboard and take them all into the garage and give them a jolly good clean. If I want any cleaning in the meantime I pop them on the mat in the conservatory, dirty and miraculously they reappear clean and shiny.

    I don't have any red shoes but I do have a very nice red handbag :-)

  5. Ha! Polish? Like you, we have all we need, but (thankfully) the boys live in trainers now, which need no polish and can wash in the machine occasionally. Ben has been really strict with himself since we moved to France (he can't buy shoes that fit in France, so he has to conserve them really well). He polishes his work shoes without fail and they really last longer because of it. But I am a very irregular polisher, I'm afraid...

    I had a student friend who used to buy red shoes especially to upset her Pentecostal pastor! And my dad's minister (in her 30s) loves to wear red shoes peeking out from under her cassock! So you are in good company.

  6. Thanks for all these comments- it is clear that many men get some sort of thrill from shoe-polishing. The advent of synthetic fabrics has meant the whole business is much easier.
    Why are red shoes seen as 'wicked' do you think? I certainly intend to continue skipping along in mine.
    Jane - I am appalled- I thought a naval person like yourself would always be polished 9or has having the flu brought on a bout of abnormal lethargy?)

  7. I think it would have concerned me as well to hear that just a few years ago....sheesh...what century do these people live in?!My aunt is a Retired Minister's wife in Oz and I CANNOT imagine her EVER polishing his shoes for any day of the week, let alone Sundays!I think her reply would've been 'what's wrong with your own spit and polish?'!...and serendipitiously(sp?) enough, I just bought myself a cracking pair of Ecco red patent loafers for Springtime, which are like wearing slippers after the restrictions of boots all winter.Have a good week, Angela.
    ps you'll never believe what my word verification word was ....'holyt'....not kidding!

  8. Another house where the man does most of the cleaning and polishing of shoes, he is a Queen's scout so I guess he had some practice early in life!! I too love red shoes and boots and am wearing a pair as I type. Also have two red handbags.

  9. I certainly don't polish our shoes as often as I should, I tend to cheat with baby wipes to keep them clean.

    I don't have any red shoes but I do have some wedges with a floral pattern.


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