After fifteen years of wearing the same brand of wellington boots, I have been forced to break with tradition. Anyone who spends a reasonable amount of time in the countryside will know just how important wellington boots can be, and Hood’s Bullseyes were my wellies of choice until the company went bust earlier this year – an event which I am convinced is the greatest tragedy of the financial crisis to date. I kept on with my last Bullseyes until yesterday, when I found that there were actually so many holes in them that somehow my feet were wetter than the ground I was standing on.
Normally, I would have just gone and bought another pair of Bullseyes. As it is, I was faced with a bewildering nightmare of wellies in the shop – none of which quite catered for the demands of my lifestyle. There were Chameaus and Hunters ( which are no longer made in Dumfries, and so have become non-existent as far as I who was born within sniffing distance of the factory am concerned) as well as Hoggs, there were a variety of brightly coloured wellies which patronisingly pander to women’s supposed inability to have anything that is just a normal colour.
After a certain amount of dithering, I decided on a pair of “Buck Boots” knock-off Scottish versions of the American “Muck Boot”, which has a neoprene lining. I was trying to be as objective as possible, and these neoprene items were genuinely the most comfortable of all the wellies I tried. It did help that they were almost twenty pounds cheaper than the “Muck Boots”, and it also gave me some satisfaction to buy a product made in Scotland – helping in some small way to support that overweight charlatan Alex Salmond’s vision of a Scotland that has more to offer the world than tourism and whisky. Yes, they do look pretty stupid, but as soon as I’ve put my leggings on for the winter, nobody will ever see them.
I tried them out for the first time this evening when I was out doing some more reconnaissance missions for flighting woodcock. They were actually very warm, even though ice was forming around the toes as I waited. I was very pleased, and as if to make the evening even better, I stumbled upon a fairly busy woodcock motorway where I was least expecting it, and sat quietly under the swelling stars as ten birds flitted silently overhead.
The last thing I want is for this blog to descend into the realms of clothing and accessory reviews, but when you lead a quiet, unobtrusive life like I do and you don’t get out much, new wellies are a pretty significant event.