Thursday, 29 December 2011

Today has been somewhat disappointing in that I haven't had time for anything more tham a ten minute walk. Tomorrow looks as though it will be little better, what with work and family commitments. It makes my Saturday trip all the more appealing.

We're having some very odd weather at the moment. Some parts of the UK are expected to reach 13C 55F tomorrow and Saturday. Not that I'm complaining you understand. It makes being barefoot in the winter far more comfortable, especially as this is my first one.

I have to admit that so far I've been pleasantly surprised by the fact that I've not received any negative comments about being barefoot. The worst that I've encountered is a few people nudging each other or simply looking bemused. Of course, there's bound to come a time when some dipstick who wants to impress his/her mates will make some comment in an attempt to pour scorn and ridicule on me. I'm not sure how I'll react at the time. A few years ago I'd have probably lashed out but I'm a bit old for all that now. Hopefully any events of that nature will be very few and far between.

Earlier today I was thinking about those people that try to make others wear shoes. It seems to me they are no better than fashion victims and it brought to mind some lyrics from the song 'No Direction' by 'Bad Religion.'

Everyone's looking for something
And they assume somebody else knows what it is
No-one can live without decisions of their own
It seems so they look to someone else
To tell them what to be
Tell them what to wear
Tell them what to say
Tell them how to act and then compel others compulsiveley until the world is all like them. 

Sadly I don't think that situation will ever change.
As expected I haven't had time to post for a few days due to the Christmas rush and all the family duties it entails. I've also been somewhat restricted barefoot wise due to a combination of not getting out much and when I have, having to aquiesce to my wife's demands that I at least wear flip flops as she says she is embarrassed to walk with me when I'm barefoot outside. I don't ever see this changing and it's simply something I have to live with.

So my rare barefoot outings have been largely opportunistic. Last night was a case in point as I took the opportunity to walk to the pub to watch the football and was barefoot all the way there and back. I also managed 30 minutes along the sea front this afternoon but I'll be glad when the new year celebratons are over and we can all get back to normal as that will allow me more barefoot time outdoors.

Having said that, this Saturday I'm hoping to go to Arundel on the south coast to watch a match and I'll be barefoot for most if not all the day. My main problem is still the discomfort of walking on certain surfaces. Paved streets are easy to walk on but where I live they are very few in number. The pavements seem to predominantly consist of two different materials, the first of which is grey asphalt concrete.

When fairly new this is ok to walk on. But over time it becomes uneven and jagged and I've found it very difficult to walk on with any degree of comfort in many places.

The other pavement surface that predominates in Clacton is polished aggregate.

I don't know how long ago the pavements were last laid in Clacton but in many places the small stones stick up and out from the asphalt binder making it very difficult to walk on. I'm hoping that in time my feet will toughen up enough to make it as easy for me to walk on these surfaces as it is for me to walk on our carpets at home. Maybe someone with barefoot experience can advise me of the likelihood of this happening?

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Another new experience for me tonight. I went to my local Tesco's and shortly after entering the store took off my flip flops and shopped barefoot. I had the advantage that there was only one manager on and he was too busy with staff to notice me. In fact, nobody seemed to notice my lack of footwear, or if they did no-one said anything. There weren't many shoppers there and I'd say they were probably outnumbered by the amount of nightshift staff who had just started filling the shelves.

I have a feeling that I'd attract negative attention if I tried it during the day. I used to work in retail and I found that one truism is there's always one among the management team who goes out of his or her way to be a complete twat.

I can't wait for tomorrow. I haven't a clue which match I'll end up at as it depends which pitches recover from a frosty night in time to be playable. I'd enjoy the day anyway but I get an extra buzz now that I've started travelling to matches barefoot, ay least for part of the journey.

According to the Metcheck website it will be 2C in Didcot (which is where I'm hoping to go) but will feel like -3C. I don't plan to take any trainers with me, only flip flops, so it will be a real challenge for my toes as I'll be standing still on a terrace for the best part of two hours. Still, at least this one is only a ten minute walk from the station, unlike last week which took 35 minutes!

Friday, 16 December 2011

I'm happy at the moment. After dropping my wife at work I went to the beach promenade at Holland-on-Sea and had a lovely 20 minute walk in the rain and sleet. The temperature at the time was around 0C 32F, although I think it's gone up a couple of degrees now. I'm optimistic that my soles are just beginning to be more tolerant of at least some of the surfaces in my local area and can't wait until I can walk around without giving it a second thought.

Despite the weather I'm still hoping to get to a football match tomorrow. I'm pretty sure I'll get to a game somewhere, I just don't know where. I think it will be a case of ringing round until I find a club that says, "yes, our game is definitely on". Hopefully wherever I go entails a route through London so that I can go barefoot on the underground again.

Today's the day when the schools break up for the Christmas holidays so I expect my posts to be less frequent. Although my girls are teenagers they are no less demanding than little 'uns and I find that I often have less, rather than more, time to do the things I want to than when they were young! I fear my barefoot walks will be somewhat curtailed too.

Nevertheless I will endeavour to post when I can, even if it's just on Twitter. Just in case anyone is reading this I'm at @barefootdave100.

I'm planning to do some shopping later but may leave it until 10 or 11PM so there's less shoppers to get in my way. I hate shopping at the best of times but at least at that time the worst I have to contend with is the night shift crew who will be stocking the shelves.

The other thing I'm aware of is recent reports of Tesco's asking barefoot shoppers to put on their shoes. At that time of night the only manager there should be the guy running the nightshift, and usually night shift managers are far less inclined to be bothered about how people are dressed. So I may get away with a barefoot shop.

One of these days I'll have a good look at improving the look of this blog. I'm completely ignorant of much of the functionality of these things but realise it could look much better then it does. I job to be done after the Christmas holidays methinks. 
I didn't have the car for work today as my wife needed it for her job as sometimes happens. So I rode my bicycle instead. I wore my flip flops on the way there but after a barefoot day at work I rode home in the same fashion this evening. Part of the journey involves going up a hill, but rather than ride up it I took the opportunity to get off my bike and walk up, thereby continuing my daily routine of walking on the pavement for at least a few minutes every day to toughen up my soles. I think I'm at last beginning to get used to outdoor walking.

Hopefully I'll find the time to have a barefoot walk tomorrow down at the beach front. The predicted temperature is 3C but according to the Metcheck website it will feel like -4C. There is also a risk of snow which would be the biggest challenge for me yet. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

I woke up this morning determined to have a walk. So after doing a few things at home I decided I'd walk to the post office to post my Dad's Christmas present. As I've already mentioned, some of the surfaces on which we have to walk in Clacton are cracked, broken and sharp. And I was also wary of doing any more damage to my foot. So for most of the journey to the post office I wore my flip flops.

One look at the queue inside the post office persuaded me to cross the road and head towards the cach point machine as I needed some money. Once across the road I walked along to the supermarket and then took off my flip flops as the surface here is easy to walk on.

After visiting the cash point I made the decision to try to get home barefoot despite the sharp surfaces. I made it to the post office, posted my parcel and then slowly walked home. In trainers it would take me no more than 5 or 6 minutes to walk back from the shops. Today it must have taken 15!

But I did it and the only side affects are an ache in my calves and of course the soreness in my foot. I'm fairly sure that my calves ache because they're used to having heel support from my trainers and walking barefoot stretches them further than they are used to. One major bonus is that I'm so far suffering no soreness on the soles of my feet. I really expected some discomfort but have been pleasantly surprised.

I've got a busy day tomorrow so may not have time for a walk. I'll be very disappointed if I don't get out for at least 10 minutes but I'll have to see how it goes.

Here's a picture of part of Clacton-on-Sea town centre, obviously taken during the summer.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

I've had a very enjoyable evening. I drove to Canvey Island for a football match and despite temperatures of around 3C managed most of it barefoot. After driving back into Clacton I stopped off at the beach premenade to have a little walk. I managed only 5 minutes or so before my left foot started playing up again so returned to the car. I'd have liked to have had a good 30 minute walk as I really want to work on toughening up my soles. But at least I can look forward to another train trip on Saturday and this time I'm more confident about going barefoot.

I'm not yet sure what I'm doing tomorrow. A lot depends on whether my foot shows signs of healing. I'd like have a barefoot walk round the corner but I'll have to see. It's so frustrating, and yes I know I'm being greedy. But I'm enjoying being barefoot so much I just want to get out there and do it.

Here's part of the walk along Clacton-on-Sea promenade that I want to do when my foot is a bit better.