Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trad. English Wellies.

I have been looking for a good quality pair of wellington boots for a while now so what better opportunity and place to purchase, while in England.

So I did some research before getting this pair.  I do this with all things I need to purchase.

It was only natural for me to think; England, 'Hunters' brand, also as it seems a bit of a trend at the moment... but as I phoned around and started looking into brands and quality Hunter is probably the last place you'd want to go spending.

The well known Hunter brand used to be made in their homeland until recently the flux in trend, maybe the recession, etc has moved production to China...  the quality has markedly decreased as the prices still remain high and ridiculously overpriced.  I don't know how many reviews I read with people saying that their Hunters started splitting only a few months after purchasing, the quality is just not the same as it used to be, they will not repurchase, and recommend another stated brand.  

I understand that if you are a city dweller just looking to have something fashionable to wear only a few times when the weather turns sour this maybe acceptable and totally fine but I am not just another 'trendy' 'fashion for fashion sake' 'looks oriented' 'look at my shoes' kind of lady.  

I believe in quality.  I believe in getting what you pay for and deserving a product worth the money spent.  Comfort, thought, care, customer service, pride existing in a brand with its own history, etc.  And the product better last, or I will not be a happy camper.  

So out goes the Hunter wellies.  In comes Aigle, Le Chameau, Muck Boots, and Barbour (pictured above).  Depending on your needs you can get ones with neoprene lined, leather lined, with zip, without, with reinforced soles, steel toe, accessories, red, purple, blue, black, green, brown, black, and the works.  But with the brands above, as they are more interested in the utility side of the boots like for use on the farm or hunting, some more on the side of equine use they usually come in more subdued and traditional colors like green, olive green, black, navy, brown.  Barbour has a very limited collection to choose from (I mean, either for men or for women, trad green or black or navy), but I preferred these over the others.


I personally chose Barbour Wellies as it wasn't as overpowering as some of the other more heavy duty ones that looked like robocop on a farm.  These also didn't have a separate and rigid sole which I felt were too stiff and not as comfortable to walk in, and being separate from the rest of the rubber body of the boot I felt the sole may detach or split or spring a leak in the future.  These have great traction underfoot, the sizes come proportional to calf size, for female or for men, excellent support through the foot, flexible and supple rubber outer with a smooth insulating lined inner.  There is also an adjustable clasp on the side if needed.  They are simple, well made, comfortable as heck, thick enough, perfectly sized so I can wear a wooly sock in the winter or get wellie inserts, the width is perfect for female narrower feet as well as the ankle and calf is not too large (and in proportion to the foot), and simple brand logo that is not in your face.  Oh, and the price; very reasonable at somewhere like 59.00 (GBP) or 93.00 (CAN), 88.00 (US).

This will be great for walking the dog, going about, getting muddy, and wet when I go exploring wilderness.  They were just meant to be.

When you go on their main website there will be no wellington boots shown so you need to go over to 'Buy Online', then click under where you will be redirected to their online store (it says 'click here'), then after being redirected go under 'Footwear', chose women or men and there you have it.  Again not much selection but it depends on what you are looking for and need.


On a side note; I have always wanted waders since I could remember as a kid, I can't think of anything more practical for exploring rock pools and turning up creatures in the ocean (esp when it is freezing when I don't want to get totally drenched).  Everyone makes fun of me and laughs when I mention this but I guess it just makes me me:)  Hahaha.

Christchurch Priori

The Priori at Christchurch, Dorset England.

We wanted to go up to the top as the views would have been amazing but as the place was run by senior volunteers there were no abled bodies who could takes up the winding stair case.  Better than someone having a heart attack so maybe next time.
The place was steeped in history and the stories were fascinating!
The dates went back to before the 1800's.  AMAZING!

Befriending one of the wives of the clergy while there, her husband was able to let us into the crypt.  Down the stairs we go, ooo-spooky...

Beautiful!  I rather like places full of history and identity as I believe it truly creates the character of the area and people.  Being from Japan and having travelled I am not too keen on places without deep and extensive historical grounding.  Some substance underfoot, I find more connection and pride.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mental Fog

This is a piece called Falling Through.

Although I am not feeling like I am falling through I do feel like I am in a mental fog.  Some days are just more difficult; to see the optimistic side of life, to feel refreshed and more yourself, clear, able to go out with ease, go get groceries, and be happy to interact with society.  
I can feel the pressure in the air, I mean the weather certainly hasn't helped the last two days, but this may just be my excuse, I whole heartedly believe that I am the sole generator of my inner and outer state of being, and it is me who needs to define my life; this is extremely difficult to do when there is a constant and hyper aware high speed stream of analysis, criticism, thought, emotion, reality, experience, sense, and all of them jumbled up together trying to create some sort of working order within one body and one existence.  But then is this too an excuse?  I am just trying to find reason and balance in my state of flux.  
This is not a good feeling, and I'd rather be something, somewhere, someone else; anything but this place I am familiar getting stuck...
Maybe this is another developmental stage, or am I in transition, gosh, there have been way too many transitions in my life, my body does not take change as well as it used to.  I don't really know where I am going with this...  
Hmmm, my brain does not shut off, it's a pain in the ass, I understand I am very intense, maybe living in cities doesn't help, but wherever I go I will still be me so why would location matter?  Nature and wildlife is still soothing to the soul.  I will probably set up shack in the West Coast adjacent an ocean with my own studio and little haven on earth, and a dog.  
I can picture a whack out recluse female artist sort, umm, not the future I envision, so I can tweak a few things here and there to round the edges, or just be full out Georgia O'Keefe!  What an excellent artist and a fascinating individual, her biography interests me.  
So, I realize many artists mainly the well known ones are dead, have died young, have had mental illness, distress, contorted life, family dysfunction, relationship issues, and the whole lot; GREAT, that is good for me to know.  Maybe balance and stability will never be with in me, maybe I just need to accept the fact that it is not in my nature to lead a 'normal' lifestyle; job, marriage, kids, location, and all that jazz.  This is okay, I can deal with that.  
Compassion, care, thought, meaning, purpose, spirituality, heart, giving, and 'world peace' are essential for me though... LOL, world peace... lets not get carried away, I'm just kidding.  Where's the LOOOVE people!?  
Well, I believe life can be good.  Hope is very important.  The artists way is a roller coaster path to take, but isn't any life always surprising?