I have never been a woman much interested in shoes.   I am short, and therefore anything that draws attention to anywhere lower than my shoulder is not a good idea.   Additionally I am not blessed with beautiful feet so I do nothing that will emphasise them.   All my life, almost without exception, I have worn plain, black, unadorned leather shoes.

When I arrived in Cornwall in early summer with my elder daughter, Joanna, I could hardly bear to look in the mirror.   An over-thin, exhausted looking woman stared back at me from behind the glass.    I barely recognised myself.   But of course as the days passed, the holiday restored me.   When I myself looked back at me from the mirror, I knew everything would be alright, more especially when I demanded to know why I looked so shabby and dull!

Joanna and I shopped.  I bought trousers.   Size 8s were too large, but I bought them –  I refuse to be any thinner – I’m going to eat and get fatter.    I bought T shirts in colours I fancied – pinks and purples.   I seemed to have nothing in my wardrobe but clothes the colour of mud.   We bought a watch – well, it practically came out of its cabinet and begged to be rescued.   And it has large numbers and can be read easily.   So everything was good and I felt like myself again.   But Joanna shook her head over my shabby old shoes.

I have to confess, I am a snob about certain things.   I don’t do ‘bling’.   I don’t wear anything with a visible label – I refuse to be a walking advertisement for anybody.   And I don’t do attention seeking shoes.

So we’re in the shoe shop in Camborne and Joanna, helpful and lovely companion, brings me ‘my kind of shoe’ – black, unobtrusive, plain.   I look at them and feel that somehow they’re not quite what I want.   To my horror. I keep returning to a pair of red shoes.

Red shoes!  I have never worn a pair of red shoes in my whole life.    I’m as likely to wear a necklace that spells out my name, or a bracelet that goes round my ankle, or a tattoo that says, I love Leonard.     It’s not merely that I don’t like red shoes.   I DESPISE red shoes.   I think red shoes are common.

But it’s as if the ME who has thrown off her fatigue and emerged from behind the mirror steps forward, grabs me by the shoulders and shakes me.   She forces the red shoes on my feet.   She takes my purse out of my bag and pays for them.   She marches me out of the shop.

So here I am, out on the street in my red shoes.   I’m walking, very slowly, but I’m walking.   The road lies before me, destination unknown.   Unlike Dorothy, I have no yearning to go back to Kansas.

Who said, you can’t change the habits of a lifetime?