We’d arrived in Britain woefully unprepared. We didn’t quite understand what English summer entailed. We didn’t realize it was going to be so hot. So, the first thing we had to do was go to Marks & Spencer, the British equivalent to JCPenney and buy some more suitable summer attire.
One of those things I bought was a pair of sandals. I didn’t give them much thought at the time, I just thought they would be perfect for the weather. I pretty much wore them for the rest of the trip. They were the perfect footwear for exploring the English countryside in the early summer of 2012.
I ended up having those sandals for five years. They were so comfortable and eventually my feet formed them into the perfect mould. Every summer here in the USA, I would take them out and they’d still fit. They’d still be comfortable and last me the whole summer.
That is until they met a dog named Winston. One year, we adopted a lab mutt and named him Winston (after Churchill, obviously). It took us a while to get to know him and change our habits around him. No shoe was safe. Not even my beloved 5-year-old M&S sandals. They made a delicious snack for his voracious appetite.
It was with a heavy heart that it was time to say goodbye to them and bury them (well toss them in the trash). Five years was a good run. Those M&S sandals were one of the best British buys I ever made.
When it came time to replace them, it only made sense to return to Marks & Spencer. When I was in Britain for the Harry & Meghan Royal Wedding in 2018, I visited the M&S branch in Windsor. Sure enough, I found the sandals in the men’s section. They were slightly different but basically the same.
And expensive. They were £49! Quite a bit for a pair of sandals.
But I figured they were going to last me five years – that was just £10 a year.
And whenever I wear them, I’m reminded of my spiritual home.
Shortly after I initially wrote this short essay, Winston ate the new pair of M&S Sandals. Don’t worry, I still love Winston dearly and he still lives here. I ordered a replacement pair from M&S’s website and had them shipped to the USA. They are safely stored in a drawer.