Sunday, January 08, 2017

Reader's Digest: 7 Reasons to Take Off Your Shoes the Minute You Walk in the House

Reader's Digest: 7 Reasons to Take Off Your Shoes the Minute You Walk in the House

by Stephanie Smith

Not everything carried in on your sneakers is invisible to the naked eye. Dust and dirt built up from your shoes can easily be carried into your living quarters. Even if it’s not toxic, carrying dust and debris in from the park or trail isn’t ideal. Remove your shoes to keep things clean and tidy, and think about investing in a doormat to catch anything you might track in before you undo your laces.

It is interesting that the author assumes the reader is living in a trailer park. Certainly those living in muddy trailer parks definitely should be keen to go shoe-free.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Christmas Present

My parents gave me a set of guest slippers as a Christmas present. It contains four different sizes of felt slippers made in Denmark.

While my parents obviously thought this was a good idea and I'm grateful for their thoughtfulness, I think most British people are likely to be finicky about wearing slippers that have been worn by others. This is especially so as these slippers cannot be washed.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Nordic Habits Die Hard

My mother had a Finnish lady over as a guest this New Year. She insisted the woman should keep her boots on when she came in, but the lady insisted on taking them off. Trying to get a Finn to keep her shoes on in the house is not going to work.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Is Dirt Good for Children?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Daily Mail: Do YOU ask guests to take their shoes off when they arrive at your house? One mother says visitors who don't make her ‘blood boil’ – but others insist it’s ‘common’

Daily Mail: Do YOU ask guests to take their shoes off when they arrive at your house? One mother says visitors who don't make her ‘blood boil’ – but others insist it’s ‘common’

A mother who insists upon guests removing their shoes when they visit her house has sparked a furious debate online.

The woman told Mumsnet it makes her 'blood boil' when her in-laws walk through her house in their outdoor shoes - but some women said asking guests to take them off was 'common' or 'suburban'.

Mumsnet is such a warzone.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


On the Beach, in the House

Saturday, December 03, 2016


Given the popularity of the Hygge fad among the British middle class, it is perhaps surprising I haven't mentioned this before. Hygge is the Danish culture of coziness. It's all about woolly jumpers, warm fires and scented candles. It seems to be taking Britain by storm.

It's worth bearing in mind that in Denmark, people generally don't wear shoes indoors. Stomping around your house in shoes is very un-Hygge. Woolly socks are very essential to Hygge.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Kristin Schell: Barefoot Hospitality

Kristin Schell: Barefoot Hospitality

"My neighbor and I walked slowly side-by-side down our street to her house. She opened the front door and motioned with her hand to a rack neatly lined with shoes.

“Please,” she said in a heavy accent I have grown to understand. I slipped my shoes off, acutely aware of my need for a pedicure.

This was the first time I had been invited inside my neighbor’s home. We usually meet in the front yard at the Turquoise Table or at neighborhood gatherings. Barefoot, I followed my host into the kitchen for a delightful morning of conversation while savoring homemade chai.

Taking your shoes off before entering someone’s home is one of the world’s most universal customs. To put off the shoes, or sandals, has long been an act of respect in many cultures and religions. In ancient times, it was forbidden to enter a temple or holy place with shoes on. Jews removed their shoes whenever they entered a house as a sign of civility and reverence. The priests of Israel wore no shoes while ministering. Moses and Joshua were commanded to take off their shoes when on holy ground."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

When in Qatar..


I found out this week that I have something in common with President Elect Donald Trump. Both he and I prefer our steaks well cooked.

Yes, I am one of those awful classless people who like their steaks blackened to a crisp. You might think with my Europhile metropolitan politics, that I would be a sophisticated foodie type, but I am in fact thoroughly plebian and provincial in my tastes. Alongside well-cooked steaks, I always drink beer with my meals, never wine, I like spam and I prefer death metal to opera. And I wear Crocs.

I am probably not the best person to try and persuade others that having a shoes-off policy can be classy and not at all tacky when I'm such a classless jerk myself.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Celebrities on Yachts

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Europhile Tories know best!

A Twitter exchange with the excellent Charles Tannock, a Conservative member of the European Parliament and a solid voice against the delusional Brexiteers.