Sunday, April 30, 2006

Simple Spring & Summer Solutions

The classic flip-flop is just the thing for an easy and affordable warm weather solution to floor protection. They are 100% washable, too! Keep a pair on hand for quick trips outside. Keep a pair for indoor use. Keep a separate pair to wear in the bathroom. Buy a few pairs to have on hand for your guests who are not wearing socks. The classic Old Navy flip-flop, shown here, sells for $3.50 per pair or $2.50 per pair if you buy two or more (they are also sold online but they only ship within the United States, but I am sure that Canada and the UK have similar deals available from other retailers). For the price of filling my gas tank once, I could buy twelve pairs of these flip-flops. Having special indoor shoes does not require breaking the bank!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Shoes still Need to Come Off in Summer

Today in Worcester was absolutely beautiful. It was bright, warm and sunny. The warm weather is clearly here and summer will be here very shortly.

Some people may be of the opinion that shoes-off in homes is a good idea in the damp of winter, but is quite unnecessary in summer, except when it rains (which it certainly does here in the UK).

However, on the contrary I maintain that shoes ought to be removed even in summer.

It is true that the weather is drier in summer,so there is less chance of bringing damp or mud into the house. However, in summer, shoes will still pick up small particles of grit. These particles gradually wear out carpets.

If you have laminate or wood floors, there is still the risk of making scratches (watch out with those high-heeled sandals, ladies) or leaving marks (why do you think you are expected to wear deck shoes or go barefoot on a yacht?).

Dust is still a problem in summer. Dust is not good for your health or your children's health and the less of it in your house, the better. There is likely to be even more dust in summer, as the ground dries up and cracks.

Dog dirt is still a problem in summer. In winter, many people will walk their dogs to the minimum that is necessary. In summer, people will be spending longer outisde with their dogs, increasing the risk of fouling up. Dog dirt is extremely unhealthy stuff. Not good for crawling babies. You may try to avoid stepping in it, but your shoes will still pick up small traces and then grind them into the carpet if you do not take them off.

There is also pollen, which is only a problem in summer. Your shoes will pick up lots of the stuff. If you suffer from Hayfever or you live with Hayfever sufferers, I recommend having a shoes-off policy in summer.

Of course, on a hot summers day, nobody ought to mind taking their shoes off!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Preparing to visit a "shoes off" home

I received this e-mail from a reader: I cannot tell you how many nasty sock sightings I have been subjected to when (boys especially), come into my apt. and take off their shoes at the door. What may even be worse is when they remove their embarrassingly ragged socks and let their naked feet loose! This kind of nudity is unacceptable! And the smells that accompany this seemingly polite action--oh my!

Do you fear revealing the ragged condition of your socks? Do you fear emitting foul odors from your feet? Are your shoes an unsightly mess? You need not be controlled by your fears, dear reader. There is a solution! Prepare your feet for exposure prior to leaving your home in three simple steps. Step 1: Wash your feet. Step 2: Put on clean socks. Step 3: Put on a pair of presentable shoes just before stepping out the door. When you arrive at your destination, remove your shoes, but please leave your socks on unless you brought a pair of indoor shoes or slippers with you.*

If you are often out and about and know not whether you will encounter a sanitary, shoe-free home in your daily travels, this may require developing foot care habits. Take the following advice from WebMD: "Keep your feet dry and clean. Things such as foot odor, fungal nails, or athlete's foot arise from having sweaty feet. The drier your feet the less you are at risk for these problems." Wear shoes and clean socks that breathe. Wash your feet regularly. There are products readily available on the market for controlling shoe and foot odor, as well. Ragged socks and over-worn shoes should be replaced for the health of your feet. Clean, dry feet are happy feet. You will not need to fear removing your shoes and those you live with will thank you.

*The writer recognizes that sandals and other sock-free foot fashions pose additional problems that will likely be addressed in a future post.

This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD goes to.... Russia!

Russia- Wikipedia

World Factbook: Russia

Russia National Travel Guide

Russia Today

I hereby grant the National Etiquette Award to Russia, because it is customary in that country to remove shoes when entering homes.

Russia is very important to Europe because of its gas supply. Britain is heavily dependant on Russia for natural gas, which suppies most of our energy. There was a bit of diplomatic squabbling earlier this week after the government expressed concerns about attempts by the Russian state owned gas monopoly to take over the distribution of natural gas in the UK. Not a good sign.

I have always been fascinated by the history of Russia, particularly the Russian Empire before the revolution. Much as I aspire to be a Modernist with only contempt for the past, I get very nostalgic thinking about reading books about Russian history. I like history a lot more than I generally admit.

Nevertheless, it does not take much reading of Russian history to discover the human misery that both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union were built upon.

Putin, the current president of Russia, is a pretty scary chap. He served in the KGB and seems to have only a minimal concept of democracy in his mind.

I like Russian people, they are very serious, like Finnish people (though don't go telling any Finns that I have compared them to Russians).

I have mixed feelings about serving as a missionary in Russia. It would be a very interesting place to serve, but I would be fearful of going to a place where gangster rule has such incredible power. It must be a very bleak place.

I know a guy who went on a brief mission tour in Russia to the nomadic people in Siberia. He was a loner who loved wildlife. He felt a calling to witness to nomads. He is currently witnessing among the nomads of Niger in northern Africa. It is wonderful how God so often calls people to what suits their personality and interests.

An organisation dedicated to building up the Church in Eastern Europe is the Slavic Gospel Association. I would recommend visiting their website.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How I became an Offalist

I will begin my inaugural post by giving special thanks to Matthew for inviting me to join the cause. It is an honor and a privilege for me to join him in this fight against unnecessarily dirty floors. My journey to this place began when I moved to New York state. In my native Southern California very few ever asked their guests to remove their shoes. I can think of four places that I visited in the last three years I lived there where the host requested shoe removal. While it was not a completely foreign notion, it was certainly not normal. Here in New York with rainy spring, summer and autumn and snowy winter, shoe removal is much more common. As a guest I became accustomed to the courtesy of taking off my shoes at the door, but I still often wore shoes in my own apartment and never requested that anyone take theirs off. Then one day I read a blog called "Shoes Off at the Door, Please" that made me think. Once I began to ponder what is on my shoes when I walk into my apartment I realized that shoe removal is about more than keeping wet shoes off of the carpet so I won't step in the wet spot wearing just my socks. It is about the worms on the sidewalk when it rains. It is about the cigarette butts on the stairs that my neighbors dropped. It is about the gum on the street. Do I want worms, cigarettes and gum on my floors? Absolutely not! I am not a neat freak, but dirty floors have always bothered me. Now I know that there is a solution better than constant cleaning. Floors do not have to become dirty if we choose to take off our shoes at the door. I realized yesterday that I really have become an Offalist and can now only regret the contribution I have made to my own dirty floors and look forward to the day when I can start afresh on a new carpet and politely ask my guests to take their shoes off at the door, please.

Outside in her Slippers?

I saw a woman today taking out her garbage in her slippers.

It may be that she was wearing a designated pair of outdoor slippers, as I do when I take out the garbage (my official chore in my parents' house), but it is more likely that she, like so many people was outside in indoor slippers.

Bad idea. The point of wearing slippers, besides comfort (there are some other kinds of shoes that are just as comfortable), is to keep the home cleaner. Going outside in slippers just defeats the object.

I used to wear a previous pair of slippers outside. Not only did it bring dirt in, but the soles wore out really quickly. That pair of slippers did not last long.

When I get my own home, I will have a pair of flip flops or old slippers at both the front and back door, ready for quick trips outside. Currently, I keep an old pair of slippers by the back door. However, my parents woudl never tolerate my leaving footwear by the front door. When my mother arrives with shopping, she expects me to rush out immediately in my slippers to help her. I cannot even remember what I do in summer when I am barefoot indoors. Probably rush for the nearest pair of shoes. Oh, well, it is her floor and she can dirty it if she wants. I just hope the dirt comes off my slippers before I reach my bedroom.

I Would Like to Welcome

I would like to welcome IBEX Scribe (Angie) to membership of this blog. Hopefully she will be able to provide both a female and an American perspective to this issue.

Now there are two of us, we can together persuade the world that shoes-off is the way to domestic cleanliness and family health and that the English do get it wrong sometimes.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Silly Argument

Some people argue that even if you have a strict no-shoes policy in your home, you could still spill black coffee or red wine on your carpet and cause permanent stains.

This is true. You can still spill red wine or black coffee in a shoeless home and cause permanent stains (those of you who are teetotal will say 'Don't drink red wine then.' As it happens, I do not drink wine, just beer and spirits. I do drink black coffee, though).

However, do you want a carpet with stains that is full of dust, dirt and bugs or a carpet which has stains, but is a lot cleaner?

Stains do not cause wear and tear to carpets, though they are messy. The tiny grit particles that your shoes pick up do wear your carpet out.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD goes to... Iran!

Iran Page in Wikipedia

World Factbook- Iran

Iran Daily

I hereby grant the National Etiquette Award to Iran, as it is customary in that country to remove shoes in homes.

The Iranians seem to be suceeding in their plan to enrich Uranium. It is rather worrying.

Will the Americans take military action against Iran? If they do, I will probably be undecided about the issue, just as I am undecided about the Iraq War (though I did support it at the time). I recently read 'Christinaity and War' by Laurence Vance, an American fundamentalist who is very critical of Bush's foreign policy and the Iraq war. He made some good arguments.

The Iranian president, Ahmadinejad, looks like a rather comical fellow, short, bearded and smiling a lot. However, he is deadly serious. He denies the Holocaust, talks about conspiracy theories and makes threats against Israel. A scary chap.

Iran is a Muslim country in which Christians do face persectution. For information on the persecution of Christians worldwide, visit:

Barnabas Fund

Open Doors International

Monday, April 17, 2006

Politics and the Shoes-Off Policy

I cannot think of many ways in which a person's politics might affect whether they remove their shoes at the door or whether they prefer visitors to remove their shoes.

I suppose many Conservative party supporters in the UK are likely to be upper middle class and thus would never ask guests to remove their shoes. That is just not done in respectable society here.

I expect environmentalists are probably more likely to have a shoes-off policy, as they worry a lot about pollution and pesticides. Those things can be picked up by one's shoes.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Flu Wiki Forum: Leave your Shoes at the Door

Flu Wiki Forum: Leave your Shoes at the Door

Discussion on an Influenza-related site.

Barefoot in the House- ThingsAsian Article

Barefoot in the House- ThingsAsian Article

A short article about Malaysian culture.

Home Assemblies

I posted on the subject of home assemblies on my main blog yesterday. I wrote that I tended to favour holding church meetings in homes.

This raises the question of whether I would request that those attending a home assembly in my home remove their shoes. This is perhaps a peculiarly western question. I gather that in most churches in India, shoes are removed, reflecting Indian culture (and the state of Indian streets). I expect this is the case in other Asian countries.

It is vital not to cause offence. It would be very wrong to adamantly insist on somebody removing their shoes for a fellowship meeting when they did not feel comfortable with this. Even more importantly, it would be wrong to exclude somebody from the assembly because they refused to remove their shoes.

However, making a polite request is a different matter. In a the home assembly there is likely to be a level of trust and intimacy that will recognise the needs of individual families and homes. Thus, there is likely to be an understanding that everyone wants to keep their home clean.

Most church buildings have quite dirty carpets, due to the heavy use they receive. A home in which church meetings are regularly taking place is likely to receive a lot more wear and tear on its carpet or flooring unless those attending remove their shoes. Thus, it is perfectly reasonable for a home that hosts assembly meetings to request shoes-off, but not to insist upon it too rigorously. Such a request is in the same order as advice about car parking or requests not to smoke. In a church I attended in Finland, the congregation were expected to remove their coats and put them in a cloakroom, something I had never experienced in England. Though it was not winter when I visited, this practice was presumbably instituted with the snowy Finnish winter in mind.

Those attending could helpfully be advised to bring their slippers.

Perhaps a shoe-less home assembly would be reminded of Moses and Joshua removing thier shoes on the sacred ground of the Lord.

Monday, April 10, 2006

This Weel's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD goes to.... Nepal!

Nepal Page in Wikipedia

Nepal Tourism Board

World Factbook: Nepal

Nepal Home Page

I hereby grant the National Etiquette Award to the mountain kingdom of Nepal, as it is customary in that country to remove shoes when entering homes. I believe shoes are removed even in some Christian churches in Nepal.

There was dreadful violence in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal this week. The police used brutal force to curb demonstrations by those involved in the general strike that is takign place there.

Nepal is in a mess. It is facing terrible insurgency from Maoist Communist rebels who want to overthrow the ruling monarchy. The king has responded to this dire situation by setting himself up as a dictator and suspeded democracy.

I do fear that this Himalayan country may yet fall into brutal Communist oppression.

My sister attended a school that sent pupils on a trip to Nepal every year. My sister did not go herself, but some of her friends did. Given the dreadful violence of the countries current problems, I would not be surprised if the school has stopped sending pupils on trips there.

Nepal is a Hindu country and the Maoist rebels are hostile to Christianity. For more information about the persecution of Christians worldwide. Please visit:

Barnabas Fund

Open Doors International

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Photograph of a Lady Vacuuming

In the Times newspaper today, there was a phoptograph of an attractive lady vacuuming her carpet in her barefeet.

This was perhaps a little unusual. Generally, photographs of attractive ladies doing housework have them wearing high-heeled shoes.

This is not very realistic. While not everyone agrees with me that wearing shoes whne doing housework defeats the object, very few women do housework in high-heeled shoes.

Any ladies who do housework in heels want to argue with me?