Sunday, August 31, 2008

The American presidential contest

As I have mentioned before, Barack Obama, the Democrat candidate is from Hawaii where shoes are always removed at the door.

The Republican candidate, John McCain has now chosen as his running mate an Alaskan, Sarah Palinn. While removing shoes may not be as universal in Alaska as in Hawaii, I believe it is pretty common there, as with many cold weather places.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dr Park- An Allergist’s Nightmare: The Micro-Poop Theory

Dr Park- An Allergist’s Nightmare: The Micro-Poop Theory

An excellent post.

"Many people assume walking over lobby carpeting or the door mat
in front of your apartment would have wiped any residual
poop particles off your shoe. But think about this: if you
step in poop and take a towel and wipe it off vigorously,
is it really off? Even if it’s a wet towel, can you be
truly certain that your shoes are truly free of all fecal

This situation doesn’t just apply to dog poop. This also
applies to human phlegm, gum, dog urine, bird poop,
chemicals, car oil, pollutants, bacteria and molds and
whatever else you might find on the sidewalks of New York
City at any time of the day. How many different kinds of
germs or chemicals, organic or non-organic, are still stuck
to the bottom of your shoe when you enter your apartment?"

This post also explains why the Hygeine Hypothesis (the theory that too much cleanliness causes allergies) is not relevant when it comes to dirt on your shoes.

Sometimes it is really hard to find stuff to post about...

Some drama students in Prague produced an utterly incomprehensible adaptation of HP Lovecraft's horror story, 'The Thing on the Doorstep.' As they are in the Czech Republic (a shoes-off country), they are shoeless for a good deal of their performance:

You Tube: "The Thing on the Doorstep" From HP Lovecraft

You Tube: "The Thing on the Doorstep" From HP Lovecraft Part 2

You Tube: "The Thing on the Doorstep" From HP Lovecraft Part 3

You Tube: "The Thing on the Doorstep" From HP Lovecraft Part 4

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An house in Poole

I went to Poole yesterday for a job interview (where my sister lives).

I noticed an house that had an handwritten note on their door requesting people to remove their shoes.

This is actually the first time I have seen a shoes-off sign here in the UK, though I have heard about people doing that in this country.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

5 Simple Tips To Keep Your Tile Clean and Fresh

5 Simple Tips To Keep Your Tile Clean and Fresh

Tile may be relatively easy to clean, but it is still a good idea to take your shoes off and ask others to do so.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

House churches

I am personally of the opinion that Christian churches ought to meet in homes rather than special buildings. That is how the earliest Christians met.

There is an article here:

How to have a participatory house church meeting (PDF)

This talks about some of the issues in hosting house churches. It points out that those hosting a house church meeting should lay down some house rules, which can include a rule about removing shoes.

Another article on house churches makes the same point; that it is fine for the host family to ask those attending to remove their shoes.

A family that are gracious enough to allow church meetings in their home should not have to suffer their carpets to be ruined or to have to do twice as much cleaning as everybody else. Those attending should show the respect of removing their shoes.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Should one provide slippers for guests?


In some Eastern European and Asian countries, guests change from their shoes into slippers provided by the host.

Some argue that if you intend to have a shoes-off policy in your home, you should keep some slippers for guests to wear. It is argued that this will make them feel more comfortable and prevent embarassments such as foot odour and holes in socks.

I am not so sure about this one. If slippers are provided, then they must either be disposable plastic slippers or else slippers that can go in the washing machine. It would be quite unreasonable to expect guests to wear slippers that have been worn by somebody else that day. I am not sure whether most slippers are machine washable. Some guests might not even trust you that they really have been cleaned and may prefer to stay in bare or stocking feet.

I think the practise of providing guest slippers might be just a bit too weird for British. Many British people will have been to a house where shoes-off was required, but not many people will have been offered guest slippers to wear, unless it was in another country. I think a lot of English guests would prefer to go barefoot, rather than wear slippers that are not their own.

I think it is a good idea to buy slippers for family and regular visitors and keep them at your house. These should be worn only by the person they are provided for. Hopefully, one's family and close friends would be delighted by this consideration.

Providing clean socks is a different matter. I would suggest keeping a supply of clean socks in different sizes by the door for guests who are not comfortable going barefoot.

I think it is very sensible to let visitors know in advance that one has a shoes-off rule in one's home. That way, they can be sure to wear socks without holes or bring their own slippers if they prefer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's evidently what young married couples do

My parents were hosting their home fellowship meeting in their house. I decided to attend, having moved away from mine in Worcester.

In their group, just like mine there is a young married couple who remove their shoes without being asked. It is evidently what young married couples do.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Home fellowship meeting

I went to my last home fellowship meeting, before I move to Hastings, Sussex.

The group had a walk which ended at the home of a young married couple. This particular couple take their shoes off at the house where we normally meet and had a shoe rack by the door. As the weather was wet, keeping shoes on would have been unforgiveable. Normally it is onlly the younger members of the group who unshod.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


With the news of the fighting in Georgia, I do hope our Georgian reader is safe and well.

You have chosen to remain anonymous, but if you are reading this, please reassure us all. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Degrees of Firmness part 2


I think for friends I would go for the very direct no.6 (Could you take your shoes off, please?) and for people I did not know, I would use the more restrained no.4 (Are you alright with taking your shoes off?).

It may be that you are just too shy to use the more direct requests. However, you might find that the softest approach no.1 works a lot of the time. If you are barefoot and there are a lot of shoes by the door, you may get the right reaction just by saying:

You can take your shoes off here, if you like.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

On the train

I tend to remove my shoes during long train journeys, for the sake of comfort. That is not something that many people do here in the UK. I expect some people would regard it as anti-social.

I was pleased to find on the way back from London today, that I was sat next to a young man who had removed his shoes.

Interestingly, although he was wearing sneakers without socks, I could not smell anything offensive. I think people do exagerrate how much feet tend to smell.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Degrees of Firmness


1. You can take your shoes off here if you like.

2. We take our shoes off here.

3. We do like visitors to take their shoes off.

4. Are you alright with taking your shoes off?

5. You don't mind taking your shoes off, do you?

6. Could you take your shoes off, please?

7. Take your shoes off, please.

8. Shoes off.

9. Shoes off now!

Monday, August 04, 2008


The Russian writer and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn died yesterday.

Solzhenitsyn claimed that the greatest problem in the West was a loss of 'civil courage.' I am not sure that I agree with this great man, but I would say that courage is a desirable virtue.

I want to encourage those who remove their shoes at the door but who are afraid to ask visitors to do the same. Don't be afraid. Take courage. People are mostly not going to be offended if you ask them nicely. It only takes a few people to change a culture.