Before I headed out last night, my husband, mindful of my reluctance to pad around at a social occasion in my stocking feet, suggested that I take along my fluffy slippers to put on once I got there. It was a preposterous suggestion met with ridicule of course. Or so I thought.
Thank goodness, I did take along my platform ankle boots from Top Shop to change into with the weak hope that I would be allowed to wear them. Everyone - all nine guests - arrived in big, ugly snow boots and changed into more demure foot attire on arrival. Well not everyone. One girl had taken along a pair of leather moccasin slipper things while another quite bizarrely, to me at least, changed into a pair of turquoise blue wedge espadrilles - you know the cloth sandal things you wear at the beach? Anyway, after interrogating one of the women on this strange-to-me cultural carry-on, it was explained thus. If going to a party in a private home, it is perfectly acceptable to take along a pair of indoor shoes - or in my case back-breaking stilettos - but one wouldn't do this if just dropping by for lunch or coffee. Then you'd just be in your stocking feet. The woman clearly couldn't understand why I was asking such an stupid question until it dawned on her that in Ireland we wear the same shoes inside and out because we don't get snow. But we get a hell of a lot of rain which after all is the same thing when it is deposited on your carpet or wooden flooring.
What mucky pigs we must seem. Ask someone to take their shoes off at your front door in Ireland, and they'd look at you as if you had two heads, and then laugh because they are certain that you must be joking. 'You must be kidding,' they'd say as if you'd asked them to strip naked.